I now return with the second part of my two-part article paying tribute to Fox’s 25th anniversary. I am now focusing on Fox’s heart and soul of success: primetime! While their kids programming has long ceased airing, Fox has successfully remained on television for over two decades. With that said, here is a few of the following things that will not make it on my Top 10 Primetime list:
· No FX, Fox Family, or other sister channels shows will be on this list. As much as I love It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The League, and Archer among others, they do not qualify.
· No syndicated programming! Just because Seinfeld, Big Bang Theory, etc. air on Fox Chicago, doesn’t mean they also air in markets such as New York on Fox. This is for national broadcasts.
· No temporary primetime shows or specials: X-Men the Animated Series was once on primetime, doesn’t qualify as it didn’t run a full season in primetime.
· I’m withholding sports such as the MLB, UFC, Nascar, etc. They wouldn’t have made my list anyway, but I just thought I’d say it.
Now onto the list!
Top 10 Shows on Fox Primetime/Late Night
10. The George Carlin Show
Let me be frank here. I don’t remember too much from this show now as it has been a long time since I have watched it but when I watched it as a kid, I thought it was hilarious! I’m also a very big fan of George Carlin. He was always a controversial but hysterical man. He didn’t like this show very much but I remember him and his alcoholic buddy at the bar always made me laugh. George played a cab driver in the show.
Raise of hands. How many of you guys actually remember this show? I’m predicting none most likely, but if you do then pat yourself on the back. If you haven't, I posted part 1 of the first episode here, you can find the rest on YouTube if you enjoy. I never actually watched the show while on Fox to be honest, it was on Thursday nights right when WWF Smackdown came to UPN. One night during college, I was flipping through channels late night and Comedy Cenral had an awesome 1 AM (Central) block that played cancelled shows from their channel and other channels, and this was one of them.
Anyway a quick synopsis, the show stars Jay Mohr who plays Peter Dragon a director trying to recover from his last movie that bombed in the theaters. It features stories about Peter and his sleazy attempts to break back into the movie scene, meeting former child actress turned “slut” and coke addict, Wendy Ward, as well as many other directors and actors trying to go back in the business. You also see several guest appearances from real actors and actresses such as Salma Hayek, Keanau Reeves, and Sandra Bullock, among many others. This reminds me of the type of show that would be on FX. It’s a real shame it didn’t do well. If you can find it online, check it out!
Is this show stupid? Yes. Is it funny? Oh yes! Before Martin Lawrence was in drag as a big fat woman he was in drag as Shenehneh, playing a 1970s pimp, a little kid, and his main character, Martin Payne. It was a wacky show for sure and Martin’s voices and character reactions were hilarious. I also loved his friend Cole. Ignorant but funny and always dating a girl named Big Shirley!
7. Andy Richter Controls the Universe
Yet another quality Fox show cancelled prematurely. Once known as Conan O’Brien’s sidekick (and then once again becoming his sidekick), Andy Richter finally broke his Robin/Tails/Ed McMahon sidekick mold and landed his own show on Fox. Andy has a crush on the receptionist at his work place who is taken by the perfect pretty boy douche at his job. Andy narrates the show and often lets his imagination run loose with the plot of each episode.
Going to be honest with this one, I mostly only liked the first two seasons. There were some funny jokes in the others, but the start of the series was the best. Anyway, MadTV started in 1995, sometime around the time I felt SNL was going downhill. I really enjoyed MadTV with the cast of Arnie Lange, Orlando Jones, and Phil LaMaar (Samurai Jack!!) I also loved the animated skits, which were a great contribution on the show with skits parodying Gumby, Toy Story, and there were also the entertaining Spy Vs. Spy Cartoons. I enjoyed skits including Mrs. Swan and That’s My White Momma. The movie parodies were also top notch. I also liked series additions of Will Sasso and Frank Caliendo.
I had a tough time with this decision, but I decided to induct all of Seth Macfarlene’s (and Mike Henry, for the Cleveland Show) as one. I’m going to have to admit, while I like Family Guy, I have grown over time to see it’s not as well written of a show on TV as others such as The Simpsons (let’s ignore seasons 11 on up), Bob’s Burgers, among other programs on television. Here’s the thing though, the gags can be very funny! You also have characters like Herbert the Pervert, Glenn Quagmire, Ollie Williams, among others on Family Guy that can really crack you up while American Dad and The Cleveland Show have hilarious characters like Roger the Alien, Snot, Cleveland Jr., Freaktrain, and Auntie Momma. These shows all have different characteristics, but they all come together in specials such as the Family Guy Star Wars specials. For me, I prefer season 4-7 Family Guy the most, while later on I would prefer The Cleveland Show and American Dad. All in all, the three shows provide me with good laughs on Sunday nights.
4. In Living Color
This show was 100 times better than MadTV! This show was an amazing start to many comedian actors’ careers such as Jamie Fox, Jim Carey, the Wayans, and David Alan Grier. Many hilarious skits included Homey Da Clown, The Head Detective, Wanda, and Fire Marshall Bill. This show was also full of many 90s rap and hip-hop performances. While I’m more a rock music guy, there were many great performances.
There have been talks of Fox doing a few In Living Color revival specials with an all-new cast. If the current SNL for most part is any indication on the quality of reviving a show or keeping it around too long (in my personal opinion it hasn’t been as good as it once was), then I think Homey needs to approach the person who greenlit this idea and give him a piece of his mind.
3. The Critic
A show that was let go way too early! Again, way too early! This show in my personal opinion should have lasted at least as half as long as The Simpsons. There were so many quality characters, lines, parodies, and more. Jon Lovitz also really brought out the character of Jay Sherman as one of my all-time favorite TV show characters. The show aired its first season on ABC and was moved to Fox for its second season where they attempted to make Jay a more likeable character by giving him a girlfriend and having more friends. I’ve grown to like the first season a little more but I still loved season two on Fox and would have loved to see more! We did see more of it eventually with online shorts and while those were funny, it just wasn’t the same. It’s okay; the memories live on in my complete series DVD set.
2. Married with Children
Quite possibly my favorite sitcom of all-time! Married with Children starred Al Bundy, while rude and smelly, he is what I consider a real man’s man. From his attempts of trying to get rich, bypass the law, bypass the wife from sex, or just relive his old high school football days, despite being a women’s shoe salesman, his rants on life were always hysterical as well as his misfortunes. He wasn’t alone in his humor; there were many great supporting characters such as his wife Peggy, his daughter Kelly, Jefferson, Marcy, or even the NO MA’AM gang members. Even though the show got more cartoonish later on, I still laughed every moment of the show and was very sad when the show came to an end. I can still watch every episode non-stop today.
1. The Simpsons
Was there any question if this would be my number one? This show has been a staple for many quotes and hilarious moments and without this show there would be no Family Guy, no American Dad, no Adult Swim, etc. While it has greatly shown signs of weakness from seasons 11 and beyond, it still can deliver some funny moments to this day and since I have been watching the show since season one, it would be hard to picture a world without The Simpsons every Sunday night. I think a cancellation should happen but the first ten seasons were so memorable and hysterical that I can watch those seasons endlessly and still laugh at the jokes. We also can’t forget the numerous hilarious characters the show has had.
Okay as you know, I didn’t put any dramas on the list. I’ll be honest, I have a hard time following drama/action series while they’re on TV today. Especially with today’s series where if you miss one episode or start watching late, you will be lost. I am the type of person who will rent the box set of a show and watch them. Here are some shows that are either on Fox or once were that I would like to watch:
· Terra Nova: I watched the first two episodes thought they were great, but fell behind.
· X-Files: I’m kicking myself for not watching much of this.
· 24: Heard nothing but good things. I heard it did begin to drag on later on.
· Prison Break: The concept sounds very entertaining.
· Terminator - Sara Connor Chronicles: If only to follow the Terminator storyline that I like.
· M.A.N.T.I.S.: I really liked the concept of a disabled man making himself a suit that could make him a hero.
· Woops: Not a drama but a post-apocalyptic sitcom where it’s 5 people that have to ban together and deal with things like giant ants or an evil Santa Claus. I heard it’s one of the worst shows ever to air on TV.
That is all for my tribute to the 25th anniversary of Fox! Be sure to tune in Sunday at 6 PM Central to watch their anniversary special including the first episode of Married with Children. As always follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Have a great weekend everyone and I shall see a lot of you at Anime Central next week!