There’s a lot of crap on TV. With all the terrible shows networks constantly churn out, it’s important to acknowledge the bright spots in television history and those shows that break the mold and bring originality to the table. Below are five shows that changed television and are greatly missed on the current schedule.
Married With Children:
Married With Children was to sitcoms what George Carlin was to comedy, and both are missed. Everything that’s accepted as comedy these days is so tame, politically correct, and uninspired it’s sad. In a time when the public was suffering through Bob Sagat’s “now Michelle…” speeches on full house and all the other limp network offerings, married with children stood as a show who’s main focus was to be entertaining, not to be politically correct or to teach some moral of the story. The show was offensive to some people, and it didn’t play nice, but what made it special was that it was about comedy more than controversy. Many shows have used the blueprint of being as controversial as possible just to get attention, but “Married With Children” didn’t set out to be controversial, it’s sole intention was to be funny, and it succeeded.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer:
One of the best shows in the past couple of decades, Buffy was a show that went far beyond the expectations its title indicated. When we heard the name “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” instantly images of Xena type campy fair came to mind. Additionally, TV shows based on good movies are usually terrible, so here was a show based on a stupid movie…expectations were not high. Who would have thought that this show would be so smart and socially relevant. BTVS perfectly walked the line between fantasy and reality and used mythical characters to tell very human stories. Timelessly relevant and entertaining, this great series is greatly missed.
One of the most intelligent sci-fi series of all time, “quantum Leap” was a truly unique television experience. The great thing about this one is that while it was about time travel, and had holograms and supercomputers, it’s focus was more on the humanity than the science. “Quantum Leap” was in the realm of science fiction, but it wasn’t a sci-fi show. This was a show that entertained with its fantasy elements but remained relatable to audiences everywhere because of the honest portrayal of its plots and characters. The time jumping adventures of Dr. Sam Becket and hologram Al were the best thing on TV at one time, and “Quantum Leap” still remains one of televisions all time greats.
Another 80s great “Perfect Strangers” is kind of at the other end of the comedy spectrum from “Married With Children.” This was a show that had a moral to the story and the typical music at the end of each episode as the characters learned a lesson about something. Whet sets this one apart from other sitcoms is that it had morals without being preachy or sappy, and most importantly, it was hilarious. Larry and Balki were much like classic comedy teams of the old days; they were the Abbott and Costello of the 80s, and the writers of today’s sitcoms could learn something from them.
This of course is a much more recent departure than the others on the list, but any list of missed shows must include this groundbreaking show. The wound is still fresh with this one. It’s hard to imagine seeing no more Jack, Locke, Kate, Hurley, Smokey, etc. This had to be the most original show I’ve seen. Just the fact that you cannot easily explain it to people speaks to its originality and complexity. Most shows can be explained in a short sentence. “It’s a cop show.” “It’s a hospital show.” “It’s a sitcom about a dysfunctional family.” Lost was not that kind of show. I gave up on trying to explain it to people who hadn’t seen it. I mean really: “These people crashed on an island, and there are dead people and polar bears and crazy French women in the woods. There’s also secret government experiments and a smoke monster that kills people. But the smoke monster is actually a guy who’s in a struggle with this other guy in an age old battle of good vs. evil, but we’re not sure which one is actually evil.” That’s just too much. I have to say though, while “Lost” is greatly missed, I greatly appreciate that they ended it when and how they did instead of letting it deterierate into a sad shell of what it once was. So many great shows stay on too long and turn to crap before our eyes; (I’m looking at you 24!) Some have an amazing first season and then turn to pure network sewage I.e. “Heroes.” The producers of “lost” wanted the show to end strong while it was still good and relevant. When the final episode aired, it was a farewell and a final tribute to an excellent show, and it will be missed.