Considered to be one of television's classics, "The Dick Van Dyke Show" centers on the personal and professional lives Rob Petrie, a writer on the fictional Alan Brady Show. He's happily married to former dancer Laura, and they have a young son, Ritchie. The plots generally revolve around problems at work -- where Rob got into various comedic jams with fellow writers Buddy Sorrell, Sally Rogers and producer Mel Cooley -- or at home.
Mary Richards is a thirty-something single woman who settles in Minneapolis after breaking up with a boyfriend. She lands a job as an associate producer of the evening news at WJM-TV, which happens to be the area's lowest-rated station. Her boss, Lou Grant, hates her spunk but often looks to her to solve newsroom (or even personal) problems. Mary's other coworkers include news writer Murray Slaughter, egomaniacal anchorman Ted Baxter and "Happy Homemaker" Sue Ann Nivens (Betty White). Mary's home is a modest studio apartment -- and her upstairs neighbor, Rhoda Morgenstern, quickly becomes a good friend. Later in the series, Mary moves to a plush high-rise apartment before leaving Minneapolis and WJM for good.
Andy Taylor is the widower sheriff of the small, sleepy North Carolina town of Mayberry. Andy and son Opie live with Aunt Bee, who takes care of the family. Andy's deputy is his bumbling but neurotically hilarious cousin, Barney Fife. Among Andy's Mayberry friends is the town's resident barber, Floyd.
Lucy Ricardo is the wacky wife of Cuban bandleader Ricky Ricardo. Living in New York, Ricky tries to succeed in show business while Lucy -- always trying to help -- usually manages to get in some kind of trouble that drives Ricky crazy. Their best friends are Fred and Ethel Mertz, who are also their landlords. Usually, Ethel becomes Lucy's less-than-willing partner in crime. Ricky and Lucy welcomed little Ricky in 1953, whose birth was a national TV event. Later in the show's run, the Ricardos (and the Mertzes) moved to Hollywood, where Ricky tried to become a movie star.
Samantha falls in love with New York ad exec Darrin Stephens and seems to be the luckiest gal alive when she marries him in the first episode of the sitcom. Then he finds out that Sam is one of a secret society of powerful witches and warlocks and that a twitch of her nose brings magic results. Thoroughly befuddled, Darrin makes her promise never to use her powers. She agrees and tries to settle into being the perfect suburban housewife. Her mother, Endora, however, has a different agenda. She hates that Sam has married a mortal and continually tries to break them up. Sam's other spellbinding friends pop in and out of the Stephens' household as Sam tries (and fails -- most of the time) to live without magic.
Dr. Mark Sloan is chief of Internal Medicine at Community General Hospital -- and sometime consultant to the local police department. When he's drawn into a case, he combines sleuthing and medicine to solve the crime. That crime is usually one his detective son, Steve, is working on as a member of the local police department. Dr. Sloan's medical colleagues, including doctors Amanda Bentley, Jack Stewart and Jesse Travis, are also frequently drawn into his investigations.