The Real World
Imagine a world without reality television. Can’t? Well, prior to “The Real World,” such a world did indeed exist. The series showed us all that our own lives could be just as entertaining as our favorite fictional characters. The show covered a lot of ground and touched on some seriously controversial issues during its run. Towards the end, the series was a
There are outstanding sitcoms…and then there is “Seinfeld.” This quirky hit is far above any of its peers and the gap keeps growing with every syndicated airing. “Seinfeld” will forever be known as a show about nothing, but it was actually a show about everything. This neurotic examination of everyday life is what made it a hit.
Saturday Night Live
When it started in 1975, SNL was essentially mainstream viewers’ first glimpse of sketch comedy and improv. While the show didn’t always fire on all cylinders, the live nature of the show made it daring and often controversial. It looks incredibly artificial and packaged today, but SNL is still a revolutionary show.
Aside from “The Real World,” there is no other reality show as revolutionary and influential as “Survivor.” The first season, in particular, was about as enthralling and fascinating as modern TV can be. The numerous twists, turns, and double-crosses were dizzying. The ending is still one of the most talked about in TV history.
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
While definitely not the first, Johnny Carson’s turn at late night TV was the one that changed the game. For decade upon decade, Carson was, and many would contend, still is the “King of Late Night.” The show evolved naturally, which was one of the major reasons behind its continued success. It also beautifully blended edginess and heart, making a true triumph in TV history.
Animation used to just be for the kiddos and Joey on “Full House,” but “The Simpsons” changed everything. No longer was there insufferable pandering and schmaltz. Instead, we got a clever, thought-provoking series that pushed all the right buttons. Most don’t give “The Simpsons” enough credit, as it’s an animated show. When you really look closely though, how can you deny that the series is one of the incredible achievements in television?
Today, there are definitely better singing shows, but Idol revolutionized the genre. Its ability to make stars has always been questionable, but the grandeur and decadence of “American Idol” has solidly replaced “Star Search” before it. As good as the talent is, the lasting legacy of this show may be the audition rounds.
The show that launched the soap opera genre, “Peyton Place” was melodrama on top of melodrama…on top of melodrama. But that was okay, and enticed millions of viewers. Shows like “Days of Our Lives” and “General Hospital,” much less “Dallas” and “Beverly Hills 90210” would not be around today were it not for “Peyton Place.”
“Friends” was a sitcom created by television execs for television execs. Despite the plastic nature of its creation, Friends” was generally a high quality show. Plus, you get Central Perk. Despite some kitsch, the music there is pretty terrible (yes Phoebe, I’m looking at you). Plus, the Friends are always hogging the best seats. You could probably get Joey’s spot with a well-placed sandwich…or seven, but the rest of them might be hard to move.
Sure, there were sitcoms before it and obviously sitcoms after it, but “The Honeymooners” and Jackie Gleason brought the genre into the mainstream and turned it into the quintessential TV experience. Watching it now, the show looks really, really old, but the the time-tested traditions of the sitcom are present.