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  #101  
Old 08-19-2019, 02:39 PM
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In addition to the many great suggestions listed above, I give you:

Saturday Night Live.

While certainly not the first sketch-comedy show nor certainly not the first live show, it brought back a format that was considered dead and revived it with biting topical satire unseen anywhere else on television. It is often touted as the first show made especially for the Television Generation, which was rather ironic at the time because most of that generation weren't watching any television. SNL not only became a hit in its timeslot -- no easy feat -- it actually increased sets-in-use for that time. Unprecedented.
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  #102  
Old 08-19-2019, 02:39 PM
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The Simpsons introduced a wave of prime time animated shows aimed at adults. Shows like King of the Hill, Family Guy, American Dad, Futurama, and South Park followed on the heels of The Simpsons.

Survivor was the first reality show of its type, and many more came not long after it debuted in 1997.

I believe The Wire had a big influence on the direction of TV. Although it never had great ratings, it was critically successful, and led the way toward shows like The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Deadwood, Weeds, and the like. All were more adult than could be shown on over-the-air TV, and had long story arcs that sometimes straddled more than a single season.
The Sopranos started airing three years before The Wire, which is why I nominated it and not the other.
  #103  
Old 08-19-2019, 02:42 PM
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The Sopranos has already been mentioned a few times, but I'll just add that I'm pretty sure The Sopranos was also the first or at least one of the first shows to produce fairly short seasons of only 10-12 episodes, allowing for much higher production values. The norm at the time was to crank out more like 24 or so episodes per season, enough to show new episodes every week for approximately half the year, and reruns for the other half. The short seasons / high production values format was later utilized by other highly acclaimed shows like Breaking Bad. It's almost become the norm now for a show to only have maybe 10 episodes per season.
  #104  
Old 08-19-2019, 03:43 PM
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From a business standpoint, I might offer Star Trek: The Next Generation.

ST:TNG was a big-budget show that elected to forgo network processes and go into first run syndication to maintain control over its production standards. That's a bold move.
Things might have changed over time, but the early seasons looked far too cheezy to have been "big budget". The only aspect of that show's first season that can hold my attention is Marina Sirtis in her scanty skirts.
  #105  
Old 08-19-2019, 03:53 PM
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Game of Thones, eh? Then let me nominate another HBO series, "Band of Brothers" (BoB) which took the idea of a realistic look at WWII combat as introduced by "Saving Private Ryan" (same producers as BoB) and expanded it out, way beyond SPR and into a better work overall. Better character development, more variety in events, and a full-sweep view of the US experience in the European theater of WWII.

For a while, BoB was one of the highest rated works on imdb. After this, super high quality miniseries that might as well be thought of as 10 (or 20 or 30...) hour movies became common. IIRC, "The Wire" and "The Sopranos" etc. all came after BoB.
The Pacific was a wonderful companion piece to BoB. There were scenes in both that had me crying real tears.
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  #106  
Old 08-19-2019, 03:56 PM
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The Simpsons introduced a wave of prime time animated shows aimed at adults. Shows like King of the Hill, Family Guy, American Dad, Futurama, and South Park followed on the heels of The Simpsons.
As did Beavis and Butt-Head. I still laugh myself silly when I watch them.
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  #107  
Old 08-19-2019, 04:00 PM
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Great choices here. But the observation of SmartAleq aside, Babylon 5 was not the first series to start with the end already planned. Nor were Pushing Daisies or Twin Peaks the first quirky shows. Both those attributes were shared by a series from back in the late sixties. I would nominate a show that had only 17 episodes (much longer seasons were the thing back then), was so planned from the beginning and was so quirky that it inspired many a WTF before WTF was even a thing. Specifically, I'm talking about "The Prisoner".
I have been crazy about The Prisoner since I caught episodes of it during its original US run. However, I don't think it truly qualifies since it was originally conceived to be a mini-series of about 7 episodes. ITC's Lew Grade persuaded McGoohan to flesh it out to 17. That is about half a regular season's worth of shows.
  #108  
Old 08-19-2019, 04:11 PM
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How about Twin Peaks. They basically turned each episode into a movie. This concept was expanded on greatly by other shows like Six Feet Under, Sopranos and Breaking Bad.
You beat me too it. "Twin Peaks" was revolutionary. It spawned shows like the ones you mentioned and you can draw a straight line from it to "The X-Files" (a quirky FBI agent and his skeptical pathologist partner investigating aliens and supernatural beings) and from there to "Breaking Bad".

Vince Gilligan wrote for "The X-Files" and has said that when he created "Breaking Bad" he was determined to do right what they tried and failed to do with X-Files - create a consistent story where all the parts fit together and made sense as a whole.

So without "Twin Peaks" there would be no "Breaking Bad".
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  #109  
Old 08-19-2019, 04:16 PM
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Man, it vanished from my memory, but I loved that show at the time. Anthony Zerbe was in it, right? Weird actor.
From what I've read, Harry O was successful with critics and was developing a respectable audience; however, ABC's then head of programming, Fred Silverman wanted more dramatic results and decided to have a show built around Harry's secretary, played by Farah Fawcett.
  #110  
Old 08-19-2019, 08:51 PM
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It was a long time ago and it was too timely for anybody to show reruns of it, but I don't remember any resemblance to Laugh-In. I wish anybody had relics of it, but there don't seem to be any.
i watched TWTWTW when it was on originally, and have seen some of the British clips, and those saying it is similar to Laugh In are missing the point. Laugh In didn't even do that much politics. The revolution was the pacing, which set my head spinning, in a good way. It changed what was acceptable in terms of bit lengths, and influenced most of what came after.
People who say old TV is slow and boring probably grew up after Laugh In.
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Old 08-19-2019, 09:00 PM
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i watched TWTWTW when it was on originally, and have seen some of the British clips, and those saying it is similar to Laugh In are missing the point. Laugh In didn't even do that much politics. The revolution was the pacing, which set my head spinning, in a good way. It changed what was acceptable in terms of bit lengths, and influenced most of what came after.
People who say old TV is slow and boring probably grew up after Laugh In.
I found a CD ages ago that had highlights of the American version of That Was the Week That Was, edited together to sound like two distinct episodes. That gave me an interest in the show, so one time when I was in New York City I went to the Museum of Television and Radio and watched a couple episodes from their collection. I've seen a bit of the British version on youtube. Both were very political, and neither pulled its punches.
  #112  
Old 08-19-2019, 09:17 PM
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Things might have changed over time, but the early seasons looked far too cheezy to have been "big budget". The only aspect of that show's first season that can hold my attention is Marina Sirtis in her scanty skirts.
The early episodes were definitely cheesy, but they were big-budget cheesy. TNG's first season production budget was around $1.5 million an episode; not the biggest at the time but well up there.
  #113  
Old 08-19-2019, 09:59 PM
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What about NYPD Blue with nudity and language on broadcast television? I can remember getting the first season on VCR tapes from a friend in Tampa because the Tallahassee affiliate wouldn't show it. My first taste of binge watching because we would watch the whole tape of 4-5 episodes the day it arrived.
  #114  
Old 08-20-2019, 08:58 AM
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What about NYPD Blue with nudity and language on broadcast television? I can remember getting the first season on VCR tapes from a friend in Tampa because the Tallahassee affiliate wouldn't show it. My first taste of binge watching because we would watch the whole tape of 4-5 episodes the day it arrived.
From the hype, I expected that show to be wall-to-wall nudity. It wasn't. Someone from the MPAA even weighed in and said that if it were a movie, it would be rated PG. It was a wonderful series, though.
  #115  
Old 08-20-2019, 09:46 AM
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Rocky and Bullwinkle


Jay Ward's staff of off-the-wall writers had to cope with the fact that they had poor animation (provided by a Mexican team by Gamma Productions), so they compensated with incredibly witty writing that worked for both adults and kids (who missed a lot of the more intellectual references -- the Kirwood Derby, The Ruby Yacht of Omar Khayyam). When the network disapproved of one particular death scenario that Boris and Natasha had cooked up for Rocky and Bullwinkle, the writers substituted being burned at the stake, which apparently wasn't an objectionable way to die. So narrator William Conrad enthuse "...as the network-approved flames rose higher and higher..."

Great stuff. I have all the episodes on DVD.


Ward's staff had done Crusader Rabbit earlier, but Crusader and his sidekick Ragland T. Tiger didn't capture the humor and dynamic that Rocky and Bullwinkle would, and the humor wasn't as adult, or biting. A lot of the background and characters in Rocky and Bullwinkle were actually originally created for Crusader Rabbit, but not used. And, of course, Ward went on to do lots of other cartoons. But Rocky and Bullwinkle was the revolutionary show, which ran in prime time, and was light years removed from Hanna-Barbera or even Disney.
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  #116  
Old 08-20-2019, 11:57 AM
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No mention of Taxi

Long arcs with characters that were flawed, funny and yet somehow you could feel for them. In my eyes it was almost a comedic Hill Street Blues

It drew out comedy from dysfunctional types where you would not expect some situations to be funny at all - in some places it was almost comedy noir - I think fed in to all sorts of other comedy shows including Rosanne and the Simpsons, and Cheers.
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Old 08-20-2019, 12:03 PM
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Barney Miller. A show where you never saw the cops on the street, but only their squad room. Cheapest set budget ever, yet it worked.
  #118  
Old 08-20-2019, 12:58 PM
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The McLaughlin Group. First of the political talk shows where conservatives and liberals shouted at one another. Obviously, 60 Minutes' Point/Counterpoint was the inspiration, but I think McLaughlin was the first to build the whole show around the gimmick.
  #119  
Old 08-20-2019, 01:27 PM
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Barney Miller. A show where you never saw the cops on the street, but only their squad room. Cheapest set budget ever, yet it worked.
I always felt that Barney Miller owed a lot to Sidney Kingsley's play (and later movie) Detective Story -- both involved occurrences in the police station, with a lot of emphasis on the oddball comic stuff that went on there, rather than on police procedurals and shoot-'em-ups. (Although Detective Story had a serious side to it). In one episode of Barney Miller they even acknowledged the debt, with one character saying "Get out of here, you Detective Story rejects."

I'll bet most people didn't catch the reference, not realizing he was using "Detective Story" as a title.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detective_Story_(play)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detect...ory_(1951_film)
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  #120  
Old 08-20-2019, 01:44 PM
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The Pacific was a wonderful companion piece to BoB. There were scenes in both that had me crying real tears.
Me too. The Pacific is excellent, and has a completely different feeling from BoB that took some getting used to. Maybe this opinion is better off in a different thread, but to me, The Pacific is one of the (vanishingly) few shows / movies that didn't fall into the typical trap of almost all media about the Pacific war, and there are so many:
- Cartoonish Japanese bad guys, or
- Overly-sensitive portrayal of the Japanese at war, as if they were somehow victims, maybe to soothe Japanese audiences
- Bad production values that manage to miss the spectacular...well, spectacle of the war: meteoric dogfights, apocalyptic ship battles, the environment as a "character" i.e. the ocean, the weather, etc.
- The sheer brutality of the combat, foxhole to foxhole, often at night, with a particular nastiness (racially fueled on both sides) that was often lacking in the fighting between the US vs Germany.

I've read literally dozens of books on the war in the Pacific, and this miniseries seemed to have done them all justice like no other work. (So, in one sense, this series is revolutionary in that anything on that topic that doesn't meet its standards will be seen as crappy by me )

Thread hijack over.

Last edited by Limmin; 08-20-2019 at 01:45 PM.
  #121  
Old 08-21-2019, 02:02 AM
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I have to vote for DALLAS

The sheer guts it took to declare a WHOLE SEASON of the series as a dream of one of the characters in the series, and rewind reality... It just boggles the mind that they got away with that.
  #122  
Old 08-21-2019, 03:08 AM
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The McLaughlin Group. First of the political talk shows where conservatives and liberals shouted at one another. Obviously, 60 Minutes' Point/Counterpoint was the inspiration, but I think McLaughlin was the first to build the whole show around the gimmick.
Wasn't this a continuation of Agronsky and Company, after Agronsky retired or died? (It's possible that Agrosky was local to the DC area...)
  #123  
Old 08-21-2019, 04:10 AM
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Survivor was the first reality show of its type, and many more came not long after it debuted in 1997.
Summer of 2000.

MTV's The Real World had already been on the air for years, and its spinoff show (now called "The Challenge") started in 1998. They're both the same kind of reality contest show where people get voted off, but I think I agree with you and would credit Survivor as the revolutionary show despite it debuting 2 years later.

Last edited by Ellis Dee; 08-21-2019 at 04:12 AM.
  #124  
Old 08-21-2019, 04:31 AM
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I wonder if The Price Is Right deserves mention. There had been game shows with commercials and even product placement before, of course; but, here, that pretty much was the show, right?

It wasn’t really a trivia contest; they’d just see a TV or a barbecue grill, described lovingly by a pitchman, and be asked what it’d sell for, and — no, you’ve all overbid: you can buy it for less than you’d think! And now see leggy blondes standing next to a SHINY NEW CAR! Hear the audience cheer! Do you want this car? I’ll give you this car, if you’ll tell me what it’s worth to people! Oh? Congratulations! At the end of the hour, you can bid on a tourist-town hotel stay; but, first: a commercial break!

The whole thing was a commercial break! The title was a sales pitch!
  #125  
Old 08-21-2019, 07:43 AM
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I wonder if The Price Is Right deserves mention. There had been game shows with commercials and even product placement before, of course; but, here, that pretty much was the show, right?

It wasn’t really a trivia contest; they’d just see a TV or a barbecue grill, described lovingly by a pitchman, and be asked what it’d sell for, and — no, you’ve all overbid: you can buy it for less than you’d think! And now see leggy blondes standing next to a SHINY NEW CAR! Hear the audience cheer! Do you want this car? I’ll give you this car, if you’ll tell me what it’s worth to people! Oh? Congratulations! At the end of the hour, you can bid on a tourist-town hotel stay; but, first: a commercial break!

The whole thing was a commercial break! The title was a sales pitch!
I'd say Let's Make a Deal was at least as memorable, though I don't think it spawned any imitators. Thanks to it, though, we now have the Monty Hall approach to choosing between alternatives.

Surely Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune also deserve mention. The former turned the quiz show format on its head by giving the answer first, instead of the question. The latter is just a glorified version of Hangman. Yet they're two of the most popular and enduring game shows ever.

There used to be a website called TV4U that had really, really old shows on it. Watching 20 Questions from 1949, I was amazed at how simple and slow-paced it was. We've come a long way, baby, where game shows are concerned!
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  #126  
Old 08-21-2019, 08:02 AM
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I agree that The Prisoner has a rational progression and you can clearly see Number 6 gradually taking the upper hand.
So, it only makes sense if you watch the episodes in a particular order? Does that make this the TV version of "Machete Order" for the Star Wars movies?
  #127  
Old 08-21-2019, 09:01 AM
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So, it only makes sense if you watch the episodes in a particular order? Does that make this the TV version of "Machete Order" for the Star Wars movies?
In some defense of this view, the order the episodes were made isn't the same as the broadcast order. On the other hand, I'm not sure if the production order agrees with the "makes more sense" order.
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  #128  
Old 08-21-2019, 10:02 AM
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Another series that bears mentioning is "The Fugitive" (original obviously). Not only did it make the statement that the American criminal justice system, gasp, wasn't perfect, but it had a character that the audience was supposed to not like:

The network execs went to the producer and said: "You should drop this Lt. Gerard character. He doesn't test well with the audience." Producer: "That's the whole point." They also thought that having a different setting and having your lead use a different name every week would confuse the audience.
  #129  
Old 08-21-2019, 10:10 AM
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Surely Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune also deserve mention. The former turned the quiz show format on its head by giving the answer first, instead of the question.
Another show that did this but in a somewhat different way was Split Second with Tom Kennedy, which I loved. It moved so fast, the tension built right up until the end of the final round. (A later iteration with Monty Hall was nowhere near as fast-paced.)

I remember one episode in particular. Two contestants were tied going into the final round; one was a graduate student majoring in Russian at UCLA.

She rang in immediately on what turned out to be the final set of answers:

Party newspaper
Government newspaper
News agency


She nailed the game for the fifth day in a row with Pravda, Izvestiya, and TASS, and got to pick out her own brand new car!

When asked once what her favorite game shows were, Carol Burnett said Jeopardy! and Split Second. "Those people are so smart!"
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  #130  
Old 08-21-2019, 10:10 AM
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I have to vote for DALLAS

The sheer guts it took to declare a WHOLE SEASON of the series as a dream of one of the characters in the series, and rewind reality... It just boggles the mind that they got away with that.
You misspelled "desperation." Patrick Duffy leaving the show caused the ratings to swan-dive off the World Trade Center. It took Larry Hagman to personally plea with Duffy to get him to come back to the show...a ticklish idea, seeing as his character was "dead and buried." The producers had no choice but to go for broke and hit The Reset Button.

As for the audience letting them get away with it...that brings to mind a H.L. Mencken quote...
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Old 08-21-2019, 10:14 AM
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Surely Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune also deserve mention. The former turned the quiz show format on its head by giving the answer first, instead of the question.
They don't really give the answer first, they just phrase the questions awkwardly.
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Old 08-21-2019, 11:50 AM
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Twin Peaks, Hill Street Blues, and Babylon 5 were good shows but they didn't change the landscape like I Love Lucy did.
I don't know... Babylon 5 wasn't terribly popular, but it was different in that not only was the end planned ahead of time, but the middle was too. Each season had a distinct story arc that the episodes were part of. The first season was more episodic, in that it was basically doing stage-setting with the station, the aliens, and the general show universe.

But starting with the second season, the show was more or less on story-arc rails. This gave it a much more "modern" feel (by our perspective today), in that there weren't throwaway episodes- every one was to a greater or lesser extent, part of the larger story that Straczynski was trying to tell.

You couldn't come in during the third season and have a clue what was going on- you had to have seen the earlier seasons to have the backstory.

That was extremely unusual at the time, but is more commonplace today, likely in no small part because of B5's pioneering. Prior to B5, most story-arc shows were miniseries like "V", and regular season shows had short 3-4 episode arcs.

In that sense, B5 was much more like "Breaking Bad" or other modern shows that have a specific story to tell in a specific number of seasons.
  #133  
Old 08-21-2019, 02:25 PM
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I can't believe no one has mentioned "Lost". It was the first series to kill off main characters in the first season. I remember how shocking it was when Shannon was shot. Now it's commonplace for most main characters to not have "plot armor". A death can still be shocking within the story (i.e. Ned Stark) but not unexpected.
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Old 08-21-2019, 04:10 PM
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Agreed. "Lost" broke the mold in a lot of ways (not all of them good). The budget for the pilot was outrageous and, I hear, got some people fired. At least temporarily until ABC realized that they had a (smoke) monster hit.
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Old 08-21-2019, 04:19 PM
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I can't believe no one has mentioned "Lost". It was the first series to kill off main characters in the first season. I remember how shocking it was when Shannon was shot. Now it's commonplace for most main characters to not have "plot armor". A death can still be shocking within the story (i.e. Ned Stark) but not unexpected.
I wouldn't say "Lost" is unique in that- plenty of shows pre-2004 have killed off main characters- the Sopranos, Babylon 5, hell, even NCIS killed off main characters prior to Lost being on the air.
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Old 08-21-2019, 04:43 PM
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I wouldn't say "Lost" is unique in that- plenty of shows pre-2004 have killed off main characters- the Sopranos, Babylon 5, hell, even NCIS killed off main characters prior to Lost being on the air.
Long before that MASH did it to perfection with Col Blake. There are many other examples over the years. All in the Family a few years later did a great job with Edith passing away. All Lost added was doing it in the first season.

Buffy's first episode set up a character that appeared like he was going to be a regular and then towards the episode killed him. Not the same, but well played at least.
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Old 08-21-2019, 11:29 PM
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The A-Team.
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Old 08-22-2019, 06:18 PM
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All in the Family -- Moved away from the genteel middle class sitcom

Hill Street Blues -- introduced story arcs to non-soap-opera TV. They were usually about four episodes, but the idea of a continuing story was a big change. It was expanded on by Babylon 5, with a full-series arc, and later Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which cut it into the one-season form that's common today.
Really?
Kung Fu (1972) was a big story arc, and sooner or later he'd find his half-brother.
And nobody knew if/how the Fugitive (1963) would catch up to the one-armed man?

--G!
  #139  
Old 08-22-2019, 06:22 PM
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More for one that merely got mentioned: just imagine pitching a primetime sitcom about a working-class guy — hates his job about as much as he loves bowling after hours, bickers a little with his wife and hangs out a lot with his pal, enjoys golf and cigarettes — only (a) it’s a cartoon; and (b) they’re stone-age cavemen. No, there’s still baseball games and movie stars; I’m just saying there are saber-tooth tigers as well as Vegas casinos. Like, the guy maybe winds up pulling jury duty; but, y’know, there’s also a mammoth, or something.

Really. Really. During the Eisenhower administration, pitch The Flintstones.
  #140  
Old 08-22-2019, 06:31 PM
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More for one that merely got mentioned: just imagine pitching a primetime sitcom about a working-class guy — hates his job about as much as he loves bowling after hours, bickers a little with his wife and hangs out a lot with his pal, enjoys golf and cigarettes — only (a) it’s a cartoon; and (b) they’re stone-age cavemen. No, there’s still baseball games and movie stars; I’m just saying there are saber-tooth tigers as well as Vegas casinos. Like, the guy maybe winds up pulling jury duty; but, y’know, there’s also a mammoth, or something.

Really. Really. During the Eisenhower administration, pitch The Flintstones.
I don't know, it has always been acknowledged that is was pretty much "The Honeymooners as cavemen".
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Old 08-22-2019, 06:36 PM
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I don't know, it has always been acknowledged that is was pretty much "The Honeymooners as cavemen".
No, I know; but that’s insane. I get that the core of it is classic sitcom fare; but to start a sentence with that, and then finish it by saying “as cartoon characters who hang out with dinosaurs”, that’s not what primetime television was.
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Old 08-22-2019, 07:19 PM
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The A-Team.
Based on the concept "Robin Hoods. Soldiers of fortune. Mr T drives getaway van."
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Old 08-22-2019, 08:00 PM
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There are lots but I’ll cast my vote for Miami Vice. Individual stories and longer through story arcs. Introducing loud music to the middle of the show. First tv show that played like a movie. Oh, and fashion was a character.
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Old 08-22-2019, 08:08 PM
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Worth noting and good article on it: The Queen’s Messenger broadcast in 1928.

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The silent drama was based on a one-act play written by Irish playwright J. Hartley Manners. The drama starred Izetta Jewell, an actress who had by then retired and was involved in politics and advocating for women’s rights. In The Queen’s Messenger, she played a mysterious woman seeking to obtain secret documents being carried by a British diplomat.
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Old 08-22-2019, 08:50 PM
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All in the Family -- Moved away from the genteel middle class sitcom
All in the Family would have been my choice -- daring and groundbreaking for its time, and the Archie Bunker stereotype is still very true today.
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From a business standpoint, I might offer Star Trek: The Next Generation.

ST:TNG was a big-budget show that elected to forgo network processes and go into first run syndication to maintain control over its production standards. That's a bold move.
Another groundbreaking series from a business standpoint -- maybe a bigger one -- was I Love Lucy. For practical purposes the series was before the days of videotape -- the first commercial videotape recorder was invented just around the time that the series premiered, and the only means of recording TV shows or time-shifting them in different parts of the country was the low-quality kinescope. It was usual back in those days to broadcast shows live, and most of them originated in New York for the biggest east coast markets. Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz refused to move from Hollywood to New York and as a compromise offered to have the episodes filmed on high quality 35mm film at their own expense, provided that they retained future rights. CBS executives happily gave them those rights, because, hey, who would ever want to see the same sitcom episode more than once? Lucy and Desi thus invented syndication, which became a billion-dollar industry, and the syndication of the show was a major contribution to their subsequent wealth. Lucille Ball was the exact opposite of the ditzy redhead she played on the show, and was very business-savvy.
  #146  
Old 08-22-2019, 08:59 PM
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All in the Family -- Moved away from the genteel middle class sitcom

Hill Street Blues -- introduced story arcs to non-soap-opera TV. They were usually about four episodes, but the idea of a continuing story was a big change.
That's the first two I was going to mention, so I'll have to dig a little deeper.

I Love Lucy - The show just about invented modern filmed television. Three cameras filming simultaneously, a live studio audience, etc. Plus the very idea of an all-American girl being married to a Cuban with fractured English (never mind that they were married in real life) AND getting pregnant and having a kid who grew up in more or less real time, were daring in their time.

Gunsmoke and Bonanza. Adult-oriented, 60-minute westerns with big production budgets.

The Dick Van Dyke Show was the first, for lack of a better word, sophisticated situation comedy.

The Huntley-Brinkley Report. The CBS Evening News had more resources and Walter Cronkite, but H-B seemed less stuffy while being equally serious, and changed the tone of television news forever.

Monday Night Football. Even though the Super Bowl and Wide World of Sports came before it, MNF was the first sports programming that was really entertainment, not just announcers describing what the cameras were showing.
  #147  
Old 08-22-2019, 09:07 PM
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Sesame Street, Ren & Stimpy
, or Ellen.

I figure at least one of the above is good for rounding out the Top 10.
  #148  
Old 08-22-2019, 09:12 PM
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I Love Lucy - The show just about invented modern filmed television. Three cameras filming simultaneously, a live studio audience, etc. Plus the very idea of an all-American girl being married to a Cuban with fractured English (never mind that they were married in real life) AND getting pregnant and having a kid who grew up in more or less real time, were daring in their time.
Just as a side note, since I mentioned the groundbreaking syndication innovation of I Love Lucy too (it was entirely Lucy and Desi's idea -- I suspect mostly Lucy's -- and CBS was happy to give them syndication rights because they saw no value in reruns), I was surprised to find that the kid who played "little Ricky" was not their own. I thought it was cute that their own child was on the show with them, but it wasn't. In early episodes it was a pair of twins who were uncredited, and later it was child actor Keith Thibodeaux.
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Old 08-22-2019, 09:20 PM
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To a lesser extent, Jackie Gleason's The Honeymooners also innovated syndication, perhaps even more ingeniously through the use of the Dumont Electronicam system, which recorded on film while producing a live TV feed at the same time. But The Honeymooners only produced 39 episodes this way, while I Love Lucy spanned six seasons and 180 episodes and became a staple of morning-television syndication.

It's amazing how much the first Ampex videotape recorder, finally introduced in 1956, completely changed the television industry.

Last edited by wolfpup; 08-22-2019 at 09:23 PM.
  #150  
Old 08-22-2019, 09:27 PM
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All in the Family
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