Everyone loves movies, but there’s something truly special about a great TV show. Whether you’re smiling at the wild antics on “I Love Lucy” or having deep discussions with neighbors about “Law & Order,” TV shows are a great way to connect with fans worldwide. There are some shows, however, that manage to seriously ignite something in their devoted fanbase and become such a critical darling that folks will have to sit down and watch it in order to see what everyone is talking about. We take a look at 12 shows that have managed to change the landscape of television forever.

 

12) The Simpsons

001-12-the-simpsons-b33cd65357ce0f4424686bff057a0d00For over 25 years, “The Simpsons” has been the king of animated comedy. The show has the honor of being the longest running sitcom and the longest running animated series of all time. “The Simpsons” has won 31 Emmys during its run, including 16 for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance. In 2000, the show was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

11) Cheers

002-11-cheers-a2ef3704b0d3bdbba953d06adef9e962While it was nearly canceled after its first season, “Cheers” eventually became one of the most beloved sitcoms of all time with 117 Emmy nominations. It was also the first sitcom to have an actual serialized storyline. The success of “Cheers” helped its spinoff “Fraiser” become a top show on NBC.

10) Buffy The Vampire Slayer

003-10-buffy-the-vampire-slayer-3c0c22dcb70ac995b9f13db8c9c4466c“Buffy The Vampire Slayer” became a huge hit for the WB Network when it debuted in 1997. The series delivered one of its most memorable episodes with the musical “Once More, With Feeling,” which was ranked #14 on TV Guide’s list of TV’s Top 100 Episodes of All Time.

9) The X-Files

004-9-the-x-files-369b694aefc742fb684d115a0fdb31e9“The X-Files” became a smash hit for Fox and brought conspiracy theories to a bigger platform. The series spawned two films: 1998’s “The X-Files: Fight the Future” and 2008’s “The X-Files: I Want to Believe.” In 2016, six brand new episodes of “The X-Files” were released.

8) American Idol

005-8-american-idol-99fb0948c2348c3088d6cb61eaefd882Since its start in 2002, “American Idol” made music superstars out of a plethora of performers, including Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and Chris Daughtry. Unfortunately, ratings for the show went down over the years, and it ended its 15 year run in 2016. During its time on the air, it helped spawn over 450 number one hits on the Billboard charts.

7) The Office

006-7-the-office-745373fb5c2f38cf14ef216ff16bc4ceBased on the U.K. TV series of the same name, “The Office” became one of NBC’s highest-rated shows throughout its nine seasons and gained five Emmy wins. The success of both U.K. and U.S. editions of “The Office” have led to numerous versions around the world.

6) Lost

007-6-lost-7752c117e6bd79b35c822beb80fb89c6To this day, people are still discovering new things about the hit ABC drama “Lost,” which lasted six seasons. The show has influenced countless shows, including “Flash Forward,” “Fringe,” and “Heroes.” Aside from the TV show, there have been a ton of tie-in materials, including video games, novels, and jigsaw puzzles.

5) Saturday Night Live

008-5-saturday-night-live-fca4d05db77f160cc93ef9a62df8ca9c“Saturday Night Live” has become one of the longest-running shows in television history. The sketch comedy show has made stars out of Eddie Murphy, Dan Aykroyd, Will Ferrell, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Sketches from the series (“The Blues Brothers,” “Wayne’s World”) have also found success on the big screen.

4) Survivor

009-4-survivor-200203cf89ce3a448f37fa84bb3000b7Taking its inspiration from the Swedish series “Expedition Robinson,” “Survivor” hit it big in the ratings. The first 11 seasons of this competition show landed in the top 10. For its 32 seasons on the air, there have been a total of 478 contestants that have battled for the prize of $1 million.

3) Breaking Bad

010-3-breaking-bad-b3e432e301e6409800fe9311a1b73032“Breaking Bad” slowly became one of the most buzzed about shows on cable television, and its final season became one of the most watched in cable history. The show entered the Guinness World Records as the most critically acclaimed show ever back in 2013. In 2015, the showrunners moved to “Better Call Saul,” a spin-off of the AMC crime drama.

2) Star Trek

011-2-star-trek-697ff6bfa6224bc14f3a9539de337fafThe original “Star Trek” series in the ’60s helped ignite an entire billion dollar franchise and inspired technological inventions such as tablet computers and cellphones. The series also turned William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and George Takei into huge sci-fi celebrities. While the show was nominated for 13 Emmys, it never won one.

1) Sesame Street

012-1-sesame-street-bfae584c383e0ef2bf069d33f98096b2“Sesame Street” is the most influential children’s show of all time. Throughout nearly 50 years, the show has won an astonishing 167 Emmy Awards and 8 Grammy Awards. In 1994, Big Bird received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In early 2016, the show made the big move to HBO for new episodes.

Whether a show manages to create a massive franchise or helped teach generations of children around the world, a powerful television series can really make a strong difference in society. For a show such as “American Idol” or “Survivor,” it can also show the struggle, heartbreak, and victory that we often face in the real world today. While a lot of these shows have been off the air for quite some time now, there will certainly be a new batch of programming waiting to give people a brand new perspective on things and raise the bar even higher for quality.
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