Monday, June 5, 2017

A Complete Ranking of Mystery Television of the 1960s

Having sorted out the IMDB ranking of mystery/crime television shows that began in the 1970s, I decided to extend this by looking at the 1960s. I also have the 1980s in the works. I suspect in the 1990s, with the advent of internet popularity and the great increase in cable shows, I can not continue a straightforwardly nostalgic tour. With the 1990s, the voting would probably have been influenced by publicity campaigns and what was on in the moment. IMDB debuted in 1990.

Again, I was rather strict in what constituted a mystery. No supernatural or science fiction or fantasy. I suppose that should eliminate gadget-y spy shows but I let them in. I drew the line at Batman-like shows as they tended to a more extreme fantasy.

For the 1960s I used a cut-off with those receiving at least 50 votes. This garnered 65 series. Much fewer miniseries during this decade.

I pondered whether some countries rate their shows more generously than others. In the 1970s I was certain that Germans were harsh on its shows with several having near the lowest ratings. In the 1960s, there were eight German shows appearing on this list and most were highly ranked.

Below are the shows, their fan ratings (1 to 10). When the ratings were equal, the order is given by which one had the most votes.

Stefanie Ka-Powers

1. Hríšní lidé mesta pražského (The Sinful People of Prague) (1968–1969) 8.9, Votes: 112
Hungary. In 1920s and 30s Prague, police detectives solve crimes.

2. Public Eye (1965–1975) 8.8, Votes: 113
Alfred Burke as a world-weary public, private eye, because aren't all P.I.s world-weary?

3. Die seltsamen Methoden des Franz Josef Wanninger (The Strange Methods of Franz Josef Wanninger) (1965–1970) 8.8, Votes: 69. German. Followed by a 1970s series, The Immortal Methods of Franz Josef Wanninger.

4. Coronet Blue (1967) 8.8, Votes: 95
Frank Converse has lost his memory and doesn't know why people are out to kill him. He goes on to discover this is a common condition.

5. Le Inchieste del Commissario Maigret (1964–1972) 8.7, Votes: 56
Italian series featuring the famous detective.

6. The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1962–1965) 8.6, Votes: 2,768
The anthology continues, now an hour long.

7. T.H.E. Cat (1966–1967) 8.6, Votes: 152
Robert Loggia as a bodyguard with special skills.

8. Gideon C.I.D. (1964–1967) 8.6, Votes: 99
John Gregson as Commander George Gideon of Scotland Yard.

9. Hong Kong (1960–1961) 8.6, Votes: 86
A newsman and an inspector solve crimes.

10. Der Tod läuft hinterher (Death Pursues) (1967) 8.6; Votes: 61
German. A three-part series following the search for a missing woman.

11. 87th Precinct (1961–1962) 8.5, Votes: 91
Ed McBain's novels as a 60s TV show? I didn't know.

12. The Edgar Wallace Mystery Theatre (1960–1965) 8.5, Votes: 59
Well-regarded compilation of short mystery movies.

13. Babeck (1968), 8.5, Votes: 64
German. The disappearance of a small-time laborer grows into a multi-murder mystery involving international arms dealers.

14. Polizeifunk ruft (Police Call) (1966–1970) 8.5, Votes: 55
German realistic police drama.

15. The Avengers (1961–1969) 8.4, Votes: 4,709
Patrick MacNee is John Steed, master spy with some kick-ass helpers.

16. Thriller (1960–1962) 8.4, Votes: 885
Boris Karloff introduced a killer anthology.

17. The Rogues (1964–1965) 8.4, Votes: 226
A pair of retired con-artists put their talents to help others.

18. The Roaring 20's (1960–1962) 8.4, Votes: 114
A newshound, gangsters and coppers in roaring Chicago.

19. Get Smart (1965–1970) 8.3, Votes: 8,544
Almost the highest-rated spy show (below The Avengers). Missed it by that much.

20. Secret Agent (1964–1967) 8.3, Votes: 792
Patrick McGoohan lived a life of danger.

21. Callan (1967–1972) 8.3, Votes: 416
Edward Woodward is a spy forced into service.

22. Surfside 6 (1960–1962) 8.3, Votes: 171
Those Miami Beach detectives are totally boss.

23. The Wild Wild West (1965–1969) 8.2, Votes: 3,035
Name's West. James West.

24. The Defenders (1961–1965) 8.2, Votes: 261
E.G. Marshall and Robert Reed as father and son lawyers.

25. Judd for the Defense (1967–1969) 8.2, Votes: 135
Carl Betz as a Houston attorney.

26. The Lone Ranger (1966–1969) 8.2, Votes: 80
That masked man and his Indian BFF serve up justice.

27. The Fugitive (1963–1967) 8.1, Votes: 2,451
David Janssen as Dr. Richard Kimball: he just might be innocent.

28. Danger Man (1960–1962) 8.1, Votes: 711
More goin' with McGoohan.

29. Homicide (1964–1977) 8.1, Votes: 64
Australian detective series.

30. Mission: Impossible (1966–1973) 8.0; Votes: 5,828
High-tech spies solve crimes with masks, instant door keys, and pulse-pounding music.

31. Checkmate (1960–1962) 8.0, Votes: 183
Tales of a high-class Frisco P.I. firm.

32. Kraft Suspense Theatre (1963–1965) 8.0, Votes: 154
Because life is more than macaroni and cheese.

33. Arrest and Trial (1963–1964) 8.0, Votes: 84
First half police, second half prosecutor.

34. Man in a Suitcase (1967–1968) 7.9, Votes: 246
A spy is branded and tossed out of work.

35. The Felony Squad (1966–1969) 7.9, Votes: 82
Rookie and veteran police officers.

36. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964–1968) 7.8, Votes: 3,572
UNCLE versus THRUSH. How is it I remember the name Illya Kuryakan after all these years?

37. It Takes a Thief (1968–1970) 7.8 Votes: 1,247
And it takes Fred Astaire to play Robert Wagner's father.

38. Der Kommissar (1969–1976), 7.8, Votes: 137
German. Popular police series of the late sixties, early seventies.

39. Les enquêtes du commissaire Maigret (1967–1990) 7.8, Votes: 68
French. The famous Inspector Maigret.

40. Graf Yoster gibt sich die Ehre (Count Yoster has the Honor) (1967–1977) 7.8, Votes: 67
A wealthy gentleman and his butler are the detectives.

41. Dragnet 1967 (1967–1970) 7.7, Votes: 1,616
Joe Friday deadpans his way through 30 minutes of crime-solving.

42. Honey West (1965–1966) 7.7, Votes: 423
Anne Francis runs a private detective firm with the help of an ocelot, because we all get by with a little help from our ocelots.

43. Sherlock Holmes (1964–1968) 7.7, Votes: 322
Peter Cushing and Nigel Stock star. Every generation gets its Holmes. Some get two or three.

44. Belphegor (1965) 7.7, Votes: 286
Phantom of the Louvre.

45. N.Y.P.D. (1967–1969) 7.7, Votes: 201
Detectives take on New York crime.

46. The Bold Ones: The Lawyers (1969–1972), 7.7, Votes: 65
Burl Ives leads a holly jolly law firm.

47. Adam-12 (1968–1975)  7.6, Votes: 2,261
Jovial, ingratiating police officers answer calls.

48. The F.B.I. (1965–1974) 7.6, Votes: 639
To manage FBI agents you need a great name like Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.

49. The Baron (1966–1967) 7.6, Votes: 160
Antique dealer solves crimes.

50. The Great British Train Robbery (1966– ), 7.6, Votes: 145
German series about the famed train robbery of the sixties.

51. The Saint (1962–1969) 7.5, Votes: 3,066
Simon Templar occasionally loses his halo. Starring Roger Moore and great theme music.

52. Burke's Law (1963–1966) 7.5, Votes: 490
The typical millionaire chief of detectives.

53. Aktenzeichen XY ungelöst (File XY, Unsolved) (1967– continuing) 7.5
German crime documentaries to help solve open cases.

54. Hawaii Five-O (1968–1980) 7.4, Votes: 4,295
Jack Lord can growl.

55. Hawk (1966) 7.4, Votes: 69
A native American detective? Great! Starring Burt Reynolds?

56. Softly Softly (1966–1969) 7.4, Votes: 66
West Country police.

57. Special Branch (1969–1974), 7.4, Votes: 53
An elite squad of London police.

58. Mannix (1967–1975) 7.3, Votes: 1,771
Mike Connors is a private eye who has a habit of falling out of cars just before they go off cliffs.

59. I Spy (1965–1968) 7.3, Votes: 1,404
Robert Culp, Phyllis Rashad and others shake their fists at the man who tanked their residuals.

60. Z Cars (1962–1978) 7.3, Votes: 192
Northern England police force and their exploits.

61. Das Halstuch (The Scarf) (1962), 7.2, Votes: 77
German production of a murder mystery set in England.

62. Ironside (1967–1975), 7.1, Votes: 2,164
Wheelchair-bound, Raymond Burr solves crimes by the sheer force of his grumbling.

63. The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. (1966–1967) 7.1, Votes: 294
Ladies can kick ass, too. Starring Stefanie Powers.

64. Mod Squad (1968–1973), 7.0, Votes: 1,227
Multi-ethnic and hip police squad.

65. Ka' De li' østers (1967) 6.7, Votes: 51
Denmark. A detective pair works on a case of double homicide. 6 episodes.


 Martin Hill Ortiz is the author of Never Kill A Friend, Ransom Note Press.

Never Kill A Friend, Ransom Note Press

Never Kill A Friend is available for purchase in hard cover format and as an ebook.
The story follows Shelley Krieg, an African-American detective for the Washington DC Metro PD as she tries to undo a wrong which sent an innocent teenager to prison.

Hard cover: Amazon US
Kindle: Amazon US
Hard cover: Amazon UK
Kindle: Amazon UK
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