8 Cult Favorite TV Shows That Premiered 10 Years Ago
What a difference a decade makes: Ten years ago, binge-watching was a new concept just entering into our television lexicon, courtesy of Netflix; the reality TV industry started experiencing another British Invasion with the emergence of Gordon Ramsay; and we just began keeping up with the Kardashians—all now common elements of the TV landscape in 2017.
Take a look below at some of the small-screen titles that turned ten years old in 2017 and have achieved cult status. Some include titles from abroad, Netflix titles that you can binge-watch, and titles that are still on the air right now. One thing that these titles have in common is their sustainability and a successful legacy that continues, particularly when considering the shows that have reached their final episode.
This is a throwback cult favorite from across the pond. If you were a party animal, an awkward virgin, a bright student, or a gifted musician, your high-school clique was represented on Skins. But underneath these archetypes were complicated and flawed teenagers trying to grow up while fielding unwanted attention, societal expectations, and double standards. The original British version was so popular in boldly addressing controversial universal topics facing teens that it spawned an American remake in 2011, but it didn’t live up to the hype of the original.
The creators of the British version mastered a secret formula that included circulating a new cast every two years, which kept the content fresh. While the material was controversial, it was also handled sensitively, avoiding glorifying issues like mental illness, substance abuse, or bullying. If you were a tween, teen, or 20-something at the time of its premiere, then reliving your crippling teenage angst may seem like a nightmare, but this show captures universal teen anxiety in the form of a time capsule. Depending on your binge-watching habits, you may recognize familiar faces like Dev Patel, Nicholas Hoult, Kaya Scodelario, and Jack O’Connell.
2. Mad Men
Two years ago, we bid farewell to the elusive Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and raised a glass to Peggy Olson’s (Elisabeth Moss) newly discovered professional independence. The fate of the two most polarizing yet magnetic personalities on Mad Men came to a satisfying conclusion in Matthew Weiner’s nod to 1960s pop culture. Despite its vintage look, Mad Men addressed issues like gender politics in the workplace, which exposed topics that are still relevant and timely in 2017, such as wage disparity. The show had a no-holds-barred approach in reviewing issues of the 1960s like racism, sexism, ageism (safe to say, all of the -isms were tackled). During its tenure, Mad Men received praise on the award show circuit, collecting 16 Emmy Awards and five Golden Globes. With its historical credibility, rich writing, and stellar acting, Mad Men arguably ushered in the golden age of TV.
3. Gossip Girl
Don’t bring up the bombshell spoiler, which announced Brooklyn’s resident academic overachiever, Dan Humphrey (Penn Badgley) as the anonymous blogger to any loyal Gossip Girl fans. I still feel salty about this unexpected reveal, and I was operating as a casual viewer. Despite its cockeyed ending, we indulged in watching the scandalous lives of Manhattan’s elite for five seasons. In 2012, Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a one time “Gossip Girl” Day, celebrating the show reaching its 100th episode, because the show honored the Big Apple through showcasing beautiful New York scenery and highlighting the city as a “central character.”
4. Keeping Up With The Kardashians
And then there were three…well, four. Once it became too difficult to count all the members of the Kardashian-Jenner clan on two hands, we knew it would be a challenge to actually keep up with their antics. We’ve watched the Kardashian sisters become sophisticated female bosses in their own right and the younger Jenner sisters mature into young women. There may be rumors of a “Kardashian curse” that plagues the men they date, and keeping up with their latest drama is a full-time job, but for some reason this show is the guilty pleasure that just keeps on giving. We may love to hate them sometimes, but their drama has kept us on the edge of our seats for a decade.
5. The Big Bang Theory
The Big Bang Theory was the dark horse that emerged during the writer’s strike of 2007 but has been able to remain afloat for ten years. The show has been renewed for two more seasons, with its twelfth season premiering this fall. The show has inspired a spinoff series that will showcase Sheldon’s (Jim Parsons) upbringing in Young Sheldon, a prequel also debuting this fall that will show us what his childhood was like and how he came to be one of the quirky physicists in Apartment 4A.
We’d prefer to spend any day of the week investigating cases of extraterrestrial activity with special agent Mulder than with the promiscuous writer Hank Moody (David Duchovny)—although Hank could supply enough explicit, crass humor to get us through the week in one piece. Despite his sexual escapades, he was a family man and desired to restore his relationship with his wife and daughter. The sexual promiscuity of Hank and his womanizing tendencies was the hook of the show, but him trying to reconnect and bond with his family was the optimistic highlight of the show’s seven-season run.
An expectation that comes with binge-watching Chopped is that our anxiety will probably be equal to the tension the contestants feel in competing. More than likely, we’ll be even more stressed out than the contestants competing in the cooking challenges. I have mini heart attacks each time the sound of the timer, marking the end of each challenge, punctures the silence, and watching the concentration of the cooks plating, decorating and inspecting the presentation of their final dishes. Ten years on and we feel more than comfortable leaving the cooking to the pros. We would crack under that kind of pressure. The bright side of reality television is that viewers can observe but don’t have to participate.
8. Kitchen Nightmares
We give Gordon Ramsay props for toning down his temper to help failing restaurants in restoring their financial prosperity (fingers crossed). Brits have taken over our television sets for decades, much like The Beatles took over musical tastes in the '60s, but the reality TV industry experienced another British Invasion with the emergence of hosts like Simon Cowell and Gordon Ramsey in the early '00s.
Unfortunately, Ramsey’s scorching hot critiques aren’t limited to the set of Kitchen Nightmares or Hell’s Kitchen; his brutally honest reviews of amateur home-cooked meals on Twitter have also experienced their own viral moment just like his own perfectly-timed zingers, but often made at the expense of the receiver, which have circulated quickly and have become popular memes.