Creative Genres where the First was also the Best

I had a hard time coming up with a title that really describes what I am talking about. It started when the office was talking about the Simpsons movie, and I remarked “You know, the Simpsons was the first of its kind. And it was the best of its kind.”

That got me to thinking. It’s rare that any artist does something totally original that is also considered the best. Most take a genre that is already there and make it better. But there was nothing like The Simpsons when it started, and it was the best of what followed after it.

The only other example I can come up with is The Harry Potter Books. I don’t think anyone has even attempted to do anything like them.

So what are the others?

Ahem…The Flintstones?

Yes, they are both cartoons. But The Simpsons has always had a biting, satirical edge that was the genius of Matt Groening, and that had never been seen in a grown up cartoon before. The Flinstones was a copy of the Honeymooners.

I agree with you, The Simpsons (at least the first 7 or 8 seasons) are a timeless classics. But, as far as prime-time, animated family sitcoms go, The Flintstones were still first, but far from the best.

Ultima Online.

And what exactly did Harry Potter do “first”?

I’m wondering that too, Mosier.

Yeah, I’m still not clear what makes Harry Potter a “first”. It seems to me to just be a fun romp of a book series that meshes all of the various magical archetypes that came before it.

Regarding Harry Potter it was the first series to make the author a billionaire. Content wise I got Nut’ n Honey.

The Beatles

The Harry Potter was the first series of very big books for children that had complicated plots and yet was set in this world.

No wonder I’m having a hard time describing what I’m looking for. As great as the Beatles were, they were built on American rock and roll and other sources.


Annie_Xmas writes:

> The Harry Potter was the first series of very big books for children that had
> complicated plots and yet was set in this world.

Edith Nesbit’s books?

It’s hard to make the case for Harry Potter being all that original. Good, perhaps, but it was a reworking of fantasy themes that had been around for decades.

One could argue Charlie Chaplin. He revolutionized silent comedy – prior to him, there might be a half dozen gags in a film; Chaplin would do that many gags every two minutes. He also was the greatest silent comedian of them all.

Airplane! popularized the “kitchen sink” comedy – where the gags were coming at a rapid pace, a mixture of corny and clever. It really hasn’t been topped.

There have been a lot of guitarists who borrowed elements from Jimi Hendrix’s style of play, but nobody has ever matched Hendrix.

I’d argue Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd were as good, if not better, and their films were better too, just not as widely known today for any number of reasons.

Well, its probably debatable on both counts, but Neromancer is at least arguably the first and the best cyberpunk novel.

Re: Neuromancer. It was close enough to being the first, and it was definitely the best. A disappointing genre overall.

Built on, certainly. But the Beatles so radically reinvented the genre in so many ways: musically (acceptable melodic range & style, form, structure, instrumentation), artistically (range and style of lyricism, non-western influences, surrealism) and culturally (from shaggy haircuts & Beatlemania to Maharishi’s and Dadaist film work, with everything in between)

The gulf between the Beatles and the original blues/rock & roll source material learned and absorbed by the Quarrymen in Liverpool is far more removed than that of say the bebop progenitors and the swing and rural blues music from which it developed. And nobody’s saying that Jazz wasn’t a fundamentally new form

Just sayin.
And while we’re at it, Charlie Parker probably fits your bill as well - while jazz evolved - nobody did what he did ever again.

Neither considered themselves in Chaplin’s class, and learned a lot following Charlie.

Don’t get me wrong. I like them and certainly consider them great, but they just don’t reach Chaplin’s level of brilliance.

Edward Eager’s books weren’t very “big”–but he certainly mixed magic & “real” children. With wit & humor. (He was a fan of Edith Nesbit.)

Perhaps Harry Potter’s success encouraged the re-release of Edward Eager’s books. So I’m not mad at Harry…