Happy Days (1974 – 1984)
Happy Days was one of the most successful sitcoms of the seventies. Setting aside the catchy theme tune, a lot of that was down to the breakout success of The Fonz – probably the single most well known character in the history of comedy on the small screen.
The show was never intended to be about The Fonz – it was meant to be about the Cunningham’s, which ostensibly it continued to be – but the character was so popular and Henry Winkler did such a great job with the role, that the producers had no choice but to elevate him into the headline spot.
Set during the fifties and sixties, Happy Days was so ingrained in that familiar culture and played off the public nostalgia for that particular time period so well, that a lot of younger people today think it was produced in those rock ‘n’ roll years it was representing, instead of being two decades removed.
Did Happy Days stay on television too long? Probably. After all, the phrase jumping the shark was born in an episode when The Fonz literally did just that – but it’s a well-remembered, family friendly sitcom, that was really the benchmark for such things at the time. Over thirty years after its final episode aired, Happy Days still manages to feel fresh, and still raises a smile.