Recently I was binge watching Seinfeld on Hulu since they had made a big deal about adding the whole series. And it got me thinking how great TV was 20 years ago in 1995.
It was a time when the old guard from the 80s had either passed away or were on their last legs: Cheers, The Cosby Show, Newhart, Murphy Brown, Roseanne, Married With Children, Full House, etc. This in turn created space on the schedule and in people's brains for new shows. Seinfeld, the quintessential "show about nothing" went from the verge of cancellation to being the show everyone talked about at the water cooler. It would have been interesting if there had been Twitter and Facebook back then so people could have been as obsessive as Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad.
But of course Seinfeld wasn't the only great show around. The Simpsons had survived its early success that could have left it tagged as a fad. The 6th season in 1995 ended with the famous "Who Shot Mr. Burns?" that concluded at the start of the 7th season. This was the beginning of the show's prime, something millenials can't really appreciate much as I can't really appreciate the Beatles the way people who were actually around in 1964 can.
Friends was in its second season and the whole Ross/Rachel will they/won't they thing hadn't become too annoying and all of the other characters weren't hooking up with each other yet. So I guess you could consider that its prime. Or at least I would.
Cheers had ended but you had Frasier, which was geared to a little smarter audience. If you wanted dumber comedy there was Home Improvement with Tim Allen finding new ways to screw up any home improvement project. I'm sure Law & Order was on, though it wasn't as popular as it would eventually be.
Will Smith was a year away from his breakthrough movie role in Independence Day but you could see him on the small screen in Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. George Clooney was the McDreamy of the 90s in ER before moving to the big screen.
And for you sci-fi geeks you had two Star Trek series with Deep Space Nine and Voyager (on the pointless UPN network). Plus you had Babylon 5 in syndication.
I think it was about this time that the local NBC affiliate in my area had to switch to CBS because its owners wanted like all their stations to be CBS. So then the CBS affiliate switched to NBC. At the time it seemed like they were getting a hell of a deal. I mean most of the shows I mentioned were NBC shows. Their Thursday lineup was pretty much unstoppable. I honestly can't think of anything CBS was showing back then except 60 Minutes. Of course by the 21st Century that had all turned around.
The biggest change from 20 years ago to today has been the rise of cable TV and now streaming. Back in 1995 cable was still mostly a dumpster fire of old reruns and movies, but it was starting to find its way. MTV had success with the original reality TV show The Real World and the original rude and crude animated series Beavis & Butt-head. HBO was beginning to experiment with original series like Arli$$. Comedy Central was about to introduce its most successful series, South Park. FX was in its infancy but they used to have a fun morning talk show that featured a Muppet along with regular hosts. The good thing was the History Channel still showed historical stuff and the Learning Channel still had educational stuff and SciFi Channel was spelled correctly.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane. What was the best year of TV you can remember?