A good TV show entertains you. It can take the edge off after a hectic day at the office, like a glowing security blanket that comforts you with its pleasant characters, reliable rhythms, and simple storylines that can be wrapped up in the time it takes to cook a frozen pizza.
But a great TV show does much more than just lull you into a good night's sleep. The best television challenges you, rattles you, shakes up your worldview, and most importantly, it stays with you.
Some episodes of television are so important that they actually changed the course of history -- or at least the course of entertainment. They put something truly new -- and maybe even a little taboo -- out into the world that wrinkles the status quo and breathes fresh air into the medium.
Whether those involved with these revolutionary shows knew it or not, they were changing the way we'd watch television for years to come. They were the first to talk openly about homosexuality, the first to suggest it was okay to kill off a main character, and the first to cram a bunch of strangers into the same room and let the cameras just...roll.
The following episodes gave television a much-needed kick in the pants, and made history in the process.