In 2001, television was a much different medium. Sure, it was the new millennium, but it was still a classical TV landscape as well. People did not watch television online. There was no streaming. If you watched a show, you watched it when it aired. DVR technically existed, but it was not common yet. The television of 2001 included some forgettable nonsense, but there were also shows that still resonate in 2021. Here are five shows that are worth talking about. No, that does not include Emeril, the Emeril Legasse sitcom that he starred in despite not being an actor. Yeah, that really happened.
1. The Amazing Race
Survivor had set the world aflame by 2001, and other shows were trying to get in on the fun. Plus, networks were noticing that reality shows could be cheaper to produce. That led to some lowbrow trash like Temptation Island, but it also led to The Amazing Race. The globetrotting competition show has been a staple of CBS ever since, including getting celebrities in on the fun. Other than Survivor, this is the one giant of this particular genre that serves as a pillar for a certain kind of competition show.
2. Pardon the Interruption
Is Pardon the Interruption a good show? No. Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon are both anti-intellectual dinosaurs who are stuck in the 1980s when it comes to thinking about sports. And yet, it is impossible to deny the impact they had on the TV landscape. Every sports debate show where two or more people tell at each other is in some way trying to be like Pardon the Interruption. ESPN basically changed its entire lineup to reflect PTI. That’s monumental.
This is, simply put, a very successful sitcom. Was Scrubs as influential as others on this list? Perhaps not, but it did what most shows dream of. It ran for nine seasons and 182 episodes, though the reboot version is best forgotten. Scrubs made Zach Braff, Donald Faison, and Sarah Chalke stars. It’s one of the most-popular sitcoms of the 2000s. Scrubs is the biggest scripted show from 2001, and it’s not even close. Again, this was the year of Emeril.
Speaking of Emeril, he did admittedly help build up Food Network. However, he’s from the era when it was defined by cooking show. Unwrapped helped to expand the programming on the network for people who didn’t necessarily cook. Hosted by Marc Summers, Unwrapped took us behind the scenes to see some of the biggest snack foods and candies in the world being produced. You could be informed and enjoy food content that wasn’t just a person standing behind a stove in a faux TV kitchen. The evolution of Food Network definitely includes Unwrapped in the mix.
Undeclared was a critical success but not a commercial one. It only lasted one season and 17 episodes. Created by one of the executive producers of Freaks and Geeks, another one season wonder, maybe it made this gentleman tire of television. Perhaps he decided giving movies a chance would be wiser. The creator of Undeclared was Judd Apatow. Included in the cast was a young actor named Seth Rogen. Not a bad lineage for a college comedy that didn’t even get a full season.