Ohio may not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of glamorous TV settings, but don’t let that fool you. The Buckeye State has quietly served as the backdrop for some of the most entertaining and memorable television shows in history.
From the bustling streets of Cincinnati to the picturesque landscapes of rural Ohio, the state has proven to be a versatile setting.
Whether you’re a proud Ohioan looking for some local TV pride or just a curious couch potato, we invite you to grab your remote and a bucket of popcorn to settle in to explore the weird, wonderful, and often wacky world of television in the heart of the Midwest.
3rd Rock from the Sun, NBC (1996 – 2001)
Set in the fictional city of Rutherford, Ohio, this sitcom follows the escapades of a quirky group of aliens disguised as a suburban human family.
They came, they saw, and they hilariously failed to conquer Earth while teaching us that extraterrestrial beings can be just as dysfunctional as any family on the block.
From the eccentric antics of the Solomon family to the endless escapades of the clueless aliens, 3rd Rock from the Sun is a comedic masterpiece that proves Ohio could be just as bizarre as any extraterrestrial planet. The show is like a visit from our own intergalactic neighbors, and it proved that even aliens could find a home in Ohio.
Hope & Faith, ABC (2003 – 2006)
This is the kind of show that makes you wish you had a sister, especially one as outrageously fun and unpredictable as Hope and Faith.
Set in the charming town of Glen Falls, Ohio, this sitcom is a rollercoaster of family dynamics and hilarious mishaps. Faith is the wild child, a has-been soap opera star, while Hope is the responsible suburban mom trying to keep her family from going off the rails.
With its witty humor, the show is a delightful slice of life in the Midwest. It reminds us that even in a small town in Ohio, there’s no shortage of drama, laughter, and heartwarming moments when family is involved.
Greek, ABC Family (2007 – 2011)
Set at the fictional Cyprus-Rhodes University in Ohio, this show immerses you in the wild, hilarious, and sometimes chaotic world of college life.
The series follows the ups and downs of students at the Greek houses on campus, particularly the rivalry between the Omega Chi Delta fraternity and the Zeta Beta Zeta sorority. Through the eyes of Casey Cartwright, we witness the trials and tribulations of Greek life.
With its relatable characters and witty dialogue, Greek transports you to the heart of a college campus in Ohio, where friendships are forged, love is in the air, and the parties are legendary.
A.P. Bio, Peacock (2018 – 2021)
Meet disgraced Harvard philosophy professor Jack Griffin, who takes a job as an A.P. Biology teacher at Whitlock High. He quickly abandons any notion of traditional teaching and instead focuses on using his students for his own personal vendettas and schemes.
The result? Hilarious chaos and a class full of misfit students who become unlikely allies in his escapades.
With its sharp humor and eccentric characters, A.P. Bio transports you to the quirky world of high school in Ohio. From its witty one-liners to its satirical take on education, the show delivers laugh-out-loud moments while providing a fresh perspective on the dynamics of teachers and students.
Melissa & Joey, ABC Family (2010 – 2015)
This lighthearted sitcom entertains with its charming premise.
Set in Toledo, Ohio, the show introduces us to Melissa Burke, a local politician who suddenly finds herself responsible for her niece and nephew when her brother-in-law gets into legal trouble.
Melissa’s life takes an unexpected turn as she becomes an instant guardian, and to help her navigate this new chapter, she hires Joey Longo, a charming and laid-back commodities trader. Together, they embark on the adventure of raising teenagers while juggling their own personal and professional lives.
Hot in Cleveland, TV Land (2010 – 2015)
Starring the undisputed icon of TV, Betty White herself, Hot in Cleveland introduces us to three fabulous Los Angeles women who find themselves in a whirlwind of humorous adventures when their plane makes an unexpected landing in Ohio.
With its witty one-liners, memorable characters, and heartwarming moments, the show is a comedic gem that brings the lively spirit of Cleveland to life.
From quirky neighbors to equally quirky dating scenes, this show offers a delightful glimpse into the ups and downs of life in Ohio, proving that sometimes, the most unexpected detours can lead to the most memorable journeys.
Welcome to Flatch, Fox (2022 – 2023)
This mockumentary-style comedy takes you on a wild ride through the lives of its eccentric residents, capturing the essence of small-town charm with a comedic twist.
Set in the fictional town of Flatch, Ohio, the series follows a documentary crew as they explore the lives, loves, and peculiarities of the town’s residents.
From peculiar local traditions to unique personalities, Welcome to Flatch offers a hilarious and heartwarming glimpse into the tight-knit community. If you’re in the mood for a dose of small-town silliness, this series is your ticket to the wild and wacky world of Flatch, Ohio.
United States of Al, CBS (2021 – 2022)
United States of Al unfolds in the heartland of Ohio, where Marine veteran Riley is trying to readjust to civilian life. His life takes an unexpected turn when his Afghan interpreter and dear friend, Al, arrives in the United States seeking a fresh start.
As Riley and Al reunite in Ohio, the series delves into the cultural clashes and comedic misunderstandings that arise from their vastly different backgrounds. Al’s arrival not only brings humor but also sheds light on the immigrant experience and the struggles of veterans returning home.
The show is a heartwarming journey that reminds us that friendship knows no boundaries and that even amid challenges, there’s room for laughter and understanding.
Family Ties, NBC (1982 – 1989)
Set in Columbus, Ohio, Family Ties revolves around the Keatons, the quintessential American family with a twist.
The family is headed by Steven and Elyse Keaton, who are former hippies turned suburban parents. Their world takes a hilarious turn when their son Alex P. Keaton emerges as a staunch conservative in the era of the 1980s, providing the perfect backdrop for generational clashes and comedic situations.
Throughout its seven-season run, the show explored family, friendship, and the changing dynamics of American society. The show’s relatable characters and witty humor made it a beloved classic, reminding us that even in a house divided, love and laughter can bridge the generation gap.
The Drew Carey Show, ABC (1995 – 2004)
This beloved sitcom, set in the heart of Ohio, brings to life the day-to-day trials and tribulations of its blue-collar hero, Drew Carey, who toils as an assistant director of personnel.
In a world where the customer is rarely right, Drew faces his coworkers’ quirky personalities, his boss’s absurd demands, and the downright eccentricities of the customers who stroll through the store’s doors. Notably, Mimi Bobeck, a coworker known for her outrageous blue eyeshadow and colorful personality, adds a unique and unforgettable touch to the show.
The show’s setting in Cleveland adds an authentic Midwestern flavor, capturing the essence of a city with a working-class spirit like no other.
WKRP in Cincinnati, CBS (1978 – 1982)
This beloved series invites viewers into the world of a struggling radio station, WKRP, as it navigates the ups and downs of the broadcasting industry.
Set in Cincinnati, the show presents a motley crew of quirky characters, from the charismatic yet disorganized station manager Arthur Carlson to the eccentric disc jockeys like Dr. Johnny Fever and Venus Flytrap.
Their escapades and misadventures provide endless entertainment and a unique snapshot of life in a radio station in the late 70s and early 80s.
The New WKRP in Cincinnati, Syndication (1991 – 1993)
You can’t keep a good show down, and here we meet a new group of zany hosts at The New WKRP in Cincinnati.
Just like its predecessor, the show’s Cincinnati setting adds an authentic touch, allowing viewers to connect with the city’s unique charm and vibrant atmosphere.
The series continues to follow the adventures of radio DJs, salespeople, and station management as they navigate the ever-evolving world of radio. The story revolves around the challenges and comedic situations that arise as they adapt to new technology, shifting trends, and the ever-quirky world of radio broadcasting.
The Hard Times of RJ Berger, MTV (2010 – 2011)
In this show, the spotlight shines on the life of the titular character, RJ Berger, a high school student living in the fictional town of Pinkerton, Ohio.
This coming-of-age comedy-drama takes a unique approach to the usual teenage angst and identity crises as RJ navigates the challenges of adolescence.
RJ is an awkward and socially challenged teenager whose world turns upside down when an embarrassing incident exposes a well-endowed secret. Suddenly, he finds himself thrust into the social limelight, dealing with newfound attention from his peers and newfound complications in his relationships.
Good Grief, Fox (1990)
Set in a funeral home known as the Sincerity Mortuary in Dradon, Ohio, we are introduced to an unusual trio of owners. First up is the incredibly by-the-books Warren Pepper, followed by his sister Debbie and her husband Ernie Lapidus, a very flamboyant character who wants to put the “fun back in funeral”.
The show was very much ahead of its time, brimming with dark, sarcastic humor and gags, and a highlight was the tasteless advertisement Ernie made for the funeral home in the opening episode, which brilliantly set the tone for the rest of the show.
With a premise like that, we can’t help but say Good Grief, and tune in.
Ed, NBC (2000 – 2004)
After getting the boot from his fancy New York City law firm following quite a few mishaps, including a missed comma that cost $1.6 million and a wife having an affair with a mailman from Starbucks, Ed Stevens heads back to his small Ohio hometown, Stuckeyville. But instead of licking his wounds, he buys the local bowling alley and tries his hand at practicing law in a quirkier setting.
As Ed reconnects with old pals and becomes embroiled in the town’s kooky happenings, he also rekindles a high school crush with the town’s schoolteacher, Carol Vessey.
Ed gives viewers a taste of small-town quirks and big-city dreams colliding in hilarious ways. It’s a show that proves that even when life throws you a curveball, you can still strike it rich in the heartland of Ohio.
Glee, Fox (2009 – 2015)
Now we head to Lima, Ohio, where we meet the iconic, problematic, and often entertaining cast of Glee – the phenomenon that revived the musical TV episode format.
This musical dramedy unfolds within the hallways of William McKinley High School, where a diverse group of students come together to form a high school glee club.
The show follows the lives of these talented misfits, led by the enthusiastic and optimistic Will Schuester, as they strive to achieve greatness both in their musical pursuits and in their personal lives. The show’s infectious musical numbers and emotional storytelling made it a hit. And it will have you consuming season upon season to find out “what you missed on Glee.”
Harper Valley P.T.A., NBC (1981 – 1982)
Harper Valley P.T.A. is the original suburban showdown, a TV show that turns the quiet streets of Harper Valley, Ohio, into a battlefield of wit and scandal.
Meet Stella Johnson, a single mom with a knack for exposing the skeletons in the local Parent-Teacher Association’s closet.
In her confrontation with the local Parent-Teacher Association, Stella doesn’t just raise eyebrows; she ignites a storm of rumors, hypocrisy, and astonishing revelations. Stella becomes both the town’s outcast and its improbable hero, all while embracing her irreverent spirit as a badge of honor.
Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, Syndication (1976 – 1977)
Now, for a more surreal journey, we take a look at Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, a very satirical take on the soap opera genre.
Meet Mary Hartman, a typical American housewife dealing with the bizarre and sometimes absurd events of her everyday life. From her family’s eccentricities to the town’s unusual happenings, Mary’s journey is a darkly comedic exploration of suburban life.
The show uses its suburban setting as a backdrop to explore a wide range of social and cultural issues, from consumerism and sexual politics to the cult of celebrity and media manipulation – all through Mary’s deadpan delivery.
Harry’s Law, NBC (2011 – 2012)
Harry’s Law introduces viewers to Harriet Harry Korn, a high-powered patent attorney who finds herself unexpectedly out of a job. But this isn’t the end of her story; it’s just the beginning of a legal revolution.
In the heart of Cincinnati, Ohio, Harry takes a bold step by setting up her own law practice in a run-down shoe store in a gritty neighborhood.
Alongside an unconventional team of lawyers, including a legal prodigy and a street-smart paralegal, Harry dives headfirst into a world of criminal defense, personal injury, and the quirkiest cases the city has to offer.
Little Fires Everywhere, Hulu (2020)
This gripping drama is set in the meticulously organized world of Shaker Heights, Ohio, where conformity is the norm. But when the enigmatic artist Mia Warren and her daughter Pearl disrupt the lives of the Richardson family, chaos ensues.
Elena, the embodiment of suburban perfection, and Mia, the embodiment of rebellion, engage in a battle of ideals and secrets. As secrets unravel and tensions rise, the show becomes a brilliant exploration of the fault lines beneath the surface of this idyllic town.
The title serves as a metaphor for the small rebellions that challenge the status quo, turning Shaker Heights into a battleground of wits and wills.
Mr. Mercedes, Audience (2017 – 2019)
Based on Stephen King’s gripping detective trilogy, Mr. Mercedes is a darkly witty television series that unfolds in the gritty underbelly of Ohio. Retired detective Bill Hodges has swapped his badge for daytime TV and doughnuts, but an unsolved case keeps gnawing at him.
Enter Brady Hartsfield, a twisted and tech-savvy killer with a penchant for taunting Bill. Their cat-and-mouse game becomes the series’ focal point, with Brady reveling in his sinister acts and Bill determined to bring him to justice.
While Mr. Mercedes has moments of dark humor, it primarily delves into the psychological cat-and-mouse game between the two central characters – which takes us on an intense and grim journey.
Devil in Ohio, Netflix (2022)
Set in the heart of Ohio, Devil in Ohio begins when Mae, a troubled teenager bearing an inverted pentagram carved into her back, arrives at a hospital, her past shrouded in darkness.
Dr. Suzanne Mathis, a compassionate hospital psychiatrist, takes a keen interest in Mae’s case and offers her a place in her own home while searching for a suitable foster family.
As Mae’s true identity and traumatic past are unveiled, it’s revealed that she escaped from a sinister devil-worshipping cult in a neighboring rural county. Mae’s presence in the Mathis family home quickly disrupts their equilibrium, sparking tension and discord.
Homefront, ABC (1991 – 1993)
Set in the post-World War II era in the fictional town of River Run, Ohio, Homefront follows the lives of various families as they adjust to civilian life after the war.
The series explores the challenges and conflicts faced by the characters as they grapple with the aftermath of the war and the societal changes of the 1940s. It focuses on the intertwined lives of the working-class Sloans and the prestigious Metcalfs, who own a local factory.
The show provides a nostalgic and heartfelt portrayal of post-war America, emphasizing the resilience and determination of its characters in the face of the challenges posed by a changing world.
The Awakening Land, NBC (1978)
Next, we take a trip to the past as we head into the wilderness of Ohio in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, where we meet Sayward Luckett Wheeler and her family of settlers.
As they carve out a life in the rugged wilderness, the Wheeler family faces a myriad of challenges, including encounters with Native American tribes, the harsh realities of survival, and the ever-present dangers of the frontier.
Set against the backdrop of Ohio’s breathtaking natural beauty, The Awakening Land offers a rich and immersive portrayal of frontier life, where the characters must adapt, evolve, and grow to overcome the obstacles of the untamed wilderness.
Heathers, Paramount Network (2018)
This 2018 dark comedy-drama serves as a reimagining of the iconic 1989 film of the same name.
Set in the modern-day fictional town of Westerburg High, Ohio, the show explores the lives of a group of high school students who are all named Heather. These Heathers rule the school’s social hierarchy with an iron fist.
The story takes an unexpected turn when Veronica Sawyer becomes entangled with the Heathers and plots to bring them down. However, the twist in this adaptation is that the traditionally popular Heathers clique now consists of diverse students, including a plus-sized Heather and a genderqueer Heather.
The series blends elements of black comedy, satire, and social commentary to create a unique and edgy narrative set in the world of Ohio’s high schools.
Tales from the Loop, Amazon Prime Video (2020)
This thought-provoking science fiction drama series unfolds in the rural town of Mercer, Ohio.
The show is based on the acclaimed art book by Simon Stålenhag and explores the mysterious happenings in and around the Mercer Center for Experimental Physics.
Each episode of the series is a standalone narrative with interconnected characters and events. The show delves into the lives of the town’s residents and the enigmatic effects of the underground experimental physics facility known as The Loop on their everyday lives.
Paper Girls, Amazon Prime Video (2022)
Paper Girls is a sci-fi TV show that transports viewers to the suburban streets of Cleveland, Ohio, in the late 1980s. The show follows a group of young girls who work as paper delivery carriers for a local newspaper.
However, their seemingly ordinary morning route takes a bizarre and otherworldly turn when they encounter a series of strange phenomena, including time travel, futuristic technology, and mysterious creatures.
As they unravel these mysteries, the girls find themselves embroiled in a high-stakes adventure that spans across different timelines and realities.