6 shows every true fangirl/boy should know

Posted September 12

There are a few TV shows you should be aware of that have shaped the pop culture of today — shows as celebrated now as they were 50 years ago when they premiered and shows that have influenced television in a major way.

Here are six TV shows every fangirl or boy should know:

“Star Trek” 1966-1969

The Premise: A group of scientists goes to explore the Milky Way galaxy in the 2260s aboard the Starship Enterprise. Along the way, they defend freedom and justice and the United Federation of Planets.

The Power: Arguably the most influential science-fiction TV show in history, "Star Trek" has been a huge success since its first season. It perfected the genre by using fiction to address real-world current events like discrimination and human rights, and is often credited with showing TV’s first interracial kiss. Now there are five additional "Star Trek" series and 12 movies.

The Problematic: That’s a lot of "Star Trek!"

“Twin Peaks” 1990-1991

The Premise: A young girl turns up dead under mysterious circumstances in what appears to be a quiet little town in the Pacific Northwest.

The Power: It’s such a spookily spectacular show, with a cast that is giving the kooky vibe their all. If you are a fan of TV that showcases horror or suspense or anything experimental (“The X-Files,” “Fringe,” “Lost”), you owe "Twin Peaks" a debt of gratitude. The risk-taking in the writing and execution of the show paved the way for many more like it.

The Problematic: The show did not have much sustainability, and went a little off the rails in the second season, before being canceled.

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” 1997-2003

The Premise: A teen girl finds out she has been chosen to fight vampires and the mystical forces of evil that congregate in her small hometown, which also happens to be the Hellmouth.

The Power: Girl power, first of all, but more so, it teaches us about real friendship. The show is about Buffy, but it is just as much the journey of her best friends. Fondly called “the Scoobies” by fans and the gang themselves, they are endearing to the point of ridiculousness. If I could choose my friend group, I’d choose them. Plus, this show launched Joss Whedon. And if you’re a nerd, you know exactly how important that is.

The Problematic: Some of the special effects are definitely dated, especially a certain adorable redhead’s werewolf costume. But they get better as the show goes on, and by the time you fall in love with the characters, you hardly care.

“Doctor Who” 2005-Present

The Premise: A guy from space brings his TARDIS to come travel around through time and space with a usually-pretty female companion. They also fight bad guys.

The Power: This show has staying power. The series started in the '60s, and the new seasons that started back up in 2005 equal 826 episodes. The show explores history through the galaxy, although every actor on the show is British, which is weird. It’s one of England’s greatest television exports to American pop culture.

The Problematic: The Doctor is always a straight white man. For no reason whatsoever.

“Community” 2009-2015

The Premise: A bunch of weirdos find themselves in a study group at Greendale Community College, where they often unwittingly act out scenarios that look suspiciously like existing pop culture.

The Power: Perhaps an unconventional “must-see nerd TV” choice, "Community" is for people who live in the real world and wish they didn’t. Making good meta-TV that features realistic and likeable characters while being snappy, witty and not using a laugh track is a challenge. The “Community” team completely rose to the occasion.

The Problematic: Season 4, which they call “The Gas Leak Season” is not good.

“Supernatural” 2005-Present

The Premise: Two brothers criss-cross the country fighting monsters, demons and general evil. Both brothers are very, very good-looking.

The Power: Something about the simple, instinctual way Sam and Dean Winchester live their lives, sacrificing normalcy in order to save the world over and over (and over and over) appeals to a huge number of people— huge enough to get the show into its 12th Season starting this fall.

The Problematic: The lack of female characters in general, who if introduced, are often used as props, plot devices or killed horribly.

So, fanpeople, what did we miss? We'd love to hear your arguments for "Battlestar Galactica," "Firefly," "Sherlock" and more. Let us know in the comments what other shows you would add as essential "fanpeople" shows.

Amanda is a writer and pop culture fanatic who studied journalism at BYU. She's written for Entertainment Weekly, Deseret News, KSL and many blogs, sites and papers. Currently writing at the U and running Apple Juice Productions. On Twitter @appleaju


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