1) Deadwood (HBO)
NYPD Blue co-creator David Milch wanted to examine how people live when there is no law. The answer: they say c---sucker a lot (six times in the 2004 premiere). If they're Ian McShane's Al Swearengen, they also run a saloon/whorehouse and have men murdered and fed to hogs.
2) Degrassi: The Next Generation (The N)
By now you're familiar with the ''Omigod! I'm, like, totally pregnant!'' template of most teen shows. You know, the episode where the panicked girl realizes she's ''late,'' ticks off her options, and then discovers — whew! — it's just a false alarm. Not so on Canadian import Degrassi: During a two-episode arc called ''Accidents Will Happen'' in season 3, 15-year-old Manny (Cassie Steele) confirms that yes, she's pregnant, and decides pretty much immediately that yep, she's getting the abortion. It's not the first time a TV character has terminated a pregnancy — Bea Arthur's Maude did it in 1972 — but the age of the Degrassi characters and the show's target audience made it especially hot-button.
In one of the many Jackass stunts that screamed ''don't try this at home,'' Johnny Knoxville put on a flame-retardant suit, tied raw steaks to himself, and climbed atop a barbecue grill as assistants sprinkled him with lighter fluid.
4) South Park
In the 2005 episode ''Bloody Mary,'' faithful Catholics flock to South Park when a statue of the Virgin Mary is seemingly bleeding from its butt. Pope Benedict XVI shows up to investigate and declares that the bleeding is actually coming from the statue's vagina, not her anus, and is therefore not a miracle. ''Chicks bleed out their vaginas all the time,'' the pope shrugs.
5) All In The Family
The Norman Lear-produced sitcom was the face of in-your-face TV in the 1970s (it ran from '71 to '79, before being repackaged as Archie Bunker's Place). Starring outspoken bigot Archie Bunker (Carroll O'Connor), it shed new light on simmering political issues such as homophobia and racism, and changed the nature of American television forever.
An antecedent to VH1's Celebrity Paranormal Project, MTV's Fear sent five contestants into supposedly haunted locations where they performed séances, spent hours alone in creepy rooms, and screamed — a lot. In one episode, a claustrophobic contestant lay silently in a dark coffin while another shoveled dirt on top, essentially burying him alive. (He survived.)
7) The O.C.
"With its legendary introduction — ''Welcome to the O.C., bitch!'' — this soapish drama promised to take teenage horseplay to levels ne'er before seen on the likes of Beverly Hills 90210. In the first episode, audiences were treated to an underage party that featured the standard boobs, booze, and beachside brawls, but the stakes were raised with some open cocaine use by minors — a controversial phenomenon on the small screen. Indeed, Marissa (Mischa Barton)'s alcoholism would become a fixture of the show, culminating with her near-death tequila-and-painkillers blackout in Tijuana."
8) The Tom Green Show
"From a community channel in Ottawa to Comedy Central and MTV, Canadian comedian Tom Green wielded his brand of sensationalist schlock, which ranged from the benign (The Bum Bum Song) to the offensive (rubbing feces on his microphone before interviewing strangers on the street). "
Ellen DeGeneres owns her own moment in pop-culture history: In 1997, she became the first lead actor in a series to come out of the closet on national TV.
10) In Living Color
When Keenan Ivory Wayans was given the green light for ''anything'' he wanted to do on his own TV show, he brought us this satirical variety show in the vein of Saturday Night Live, but with a more diverse cast and even less political correctness. EW predicted that Wayans would be known as the bravest impressionist alive for his spoofs of Mike Tyson and Arsenio Hall.
11) Ghetto Mess aka We've Got To Do Better
Based on lawyer Jam Donaldson's controversial website Hotghettomess.com, the program mixes street reporting with video clips that, according to CNN, ''show examples of outrageous fashion and behavior, mostly in the black community.''
12) Undressed (linked to Sausage Factory)
Lots and lots of promiscuous sex — straight, gay, bi, Adam Brody, etc. — among high-school kids and college students. Particularly in laundry rooms.
13) NYPD Blue
What you'd expect when the co-creators are Steven Bochco (Hill Street Blues) and David Milch (Deadwood): The cops talked dirty. The actors signed nudity agreements, which Dennis Franz (Det. Sipowicz) thought was a ''waste of paper'' for a network show — until he bared his bottom in Season 2.
14) Dawsons Creek
The first gay and romantic kiss on network TV belongs to Jack McPhee (Kerr Smith) and Ethan, a dude he met on a train. The Creek was also known for its intense preoccupation with sex, even though some of the main characters rarely got around to actually having it.
Orgies, graphic breast-reconstruction surgery (referred to on the show as recreating ''perfect sweater puppies''), alligators munching on dead bodies — what hasn't happened on this show?
List according to Entertainment Weekyl, EW.