What Are the Best TV Shows Set In Arizona?

Fact Checked by Michael Peters

There isn’t a deep catalog of shows using Arizona as home base for television series, but big stars have been involved in some of the best shows based in the Grand Canyon State.

BetArizona.com took a break from Arizona sports betting coverage and considered all television series set in Arizona as listed on Wikipedia as a starting basis for the research. We then utilized IMDb rating, Rotten Tomatoes Audience score, Rotten Tomatoes Critic score, and Academy recognition to create a weighted scoring system.

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Best TV Shows Set in Arizona

Overall RankShowTotal Points
1The Good Place101.3
2The Last Man on Earth85.3
T3The Sheriff of Cochise79
T3The High Chaparral79
T5Boots and Saddles73
T5Annie Oakley73
6Hey Dude72
7The Deputy69
8The New Dick Van Dyke Show66

Top Two Not Totally From Arizona

The scoring system produced NBC’s “The Good Place” as the No. 1 show with part of it set in Arizona. Since technically “The Good Place” is set in the afterlife, it stakes its claim to Arizona because main character Eleanor Shellstrop is a saleswoman from Phoenix who died.

The character, played by Kristen Bell, tries to prove she belongs in “The Good Place,” which lasted four seasons with 53 episodes from 2016 to 2020. The show also stars Ted Dansen, William Jackson Harper and D’Arcy Carden, among others.

The second-ranked show’s Arizona tie is that the lead character of “The Last Man on Earth” is from Tucson. He spends some of the early part of the show, which lasted four seasons and 67 episodes from 2015 to 2018, in Tucson, but then the rest is in California and Mexico as more characters reveal that star Will Forte as Phil Miller is not indeed “The Last Man on Earth.”

Luckily for local sports fans, Arizona betting apps are much more connected to the state than are the top TV shows.

Many Arizona Shows Have Western Flavor

The two shows tied for third are most definitely set in Arizona. “The Sheriff of Cochise” was a police crime drama set in Cochise County, Arizona, and it ran two seasons from 1956 to 1958 with 79 episodes. It starred John Bromfield as Frank Morgan fighting modern-day crime in the western setting.

The show transformed into “U.S. Marshal” from 1958 to 1960 as the Sheriff was promoted to the U.S. Marshal for Arizona. After the show, Bromfield retired from acting to become a commercial fisherman. The spinoff show was directed by a young Robert Altman in 15 episodes. Altman went on to be nominated for five Academy Awards as best director, starting with the iconic movie “M.A.S.H.,” which became a long-running TV series.

“The High Chaparral” is the other show tied for third. Set in the 1870s and starring Leif Erickson as rancher “Big John” Cannon, the show ran four seasons from 1967 to 1971 for 98 episodes. It’s the first of four American Western themed shows on the list, and it’s set in the Southern Arizona Territory near the Mexico border. “The High Chaparral” is the name of his ranch, and he fights a hostile Apache tribe and marries the daughter of a Mexican rancher to unite the families in their ranching struggles.

The other American Westerns on the list are “Boots and Saddles” and “Annie Oakley” tied for No. 6, and “The Deputy” at No. 9. “Boots and Saddles” was set in fictional Fort Lowell near Tucson, and the U.S. Calvary show ran for one season in 1957-58. It actually was filmed in Utah.

Gene Autry was the executive producer of “Annie Oakley,” which starred Gail Davis and ran for three seasons from 1954 to 1957 for 81 episodes. It’s set in the fictional Diablo, Arizona. 

“The Deputy” is notable because it starred legendary actor Henry Fonda as Chief Marshal Simon Fry in the Arizona Territory. Alan Case played the deputy and the show ran from 1959 to 1961.

The 10th show in the rankings is “The New Dick Van Dyke Show” as acting star Van Dyke reprised his role as a husband and dad working in television. This time he’s a talk show host at a Phoenix TV station. Hope Lange played his wife, and the show ran from 1971 to 1974. The original iconic “Dick Van Dyke Show” ran from 1961 to 1966, was based in New York City and Mary Tyler Moore played his wife.


Douglas Pils has been a sports journalist for 30 years in Texas, Arkansas and New York having worked for the San Antonio Express-News, the Associated Press, The Dallas Morning News and Newsday. He most recently ran the Student Media Department at Texas A&M for eight years.

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