There are certain shows that hit the airwaves and you have no idea how they will do the first time you watch, but by the end of that first episode, you are hooked. The shelf life for a show is normally 5-7 seasons as either the Networks find a new hot challenge or one of the main actors decides they want to try their hand at the big screen.
With Grey’s Anatomy, no one saw this coming. There was a hospital drama void to fill after the success of ER but it was hard to find the right show with such a diverse cast of characters that could carry on that legacy. Who knew that a show about doctors in an era where the detective, lawyers, and comedies would come in a sweep everyone under the rug?
What ABC pulled off has been remarkable to say the least. They put a cast of actors from different backgrounds and races and gave the world one of the largest cast shows in TV history. Not that it wasn’t without any risk. Grey’s cast is so big that many wondered how it would last. What many don’t remember about the show when it first started 13 seasons ago is that it’s was not as wide open as it was now.[embedit snippet=”2″]
When the show first aired back in 2005 it was centered around Meredith Grey and her four friends, Christina, Alex, Izzie, and George. Along came other important members like Derek, Miranda, Richard, and Burke but the basis of the show was still in the hospital. The writers didn’t venture too far from their safe place for the reason of failure. It was new and they were forced to keep it simple.
But as the show grew in their audience so did the characters and their stories. There were many relationships, hook-ups, marriages, fights, sex scenes, you name, it Grey’s had it. As the years went on, for fear of becoming stale, the writers began to do what in TV land is considered putting your career on the line. They began to kill or ship off main characters, one by one. On some shows that may have meant the end of ratings and jobs but for Grey’s it was a new beginning.
As we enter Season 13, it seems the show has come full circle of sorts. There is a new Chief, a few more couples, new family, hospital drama and that was all at the end of Season 12. Grey’s has so many storylines to run through that what we are seeing now could very well set us up for the longest run in TV history.
The show can go on without Meredith and the original members as primary actors. The new batch of doctors are very capable of taking the torch and running with it, not missing a beat. For every Meredith, there is a Maggie, for every Derek there is a Jackson, and for Miranda there is April. This may not be the plan of the writers, but it’s funny how it all has played out. It’s like the show just recycled itself without going through that phase where the fans knew it was recycling. The new faces were brought in so smoothly that we didn’t notice until three seasons later what was happening.
Grey’s is about to start their 13th season, they will need to make it another 7-8 year to top Gunsmoke who rode success for 20 seasons. I can’t count The Simpsons due to that being a cartoon and their characters never ages or changes clothes. But if Grey’s can keep the content fresh they have a chance to be the longest running scripted to show in history.
They found a way to last 13 seasons, I’m pretty sure they have another 8 left in them.