6. 'A Different World'
This spinoff of The Cosby Show — in which Lisa Bonet's character went to college — spun all the way off when its star left to have a baby with Lenny Kravitz after the first season. Undaunted, Cosby brought aboard Debbie Allen (no stranger to TV shows about school through her multiple Emmy-nominated role on the performing-arts high-school drama Fame) to revamp the show. Its many episodes on issues facing young black Americans were groundbreaking, but it was also a funny show about university life — parties, sports, cramming, crushes, cafeteria food. And in the tempestuous romantic pairing of snobby Southern belle Whitley Gilbert (Jasmine Guy) and brainy Brooklynite Dwayne Wayne (Kadeem Hardison and his flip-up sunglasses), it had its own answer to its fellow NBC Thursday night sitcom Cheers' leading couple, Sam & Diane.