6. L.A. Law
The hit legal drama aired on NBC from 1986 to 1994, and won 15 Emmy’s.
Aside from having an outstanding cast that would go on to have great success (Don Cheadle, Bryan Cranston, Kevin Spacey, and many more), the cases in the show dealt with social and cultural issues of the 80’s and 90’s including gay rights, homophobia, sexual harassment, and AIDS.
Season five featured primetime TV’s first girl-on-girl kiss, and though many sponsors pulled their ads from the show, the kiss set the stage for future kisses in shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Glee.
The 1993 drama starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington was the first major Hollywood film to discuss HIV/AIDS, homosexuality, and homophobia.
Hanks won the Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of a lawyer who is fired due to AIDS discrimination.
Famed critic Roger Ebert said, at the time, that the film was groundbreaking for discussion around the AIDS crisis, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner was for interracial relationships.
8. Angels in America
In 2003, HBO made a miniseries based on the critically acclaimed play that discussed Reagan era politics, the growing AIDS epidemic, and the rapidly changing social and political climate in America.
The miniseries featured an all-star cast including Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, and Emma Thompson, who play characters in 1985 Manhattan who’s lives intersect in meaningful ways.
HBO’s production was a huge success, winning five Golden Globes, and set a then-record for winning 11 Emmys after being nominated for 21.