20 Great TV Shows Set in Pennsylvania

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While the TV industry might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Pennsylvania, there are many great shows that have been set in the Keystone State. These shows include comedies, dramas, kid’s shows, and even reality series. Most are set in or around Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, but there are some that feature other spots throughout the state.

While many of these shows weren’t actually filmed in PA, they often offer interesting insights into the culture of the state and include clips of real-life settings around the state.

Here are a few of the best TV shows set in Pennsylvania.

(You can also watch a ton of great movies set in Pennsylvania.)

The Office

There are few more popular shows of the last few decades than The Office.

The Office was a mockumentary-style show that followed the workers at the fictional Scranton paper company, Dunder Mifflin. This show aired on NBC from 2005-2013 and followed these larger-than-life employees as they lived and worked in northeastern PA.

While the show wasn’t shot in Pennsylvania, there are many references to the Scranton area sprinkled into the show. Even better, the video montage used while the theme song was playing was shot in Scranton by actor John Krasinski when he came to the city to research the area before the series began.

If you want to watch the show today, it can be streamed on Netflix or you can purchase seasons on Amazon.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

There’s no recent TV show that has better captured the spirit of Philadelphia than It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The show follows a group of friends that own a struggling bar in South Philly, as well as the many antics they get into.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia ran for 14 seasons from 2005-2019, which tied it with The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet as the longest-running, live-action sitcom in American TV history.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia can be streamed on Hulu or you can purchase seasons here.

Boy Meets World

Boy Meets World aired on ABC from 1993 to 2000 and told the story of a Philadelphia area family, highlighted by young Corey Matthews. Matthews and his friends attended the fictional John Adams High School, but while it was set in Philadelphia, it wasn’t filmed in the area.

The show followed Matthews’ life and his interactions with his family, friends, and his next-door neighbor/teacher, Mr. Feeny.

Boy Meets World can be streamed on Disney+ or you can buy full seasons on Amazon.

Queer as Folk

Queer as Folk was a groundbreaking TV series that aired on Showtime from 2000-2005. It was known as being the first hour-long drama in the United States to primarily follow the lives of homosexual men and women.

Queer as Folk was set in Pittsburgh and tells the story of a group of friends as they navigate life in western PA.  This highly-rated show offered an important look into what was, at the time, a little-depicted lifestyle on television.

Queer as Folk can be streamed on Showtime or you can buy full seasons on Amazon

All My Children

All My Children is one of the longest-running shows in US history, airing primarily on ABC from 1970 until 2013.

The show was set in Pine Valley, Pennsylvania, a fictional suburb of Philadelphia. However, it was modeled after the actual community of Rosemont. The show featured Susan Lucci playing the lead character, Erica Kane. This would become one of the most popular portrayals in the history of daytime television.

At this time, it doesn’t appear that All My Children is available for streaming or to purchase. If you know differently, please let me know.

Jon and Kate Plus 8

Jon and Kate Plus 8 was an early reality show that aired from 2007 until 2009, and then as Kate Plus 8 from 2009 through 2017.

The show followed Jon and Kate Gosselin, their twins, and their sextuplets. The family lived and was filmed in Elizabethtown in Lancaster County and later in Wernersville in Berks County.

Both John and Kate Plus 8 and Kate Plus 8 can be streamed on TLC. You can also purchase seasons of the show on Amazon.

Vampirina

Vampirina is a kid’s cartoon on Disney Junior that premiered in October 2017. Vampirina follows a six-year-old vampire, Vampirina, as she and her family adjust after moving from Transylvania to Pennsylvania.

While the show doesn’t focus on the location, for the most part, looking at the background of many scenes clearly shows that the setting was inspired by the architecture of Philadelphia, most likely the Rittenhouse Square area. Even if you don’t have kids, it’s still interesting to watch the show’s intro and see the city in cartoon form.

For those that want to see more, Vampirina can be streamed on Disney Now or purchased on Amazon.

Mr. Belvedere

Mr. Belvedere was an ABC sitcom that aired from 1985 through 1990.

The show, which is set in Pittsburgh, follows Mr. Belvedere, a sophisticated British butler that is hired by an American family. The family is headed by George, played by baseball announced Bob Uecker. 

Mr. Belvedere isn’t available for streaming, but some of the seasons can be purchased on DVD.

Parking Wars

The Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) is so well known for its stringent enforcement efforts that an entire reality series was aired based on it.

The show, Parking Wars, aired on A&E from 2008-2012 and followed the stories of the employees going about their daily work, as well as vehicle owners dealing with their cars being ticketed, towed, or booted. The city is also prominently featured in the show, and if you’ve visited, you’ll no doubt see locations you are familiar with.

The show can be streamed on A&E’s website or on Amazon Prime.

This is Us

One of the most popular shows currently on TV is This is Us. Broadcast on NBC since September 2016, the show follows three generations of the Pearson family as they navigate their lives across parallel time frames.

In the flashback portions of the show, the family lives in the Pittsburgh area and many references to western Pennsylvania are included. In the present day, one sibling lives in Philly, though other places around the state, such as Bradford, are sometimes mentioned, offering even more references and views of PA.

Unlike many of the shows on this list, portions of This is Us are actually filmed on location in Pennsylvania.

This is Us can be streamed on NBC.com or Hulu. Seasons can also be purchased on Amazon.

My So-Called Life

My So-Called Life only aired for 19 episodes in 1994 and 1995 but won critical acclaim. It is possibly best known for being a breakthrough role for actress Claire Danes, as well as actor Jared Leto.

The show was set in the fictional Pittsburgh suburb of Three Rivers and followed Danes as she navigated high school. The show touched on many issues that were often overlooked by other shows of the era that focused on teenagers.

My So-Called Life can be streamed on ABC’s website. It can also be purchased on Amazon.

Pretty Little Liars

Pretty Little Liars was a teenage drama that aired on ABC Family from 2010 through 2017. The show focused on a group of friends who got mysterious messages after the leader of their clique disappeared.

While it wasn’t a focus of the show, the show was set in the fictitious suburb of Rosewood, Pennsylvania. Interestingly, it was said that this community was based on Rosemont, which was also the inspiration behind the setting for All My Children.

Pretty Little Liars can be streamed on Hulu or you can purchase seasons on Amazon.

Dispatches from Elsewhere

Dispatches from Elsewhere is a new series that premiered in early March on AMC. The series stars actor Jason Segel and a significant portion of the filming was done in Philadelphia. If you’re at all familiar with the city, you’ll no doubt recognize a ton of spots around the city during the show or even in just the trailer above.

The show follows a group of normal Philadelphians as they try to solve a puzzle that is hiding just out of sight and their attempts to figure out the mysteries behind it.

It can be streamed on AMC’s website or you can purchase episodes on Amazon.

Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood

There might be no show from Pennsylvania that’s more loved than Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

It was created by Latrobe, PA native Fred Rogers in 1968 and was filmed in Pittsburgh for its entire run. While the focus of the show wasn’t western Pennsylvania, Rogers would often feature guests from the area on his show. However, while it might not be focused on Pennsylvania, this show is so ingrained in our culture that it has to be included on this list.

It’s worth noting that the show’s cartoon spin-off, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, does often show people and places in western PA during the show.

Early episodes of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood can be streamed on Amazon while some newer episodes can be purchased.

The Goldbergs

The Goldbergs is a show on ABC that premiered in 2013 and is still on air in 2020.

The show is based on the childhood of creator Adam Goldberg and is set in 1980s-era Jenkintown, a suburb of Philadelphia. This leads to many references to the city, as well as to life in that era.

The Goldbergs can be streamed on ABC’s website. You can also purchase seasons or episodes on Amazon.

The Coroner: I Speak for the Dead

The Coroner: I Speak for the Dead is part reality series and part crime drama that airs on Investigation Discovery, also known as ID. The show began airing in 2016 and is still on the air in 2020.

It follows Graham Hetrick, the coroner of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. The show highlights some of his most unusual and intriguing cases with a mixture of real-life interviews and dramatic reenactments.

The Coroner: I Speak for the Dead can be streamed on InvestigationDiscovery.com or you can purchase it on Amazon.

One Life to Live

One Life to Live is another long-running soap opera that was set in Pennsylvania. The show as broadcast on ABC from 1968 until 2012, and then on Hulu in 2013.

The show is set in Llanview, a fictional suburb of Philadelphia. It was modeled after the Chestnut Hill section of the city. The show is unique in that it focused on four different families from different ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic backgrounds, creating a unique soap opera that offered many different stories to be told.

Episodes of the show are available for purchase on iTunes.

American Bandstand

American Bandstand is another iconic television show from Pennsylvania. Just like Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, it didn’t really focus on the state, but it’s still an iconic program that shows the state’s culture, so I figured it was worth including.

The show premiered in 1952 as Bandstand. In 1956, Dick Clark began hosting the show, and in 1957, it was picked up nationally on ABC and renamed American Bandstand. While the show would remain on the air until 1989, production was moved from Philadelphia to Los Angeles in 1964.

While it’s not streaming online anywhere, many clips and even full episodes can be seen on YouTube.

Restored by the Fords

There are many shows on HGTV that feature Pennsylvania from time to time, but only one that is based in the state.

Restored by the Fords follows siblings Leanne and Steve Ford as they restore historic homes in southwestern Pennsylvania. The show first aired in 2016 and a third season is said to be in production. Reruns can also be seen from time to time on the channel.

Interestingly, it appears that the Fords are currently casting a new show for the network called Back in the Burgh, though no dates have been listed for when that show might premiere.

Episodes of the show can be watched on HGTV’s website or you can buy episodes on Amazon.

Loving

Loving is a soap opera that aired on ABC from 1983 to 1995 for a total of more than 3,000 episodes.

The show was set in the fictional community of Corinth, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philly. The show was known for its many unusual storylines, which included a serial killer that killed most of the show’s main characters as its run was ending.

The show does not appear to be streaming anywhere or available for purchase, but clips and some full episodes can be seen on YouTube.

Do you have a favorite TV show set in Pennsylvania that we didn’t include here? Let us know in the comments below.

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