Most television shows, if they survive the first couple of seasons, have somewhere between four and seven solid seasons in them.
Some incredible shows never make it past the first one or two fledgling seasons despite being incredible. Some lame shows limp into later seasons because there’s injustice in the world. But there are some shows that make it, and survive even beyond the TV show sweet spot without squandering that greatness.
This analysis is based only on my gut feel and personal style of television viewing.
So, without further ado, my list:
Like my title suggests, one of those shows is Bob’s Burgers, which recently started it’s eigth season on Fox. I’m writing this episode after watching the first two episodes of season eight, which continues to captivate and entertain like the show always has. The first episode succeeds in being both a hilarious start to the season and a loving homage to the fans and their art.
Larry David walked away from Seinfeld after it’s seventh season, leaving the show rudderless in some sense. But the show floated forward on with some powerful forward momentum, and some of the shows best episodes were still to come. Without Seinfeld’s later season we would never have Festivus!
While things definitely took on a different feel, and the show did all but jump the shark with some outlandish schemes, the show still was just as valuable and worth your time as always, at least for the time it did grace our screens.
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Larry David’s most notable and widely loved post-Seinfeld endeavor, Curb Your Enthusiasm, comes back this year for its ninth season after a SIX YEAR hiatus. It continues to be as funny and uncomfortable as ever, and just by being revived earns a place on this list.
The Simpsons lasted forever. The Simpsons has done everything. Does anyone still watch the Simpsons? They did in the 90’s - and The Simpsons was still killing it then. The Simpsons is one of the best shows ever made, even if only about half of them are worth it at this point (28 seasons in), they would have more than earned their place on this list.
Another hardcore animation stalwart. South Park continues to push the limits year to year with no signs of stopping. I really can’t say much, except it continues to be good over 20 seasons in, so it’s on the list.
It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia
It’s Always Sunny hit it’s peak for me as a viewer in season five, where every episode was a back-to-back laugh-out-loud killer hit. Since then it’s had it’s ups and downs, it’s gone close to too-far as it can go, and it has managed to sometimes just be un-funny. However, there is true gold in the later seasons too that cannot be missed, and that earns it’s place on the list.
With Sunny, some stuff is just not going to work, but they are always reaching for gold, so while the characters last and there’s deep dark places for them to go, there will be episodes for me.
Frasier is one of those rare shows that outshines the show it spun off of, and it benefits from maturing in an age where television got more mature. I feel that with Frasier early episodes hit the beats of it’s parent show Cheers a lot more often, and as the show progressed they fell back more (in a good way) on the strength of their core characters to drive the comedy and the drama - instead of the forced-situations of a ‘cue the music for dramatic event’ sitcoms.
Kirstie Alley > Shelley Long 🤐
Shows Not Included
- Saturday Night Live - I didn’t include any variety shows with regularly changing casts
- Friends - I’m over Ross and Rachel
- M * A * S * H - Season 1-3 (maybe 4) only