Though it actually launched on Oct. 9, 1986, Fox is celebrating its 25th anniversary this weekend with a primetime extravaganza featuring such stars of yesteryear as Calista Flockhart, Gabrielle Carteris, Ian Ziering, and David Faustino. Before tomorrow night’s broadcast, we thought it appropriate to take a look back at how the network has changed the pop culture landscape in the last quarter century.
Married… With Children (1987-97)
From its opening theme — a sardonic use of Frank Sinatra’s “Love and Marriage” — Married turned tradition on its head. The Bundys paved the way for later Fox shows like 2000’s Malcolm in the Middle (thank you for Bryan Cranston, Fox!) and 2003′ Arrested Development, which developed such a loyal following that it’s now being revived more than half a decade later. And that’s without mentioning the nontraditional iterations of the nuclear family featured on other networks that can be directly be traced back to the Bundys. Plus, the cast is still doing worthy work: the Ed O’Neill-led Modern Family, Up All Night starring Christina Applegate, and Katey Sagal in Sons of Anarchy (why hasn’t Sagal won an Emmy yet?!).
The Simpsons (1989-present)
First things first: credit must be paid to The Tracey Ullman Show (1987-90), where Marge, Homer, and the kids debuted (video below). The Simpsons picked up where Al and Peg had begun to make inroads, creating a quirky and unique family unit that remains relevant more than 500 episodes later. It is not only the longest running animated series of all time, it’s the longest running sitcom and the longest running primetime scripted show ever. The Simpsons turned Fox from the little network that could into the little network that could not be ignored.
Family Guy (1999-2002, 2005-present)
Fox and the topic of family can’t rightly be discussed without mentioning the animation empire spawned by Seth MacFarlane, who is as we speak on a path toward universal domination. Who ever thought a homicidal British-accented baby, a drip whose only line is “Giggity giggity,” and a wildly bipolar love-hate relationship with pop culture would be able to carry no less than three TV shows? Seth MacFarlane, that’s who. And Fox.
NEXT: 90210 and a reality check