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10 Great Retro TV Shows On Netflix Instant

January 11, 2012  |  10:24am

In November of 2010 we gave you a list of great shows to catch up on via Netflix Instant that ranged from modern classics like Arrested Development to The Office as well as some quirky off-beat shows worth giving a shot like Pushing Daisies and Veronica Mars. But if you’re anything like us you’ve devoured the best of modern television and are looking for something new to check out. Why not dive into the world of retro?

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10. The Munsters
Creators: Allan Burns and Chris Hayward
Stars: Fred Gwynne, Yvonne De Carlo, Al Lewis, Pat Priest and Butch Patrick
Original Run: 1964-1966
We’ve reported that this show is being remade, and it looks to be vastly different than the original. So we suggest you make a stop at 1313 Mockingbird Lane and see how the originals. The effects are laughable, even by the retro standards, but it was a staple in horror comedy that hasn’t been matched since.

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9. Hawaii Five-O
Creator: Leonard Freeman
Stars: Jack Lord, James MacArthur, Kam Fong Chun, Gilbert Lani Kauhi and Al Harrington
Original Run: 1968-1980
Sure, you can watch a pretty decent remake, but luckily you don’t have to thanks to the original being available on Netflix. It’s a great police procedural that used an exotic location way before any other show was doing it. The show was also the longest running crime show until Law and Order passed it in 2003.

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8. The A-Team
Creators: Frank Lupo and Stephen J. Cannell
Stars: George Peppard, Dirk Benedict, Dwight Schultz, Mr. T, Melinda Culea, Marla Heasley, Eddie Velez and Robert Vaughn
Original Run: 1983-1987
Before there was a big-budget remake in 2010, Mr. T’s B.A. reigned supreme. The team was charged with a crime they didn’t commit and ran around episode after episode without an over-arching plot. The first four season’s were great, but watch out for that fifth season that changed things up completely.

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7. Family Ties
Creator: Gary David Goldberg
Stars: Meredith Baxter-Birney, Michael Gross, Michael J. Fox, Justine Bateman and Tina Yothers
Original Run: 1982-1989
Unlike children battling their parents now to be more liberal, Family Ties focused on the opposite. The parents were hippies and Alex P. Keaton was a yuppie. It’s a history lesson in Reaganomics.

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6. Roseanne
Creators: Roseanne Barr and Matt Williams
Stars: Roseanne Barr, John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert, Michael Fishman, Lecy Goranson, Sarah Chalke and Johnny Galecki
Original Run: 1988-1997
Let’s call this a modern-retro classic about a working class family before shows like Friends poshed up television. The Conners’ situation is all too familiar for many folks today, and unlike others on this list, the show doesn’t try to glamorize the American lifestyle.

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5. Star Trek: The Original Series
Creator: Gene Roddenberry
Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley
Original Run: 1966-1969
See where it all began when Captain Kirk and Dr. Spock originally explored where no man has gone before. The graphics were legendary, and even though we’ve grown accustom to Star Trek containing big explosions and an abundant amount of lens flares, the original holds up just as strong.

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4. The Cosby Show
Creators: Bill Cosby, Ed. Weinberger and Michael Leeson
Stars: Bill Cosby, Phylicia Rashād, Lisa Bonet, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Tempestt Bledsoe, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Sabrina Le Beauf, Geoffrey Owens, Joseph C. Phillips, Raven-Symoné and Erika Alexander
Original Run: 1984-1992
The Huxtables are more than an affluent African-American family: they were the archetype of what good-natured people should be. The life lessons learned on The Cosby Show have aged just fine. It’s a cornerstone in shows that dealt with race and stereotypes, but it never felt like an afterschool special.

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3. Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Creator: Alfred Hitchcock
Star: Alfred Hitchcock
Original Run: 1955-1965
Hitchcock’s anthology of mysteries, thrillers and dramatic stories featured a different enthralling tale every week. While many fans today know his films to be classics, many younger fans have yet to see any of the Presents classics like “The Case of Mr. Pelham,” “Fog Closing In” and “Lamb To The Slaughter.”

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2. Cheers
Creators: James Burrows, Glen Charles and Les Charles
Stars: Ted Danson, Shelley Long, Nicholas Colasanto, Rhea Perlman, George Wendt, John Ratzenberger, Woody Harrelson, Kelsey Grammer, Kristie Alley and Bebe Neuwirth
Original Run: 1982-1993
For 11 seasons we got to join Sam “Mayday” Malone and the gang in the bar where everybody knew your name. There were a lot of crazy antics, womanizing and just sitting on stools. Despite its lighthearted premise, the show also tackled serious subjects that many shows of the 1980s shied away from.

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1. The Wonder Years
Creators: Carol Black and Neal Marlens
Stars: Fred Savage, Dan Lauria, Alley Mills, Olivia d’Abo, Jason Hervey, Danica McKellar and Josh Savino
Original Run: 1988-1993
For five seasons The Wonder Years provided a bridge between children of the late ’80s and early ’90s and their parents who grew up in the late ’60s and early ’70s. It detailed the lives of Kevin Arnold and his friends growing up in one of the most influential times in American history. Also of note: all of the other shows on this list were already available on DVD; however, The Wonder Years still isn’t. If you wanted to watch the show before now, you had to rely on grainy VHS copies.

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