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Classic Sports Television: 4 TV Shows That Shaped the Genre

By    |   Saturday, 07 Nov 2015 08:33 PM

Before "Friday Night Lights," "Sports Night," "Make It or Break," and others, there were the classics sports TV shows like "Speed Racer," "The White Shadow," "1st & Ten," and "Coach" that helped pave the way for others in the genre. A few of these were even used as the basis for similar shows in later years.

Here is a breakdown of four classic TV shows that helped shaped the world of fictional sports shows.

1. "Speed Racer"
"Speed Racer" started in 1967 and ended in 1968 with 52 episodes in total. In 1994, there was a reboot of the series; however, the earlier version was dubbed to English because it is actually a Japanese anime cartoon. According to the Internet Movie Database, it was one of the most successful early anime series to make it in the United States.

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2. "The White Shadow"
"The White Shadow" ran on CBS from 1978-81 and is about a former white NBA professional that takes a job as a basketball coach at a predominantly black inner-city high school in Los Angeles. What made this TV show unique was that it wasn't afraid to tackle social issues, such as gangs, drugs, sexually transmitted diseases, and death, according to IMDb. It laid out the issues in a way people could relate to.

3. "1st & Ten"
In 1984, HBO launched a sports-related sitcom, "1st & Ten," about a fictional football team called the California Bulls. The team was owned by a woman, which makes this show ahead of its time, according to TotalProSports.com. The show featured adult themes such as drug use, casual sex, and homosexuality in the first episode. It also showed gender discrimination.

4. "Coach"
"Coach" began its nine-season run in 1989 on ABC. It focused on a university football coach trying to juggle leading his team to a championship and having a relationship. He also had the help of his assistant coaches. It was a comedy that highlighted the pressures of football, but did so in a way that mocked it and made it understandable for the masses. It also paved the way for shows like "Friday Night Lights."

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NBC has also announced a 13-episode relaunch of "Coach" which will take place 18 years after the original show went off the air, Deadline reported. Coach Fox will be acting as an assistant coach to his son at an Ivy League college in Pennsylvania.

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Before Friday Night Lights, Sports Night, Make It or Break, and others, there were the classics sports TV shows like Speed Racer, The White Shadow, 1st Ten, and Coach that helped pave the way for others in the genre.
classic TV, sports
Saturday, 07 Nov 2015 08:33 PM
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