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Gateway Series / Live-Action TV

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  • Doctor Who can be a gateway series for non-Brits to introduce them to British Telly, British sci-fi, or British culture in general. They may then move on to Life on Mars or something similar. Generally anything shown on PBS stations.
    • As a sub-example, the Eight Doctor was intended as a gateway for American sci-fi fans to get into Doctor Who without a massive Archive Panic, but the Ninth Doctor proved to be a much better and more popular entry point.
    • And the novelisations in the 70s and 80s served as a gateway into reading for many young fans. Quite a few of whom went on to have successful careers as professional writers in TV, literature, or and/or comics.
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    • The new series tends to be a good entry point to the Classic stuff, and a line of DVDs pairing New and Classic stories was even released for this purpose. There are many stories of people who fell in love with David Tennant, checked out the other new series Doctors, checked out the Classic serial "Genesis of the Daleks", and (some Archive Panic later) became the sort of person who has very strong opinions about the writing in Missing Episodes.
  • Similarly, Downton Abbey might be to British Costume Drama what Doctor Who is to British Sci-Fi. Downton has become something of a surprise sleeper hit on American PBS stations. While Doctor Who might lead people to Being Human and Merlin (2008), Downton might lead them to the new Upstairs Downstairs and The Hour.
  • Stargate SG-1 is an excellent show for getting people into sci-fi shows, with it involving modern day soldiers in a variety of settings and starting off with more of an action feel, before going deeper into the sci-fi.
  • Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger is a gateway series for those who entered Sentai fandom earlier than Gekiranger.
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    • This is because Deka was the first Super Sentai series to be subbed in its entirety.
    • And if it wasn't Deka it was Samurai Sentai Shinkenger, since it came along right around the time most fans though that Power Rangers was going to be cancelled for good, and started looking elsewhere. Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger did this as well, especially because of the sheer awesomeness.
    • Also, Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger is this for those growing up on just Anime and/or Power Rangers.
  • Your average western toku fan's story goes a little something like this: "Gee, I sure did like Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers when I was little! So wait, it's actually an adaptation of a Japanese show? I think I'll check it out- wow, this sure is a good show!" And it goes on from there.
  • A popular gateway series to Kamen Rider is Kamen Rider Den-O. Only Kamen Rider Decade and Kamen Rider Double are like Den-O so it's not especially representative of Kamen Rider.
    • A more representative example for Kamen Rider would be Kamen Rider Ryuki, as many of the trends and tropes used in modern Rider series were first used in Ryuki.
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    • Meanwhile, Kamen Rider V3 can easily qualify as one to the various Showa-era series, due to being the only entry to get a legitimate R1 release.
    • Kamen Rider Gaim also has a reputation of bringing in new fans, particularly because of Gen Urobuchi being the show runner.
  • Odds are that if you ask someone who got into Ultra Series during the Heisei era what their first show was, if it wasn't the one that was currently airing at the time they got into the franchise, they'll tell you it was Ultraman Tiga - partially due to the fact that it's one of the few series that has been shown on US television, thanks to a Gag Dub courtesy of 4Kids Entertainment. For older fans, it's usually the United Artists TV-distributed dub of the original Ultraman done by Peter Fernandez and his Speed Racer crew, which aired on many US television channels in First-Run Syndication until the 1980s.
  • If it weren't for Star Trek there probably wouldn't be half as many sci fi nerds as there are now. In fact, there probably wouldn't be as many people in the space industry.
  • Skins was also a gateway series to British Shows like Misfits and The Inbetweeners.
  • Iron Chef is a gateway series on two levels, one for the Cooking Show genre and two, for Japanese Game Shows in general.
  • Firefly can be this for those who don't know or didn't pay any attention to Joss Whedon, particularly those who were a little too young to be into Buffy the Vampire Slayer in its heyday and/or are turned off from the whole vampire thing by other franchises.
  • Rescue 911 has been this to Crime, Survival, and rescue shows. Not to mention, a couple people who watched the show in The '90s were inspired in part by this show to become Police officers, firefighters, emergency dispatchers, and paramedics.
  • Babylon 5 seemed to attract a certain segment of viewers who weren't otherwise sci-fi fans.
  • JAG is a combination of a Military and Warfare Television and Law Procedural, so it could be argued that it may serve as a gateway to either genre.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus, Mr. Bean, Blackadder and Fawlty Towers to British comedy in general.
  • QI frequently serves as an introduction to the concept of the British Panel Show for non-Brits, being one of the most popular and acclaimed of the genre.
  • In the 90's, Nickelodeon dived heavily into Genre Roulette, with an incredibly diverse and varied collection of live-action programming that spanned almost every conceivable genre. For kids who grew up during that time, something on Nickelodeon probably served as a kid-friendly gateway to your genre of choice, ranging from sitcoms (Clarissa Explains It All, The Adventures of Pete & Pete,) sketch comedy (You Can't Do That on Television,) mystery (The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo,) sci-fi (The Tomorrow People, Space Cases,) even horror (Are You Afraid of the Dark?)
  • Boys Before Flowers is known for being one of the most popular Korean Dramas and introducing many western fans to the genre.
  • Thunderbirds is by far the most popular show in the Gerry Anderson canon, and has introduced countless fans to the rest of his shows.
    • As the first puppet show by Gerry Anderson in over 15 years, Terrahawks was a similar gateway series to many 80's kids.
  • The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries in the The '70s was an enticement for young viewers to try out not only the novels of the Stratemeyer Syndicate, but also reading fiction in the novel format in general.
  • Dramaworld serves as a good jumping off point for the world of Korean drama, starring an American protagonist, having the characters explain K-drama-exclusive tropes to each other as plot points, and featuring plenty of gorgeous Korean men and tongue-in-cheek humour. The fact that a lot of the tropes are ones familiar to Western viewers from American-style Soap Opera helps keep it accessible.
  • Reality series Project Runway has gotten a lot of people interested in fashion design, and America's Next Top Model has done the same with fashion modeling.

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