Throughout the history of television, there have been shows that have changed the medium forever. These are series that, for whatever reason, were ahead of their time, changing the landscape of TV forever. Here are 10 TV SHOWS THAT WERE AHEAD OF THEIR TIME!
The Real World (1992)
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 parody of its former self, but a groundbreaking show, nonetheless.
The Larry Sanders Show (1992)
People who regularly read this site probably think I worked on this show or something, with the mountains of praise I heap on it regularly. I do so, as it’s truly one of the best and most original shows in television history. Pretty much any hit sitcom today owes a great deal to “The Larry Sanders Show.” If you don’t believe me, watch it and tell me I’m wrong.
Twin Peaks (1990)
“Twin Peaks” was so ahead of its time, that contemporary television still has not caught up. People ask me about this one all the time, and frankly, I cannot begin to accurately describe it…”Twin Peaks” is that original. Just when you think it’s merely a murder mystery with some dark comedy, you get the whole weird supernatural angle. Someday, they’ll make another show like “Twin Peaks”…when that will be, is anyone’s guess.
Mary Tyler Moore (1970)
The 1970’s were a time of change. Women flooded the workforce like never before and traditional gender roles were being questioned at every turn. Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore) was the very embodiment of that movement. A working, single woman taking on the big city, Richards met every challenge with grit, determination, and hilarity.
Even before “Mary Tyler Moore,” “Julia” was a thought-provoking look at the life of a single, African-American widow making her way through the world. On top of that, she was trying to do the whole single-parent thing, raising her son. The show was revolutionary in its premise, but is oft-forgotten today.
Sports Night (1998)
This one was slightly ahead of its time, as it was one of the first “Dramedies.” It also featured warp-speed dialogue that might have thrown viewers for a loop at the time. Nevertheless, “Sports Night” was quality TV for its relatively short run. Plus, it led to much bigger things in the form of “The West Wing.”
Arrested Development (2003)
I guarantee you this, if “Arrested Development” premiered today, it’d be the biggest hits on TV. For some reason, the early 2000’s were a deathtrap for clever network sitcoms. This show was probably the most notable victim, but it did get a completely terrible revival on Netflix…so that’s something. “Arrested Development” may go down as the best, most unsuccessful show in TV history.
The Ben Stiller Show (1992)
If you liked sketch comedy and SNL wasn’t you’re cup of tea, you had very few alternatives in the early 1990’s. One of these was “The Ben Stiller Show,” which featured Stiller of course, Janeane Garofalo, Andy Dick, and Saul Goodman. The show was offbeat, sarcastic, and vaguely pessimistic…just like the early 1990’s. It’s run would last only a short period of time, but very well might have laid the groundwork for later works like “Chappelle’s Show.”
NYPD Blue (1993)
There was a time when police dramas were kinda idealistic and naive. Then came “NYPD Blue.” With controversial storylines, gritty dialogue, and more nudity than a Cinemax movie, the show not only pushed a lot of boundaries, it eviscerated them. Without “NYPD Blue,” you wouldn’t have “The Wire,” “True Detective,” or “The Shield.”
The Simpsons (1989)
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?
Tomorrow, the ALL-TIME BEST 10 MUSIC VIDEOS OF THE 1980’S!