What Are the Best TV Shows Set In Kansas?

Fact Checked by Michael Peters

There isn’t a deep catalog of shows using Kansas as home base for a television series, but some larger than life superheroes hail from the Sunflower State.

BetKansas.com took a break from Kansas sports betting and considered all 26 television series set in Kansas 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 Kansas

Overall RankShowTotal Points
1Gunsmoke121
2The Phil Silvers Show110
3Mindhunter94.7
4United States of Tara91.7
5Somebody Somewhere91
6Courage the Cowardly Dog84
7Smallville84
8Superman & Lois81
9Twisted Metal79
10The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp78

These days, Kansas basketball might be the top rated TV show set in the state, and you can use Kansas sports betting apps to wager on all the games.

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America’s Top Western Leads the Way

Marshal Matt Dillon’s character from “Gunsmoke” did not have any superpowers like Superman, but he’s no less of an American hero than Clark Kent’s alter ego. Dillon, played by James Arness for 20 years in the television series and in six movies, caught bad guys and kept the peace in Dodge City, Kansas, from 1955 to 1975.

The longtime show had 635 combined episodes of “Marshal Dillon” and “Gunsmoke” and it’s ranked No. 1 among the shows set in Kansas. The show had some of the most iconic characters to ever grace the screen in addition to Dillon. Galen “Doc” Adams played by Milburn Stone and Kathleen “Kitty” Russell played by Amanda Blake were the two who ran the whole show with Arness.

There also was Chester B. Goode played by Dennis Weaver from 1955 to 1964 before he went on to many other roles in television and movies, and Festus Haggen played by Ken Curtis from 1964 to 1975.

The second-ranked series is “The Phil Silvers Show,” which was a military comedy staged in Fort Baxter in the fictional town of Roseville, Kansas. The series starred Phil Silvers as Master Sergeant Ernest G. Bilko. It lasted four years and 141 episodes from 1955 to 1959.

Portions of the third-ranked series are set in Wichita following a serial killer. “Mindhunter” centers around the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit at Quantico, Virginia. Netflix has aired two seasons, and it’s about how the FBI started examining cases based on the behavior of killers. It’s based on FBI agent John E. Douglas’ book “Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit.”

The top five is rounded out by the “United States of Tara” starring Toni Collette and Brie Lawson and set in Overland Park, and “Somebody, Somewhere” starring Bridgett Everett and set in Manhattan, Kansas.

“United States of Tara” is a comedy/drama that ran for three seasons from 2009 to 2011 and centers on Collette’s character dealing with dissociative identity disorder.  “Somebody, Somewhere” is a current HBO comedy/drama with two seasons that follows Everett’s character dealing with the death of her sister.

Superman shows up at No. 7 and No. 8 with “Smallville,” which followed Kent’s high school years in the fictional Kansas town, and “Superman & Lois,” where the famous couple raise their two sons back in Smallville. “Smallville” lasted 10 seasons from 2001 to 2011 and has 217 episodes. “Superman & Lois” started in 2019, and this summer it was announced that a fourth season would be made.

It’s possible to consider the No. 10 series about another American hero, “The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp.” The show lasted six seasons and 229 episodes from 1955 to 1961 and starred Hugh O’Brian as the legendary lawman whose career took place in Wichita and Dodge City.

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Author

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 currently runs the Student Media Department at Baylor University.

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