Created by director James Burrows and writer-producers Glen and Les Charles, Cheers would become the last blast of pre-irony prime-time. There was no callous snark, no deconstructive riffs, and only a handful of time-stamped pop-culture references. For the most part, people sat around a bar and talked. But despite its elemental simplicity, the show sparked a quiet revolution in the way TV comedy was produced, with each half-hour episode playing into a soap-style arc of love, death, and bar-bets that would go on for eleven seasons. “It was something bigger than a sitcom,” says early Cheers writer-producer Sam Simon, who’d later help develop The Simpsons. “It was a sweeping narrative. [Nowadays], producers sit down with the network at the beginning of the year and talk about the arc of the show. That’s because of Glen and Les and Jimmy.”
Essential reading for one and all.