Television has a clever way of shaping our society and molding our personal lives. Sometimes they can change your perspective with story lines and subtle life lessons, giving us way more than mere entertainment.

We have seen plenty of television shows come and go over time, but there are a few that often don’t get their due credit for the way they ultimately affected how we will watch TV for the rest of our days. Check out these 7 television shows that not only changed history, but changed our expectations of what great television is supposed to be.

1. Cheers


From 1982 to 1993, Cheers gave us a cast that was easy to relate to. The show brought so many personalities into a perpetual pub situation, creating a dynamic that had chemistry like no other. From romance to hardship, Cheers helped us put our differences aside and realize that we can all have fun together when having a cold one.

2. The Wonder Years


The Wonder Years helped an entire generation of young boys and girls come into their own as budding adults. The show had a short run, but introduced the world to a brand of television show they hadn’t seen before. It placed attention on family and the collateral damage of growing up.

3. In Living Color


In five seasons, In Living Color got the most bang for their buck out of any television show in history. Spawning a ton of career talents like Jim Carey, Jamie Foxx, and Jennifer Lopez, the Wayans Brothers’ creation helped make us laugh like we never had before. Clearly a turning point for pushing the comedy envelope on network television.

4. Full House


The Tanners brought viewers something unique and special with their unconventional family situation. In its eight seasons, Full House offered something for everyone; young girls coming into their own, single fathers and promiscuous bachelors growing up. All set in beautiful San Francisco. Who can forget when the music would chime in at the end of every episode just before we were about to hear the “lesson of the day?”

5. Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, The

Debuting in 1990 and spanning six years with 146 episodes, it only took the first few to realize we were watching a star being born. Whether or not Will Smith carried this show, the premise and script matched with the chemistry of the cast. If you can’t rap the intro song without missing a word, your 1990’s popular culture knowledge needs a tutoring session.

6. X-Files


X-Files was like nothing we had ever seen. Two FBI agents, one a firm disbeliever with a scientific explanation for everything and the other with passion for the paranormal. Throw in some sexual tension and some scare-the-pants-off-of-you story lines, and you have an iconic television show.

7. Seinfeld


Aside from the fact that all involved parties on Seinfeld had colossal success with the show, Larry David was able to give us his original brand of comedy in a way now one will soon forget. No one could have called that a show “about nothing” would make us laugh so hard for years and draw so many comparisons with our own day-to-day lives.


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