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American TV Shows that Changed the World

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TV has been the major source for entertainment, daily news, social norms, and moral values for the American public. Every household has at least one TV set. As a result, a vast variety of new TV shows are constantly being created for the public’s viewership:

1) Daily news – reporting major happening locally, nationally, and globally anchored by attractive and or trustworthy personalities,

2) Entertainment – There is situation comedy, professional sports telecast, family/hospital/criminal drama, variety of musical performance,

3) Education – human civilization and history, Nature's animals and plants, stars/galaxies/planets in the Universe.

Due to the public's tastes for fresh ideas, new faces, and unique stories, a vast and diversified variety of TV shows were and are being created to attract the public's attention. As a result, there were TV shows that had not only gained wide and loyal audiences but also made the world a better place to live in.

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I Love Lucy

This TV sitcom lasted only 5 seasons but it had garnered worldwide fans addicting to its simple, pure, and innocent comedy that preached no political and moral agenda but only offered stress-relief heartfelt laughter. After being entertained for only half an hour each week, people had learned:

1) To create a relaxed and happy environment at home,

2) To have humor instead of to be panicking when falling behind schedule at work,

3) To tolerate how other people look and behave,

4) To appreciate other countries' cultures and beliefs.

The last show was aired in 1960 and it has been in rerun ever since. People today can still find the comedy relevant, enjoy a few good laughs, and are amazed to find that the show was done with good acting, good scripts, and good tastes not at the expense of insult, sarcasm, and prejudice.


This western drama had run an unprecedented 20 seasons. It used a small mid-western town and a law enforcing marshal as the backdrops to tell stories of good and evil, right vs. wrong, kindness against cruelty, and how justice and righteousness always prevailed in the end. Even though the stories and characters were all fictitious and from the imagination and experience of the writers, its success was due to:

1) Its dramatic and realistic staging of people’s interactions and events of the time,

2) Its introduction of characters from all walks of life each with its own and unique outlooks in life,

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3) Its clear message of rewarding the good deeds, exposing and punishing the evildoers, protecting the weak, and most importantly upholding the laws of the land.

Today, as we are growing up, we learn about what to do and what not to do from our parents and or in the schools. As we become adults, we rely on that knowledge to guide us through the uncommon problems in the real world. The wild and savage West depicted in Gunsmoke is no longer relevant as we are facing a different world where a thin line that separates good from evil, murkiness between right and wrong, and a justice that can be affected by the arguments of the lawyers are the new normal.

60 Minutes

This TV news program first aired in 1968 and is still very popular and relevant after more than 50 years. Unlike the other daily news broadcast, this one-hour reality program is shown only once a week. Only one to three pieces of news are presented using in-depth and investigative methods. Instead of getting a broad, quick, and brief report of what is happening around the world, 60 Minutes attempts to show how and why specific events unfolded. It accomplished these complex and time-consuming endeavors by:

1) Performing extensive research,

2) Interviewing all the relevant witnesses and participants who can be located,

3) Putting the materials together and presenting them as a detective story with twists and turns, drama, and intrigue.

As a result, the audience will be enticed to learn also what is behind the scenes:

1) How the government, corporation, and business transaction work,

2) What are the motivations of corruption, murder, and deception,

3) Causes of industrial pollution and contamination, product defects and false advertisement, etc.

National Geographic

This educational TV program introduces and enlightens the public to the wonders of the world that few people have the chance to experience:

1) Amazon rain forest – It is located in South America close to the equator. It harbors 10% of all the living species found on Earth and is regarded as the lungs of the world,

2) Africa savannas –Vast stretches of flat grassland in Africa mostly located close to the equator. They had been and still are supporting many large herds of animals found nowhere else. Anthology and genetics show that the human species was evolved and migrated from there to the rest of the world,

3) Deep blue sea – It occupies ¾ of the Earth and it is where life on Earth began. Today, it harbors the largest mammal on Earth, the Blue Whale, in addition to the hundreds of thousands of species of marine life.

The popularity of the show is due to not only the subject matters but also first-class photography, storytelling, and the dedications of the researchers and scientists. Unlike other TV shows, National Geography is financed by big corporations and individual philanthropists. The first show was aired in 2001 and after 20 years, it still has loyal followings in the world, who are interested to know what kind of place we are living in and how everything is interconnected.

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