San Francisco is a cinematically beautiful town. We have bridges, water, cable cars, everything you need for filler shots of an on-location shoot. This is probably why so many TV shows have been set and filmed here. Move over LA, New York, and parts of Canada where TV tax laws are better, San Francisco is the place for your TV adventure to begin. For some , here are the 5 Best TV Shows Set in San Francisco.
1. Jackie Chan Adventures
A cartoon staring a cartoon Jackie Chan was a real thing, and it was set in San Francisco. This strange series makes the list because it ran for a whopping 5 seasons (95 episodes) from 2000 to 2005, and stars living legend Jackie Chan as the actual voice of the cartoon version of himself. In the show, Chan is an amateur archeologist (aren’t we all?) who lives with his uncle, until one day, Captain Black of Section 13, recruits him to stop the Dark Hand acquiring the 12 Talismans. Of course he does! There’s also Jade Chan, Jackie’s sassy niece sidekick. This is probably the only show Chan has ever done where he hasn’t put himself in actual physical danger. Unless you count the occasional sore throat.
2. Nash Bridges
Before there were 5 million Law and Orders, there was Nash Bridges. Produced and filmed actually in San Francisco, this series showcased some of the best things about living by the Bay in the 90s; diversity, aging hippies, and cars that scream, “we’re not as image obsessed as LA, but we’re not in New York, but we do need a car, so let’s get a yellow one!”
The Randy Newman approved San Francisco set series, Monk only filmed in The City on occasion, but managed to have a very San Francisco-y feel to it. We as a city not only embrace, but celebrate eccentric weirdo geniuses, like the obsessive-compulsive detective Adrian Monk, so it’s no surprise that he would make a home here. Even his quick talking East Coast side kick Sharona had the air of many a Bay living transplant. And they don’t shove it down your throat that it’s set in SF. Not all crimes occur at Market Street or the Golden Gate bridge.
4. The Streets of San Francisco
Another detective show (is it because we have quirkier crimes here?) The Streets of San Francisco, staring a fresh faced Michael Douglas and a not so fresh Karl Malden, took it’s title literally, having been filmed on our actual streets. The most serious in tone of all the shows on this list, this 70s series showed the television viewing world that we could be gritty and dramatic too. It’s not all rainbows and bridges here, there’s a lot of that, but it’s not all that.
5. Full House
Even though Full House only filmed the opening credits and like, one or two episodes actually in San Francisco (remember when Comet gets lost on Lombard street?) Full House is still one of the best shows to ever call SF it’s “home.” The house itself might not have been realistic (a Victorian that wide with a garage, and attic that were later converted into huge rooms?) but 6-9 people sharing a 4 bedroom house in San Francisco does ring true. We can’t wait for Fuller House on Netflix to see how many shots of the Golden Gate bridge and Alamo Square park they shove in between scenes. Have mercy.