Two months ago, I found the entire series of the Cosby Show available on Netflix instant streaming. Since then, I have watched all 201 episodes, and largely nothing else.
The show ran from 1984-1991 and holds up extraordinarily well over time. In fact, today I make its claim as the greatest television show of all time (Specifically the first 4 seasons. After the kids started going to college, we lost all of the amazing parenting examples week after week, and it became more or less, a straight sitcom).
Unlike today's sitcoms, the show portrays a family you want yours to become - not one even more dysfunctional than yourselves that you can feel good laughing at. The children are loved unconditionally, disciplined strictly and always polite. And like I have claimed many times on Martin Luther King Day, I believe that Bill Cosby had a bigger role in civil rights for my generation than any other man.
He made a black family aspirational in 1984, and turned them into the most watched show on television.
Here's my question. Could a show like this succeed today? Because TV needs it.