One was a sitcom, the other a drama. In both of them, the protagonist starts as a depressed, adult salesman in his thirties. Their lives are in ruins, along with those of the people they once cared about. They blame that on certain decisions they took in high school. Then a freak accident sends them back in time, reliving their high school years. They have a chance to Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
Neither was too successful; the Friday Night Death Slot and a concept only network execs enjoyed killed them both. However the comedic Do Over lasted for 15 episodes, while the dramatic That Was Then only lasted 2 episodes.
30 Rock made it to seven seasons and ended on its own terms, while Studio 60 got the axe after a single season. Studio 60 had higher first-season ratings for the episodes that aired during the normal "season," but was much more expensive to produce and for various reasons the network execs liked 30 Rock better. (For one thing, Studio 60 was critical of network TV in general, and network execs weren't going to like that). It should be noted that NBC staff couldn't decide which one to greenlight, so they greenlit both.
Shows about people with irritatingly or pathologically cluttered homes.
Hoarders is the more serious and deserving of the documentary label, considering that pathological hoarding is an actual mental illness, while Clean House's comedic streak and focus on the cleaning aspect places it better on Reality TV.
Both became Long Runners. Clean House lasted ten seasons, Hoarders six.
The ratings of Game of Thrones increased at a regular pace until it became one of the most watched shows in HBO's history by the end of the third season. The opposite happened to The Borgias, whose third season ratings declined until they couldn't justify the show's high cost, and the series was cancelled following a rushed finale that contained Thrones' iconic line "Winter is Coming" - A concession of defeat on the part of the writers?
Plane crashes on an island; characters must adapt.
Lost premiered a year earlier and became an overnight sensation. F29D is "Lost" for kids more or less, though the show was actually based on a book and the concept was pitched before Lost got on the air.
Skilled and rather flamboyant thief/thieves are recruited by the good guys to create some Asshole Victims.
The difference is with their employers — Leverage’s Nate is initially out for revenge and then takes up the charge to fight evil himself while White Collar’s Con Man is employed by the government.
The audience. While White Collar technically run longer and had one season more (six as opposed to five), Leverage had more episodes per season and therefore overall only four episodes less (77 vs. 83). Both shows were successes for their respective network and both managed to go out on a high note.
Shows about young men who rather arbitrarily end up in the music industry in bands. Tween Sitcoms premiering at around the same time.
One has FOUR young adults for the male audience to look up to and the tween (and teen) girls to swoon over (hence the Boy Band), while the other only has one (and he's Puttingthe Band Back Together) and is otherwise targeted toward boys. One show has more music production (Big Time Rush)
Big Time Rush; First of all, Nickelodeon is a higher rated channel than Disney XD, so it is naturally the more successful show. Likewise, the eponymous group made small dents on Billboard and iTunes while I'm In The Band was cancelled in its second season.
Kids shows that focus on learning science, often in goofy and irreverent ways
Whereas Beakman was a fictional character, Bill was an actual scientist (an engineer to be more precise). Whereas Bill stuck with one topic throughout an episode, Beakman switched topics frequently. Whereas Bill focused on the science almost exclusively (if imaginatively), Beakman also had a small, wacky recurring cast and a little non-science-related zaniness.
Both lasted about 100 episodes, were very good edutainment shows (which is a rarity, as kids would rather eat their vegetables than watch anything educational. They already have enough problems with school, thank you), and were worthy of being Don "Mr. Wizard" Herbert's heir to the throne, though Bill Nye wins because the subjects were more in-depth than what Beakman's World touched on and even explored some stuff that wouldn't conventionally be considered science, but has scientific teachings behind it (communication, human transportation, population, probability and odds, music, and architecture). Nye also gets an additional edge by remaining a pop culture and science icon/personality after the show, though obviously at a reduced status. Honorable mention goes to you, the viewers who learned something from both shows, in and out of the classroom.
Despite a few close calls, Power Rangers has continued nearly unbroken for coming up on twenty years now. VR Troopers and Beetleborgs each lasted two seasons before running out of usable footage. Masked Rider tanked, causing the franchise to be stillborn in the West.
Kids shows about a group of teenagers trying to find out the secrets of their rather creepy Boarding School.
The students of Tower Prep all have some type of supernatural ability to help them escape, whereas Anubis is more like a whodunit to find out why their friend Joy disappeared. Simply, Tower is like a Lighter and SofterPrison Break, while Anubis has a mystery arc like Twin Peaks. Also, while Tower debuted first, Anubis is based on Dutch show Het Huis Anubis (2006-2009) that aired before either of them. Finally, Black Hole High aired before anything and ran on half-hour episodes. A Dramedy with an emphasis more on comedy that incorporated science-fiction.
Black Hole High ran for four seasons, has been shown internationally, had the last three episodes adapted into a movie, and won two emmys for "Oustanding Children's Show" and "Outstanding Writing". Anubis is still running, been well received, and has 190 episodes under its belt. In terms of longevity, Anubis over fourfold. In terms of notoriety, Black Hole (for the present). Tower got cancelled after one season and was not very well liked.
Kid Com, one about a girl at a performing arts school, another about two girls joining each other on a dance show.
Both shows usually involve wacky situations. Victorious often involves singing, plays, and other various skits. Shake It Up features a Show Within a Show concept, much like the other Disney/Nick live action matchup.
They were about equal ratings-wise (though Victorious seems to be more enjoyed), and Bella Thorne was won an award. In the end, a draw: they both started in 2010 and ended in 2013 with roughly an equal episode count. Both were among each network's top hits when canceled and most fans will cry was each taken down in its prime.
Two Kid Coms, one about a girl at a performing arts school, the other about an Alpha Bitch who loses her popularity and joins a pop-rock group at her school.
Like the above, both shows usually involve wacky situations. As mentioned, Victorious often involves singing, plays, and other various skits, while How To Rock mostly features music and devotes the non-musical scenes to exploring the True Companions relationship between the members of Gravity 5 and Kacey's struggling not to fall back into her old ways. This time, both shows are on the same network, Nickelodeon.
Victorious lasted three seasons and was more or less well liked while How To Rock lasted one season only.
Kid Coms about talented and/or creatively expressive children.
Victorious and ANT Farm have nearly identical premises — talented and gifted children attend a high school and Hijinks Ensue — but oddly enough more people think ANT Farm has more in common with iCarly given the amount of character and especially relationship expies.
ANT Farm comes via the Disney Channel — if you haven't noticed by now, Disney and Nick tend to be cases of directly dueling networks. In this case, you can make a case that ANT Farm is essentially VictoriousmeetsiCarly. Though iCarly and Victorious were both canceled (the latter after three years and the former after five, a long run for a Kid Com), each series is kept alive spiritually in the form of the spin-off series Sam & Cat; A.N.T. Farm aired its last episode in early spring 2014 after a three-season run.
Fred was broadcast on Nickelodeon which advertises its shows more than Cartoon Network which airs Orange, however it has a larger fanbase.
While both received extremely negative reviews, Orange has been renewed for a third season whereas Fred was cancelled after the first season. It helps that Cartoon Network has lower ratings standards than Nickelodeon, which would have axed Fred anyways since it's entire live-action line-up was scrapped for a new round of live-action shows.
Spiritual Successors of widely popular shows featuring the breakout star(s) of the previous series in her own show playing nannies/babysitters.
Jessie is spiritually spun-off from Disney Channel's Suite Life On Deck while Nickelodeon's Sam & Cat is a legitimate spin-off of both iCarly and Victorious featuring the characters Sam and Cat from each respective show. The shows differ not only in the number of headline stars (one vs. two) but in Jessie focusing entirely on a single family, while Sam & Cat prefers to follow the Wacky Hijinks of the two leads leaving the babysitter premise almost entirely forgotten. Interestingly enough, the leads of each series - Debby Ryan and Jennette McCurdy - are real life friends (at least at one point).
Jessies head-start actually means Sam & Cat will inevitably outlast it due to Disney Channel's policy of renewing a show for no more than four seasons (and only three in most cases). Jessie also had a massive ratings lead in the beginning, frequently reaching the lofty ratings of classic hits like Suite Life on Deck and Victorious - numbers Sam & Cat could only dream of. That was well before Sam & Cat 's actual premiere, however, and now both shows have settled into similar ratings numbers (both woefully low compared to Jessie's heyday first season and iCarly/Victorious). Critically, both shows are also doing the same - that is to say, not terrifically well with Sam & Cat being compared palely to its predecessors and Jessie losing critical respect compared to both its earlier self and Suite Life. Sam & Cat has been rumored for pick-up for a second season, but with 40 episodes already in the can and persistent rumors of the show leads wanting to "move on" there is serious question if Nickelodeon will actually follow through; meanwhile Disney Channel has already picked up Jessie for its fourth and almost inevitably final (by network-wide policy) season.
Magazine programmes with wholesome and informative fun for British kids, with charitable appeals and badges awarded for achievement.
Blue Peter (BBC) began as a rather staid and studio-bound affair (suits, ties etc.) but moved towards a livelier presentation with more outdoor locations following the arrival of John Noakes in 1965. Magpie (ITV) copied Blue Peter’s format from the start, while employing more hip language and graphics.
No contest. Blue Peter (1958-present) is the longest running children’s show ever, its badges respected and good for free entry to various places. Magpie ran 1968-80, badges crop up on eBay etc occasionallynote a large number having been "liberated" when the show ended.
Both shows have been compared to Wizards of Waverly Place, because the shows feature fantasy/sci-fi elements. Lab Rats was actually developed by some of the people who worked on Wizards.
The Thundermans obviously has a ratings advantage due to Nick being a more popular channel than Disney XD. However, Lab Rats has a nearly two-year head start and, while not a critical darling, has been much better received than its rival.
Shows featuring the weird and wacky side of humanity. Think a late-1970s/early 1980s version of America's Funniest Home Videos meets what you would normally find on Ripley's Believe It or Not!
NBC's Real People debuted in 1979 and was a smash hit. ABC's Thats Incredible came out next year and looked eerily similar. The similarity between these two shows was even parodied in a MAD Magazine satire titled "That's Real Incredible, People!", and by a SNL sketch called Real Incredible People. NBC's original was primarily devoted to humorous real-world absurdity, a la Dave Barry's columns; ABC's knockoff, attempting more of a Ripley's Believe It or Not! flavor, quickly became a bastion of pseudoscience.
Both ended in 1984. Real People lasted longer, though That's Incredible! had a later spin-off called Incredible Sunday. Neither aged well at all and are both looked at as quaint and non-shocking years later.
Weekly documentaries on the ups and downs of past and present celebrities from the entertainment world.
Both debuted in the 1996-1997 period, THS covered a wider range of celebrities than BTM (which focused on the music industry), as well leaning more towards the sensationalistic (The first regular episode of THS focused on the murder of Rebecca Schaeffer of the sitcom My Sister Sam and porn stars and reality show stars are often highlighted. Also, "THS" sometimes focuses on the casts of TV shows and movies rather than just one celebritynote such as Married... with Children, Home Improvement, Full House, Poltergeist, and The Exorcist).
THS has been going strong since its debut. BTM had a three-year hiatus from 2006-2009 and produced only a handful of new episodes since. THS is a bit more popular, but ''BTM" has a better reputation treating its subjects more respectfully.
In-depth looks at the early lives and careers of famous musical acts, featuring commentary from friends, family and co-workers wherever possible.
The revived BTM skews more towards the TMZ crowd in its subjects (Jennifer Lopez, Missy Elliott), as opposed to the previous series where the focus was mostly on legendary music acts. Unsung focuses on the Contemporary R&B/Soul and Hip Hop worlds, as well as skewing far more obscure than BTM (TV One being geared for a far older audience)
To early to tell a winner, but BTM has a massive advantage in both audience (VH-1 being in far more homes than TV One) and name recognition.
Both received mixed reviews by the online paleo-community, but so far they seem to be tied, being enjoyed or disliked for different reasons.
Human Weapon (History Channel)
Fight Quest (Travel Channel)
A pair of American professional fighters travel the world to observe and study various combat styles. The episode ends with one of the duo facing off against a master of that episode's spotlight fighting style.
Quest would have its duo split up and train with separate groups of practioners and focused equally on the culture surrounding the art as the art itself. Weapon focused more on the combat style itself and the science behind the techniques.
Both shows lasted less than thirty episodes, both cancelled in 2008.
A host demonstrates survival techniques by stranding himself in varying wildernesses.
Both are shown on the Discovery Channel. The most notable difference is that Wild tends to have many more "stunt" oriented segments, and takes many more unnecessary risks than Survivorman does (to show it can be done if necessary). Both avoid direct competition with each other by having one air new episodes while the other is still filming. Man also has a camera and safety crew on hand, and is occasionally staged, while Survivorman shoots the footage himself.
Man by default, with Les Stroud deciding to move on to other projects. Both were about equal in ratings and fan following.
For once, Wild Recon is actually on a different network this time — specifically, Animal Planet, for some reason. Wild Recon is also quite a bit closer to Man vs. Wild than Survivorman was, especially after Man vs. Wild's slight Re Tool.
Wild Recon was canceled after six episodes after receiving official complaints from the governments of Australia and Sri Lanka about its host, Donald Schultz. Schultz was eventually busted selling endangered animals illegally.
Both started in 2002 as attempts to relaunch the BBC’s original Top Gearnote which began as a serious motoring magazine programme in 1977, became more fun-oriented and controversial around 1988, and was cancelled in 1999. Channel Five planned to acquire the name and relaunch the programme as was, but the BBC wouldn’t sell. In the end, Fifth Gearemployed a similar title, along with the magazine format and several of the original show’s presenters. Half a year later, the BBC relaunched Top Gear with a revamped "automotive fun and games with the lads" format, and much slicker production.
Since the duel started in 2002, they’ve kept roughly level pegging on episode and series numbers. However, Top Gear rose to become one of the most watched shows in the world. Fifth Gear didn’t, doing little to improve Channel Five’s disappointing viewing figures, and had to fend off cancellation in 2009.
Documentaries that answer the question, "How would the Earth survive if ever the day comes that the human race goes extinct?"
Just about the only thing preventing outright intellectual infringement is the fact that both shows are documentaries based on a general concept that's not even original to either show (cashing in on the "what would happen if humans vanish?" craze due to the book "The World Without Us" the previous year) though Aftermath features humans disappearing Rapture-style while Life After People goes out of its way to stay mum on the subject
The National Geographic Channel's Aftermath: Population Zero remained a one-time special, but after The History Channel execs discovered that Life After People was literally their highest-rated program ever (until surpassed by Pawn Stars), they immediately approved a series version.
Dual involves two survival experts of vastly different backgrounds and philosophies (One is an ex-military hunter, the other is a hardcore naturalist). Man Woman involves an ex-military survival expert and his wife, an actress and field reporter.
Both are ongoing and both have good ratings and fan followings.
Hoarders chronicles the effort to professionally clean an entire home and to provide mental health services for the homeowners. Hoarding focuses less on the home and more on the disorder itself. Cleaning services are provided by the subject's friends and family.
Hoarders broke A&E's ratings records when it premiered and had a one year head start.
The basic premise of both is that the characters live in the modern world and Fairy Tales are real.
Grimm (airing on NBC), despite the name, focuses more on general folklore than on fairy tales specific to The Brothers Grimm, while Once Upon A Time (airing on ABC) covers the whole spectrum of famous fairy tales, leaning towards those associated with Disney, which owns ABC, but also other literature such as Frankenstein, The Wizard of Oz, King Arthur and Robin Hood. Grimm also appears to be darker and more like Supernatural, with the main character hunting the fairy tale creatures, while Once Upon A Time, while still a drama, is probably much lighter, considering the broadcaster airing it (ABC) and the owners of the company (The Walt Disney Company). Grimm is more shoot-y and action-y, with Monster of the Week episodes, and Once is more about character development and plot progression; in other words, Grimm is more of a "male demographic" show and Once is more of a "female demographic" show (if we're going to use horrible generalizations like network executives do), which is also reflected in their main characters.
Both shows get good ratings for their respective networks. While Grimm's ratings are significantly lower than Once Upon a Time's, it airs on Friday and peforms pretty well by Friday standards. It also airs on NBC, which has much lower standards for ratings. Once Upon a Time, meanwhile, is one of the top new dramas of the season, and spawned a miniseries spinoff, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, after its second season. Although the battle remains tight, Once has the upper hand for now.
Wonderfalls was canceled after one season (thanks to the FOX Network), while Joan managed to last a couple of seasons before Executive Meddlingwrecked it. But really, both were good shows that got killed off, meaning that the real losers are the fans of both shows.
The former sees ghosts; the latter has premonitions. Both are backed by "acclaimed" psychics. Medium started on NBC although it was produced by CBS. Whisperer began on CBS. When NBC cancelled Medium, CBS picked it up and put on the same night back-to-back with Whisperer.
Moved from Dueling Shows to complementary shows. After one season together, CBS axed Whisperer but retained Medium.
Young people battle the forces of evil in California. Both were hits for The WB network. Hot female witches were involved.
The characters on Buffy were high school and, later, college kids, while on Charmed, the Halliwell sisters were all adults.
Buffy ran for seven seasons, had a successful spinoff that ran for five, and is today revered as one of the greatest shows of The Nineties. Charmed ran for eight seasons and garnered better ratings than Buffy both then and nownote The show still gets pretty consistent ratings on TNT, to the point where an episode's been aired at least twice nearly every weekday for the past seven years or so., but is typically viewed as more kitschy, often associated with the behind-the-scenes struggles between Shannen Doherty and the rest of the cast. Both shows remain Cult Classics, though.
Supernatural dramas focusing on hunting monsters from hell.
Both aired on The CW at the same time, with Reaper premiering during Supernatural's third season. Reaper replied on comedic elements more heavily than Supernatural, which was much darker and gritty, and focused more on drama.
While both have strong, cult followings, Reaper lasted only two seasons, while Supernatural is currently entering its eighth.
Based on a book/series, featuring the attraction between a[n apparently] human woman and two vampires.
Diaries' two vampires are brothers, and the older one wants to kill the apparently human woman because she resembles the vampire who sired them; while True Blood is an ensemble show that focuses more on vampire "culture" at large. Plus, True Blood being on HBO means it can be more liberal in the sex, violence and general edginess department.
Ratings between network and paid HBO are difficult to compare. Also, the reviews seem to mirror each other: Diaries is lauded as a show that is not as kitschy as its marketing, while True Blood bathes in its kitsch, to its benefit. "The Vampire Diaries" has a larger fanbase, so there's still that.
Drama ensues when a mysterious event causes the dis/appearance of loved ones.
The Returned is about dead people (sometimes long-dead) who reappear looking and feeling the same as when they died; The Leftovers is about how the disappearance of 2% of earth's population affects the remaining 98% in one town in particular (it isn't pretty).
Contestants use consumer/pricing knowledge – and skill – to win prizes.
In 1963, LMaD debuted, testing contestants on playing hunches and their willingness to risk their current winnings on hopefully winning more ... or losing it all by getting a "zonk" (a worthless, nonsense prize). Very early in LMaD's run, games of pricing skill were added, for instance, asking a contestant to select an item that was worth an announced price, or pricing a row of items in order from cheapest to most expensive. Each program ended with a Big Deal of the Day, which generally had the show's most expensive prizes – or, most lavish grouping therein. The original TPiR was overhauled in 1972 by Mark Goodson and Bill Todman, taking the original basic premise of contestants guessing the actual retail price of a given item, adding a variety of pricing games that were based on skill and luck (similar to LMaD's skill-based games). Each episode concluded with a Showcase round, where contestants bid on two final prize packages (one apiece, being the closest on his own showcase without going over).
Arguably, a tie. Both shows currently air on TV as the only daytime network game shows (and on the same network at that).
Both LMaD (created by longtime host Monty Hall) and Treasure Hunt (the 1970s and 1980s runs, produced by The Gong Show creator Chuck Barris and hosted by Geoff Edwards) had the same basic premise: testing contestants on playing hunches and their willingness to risk their current winnings on hopefully winning more ... or losing it all by getting a a worthless, nonsense prize. On LMaD, it was called a "zonk," while Treasure Hunt referred to these items as a "klunk." The major difference was that Treasure Hunt had the contestants view – or more often than not, participate in – a skit that made them think they had lost, then won, then lost ... and so forth, until the final outcome was revealed. Also, Treasure Hunt had a top prize of $25,000 (up to $50,000 in the 1981 run); LMaD for awhile added an All or Nothing top prize of $20,000 in addition to Big Deal winnings.
LMaD, although Treasure Hunt has remained a cult favorite, and was well received for host Geoff Edwards' hosting duties.
Contestants use consumer/pricing knowledge – and skill – to win prizes.
TPiR was created in 1956 by Mark Goodson and Bill Todman, under the basic premise of contestants guessing the actual retail price of a given item. The original program continued in this format through 1965, and was revamped into today's best-known format, where a variety of pricing games, based on skill and luck, are played. Each episode concluded with a Showcase round, where contestants bid on two final prize packages (one apiece, being the closest on his own showcase without going over). Bargain Hunters was created in 1987 by Merrill Heatter (best known for creating The Hollywood Squares), and patterned its own pricing-type games around the new home-shopping network fad.
Although Win, Lose or Draw came on the air before its rival, the Pictionaryboard game predated both. Fast Draw, a 1968 game hosted by Johnny Gilbert, predated that. And even going back further was The Rebus Game, a 1965 show hosted by Jack Linkletter where contestants had to draw out syllables to names and phrases.
On TV, Win, Lose or Draw wins for lasting three seasons (two on NBC) as opposed to Pictionary’s two (both in syndication, and one of which was a children's show). In the board game world, Pictionary wins; it has been produced for decades longer than the year or two a Win, Lose or DrawHome Game was offered.
Teen/tween celebrity performers help other teen/tweens win prizes in a guessing game.
The latest incarnation of FiO is the latest game show offering from Nickelodeon, once a stalwart of teen/tween-themed game shows; WLoD likewise is the latest incarnation to be hosted by Disney Channel (and not the first on that network, either)
Due to the long inertia to get WLoD on the air, FiO had already been sadly canceled and aired its final episode long before WLoD finally premiered. Not that that automatically makes WLoD the winner; it terribly underperformed on its "sneak peek" premiere, suggesting that the days of the teen game show may long be over.
Web Heads, hosted by Carlos Pena Jr. of Big Time Rush fame, is the first new Nickelodeon game show since the cancellation of Figure it Out and will be dueling with Win, Lose or Draw almost by default. The series will feature contestants trying to predict the outcomes of viral videos.
Web Heads has yet to air so it's far too early to tell, but it may be an easy early battle as W Lo D's ratings are barely sustainable.
Double Dare is basically Beat the Clock with a quiz element. Fun House is a Double Dare with only three stunts and the obstacle course replaced with a grand prix and the Fun House.
Fun House closed its doors in 1991. Double Dare had several incarnations on several networks between 1986 and 2000, and is usually the first name that comes to mind in the field of kids' game shows. So Double Dare takes the gak-covered crown here.
Contestants' knowledge of TV trivia is tested in a comedic format.
Remote Control premiered as MTV's first venture out of music videos and featured three individual contestants — usually college students — competing in an oversized basement in hopes of avoiding being thrown "Off the Air". Couch Potatoes was a syndicated program featuring two teams of three (usually older) contestants each competing in an oversized living room in hopes of avoiding being "cancelled".
Remote Control premiered a year and a half before Couch Potatoes and was still on the air well after Couch Potatoes folded — on both MTV and in syndication, with contestants in the Couch Potatoes age bracket also competing on the syndicated version.
Two contestants predict how a panel of six celebrities complete funny phrases.
Match Game used fill-in-the-blanks while Rhyme And Reason used couplets from poems that the celebrity panel had to complete for contestants to score points.
Match Game broke — and then rewrote — the rules for game show comedy. Rhyme And Reason had its moments but only ran one year. Match Game wins, having run six years on CBS and three more in syndication.
Two teams of celebrity/civilian players identify subjects based on clues.
Password used words identified with one-word clues; You Don't Say! used names of famous people and places identified using sentences with the last word left off with that word sounding like part of the name. The contestants' and host Tom Kennedy's set-up was so similar to Password that Goodson-Todman threatened to sue. YDS acquiesced and moved Kennedy's podium to the viewers' left. An even more blatant Password clone was The Object Is, Dick Clark's first game show (ABC, 1963) which married the name identification of YDS with Password's clue giving.
Password easily. While YDS is still remembered, it attempted two revivals in the 70s, neither lasting very long. Password has been done over many times since its 1961 premiere.
Two teams of celebrity/civilian players identify subjects based on clues.
Password used words identified with one-word clues; Pyramid – also created by Bob Stewart, a former Goodson-Todman executive who now was overseeing his own company – expanded the clue giving by allowing the clue-giver to use phrases, complete sentences … anything short of giving the actual answer itself.
Arguably, a tie. Although Password was in its original format into the 1970s, was married to "guess the master puzzle" by the end of the decade and remained a success, Pyramid would become a huge success in its own right, particularly when the rules and judging on what clues were acceptable became stricter and gameplay became more tense and outstanding. The end game for Pyramid became far more critically acclaimed than the simple "Lightning Round"/"Alphabetics" seen on Password.
Contestants vie to create three in a row on a magnified tic-tac-toe board.
Tic Tac Dough was a straight-forward quiz game; Hollywood Squares employed celebrities giving answers with contestants determining if the celebrity is right or wrong.
Hard to tell. Both shows were subject to some sort of controversy ( the original TTD for giving answers to contestants, Squares for briefing celebrities about answers, which Mark Goodson found tantamount to cheating), but both shows also have multiple revivals.
British game shows broadcast in the teatime slot by dueling channels ITV and BBC1. Actually have their ratings compared on Wikipedia and forums for some reason.
The Chase has contestants compete against a quiz genius in speed rounds. Pointless asks contestants to suggest the least popular answers to surveys for points.
Quite hard to tell. Both are extremely popular and well regarded online and offline, and they tend to get very similar ratings. However, it seems like The Chase is just that bit more popular, usually getting the slightly higher audience figures (eg about 2.4 million compared to 2.2 million for Pointless), with the exception of a couple of weeks noted on the other wiki articles.
British game shows where teams attempt to defeat quiz geniuses for large amounts of money. Unlike Eggheads, both of these involve the team going against a single opponent, and they're by dueling channels ITV and The BBC
The Chase'' has Mark Labett, Anne Hegerty, Paul Sinha and Shaun Wallace, Revenge of the Egghead just has CJ de Mooi. Additionally, some other differences include the individual rounds (The Chase has a game board players have to clear, Revenge of the Egghead has a lives system) and the final chase (The Chase has players set a target for the Chaser, Revenge of the Egghead has CJ set the target for the team).
Given that the latter is fairly new at the moment, it's hard to tell which is going to win 'yet'. However, popular opinion online seems to be that The Chase is generally the better show based on the hosts and quiz brains being more likeable, with Egghead's CJ coming across as a kind of unpleasant character in the BBC's show.
Battle Of The Network Stars
Celebrities compete against each other in different athletic competitions.
Superstars featured athletes from all over the sporting map (Olympics, MLB, NFL, boxing, etc). Battle featured teams of stars from ABC, CBS, and NBC competing against each other.
Battle aired from 1978 to 1985 on CBS, with a brief revival attempt in 1988. Superstars had three different runs on ABC (1973-1984, 1991-1994, 1998-2002), one on NBC (1985-1990) and a one year run on CBS (2003). ABC in 2009, making it half celebrities (a la Dancing with the Stars) half-athletes.
In a double duel, NBC announced Singing Bee for fall 2007. Fox rushed the ripoff into production for summer 2007, which led NBC to announce an earlier start date before casting a host or taping an episode. The shows premiered on consecutive nights in July 2007. DFTL! has one contestant and an overall format echoing other big money game shows, whereas SB has multiple contestants in an elimination format, much like a spelling bee. Don't Forget the Lyrics! lasted three seasons on Fox before being canceled, while Singing Bee lasted only one season on NBC. The former went into syndication for a season, and the latter got Uncanceled when it moved to a Country Music-oriented version on CMT.
Singing Bee, which has outlasted both of Lyrics ' cancellations.
Demoliton Derby with tricked-out, remote controlled robots.
BattleBots actually was created to compete with the British version of the original Robot Wars. Robot Wars was strictly about the robot-on-robot violence. BattleBots tried to emphasize the human element — with more time given to competitor backstory and announcer wackiness.
BattleBots debuted near the end of Robot Wars' run, so they went out at about the same time. Robot Wars is much more fondly remembered. 'Bots is remembered mostly for Jaime Hyneman, Adam Savage and Grant Imahara being competitors.
Premium cable dark dramedies about middle-aged people turning to drug-dealing following a personal tragedy
Weeds is about a widowed soccer mom who deals pot, while Breaking Bad is about a chemistry teacher dying of lung cancer who cooks crystal meth. Also, while Weeds started out as a Black Comedy before it underwent Cerebus Syndrome, Breaking Bad was very dark from the beginning... and things only got more bleak from there.
Both shows are critically acclaimed, though Breaking Bad has higher ratings and a much longer list of awards under its belt, while Weeds is entering its eighth season and counting (versus Breaking Bad's five, at which point the series has a definite end). The real winners here are TV viewers for getting two great shows.
Fictionalized chronicle of the rise of organized crime in America during the first half of the 20th century, inspired by a non-fiction book: Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times and Corruption of Atlantic City and L.A. Noir: The struggle for the soul of America's most seductive city, respectively.
Boardwalk takes place in the East Coast and Chicago during the 1920s and has a corrupt politician turned gangster as main character; City takes place in Los Angeles and Las Vegas during the 1940s and has a crooked cop as main character. Real mobsters and other historical figures appear as secondary characters, two of whom (Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel) are shared by both shows. Boardwalk has many Shout Outs to The Godfather, while City draws inspiration from Film Noir.
Boardwalk Empire was already in its 4th season (and greenlighted for a fifth) when Mob City was born and promptly Screwed by the Network, with only 6 episodes being filmed and aired in couples over three weeks in December. Unenthusiastic following and reviews heralded its non-renewal two months later.
Friday the 13th had no real connections to the films other than the name while Freddy's Nightmares actually had Robert Englund reprising his role as Freddy Krueger, although his role was usually limited to serving as the host and narrator of each episode. Friday the 13th had a Myth Arc behind the stories and featured a regular cast while in Freddy's Nightmares the stories were mostly unrelated.
Both of them ended around the same time but Friday the 13th had lasted one more season, had more episodes and got more respect critically.
Both shows have been record-setting smash hits for their respective networks (AMC and FX, respectively), with consistent critical acclaim. The real winners are the viewers finally finding a good horror series to watch on TV. Still, "The Walking Dead" is a much more well-known show than "American Horror Story," and dwarfs it in social media impact.
Coven airs on FX and is the Darker and Edgier of the two shows, while East End airs on Lifetime and is based on a novel by Melissa de la Cruz.
Coven, being part of the American Horror Story franchise, will undoubtedly be the shorter-lived of the two, as each season of that show is a self-contained story while East End has already been renewed for a second season. However, Coven wins in terms of critical and ratings success, though East End has also been a hit for Lifetime in both regards.
The titles are indicative; Clarice will focus on the titular agent Starling soon after she graduates from the FBI academy, while Hannibal is made by Bryan Fuller and is about the cannibalSerial Killer and his relationship with FBI criminal profiler Will Graham.
Considering there hasn't been any word on Clarice since its announcement and Hannibal just finished its first season...
Dark tales of imprisoned serial killers and the FBI agents forced to interact with them.
The former includes a pastiche of all sorts of well-known killers both real and fictional, including the main character of the latter.
The Following has generally much better ratings, despite a drop during season 2, and got renewed early twice, while Hannibal has been on the bubble for its entire existence. Hannibal, on the other hand, has a ridiculously devoted fanbase, and incredibly strong support from critics (Season 2 has a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes), which The Following doesn't have (47% on Rotten Tomatoes for season 2).
Murderous cults being investigated and weeded out, the former by the FBI (led by Kevin Bacon), and the latter by a blogger whose brother may have been one of the cult's victims.
The Following has now become Fox's number-one scripted show, and a decent hit too, with ratings on par with NBC's Revolution. Cult, however, has not had nearly as much success, getting lousy ratings even by CW standards.
The Following has won, since it got renewed for a second season while Cult was pulled from the schedule after seven episodes.
Detective investigates crimes caused by paranormal phenomena.
The X-Files is an original series. Baywatch Nights was a BaywatchSpin-Off that started as a beach-themed P.I. Show somewhat reminiscent of Miami Vice before producer/star David Hasselhoff ordered a massive paranormal Re Tool to cash on the popularity of The X-Files at the time. Yet still remained beach-themed.
The X-Files redefined television and lasted nine seasons. Baywatch Nights was cancelled at the end of its bizarre season and today it is rare to find someone who believes such show existed, let alone watched it.
Post-ER hospital dramas focusing on flawed but heroic nurses.
Aside from different races of the two leads, Jackie is a bit Darker and Edgier, what with Jackie having an affair with the pharmacist who's also her dealer.
Jackie has Emmys and a strong supporting cast. HawthoRNe is critically derided for its blandness and being beholden to too many nurse drama tropes, and its incredibly mockable title. Jackie outlasted HawthoRNe seven (and maybe more) seasons to three.
Ensemble drama about the relationships between the family and staff of a large Edwardian house
Downton (like the original series of Upstairs Downstairs) is set in the 1910s, in the leadup to World War I; Upstairs Downstairs is set in the 1930s in the leadup to World War II — aside from that the storylines are strikingly similar, including one of the sisters having an affair with the driver, and the lady of the house dealing with a late pregnancy.
Downton's an international mega-hit, with three series in the bag, and a fourth on the way. Upstairs was cancelled after just two.
R-rated cable shows based on the historical Borgia family
The Borgias, produced by American network Showtime, was first planned as a film before being turned into a TV series; Borgia is an European coproduction that was intended as a series all along
The Borgias is better regarded for its higher production values and more renowned actors, and Borgia for its less glamourized, more cynical take on the subject and better historical accuracy overall. Three seasons were made in both cases, but while The Borgias was cut short, Borgia (with more episodes per season) was planned from the beginning to last three years, and will be able to finish its intended storyline.
The shows focus on the historical changes of the era, as well as breaking viewers' Nostalgia Filter for The Sixties by highlighting the injustices (racism and sexism, specifically) that were still rampant then.
No other show held a candle to Mad Men in terms of critical acclaim. Pan Am was the better received of the other two and lasted a full season before getting the axe. The Playboy Club got cancelled after three episodes.
TV series set during the Golden Age of Piracy, specifically on the island of New Providence in the modern-day Bahamas in the year 1715.
Black Sails (on Starz) is an action/adventure prequel to Treasure Island, telling the story of Captain Flint and his crew 20 years before the events of the book. Crossbones (on NBC) is a historical drama based on the life of Edward Teach (a.k.a. Blackbeard) who used the island as a political base of operations.
Toledo: Cruce de Destinos (2012)note Toledo: Cross of Fates
Spanish prime time TV series set in Medieval Castile, one aired by TVE and the other by Antena 3 (A3).
Isabel follows the life of Queen Isabella I (1451-1504), with few fiction licenses. Toledo, while de jure set in 1270, has near-zero historical content and is a youth-oriented TV series from the makers of Los Serrano and El Internado, its setting being just an excuse to have castles and sword fights
Originally slated to air in the same winter, Isabel was delayed for a year and virtually cancelled before airing, but turned into a Sleeper Hit praised by critics and the audience and was renewed for two seasons. The opposite happened to Toledo, which was panned by critics for bad writing, bad acting and lack of historical accuracy, and lost viewers at a steady pace until the station chose not to renew it at the end of the season. That A3's publicity tried to paint Isabel as a copy of Toledo only makes the latter's failure more hilarious.
Rival cop shows set in the inner cities (Chicago in the former, Baltimore in the latter) with eerily similar premises.
Homicide (based on a book by David Simon) was greenlit first but Angel Street (shot under the name Polish Hill) hit the airwaves first. A screening of the pilot revealed similarities between the two shows, leading Simon and producer Barry Levinson to consider a plagiarism lawsuit.
Homicide, easily. Angel Street was canceled after eight episodes while Homicide ran seven seasons and launched Simon's career in television.
Both started in 1993, though Homicide had the jump on NYPD Blue by eight months. Homicide lasted to 1999, its rival to 2005. NYPD Blue proved to be the bigger hit, although Homicide was critically lauded for its realistic tone. Homicide character Det. John Munch subsequently appeared in eight different series, and is now a regular in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
NYPD Blue by a small margin. (Homicide was more critically praised but NYPD Blue was much more well-known and lasted much longer)
Series launched within days of each other. ABC's The Unusuals takes a quirky, comedic approach, while NBC's Southland is a grittier kind of drama. Southland just got renewed for another season; Unusuals didn't. Then NBC canceled Southland before the second season started.
Southland wins by a mile. Though both series were axed after their first season, TNT picked up Southland for a second season after NBC dumped it, and it continued for a total of five seasons.
Phony Psychic solves actual crimes not through ESP, but an unusually sharp ability to observe and deduce.
Very different in tone, which defrays some of the cries of "ripoff" from Psych fans.
The Mentalist is one of CBS's most successful new shows; Psych isn't quite as big for USA, but is pretty big nonetheless. Lampshaded /Shout-Out-ed/ Take That-ed in a farewell spot the "Psych" acknowledged Monk as "the second-most-observant guy I know... well, third after The Mentalist."
Again, forensic specialists team up with the police to solve crimes.
Both shows have a work-driven dynamic: while CSI tackles street-level crimes, NCIS (which is a spin-off of JAG) is based on the real-life eponymous agency, investigating crimes in the Navy and Marines.
Another one that is won by CSI, even though NCIS is backed by JAG, a point also hammered by the spin-offs (three to one), though it gets funny when you consider NCIS: Los Angeles is a spin-off of a spin-off.
Sherlock keeps many of the aspects of original stories, while still twisting the stories to surprise long-time fans. Elementary seems to be taking more risks, moving Holmes to New York, making Watson a woman and a rehab counselor.
While Elementary has its strong points, Sherlock has the greater critical acclaim, more awards, and more anticipation for its third season than Elementary has for its second.
Series of respected novels about middle aged culturally literate detectives solving crimes through thinking instead of fisticuffs adapted for TV
Inspector Morse premiered in January 1987. The Ruth Rendell mysteries (featuring Ruth Rendell's Inspector Wexford' premiered in August 1987. Both series lasted until 2000 with Inspector Morse ending definitively with the death of the titular character, while Wexford ending less definitively and future episodes were only finally prevented by the death of star George Baker in 2011.
Both series were long runners and thanks to a combination of British Brevity and good source material, both managed to keep up the quality until the end. However, it is undeniable that Inspector Morse had the greater cultural impact and has spawned two spinoffs; Lewis and Endeavour
All are crime-solving tough guys with similar bookended monikers.
Kolchak: The Night Stalker is the actual original by way of its two pre-Kojack TV-movies that lead to the series, but Kojack was such a huge hit that it's easy to assume it was the other way around. Kodiak was officially a One-Episode Wonder, cancelled after its disastrous debut against Sanford and Son, but four episodes were aired.
Dramas about misanthropic modern lawmen evoking The Wild West, both based on popular book series.
Justified has just been renewed for a fourth season on FX while Longmire just premiered on A&E, to mostly positive reviews
Too early to tell, but Justified has the advantage of being on a more exposed network.
El Comisarionote The Commissioner (1999, T5)
Policías: En el corazón de la callenote Policemen: In the heart of the street (2000, A3), Mi Tenientenote My Lieutenant (2001, TVE)
Spanish cop shows.
El Comisario is the most classic police procedural, centered on the titular commissioner and the detective job of a few cops in his station. Policías is more action oriented and includes a couple of paramedics in its cast. Mi Teniente follows an unit of Spanish Gendarmerie (Guardia Civil) rather than the National Police Corps like the others.
Policías lasted six seasons but was beaten in the long run by El Comisario, which reached twelve. Mi Teniente failed to find an audience and was cancelled after 5 episodes.
It started with Eric Bischoff asking for a Monday night timeslot to compete directly with the WWF, and spawned a constant game of one-upsmanship which saw, among other things, WCW spoiling the WWF's shows on-the-air, WWF starting Raw 3 minutes early to get the jump on Nitro, WCW responding by starting a full hour earlier, WWF sending D-Generation X to mingle with the fans outside a Nitro event and cause trouble, and Eric Bischoff challenging Vince McMahon to a fight live on Pay-Per-View. Ahh, the Monday Night Wars... those were great times to be a wrestling fan.
Raw, to the point where McMahon got to bury Nitro on its last broadcast, setting up the unsuccessful "Invasion" storyline.
Sports Entertainment juggernauts vs. the more violent alternative
With the Monday Night Wars in full swing & pro-wrestling at it's most popular, TNN wanted their own pro-wrestling show. Enter Paul Heyman's ECW, the hardcore alternative to the WWF & WCW.
ECW on TNN was dropped from the network when the opportunity to snag WWF Raw in a Channel Hop arose, and the company ran it's final show in January 2001. The WWF signed the remaining major stars of ECW to their company, and eventually acquired the remains of the company - including the rights to the ECW name & video library. WCW was bought out by the WWF just over a month later, and is not as favorably remembered as ECW. Notably, WWE ran a ECW reunion show in 2005 & resurrected ECW as a WWE Brand in 2006; WCW has never received the same treatment.
With the WWE being the only sports entrainment promotoion to survive 2001, the door was open for a new company to fill the void left by WCW & ECW. TNA was formed by WWF & WCW alum Jeff Jarrett to fill that void, and set about creating it's own identity, with a six sided ring instead of the traditional four sided ring & the innovative X-Division.
It's still going on, but WWE is the clear winner. Whilst TNA (Or Impact Wrestling as it would later be rebranded) received plenty of praise for the X-Division & it's homegrown stars, the company has received widespread criticism for relying on WCW & WWE alums to put people in the seats rather than push their own stars. When Hulk Hogan & Eric Bischoff came into TNA, they promptly tried to compete opposite Raw, only for ratings to plummet & be forced back into their original time slot.
Country Mouse vs. City Mouse. It should be noted that, in the United States, both shows are "on the same side" since one network airs them both. The Big Brother franchise started in 1999 with the Dutch version, while the American version debuted in 2000. Survivor as a franchise name is an American original, though the concept is a reworking of the Swedish Expedition Robinson (1997)
In the US? Survivor. Outside the US? Arguably Big Brother.
Reality series putting young, attractive, and occasionally psychopathic strangers into a house sealed off from the outside world. The last person standing wins big.
For the most part, Glass House is Big Brother, with one twist — the audience is able to tell the residents what to do. Otherwise, you could say Glass House copied from the Big Brother template. And so can CBS, which sued ABC, as ABC hired many ex-Big Brother staffers for the new show.
Big Brother started the reality TV craze. Glass House has been all but cancelled due to extremely low ratings.
Pimp My Ride is formatted more like Extreme Makeover: The hooptie of the week is collected and the show follows the process of "pimping the car out."Overhaulin goes half-"Makeover", half-Punked, with the car's owner tricked into thinking his/her car has been stolen, impounded, or towed and the show's hosts giving them the run-around while the mechanics do their thing.
While both had long runs (Pimp — 6 seasons, Overhaulin — 5), Pimp was far more popular, spawning several spin-offs and memesnote Yo Dawg! We heard you like hottipe!.
The Contender was co-hosted by Sylvester Stallone in its first season, and gained notoriety when one of the contestants killed himself partly as a result of losing on the show.
Neither was very successful on free TV, but The Contender lived on on cable, so it gets the nod. But none of the contestants have really gone on to boxing stardom in either case, and both shows are overshadowed by The Ultimate Fighter, a similar style competition for UFC.
Reality shows where an established member of the restaurant/hospitality management world tries to save a struggling bar/restaurant from going under, often with a lot of drama over how subpar the food quality and service is
All three shows have a similar premise and no-nonsense hosts. Nightmares has a week to get the restaurant going again, Impossibletwo days and a budget of $10,000 and Bar Rescue, five days. Rescue is also different because it focuses more on a business aspect than menu/makeover aspect.
Reality shows focused on auctioning off repossessed storage units.
The content of the shows are very similar, but the execution varies between them. Auction Hunters puts more emphasis on testing and appraising their finds, Storage Wars puts more focus on the four factions bidding and Storage Hunters keeps most of the show on the auction grounds unless something needs appraised
Somewhat eccentric and abrasive gun shop owners make equally eccentric BFGsOf The Week.
Oddly enough, both air on Discovery Channelsimultaneously, just two nights apart. The main differences end up settling on the shops' own specialties and eccentricities, with American Guns capitalizing on its "Old West" theme and Sons of Guns being soaked in Louisiana flavor.
Sons of Guns started in January of 2011 and will complete at least two seasons. American Guns started in October of the same year. Rumors and rumblings with production problems concerning Sons suggested American Guns was picked up as "insurance," but these rumors have since been proven untrue. Likely Discovery pulled the same thing NBC did regarding Studio 60 and 30 Rock. American Guns was eventually canceled despite high ratings leading some to believe it was a response to the Sandy Hook School Shootings.
Little Miss Perfect (WE tv), Dance Moms (Lifetime)
Reality shows that premiered in 2009 about young girls in beauty pageants or dance competitions, and their Stage Moms.
Toddlers and Tiaras has more girls from 1-5, whereas Little Miss Perfect is about girls from 5-10. Dance Moms is about preteen dancers in Abby Lee's dance studio.
So far, Toddlers and Tiaras seems to be more popular and gets clips shown on news networks. Has had 4 seasons as opposed to Little Miss Perfect, which had only two. It's too early to tell with Dance Moms.
Stars tends to focus more on the customers and items being sold. Hardcore focuses more on the American Chopper-style conflicts.
So far, the winner seems to be Pawn Stars. Not only are they one of the most successful reality shows on cable television, but they have managed to capitalize on that fame by turning their shop into a new Las Vegas tourist spot as well as start their own line of merchandise. Hardcore Pawn, while still an entertaining show, doesn't seem to reach anywhere near the universal appeal Pawn Stars has. However, both shows have been successful enough to warrant their own spinoffs.
The X Factor was made by former Idol judge and record producer Simon Cowell, and is an adaptation of his British show of the same name (which was, in turn, the successor to Pop Idol, the show that spun off AI in the first place).
Reality game show where teams travel to exotic locales.
Lost premiered one day earlier.
Lost premiered seven days before 9/11 and, because it featured New York City imagery still featuring the Twin Towers, it ended up with (in this case justified) Executive Meddling to make it less triggering. This meant that only five of six episodes aired. The Amazing Race is still on. When asked, 99% of people will know a TV show called Lostas...
Two polar opposite families trade spouses for several days.
ABC broadcasts Wife Swap and claims to have done it first, while FOX aired Trading Spouses a few weeks before Wife Swap's debut in what seems to be a blatant ripoff (though both appeared to rip off a Chappelle's Show skit that aired one year earlier.)
Joseph was, essentially, The BBC's second season of their Musical Talent Show brand, which they debuted the previous year with How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?. Grease Is The Word was ITV's adaptation of the U.S. version of Maria. Joseph had Andrew Lloyd Webber, John Barrowman and Denise Van Outen judging, Grease had David Gest, musical producer David Ian, Brain Friedman from The X Factor and... Sinetta.
"Grease" was a ratings flop because it was in Doctor Who's time slot and didn't have the star pull.
Plastic surgery makeover shows.
Fox's copycat went the Fox Extra Tastelessness Step by putting the women through the hell of plastic surgery and then sent half of them home at the end of the episode while bringing the other half on to a beauty pageant.
Both caught a lot of controversy for trying to push the message that looks are everything and, as a result, both shows were ultimately canceled. The former has a More Popular Spin-off in the form of Extreme Makeover Home Edition, while the latter is a perennial inclusion on "Worst Reality Shows of All Time" lists.
Reality TV show about creative bakers making cakes.
The two leads are Red Oni, Blue Oni: Duff is usually very relaxed and surrounded by friends while Buddy is a bit more agitated and surrounded by relatives and his four older sisters. Ace Of Cakes makes cakes on the extremely decorative side while Cake Boss forgoes a bit on the fondant for both delicious and decorative cakes.
Both are/were successful, but Ace of Cakes by a small margin. It had 10 seasons and landed the Food Network some of its highest ratings ever. Cake Boss is still running, has had 4 seasons, and got its own spinoff "The Next Great Baker".
Little People, Big World
The Little Couple
Reality TV show about the lives of married little people on TLC
The former family has four children while the latter couple are newlyweds.
Food Wars (Travel Channel)
Food Feuds (Food Network)
Local restaurants with the same signature dish go head to head to see who's version is better.
Three main differences: The hosts ("Feuds" boasts Iron Chef Michael Symon, "Wars" has stage actress Camille Ford), the judging (Symon does the judging on "Feuds", "Wars" has a panel of 2-4 judges) and the focus ("Wars" features the local culture the rival eateries. "Feuds" focuses on the cooking and ingredients)
Too early to call. But "Feuds" does itself no favors by featuring (in its promos) locations already covered by "Wars."
One is a classic of popular culture, the other is cult kitsch. Notable in that Gene Rodenberry originally pitched Star Trek to CBS, who listened to his ideas on how to pull off a space show on a weekly TV budget, rejected the pitch, then went on to use all the ideas he'd given them to make Lost in Space.
Depends on how you look at it. On one hand, Lost in Space cleaned Star Trek's clock in the ratings and lasted longer. On the other hand, Star Trek spawned a successful franchise that maintained an almost constant presence from 1979 to 2005, and was successfully revived in 2009. Lost in Space faded away after its first and only TV series was cancelled, and the attempt to reboot it as a film series never made it past the first installment. We're giving this one to Star Trek.
Very different, but with enough surface similarities — and a documented pre-Deep Space Nine pitch of B5 to Paramount — to merit accusations of plagiarism. It should be noted that there is little evidence the creators of Deep Space Nine ever knew about the pitch of B5 to Paramount. On the other hand, the parallels between the Earthgov/Federation corruption, clandestine wars, and an end-season Heroic Sacrifice (via jumping from a cliff) doesn't help their case. Deep Space Nine began as more episodic, but started shifting toward more arc-based seasons when B5 grew in popularity.
Space Opera shows about a gang of weirdos on the loose in a Living Ship, with a bit more sex and moral ambiguity than usual for the genre.
Lexx was full of idea-driven weirdness and spent its budget mostly on space effects, Farscape stuck closer to the space opera formula and spent its budget mostly on creature effects.
Both lasted four seasons, Lexx ending with a relatively clear finale, while Farscape got cancelled on an extreme cliffhanger, finally resolved in a Grand Finale mini-series. Both continue to have loyal fanbases, although Lexx fans tend to be more defensive about it.
British time-travelling adventure shows, based first and foremost at young people but written with adults in mind.
The shows were produced by and screened on the UK's two biggest broadcasters; The BBC in the case of Doctor Who, and ITV for Primeval.
Both got rave reviews, but Primeval didn't really stand a chance against Doctor Who’s popularity. It doesn't help that Primeval was axed due to budget problems before being revived about 2 years later. But it was still a broad success on its own, often regarded as among ITV's best shows and inspiring both a hotly-anticipated Canadian spin-off series and a theatrical feature film (in Development Hell).
As seen by the list in the "Clone" column, LOST spawned a bevy of imitators trying to replicate its formula for success.
LOST outlasted them all. Every show in this entry not lucky enough to be called "LOST" was canceled after its first season due to low ratings, and every single one of them ended with a Left Hanging ending. Terra Nova, Alcatraz, The River and Revolution premiered after LOST had already gone off the air, however, but they still followed the Lost formula, and met the same fate as the other Lost clones.
Virtuality is from the writer of Battlestar Galactica while Defying Gravity was written by a writer from Grey's Anatomy. Both feature space crews of pretty people in a ship for a long duration of time, to unravel FTL-travel and explore every planet in the solar system, respectively. Virtuality has to deal with a possibly unreliable AI and possibly a hacker; it's implied that Defying Gravity's mission was at the behest of unknown forces.
Defying Gravity wins by a nose. Although it was canceled after its first season, it still made it farther than Virtuality, which was nothing more than a failed pilot turned into a TV movie.
An anthology show of fantasy/science fiction stories, always having a narrator open and end each episode.
Similar in premise, though there are a few subtle differences (for example, The Outer Limits was a full hour, whereas in the original The Twilight Zone only season 4 episodes were that long). Both series had at least one revival.
The original version of The Twilight Zone did better than the original version of The Outer Limits; it lasted five seasons in contrast to The Outer Limits’ two, and is usually better remembered. Adding up the total number of episodes from the original series and revivals, The Twilight Zone stands at 265 episodes, and The Outer Limits at 203. For the revivals, The Outer Limits lasted nearly twice as long as both Twilight Zone revivals combined.
Premiered six days apart. While the Addamses were proudly and extremely eccentric, very little was explicitly supernatural about them; though it was implied they had a witch ancestry. The Munsters, meanwhile, were a couple of vampires, a wolf-boy and a Frankenstein's monster, and considered themselves ordinary. The Addamses were portrayed as well-to-do and WASPy, while the Munsters seemed to be more working-class and ethnic. The Addams Family generally had the odder storylines and a more macabre sense of humor, while The Munsters was played more as a traditional Sitcom.
Both lasted to 1966. Ended in a stalemate, since they were both canceled in the same week. Even at their ratings peaks, both had the same amount of popularity. The Munsters has done better in syndication and The Addams Family had a major revitalization because of two successful movies in the early 1990s.
Socially awkward nerds befriend a woman who knows nothing about technology or geek culture.
The Big Bang Theory is a fairly straight American Sitcom with Soap Opera elements. The IT Crowd is a surreal British Work Com more along the lines of Graham Linehan's previous series Black Books.
Each one is popular in its country of origin. Graham Linehan referenced the supposed feud when he claimed intelligence reports said Bin Laden watched the The IT Crowd... only to reveal it was actually Big Bang Theory.
American sitcoms about an ensemble cast of seven close friends (both composed of four men and three women) that rely heavily on geek humor. Both shows' most popular characters are also their biggest geeks.
The Big Bang Theory, which airs on CBS, is more of a Work Com, as all of its main characters have full-time jobs, while Community, which airs on NBC, features a cast of characters who (up until the end of Season 4) are still attending community college. Community’s characters are more widespread in age, while Big Bang Theory’s are all around the same age (late twenties to early thirties). Pop culture references in BBT are also more heavily restricted to fantasy and science-fiction; Community is arguably the nonpareil in terms of metafictional humor, though.
Community was canceled in 2014, so The Big Bang Theory wins, although Community has had somewhat better critical reception. However, even after moving into the younger show’s timeslot in 2010, The Big Bang Theory continued to beat the tobacco juice out of Community in the ratings and award nominations. The Big Bang Theory hasn't had to contend with threats of cancellation, either, though doing this to Community may be responsible for its fans’ fabled passion.
Grandma's House came first and has recieved generally better reviews, although Friday Night Dinner has been fairly well recieved too. Friday Night Dinner was also the first of the two shows to be picked up for a US remake.
Another example of dueling shows created by the same network. Oliver Beene had the same style of humor and direction, but set in a version of the 1960s that basically came off as the 2000s in vintage clothing.
Oliver Beene lasted for two seasons while Malcolm lasted seven.
Sitcoms with families consisting of 3 kids and their father.
Full House aired on ABC for 8 seasons from 1987 to 1994. The father in this show was a Neat Freak with 3 daughters and had help from his cool brother-in-law (who was the lead) and his goofy best friend after his wife died in a car accident. Blossom, on the other hand, aired for 5 seasons on NBC from 1991 to 1996. The wife of the father in that show left for reasons unknown, and he is stuck raising his perky titular daughter and her two half-wit older brothers.
Comedy series about the different kinds of families in the 21st century (straight, gay, step, single-parent, interracial, young, experienced), all found under one extended family headed by classic TV patriarchs Al Bundy and Coach (Mr. Incredible or an redemption-seeking ice-skating coach to you young'uns), respectively.
Parenthood had the undignified burden of being the first 10pm show to try to fix the damage Jay Leno wrought on the NBC schedule, but has the credentials of Ron Howard producing and a who's who of the best actors and actresses of the last three decades; Modern Family has Ed O'Neill returning in front of the camera (ironically, playing a role originally intended for Craig T. Nelson who now stars in Parenthood, Frasier alumni Scott Levitan and Christopher Lloyd (no, not the guy who played Reverend Jim on "Taxi" or Doc Brown in the "Back to the Future" movies) behind it, rave reviews so far and having two if its stars in the Maxim 100 (including Sofia Vergara being on it for three years straight).
Too soon to tell, but Modern Family is the clear ratings winner for the time being.
Eccentric Channel 4 Brit-coms featuring eccentric characters, with little in the way of sets or budgets. Both co-written by its stars. Turned into Duelers by their side-by-side broadcasts on 4.
Spaced had the larger and younger cast and had more in visual gags and fourth-wall breaking; Black Books relied more on dialogue.
Both achieved cult status but Spaced has outlasted its sister-show. The rivalry is quite affectionate and just about all the cast from both appear on Black Books as guest stars or in Pegg and Wright's films.
Sitcoms about the lives of groups of four older women. (Designing Women in their 30's and 40's, The Golden Girls were 50+.)
Designing Women was more work com, with the ladies running an interior design company together. Golden Girls was more dom com, with the focus on their lives at home.
The Golden Girls had better ratings (Top Ten for most of its seasons), more acclaim, more awards (all main cast members won Emmys, one of only 3 shows to do so), and is remembered more fondly. Designing Women was successful, but was hit with controversy surrounding star Delta Burke's departure and a revolving door of cast members.
Both shows were cancelled after one season. A slight edge could be given to The Crazy Ones as its entire season of 22 episodes was shown and had more overall viewers compared to The Michael J. Fox Show which only got to air 15 of 22 (episodes) and had less overall viewers.
A group of twenty-something friends/roommates living in New York City
The most obvious difference was the main cast: Single's black, female-dominated cast vs. Friends ' white, gender-balanced cast. Living Single also tended less soap opera-ish and slightly more reality-based and avoided Friends' mass-Flanderization.
Friends lasted ten seasons. Living Single lasted only five, though the rerun appeal of both programs remain high. Friends was a huge success internationally, while Living Single didn't have much appeal on the international syndication level. Also, Friends spawned a (not very successful) spin-off.
Disputable. Apt. 23 was cancelled after its second season, while 2BG is still going, but Apt. 23 had far more critical acclaim throughout its run than 2BG, which has recieved a lukewarm critical reaction
Love Boat took place on a real-life luxury liner. Its' competitors came up with fantasy counterparts for the air (Flying High's super jumbo jet) and land (Supertrain's... super train). The focus of the series was slightly different as well: Love Boat followed Fantasy Island's formula of focusing on the guest stars, Flying High focused on the crew's wacky hijinksnote Basically Love BoatmeetsAirplane!, the train itself was Supertrain's main attraction.
Both shows ended up defined by larger than life villains (JR Ewing and Alexis Colby respectively) but Dallas kept itself at least a little grounded while Dynasty enthusiastically embraced its Soap Opera nature. The former had technically superior writing and acting, the later was arguably more fun. The shows even had dueling spinoffs: Knots Landing (Dallas) and The Colbys (Dynasty)
Dallas, which adopted a more soapish direction of its own to compete, leading up to the infamous "Bobby in the shower" moment. Dynasty eventually fizzled out in 1989 while Dallas lasted until 1991 (with two TV films following in the years afterward). A Dallas sequel has begun airing in 2012 on TNT, once again starring Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray.
The Street (2000). Spelled with a dollar sign in place of the S.
Wall Street drama.
Pretty much the same. In Bull a group of investment bankers break away from an established firm and start their own company. Having to struggle with the challenges of being the newcomers in a highly competitive market. In The $treet, viewers got to see the inner workings of a small brokerage firm. In a field dominated by larger firms.
Both were gone after one season, as apparently, Wall Street was better as a movie. Technically killed by bad timing. They both attempted to depict the "bull market" financial climate of their time, with investor confidence rising and a booming stock market. Their airing instead coincided with the bursting of the dot-com bubble, a stock market crash, and the bankruptcies or downsizing of several actual companies. Bull lasted for 11 episodes (with 11 more that never saw the light of day), ''The $treet' only 6.
Both air on E4. The former is a drama and the latter is a comedy. Skins focuses more on the Wild Teen Party aspect of life, resulting in suggestions that "Skins is what teens wish their lives were like, The Inbetweeners is what they actually are."
Ongoing. Moving The Inbetweeners from spring to autumn has given it a massive ratings boost, but Skins’ global fanbase is arguably broader (even if MTV ruined it with its American adaptation).
Ringer started out strong and was hyped up as Sarah Michelle Gellar's return to TV, but its ratings plummeted and was eventually canceled. Despite lacking Ringer's star power, The Lying Game has been received better by viewers and critics alike and got renewed for a second season. ABC Family's series wins this one.
A group of female friends who are all successful businesswomen.
One of them had four women; one had only three. Both were written by former Sex and the City writers.
Both of them got screwed over thanks to the WGA strike of late 2007-early 2008, airing just seven episodes each in their first seasons. Unfortunately, Lipstick Jungle was the only one that got renewed.
Teen Drama about a teenager being thrust into a different social circle, and falling for one of the popular girls.
Both debuted at the start of in the 2003/2004 season. The major difference was that One Tree Hill was focused on a pair of half-brothers who grew up hating each other but shared a common love of basketball, whilst The O.C. focused on a kid from the wrong side of the tracks being taken in by a wealthy family, emo music & comic books were involved.
The O.C. was more critically acclaimed but lasted for 4 seasons in comparison to One Tree Hill running for 9. The O.C. is still fondly remembered due it's meta humor & portrayal of geek culture before it was popular to do so, whilst One Tree Hill is often cited as being one of the pioneers of using a Time Skip as a narrative device to bypass the character's college years.
Live action drama featuring people discovering they have superhuman abilities
Smallville was a Superman origin story, and focused on the growth of Clark Kent from farm boy to Earth's greatest hero; Heroes was about what would happen if people with super powers started appearing in the "real" world. Smallville would gradually introduce various DC Comics characters over the course of the series, whilst Heroes wasn't tied to an existing comic book property. Due to it being set in the "real world" Heroes was a lot darker than Smallville.
Smallville is the clear winner, lasting 10 years & ending on it's own terms; Heroes started out strongly but became increasingly convoluted & received a large critical backlash as the show went on, before it was cancelled after it's fourth season. Coincidentally, both shows ended with the world at large becoming aware of the existence of superpowers, but in Heroes it went as an unresolved cliffhanger, whilst in Smallville it served as the culmination of Clark Kent's growth into Superman.
Both shows focus on Bad Ass Normal characters; but Arrow is an adaptation of Green Arrow, whilst Agents is a tie-in to the Marvel Cinematic Universe & focuses on a small team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. As such, the Agents cast is built upon brand new characters & extremely obscure existing characters due to the films having first rights to the major characters & threemajorproperties being off limits due to rights issues; whilst Arrow more or less has free reign to use any existing DC Comics character.
Too early to tell. Agents has a higher budget & garners higher ratings than Arrow, but those ratings are considered poor for ABC & have plummeted since the pilot aired, whilst Arrow is one of The CW's highest rated shows. Arrow generally receives more critical & fan acclaim than Agents, and has spawned a spin-off focusing on The Flash to début in the 2014/15 season.
Shows based on Marvel Comics & DC Comics properties that focus on the law-enforcement rather than the superheroes themselves.
A continuation of the Marvel vs. DC rivalry. Whereas S.H.I.E.L.D is a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe & (as mentioned above) has it's hands tied on which characters it can use; Gotham is a separate continuity to existing DC properties, but has it's hands tied on which characters it can use, since the show starts with the deaths of Thomas & Martha Wayne & will feature a young Bruce Wayne. Humorously, CTV will broadcast both shows for Canadian release.
Whilst Arrow & The Flash share a continuity & both air on The CW, Constantine stands separately & airs on NBC. However, Arrow is an action series, whilst The Flash is more of a Sci-Fi series & Constantine is a supernatural/horror themed series.
Hour-long opinion shows featuring hosts with wildly-inflated egos.
Olbermann is the liberal, O'Reilly is the conservative.
Unsurprisingly split among party lines: More conservatives watch O'Reilly's show, while liberals tended to go for Olbermann. In terms of viewership, O'Reilly consistently won, while Olbermann got more Internet buzz. Countdown was cancelled on MSNBC in 2011 and quickly picked up by Current TV. It enjoyed great success, despite being on an independent and hard-to-find cable network, but in 2012 Olbermann was fired from Current and is currently off the air. So technically O'Reilly won, but Olbermann's protégés at the two networks (Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O'Donnell, and Cenk Uygur) are doing well enough on their own to be considered legacy victories.
The Ed Sullivan Show – initially known as the "Toast of the Town" was hosted by the New York entertainment columnist, and he presented every type of act imaginable – from burlesque comedy and opera to ballet and top popular music acts of the day; the best-known episodes are the ones that featured early national TV performances of Elvis Presley, The Beatles, and The Muppets. Among the many competing shows of "various acts" bills was ABC's Hollywood Palace, taped at the eponymously-named venue in Hollywood, California. Unlike Ed Sullivan, Hollywood Palace had guest hosts each week; the program is best known for the earliest performances of The Rolling Stones and The Jackson 5.
Ed Sullivan; even more is that the show was in the same time block for almost its entire 23-year run (1948-1971) – Sundays at 8 p.m. EST. For its part, Hollywood Palace had a six-year run (1964-1970) and was able to attract most of the same big-name acts as Sullivan did, including (most notably) The Rolling Stones and The Jackson 5.
Laugh-In was the #1 show at the time for NBC. ABC decided to get in on the action by making their own irreverent sketch show that pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable at the time.
Laugh-In won, both with critics and in the ratings. Turn-On, in contrast, was so bad that it either got banned and replaced with alternate programming, was canceled ten minutes into its first episode, or aired in its entirety... and never shown again.
Both are varietysketch shows featuring a cast of young comedians and comedy writers, popular celebrities of the day, popular musical performances of the day, and both air live on their respective coasts (SNL in the East and Fridays in the West)
ABC's Fridays started out as a crude and disgusting carbon copy of SNL (in fact, the third episode, which featuring a sketch about a zombie diner and a sketch about prim and proper women who spit, was the final episode in a lot of affiliates, as they received complaints about the show's content), but when SNL went through Seasonal Rot in the early 1980s, Fridays came out on top as the edgy sketch show that had a young cast of Crazy Awesome comedians and the best in popular music.
While Fridays did prove to be better than SNL was at the time in terms of writing and acting, Fridays ended up getting screwed by ABC when the network moved it to midnight to make room for Nightline and extended the show from 70 minutes to 90 minutes, further cementing detractors' belief that Fridays was an SNL clone. It also doesn't help that by 1982, SNL was slowly, but surely, turning itself around with a better cast and better writers. Fridays ended up getting canceled after ABC got the brilliant idea to make it a primetime sketch show — and it tanked in the ratings thanks to Dallas (which was the show of the early 1980s).
Both shows have guests and musical guests and were produced by Lorne Michaels.
SNL still won. The New Show failed to capture an audience of its own. Only lasting for 9 episodes, broadcast over the course of two months (January-March, 1984). Its ratings were among the lowest of the season. It did so bad that it prompted Lorne Michaels to return to Saturday Night Live in 1985.
The first is a classic of the genre, despite its many highs and lows. The other is pretty much the same, only it's taped, an hour long, and comes off the heels of In Living Color! being cancelled after five years and House of Buggin and Saturday Night Special being taken off the air due to bad reviews and worse ratings.
Though both shows held their own (and have fans who will forever fight over which show is most superior), Saturday Night Live wins because it's more popular, it's still on the air, is in syndication on cable (VH-1 and VH-1 Classic), and is on DVD (the first five seasons and several "Best Of" clip shows and documentaries about the show's history), Internet streaming, and Netflix, while MADtv was canceled, hasn't been syndicated since 2010, and is only on DVD.
Stand-up comedy series that showcase young, up-and-coming black comedians
Both debuted in the mid '90s, during the Stand Up Comedy Boom. Def Comedy tends to pull bigger names and uses its pay cable slot to get away with saltier language. Comicview tends to edit its shows, often splicing several comics together for themed segments.
Comicview has been on-air longer, running continuously from 1992 to 2008.
The Midnight Special
Don Kirshner's Rock Concert
Ninety minutes of live music by a variety of acts, with occasional taped shows and comedy.
Special debuted six months before Rock Concert. Special aired on NBC, Rock Concert was syndicated. The biggest difference between the shows were the hosts: Midnight Special had Wolfman Jack as the announcer and a series of guest hosts, Rock Concert was hosted by Kirshner himself.
Both shows ended in 1981, but Midnight Special wins here because the concerts are offered on DVD via Nostalgia FilterInfomercials, which make them more familiar.
It really depends on your style of comedy, with Tosh being more straightforward, while Web Soup delves into sketch comedy and absurdist comedy. It also has the all-important Blessing of McHale, along with Chris Hardwick, who has been on TV for years and has built a good Internet following. However, Tosh is a huge hit, and Web Soup was cancelled.
Big Bite, skitHOUSE
Australian sketch comedy series launched by commerical networks in the first half of 2003
Seven had Big Bite, Nine Comedy Inc and Ten skitHouse
Comedy Inc lasted until 2007, whereas both Big Bite and skitHOUSE both ended in 2004