Defining TV shows of the Decades :)

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Craig: Mclaren, Sep 21, 2003.

  1. Craig: Mclaren

    Craig: Mclaren Second Unit

    Joined:
    May 20, 2003
    Messages:
    374
    Likes Received:
    0
    Each decade has a few shows that define culture and society at that point in time. What TV shows do you think define each decade and why? Of the shows on TV just now are any likely to be a definitive show of this decade? For me this decades show is 24. In 20 years time it will be seen as THE iconic show of the noughties. [​IMG]
     
  2. MatthewLouwrens

    MatthewLouwrens Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2003
    Messages:
    3,034
    Likes Received:
    1
    For the 90s - probably Twin Peaks. It may not have lasted that long, but without it, television would probably be in a very different place.
     
  3. John Watson

    John Watson Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2002
    Messages:
    1,937
    Likes Received:
    0
    For the 90's - X Files

    For this one? It's too early for me.

    But I hope it won't be a reality-dating-gladiator show [​IMG]
     
  4. David Williams

    David Williams Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2001
    Messages:
    2,288
    Likes Received:
    0
    00's - I don't think the show is here yet.
    90's - X-Files and Absolutely Fabulous
    80's - Dallas
     
  5. Dave Bennett

    Dave Bennett Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2000
    Messages:
    1,167
    Likes Received:
    0
    Definitely Twin Peaks for the 90's. I agree that while it didn't last long, lots of shows used some of the ideas it introduced(the X-Files among others).
    For the 00's (double o's as I call them) I can't say yet. 24 is interesting but given how predictable last season was I'm not holding my breath for a good season 3. Season 1 was very cool and an interesting idea, but I was really unimpresssed by season 2(especially the episodes after the three week break).
     
  6. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 1999
    Messages:
    3,756
    Likes Received:
    1
    50s-I Love Lucy defined and established the sitcom.
    Playhouse 90 and others attempted to present serious drama on live tv. Such movies as Days of Wine and Roses, Requiem for a Heavyweight, and Marty first appeared as television dramas. At the beginning of tv there were actually some who thought it a good way to bring dramatic art to the masses, to expose the entire country to the best plays on Broadway. The medium had not yet totally surrendered to the almighty dollar in determining what got on the air.

    60s-Attempts were made to present realistic cop and lawyer shows, The Defenders didn't follow the same tired formula established by Perry Mason in the 50s. A brief attempt to include political satire in a weekly variety series (Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour) was quashed.

    Star Trek debuted, showing a future free of racial prejudice both on Earth and among the many races found in space. It's depiction of a future society based on freedom for and tolerance of all was influential.

    Bonanza, though it debuted in 59, was the first show put on with the specific purpose of selling a product--It was, except for a very brief sitcom in 54 or so, the first weekly series in color. It was put on by NBC, then owned by RCA, the biggest mfg of color television sets, in an attempt to sell more color tv sets. It worked.

    The Untouchables pushed the limits as far as depicting violence on tv, largely opening the door to the mayhem we see today.

    70s--social issues first explored on popular sitcoms like All in the Family and Maude. Rowan and Martin's Laugh in succeeded where the Smothers Brothers failed in doing social commentary in a comedy variety format--Richard Nixon's Sock it To Me was classic.

    80s--Saint Elsewhere and Hill Street Blues attempted realistic medical and police dramas and were the precursors to ER and NYPD Blue. Newsmagazine shows like 60 Minutes brought yellow journalism to a new level.

    Boomer dramas like Thirtysomething seemed groundbreaking at the time but are an embarassment today. Roseanne was the Anti-Brady Bunch, and paved the way for The Simpsons and Family Guy.

    90s--The major broadcast networks lost the intitiative to cable channels like HBO when it came to quality drama and comedy, with only a few exceptions. Cheap to produce Newsmagazine shows abounded, with even less journalistic integrity than 60 minutes--NBC even blew up pickup trucks and was succesfully sued.

    Given the censorship restraints of broadcast vs cable networks, such shows as NYPD Blue, ER, West Wing, and a few others did remarkably well vs The Sopranos and OZ.

    00s--"Reality TV" takes the place of newsmagazines as the new low in tv programming-- Descending to the level of the supermarket tabloids for meaningless sensationalism.

    Novel concepts like "24" bring new interest to broadcast tv, and shows like Alias bring back the high-production value adventure dramas of the past, like Mission Impossible, thanks to the availability of cheaper cgi special effects.
     
  7. John_Bonner

    John_Bonner Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2000
    Messages:
    664
    Likes Received:
    0
    90's - Seinfeld
     
  8. Matthew_Millheiser

    Matthew_Millheiser Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2000
    Messages:
    656
    Likes Received:
    0
    "Defining" doesn't necessarily mean "best"... by the original poster's definition, we are looking for a show that defines society at that time. That's a fairly nebulous concept for definition, especially within the constraints of a television show.

    That having been said, my choice for the 90s has to be The Simpsons, due to its irreverence and subversive elements as well as (at its core) a bizarre yet loving family.

    There's more but suddenly I've got to share a moment with my pants.
     
  9. Jeremiah

    Jeremiah Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2001
    Messages:
    1,578
    Likes Received:
    1
    90's - I would probably vote for Seinfeld, since that show I have seen so much of the observational jokes in quite a few TV shows and in everyday life. Also, they were so indifferent to others, I saw that quite a bit in the 90's, maybe that was another reason it was a hit, peoples selfishness. Maybe not.
     
  10. John Watson

    John Watson Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2002
    Messages:
    1,937
    Likes Received:
    0
    Good thread, glad its picking up steam.

    For the 90's I mentioned X Files, because with communism gone, a new enemy was needed. X files gave us a healthy dose of paranoia. The others I thought of were Seinfeld and Simpsons, but in Seinfelds case, it was a program I couldn't watch, and Simpsons were cartoons!

    For the 60's I also thought of Bonanza, because of the single parent family. Star Trek hadn't occurred to me, but that rings true.

    For the 70's, I also agree with the observation's about real social issues in comedy.

    I personally don't remember watching much TV in the 80s. New Wave music and playing good movies without commercials on a VCR took precedence.

    I can't associate Saturday Night Live with any decade, but it was radical and influential, and of course, Dallas, for making jerks focal points of evening TV, instead of just the soaps.
     
  11. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2001
    Messages:
    4,951
    Likes Received:
    1
    I'll say Seinfeld for the 90s. Practically everyone knows about references to "Mulva" and "soup Nazi," et al. It pretty much re-defined the sitcom.

    Even with some of the other shows mentioned, ie X-Files and Simpsons, had their detractors and folks who didn't know much about them beyond the basic premise. But everyone knows all about Seinfeld. Truly universal appeal.
     
  12. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2000
    Messages:
    3,971
    Likes Received:
    0
    For the 90's, I'd say Seinfeld (with X-Files following closely). I certainly won't dispute the Twin Peaks influence, but Seinfeld ruled the roost.

    For the 00's, like it or not, the clear current leader has to be Survivor.
     
  13. mark alan

    mark alan Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2002
    Messages:
    620
    Likes Received:
    0
    1980's - Miami Vice. It is the embodiement of pop culture for that decade.
     
  14. Dave Falasco

    Dave Falasco Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2000
    Messages:
    1,185
    Likes Received:
    0
    I hate to say it but for the current decade I would have to throw "Survivor" in the ring. The success of the first season spawned how many imitators? And now, reality dreck is the mainstay of just about every network. Years from now, I think we will look back on this decade as "the (fake) reality decade".

    You could argue that reality TV really took hold with MTV's Real World, but it wasn't until Survivor blew up that the other networks starting falling over themselves to come up with their own reality shows.
     
  15. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 1999
    Messages:
    5,351
    Likes Received:
    59
    Real Name:
    David Scarpa
    You might almost say that Star Trek was mostly influential in the Seventies as it's popularity and Cult Status grew thru syndication. Hell They named a Space shuttle after the ship on the show and played the Trek Theme during Rollout, I'd call that influential
     
  16. Carl Miller

    Carl Miller Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2002
    Messages:
    1,461
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  17. Craig S

    Craig S Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2000
    Messages:
    5,773
    Likes Received:
    224
    Location:
    League City, Texas
    Real Name:
    Craig Seanor
    I don't think there has to be just ONE defining show of each decade.

    90s: "Seinfeld" & "The Simpsons" immediately leap to mind. The social impact of these two cannot be denied. They reinvented the sitcom. "The X-Files" is also a good choice, as it made the decade safe for genre programming.

    80s: "The Cosby Show" & "Cheers" brought the sitcom back from its early 80s near death. And "Hill Street Blues" blew up the rules for television drama with its multi-episode story arcs, large cast of characters, and gritty feel. Its influence was felt throughout the 80s & 90s. I also note all three of these were on NBC, and were largely responsible for bringing that network from last to first place in both quality programming & ratings.

    70s: Hard to say... probably "Mary Tyler Moore" & "M*A*S*H" in the sitcom arena. "Dallas" is probably the most memorable drama of the decade - even though the majority of its run was in the 80s it still felt like a 70s show. Another choice would be "Saturday Night Live", which since its premiere has wielded influence over TV and other media.

    60s: "Star Trek" - a phenomenon which has yet to die (although it's on life-support now). "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson" is a no-brainer.

    50s: "I Love Lucy" - Duh.
     
  18. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2003
    Messages:
    12,013
    Likes Received:
    1
     
  19. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    Messages:
    12,060
    Likes Received:
    0
    I’m going to suggest that a defining show of the 50s ought to be one of (very bad) family sitcoms, such as Father Knows Best, which idealized the nuclear family, with a working father, stay-at-home mother and 2 ½ kids.

    For those who were not around, The Tonight Show began in the 50s, with Steve Allen, followed by Jack Parr. Johnny was not better than the third host.

    I’m going to suggest Bonanza as the series for the 60s because of its connection with helping bring color to U.S. Otherwise, it symbolized the last view that we had collectively that anything was possible and that there were no limits on expansion.

    All in the Family for the 70s as even more than M*A*S*H it symbolized the rift in America brought on by Vietnam.

    I’ll go with Hill Street Blues for the 80s, because it was a show that changed forever drama on TV. Also because it was one of the first real-life dramas that did not have ‘moral imperatives’ at its core—there was much moral ambiguity here.

    90s with Sienfleld as everyone has said—the self-absorbsion of Jerry and his friends combined each week defined a generation.
     
  20. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2003
    Messages:
    12,013
    Likes Received:
    1
    I see Craig mentioned The Cosby Show in the 80's. That was one of the first shows to show African Americans in a very positive way. I realize the Jeffersons were wealthy, but I can't say that it was as positive (racially) as The Cosby's.
     

Share This Page