The 1970s Sitcom Decades Before Its Time, Stream Entire Series Without Netflix

By Charlene Badasie | Published

The classic sitcom Taxi, which originally aired on ABC from 1978 to 1982 and later on NBC from 1982 to 1983, is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video and Pluto TV. Created by James L. Brooks, David Davis, Stan Daniels, and Ed Weinberger, the show revolves around the lives of the night shift employees of the fictional Sunshine Cab Company, a New York City taxi depot.

Mixed Comedy With Serious Issues


During its run, Taxi seamlessly blended humor with an unflinching examination of serious issues like drug addiction, blindness, obesity, dissociative identity disorder, animal abuse, homosexuality, racism, divorce, nuclear war, sexual harassment, and grief. The show’s willingness to address these topics with sensitivity and wit solidified its legacy as a pioneer in socially conscious television.

The Cast


Set within the company’s Manhattan garage, Taxi featured a colorful array of characters. Among the drivers, only Alex Reiger (Judd Hirsch) sees cab driving as a lasting profession, while others regard it as a temporary occupation. Elaine Nardo (Marilu Henner) is a single mother and art gallery receptionist. Tony Banta (Tony Danza) is a struggling boxer, and Bobby Wheeler (Jeff Conaway) is an aspiring actor.

The ensemble also features Latka Gravas (Andy Kaufman), the mechanic from an undisclosed foreign land, and Louie De Palma (Danny DeVito), the despotic dispatcher. In Taxi Season 2, Reverend Jim Ignatowski (Christopher Lloyd), an ex-hippie minister battling drug burnout, transitions to becoming a cabbie with the support of his friends.

Acclaim And Decline

Taxi received critical acclaim for its memorable characters, unique story-telling, and realistic portrayal of working-class life in New York City. The show won several Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Comedy Series in 1979, 1980, and 1981. The cast members’ performances, particularly Judd Hirsch and Danny DeVito, were widely praised.

Despite its critical success, Taxi struggled with low ratings, leading to its cancellation in 1982 after its fifth season. However, the show has since gained a cult following and is regarded as one of the greatest sitcoms in television history. Its characters, witty writing, humor, and exploration of poignant topics contributed to its enduring popularity.

The Conception

Taxi drew inspiration from the non-fiction article “Night-Shifting for the Hip Fleet,” published in the September 22, 1975, edition of New York Magazine. While none of its content was directly incorporated into the show, the article presented the creators with a profile of nighttime cab drivers. The concept would later evolve into the beloved sitcom.



Syndication breathed new life into Taxi after its cancellation in 1983, with reruns hitting 64 television stations. Decades later, the cast reunited for a Kaufman biopic, Man on the Moon. The reunion allowed them to step back into their iconic roles. The only two living members of the principal cast who did not return were Danny DeVito and Tony Danza, who was working on a different project at the time.

Stream It From Multiple Sources


Fortunately, the digital age has not forgotten Taxi. While Hulu, Pluto TV, and Amazon Prime offer multiple seasons of the sitcomParamount+ is the exclusive streaming service for the series, with access to every episode, including those with their original music.