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Modern Sports Television: 4 TV Shows Since 1985 That Shaped the Genre

By    |   Tuesday, 01 Dec 2015 01:50 PM

Sports are a breeding ground for passion and emotion. Cheering on a favorite team or athlete is a ritual carried on by fans all over the world from one season to the next. Modern sports TV shows try to tap into this enthusiasm with the fictional tales they create.

Fictional sports TV shows use athletes, coaches and teams to explore familiar themes in a new way. Sports can cross into multiple genres – ranging from sitcoms to dramas – to create memorable stories.

Here are four sports TV shows since 1985 that have shaped the genre.

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1. “Coach” (1989-97)
Nearly two decades after it ended, “Coach” remains the standard for sports sitcoms. The show centered on Hayden Fox, the head coach of the Minnesota State Screaming Eagles – a fictional major college football team. Episodes follow Fox as he manages personal relationships while coaching a football team. A sequel series, set 18 years later, began airing on NBC in 2015, Deadline reported.

2. “Sports Night” (1998-2000)
Before Aaron Sorkin rose to fame with “The West Wing,” he took on the world of sports with “Sports Night.” It centers on the crew of a fictional sports news show and looks at their personal lives as they put together the nightly program under constant pressure. “Sports Night” delivers rapid-fire dialogue and features multiple walk-and-talk scenes characteristic of his later shows. Critics praised the sharp writing and realistic characters of the half-hour comedy drama, the Post-Gazette reported.

3. "Arliss" (1996-2002)
Big contracts negotiated by powerful agents are a fixture for successful athletes in every sport. “Arliss” offers a peak into the world of sports agents. The series follows the title character, a sports agent who will do everything under the sun to keep his clients rich and happy. “Arliss” was notable for incorporating many real life coaches, athletes, broadcasters and team executives into each episode. It was also criticized by ESPN and others as one of the worst TV shows of all time during its run.

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4. “Friday Night Lights” (2006-2011)
Football is practically a second religion in Texas. “Friday Night Lights” chronicles a small Texas town’s devotion to its local high school team. The series follows athletes, coaches, parents, and students and how their lives intersect during the big games and away from the field. It used high school football as a vehicle to explore family values and serious issues ranging from drug use to racism, the Houston Press reported. The series was inspired by a non-fiction book released in 1992 and a popular movie released in 2004.

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Sports are a breeding ground for passion and emotion. Cheering on a favorite team or athlete is a ritual carried on by fans all over the world from one season to the next. Modern sports TV shows try to tap into this enthusiasm with the fictional tales they create.
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2015-50-01
Tuesday, 01 Dec 2015 01:50 PM
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