24. Night Court
Air Dates: January 4, 1984–May 31, 1992
Stars: Harry Anderson, Karen Austin, John Larroquette, Paula Kelly, Richard Moll, Selma Diamond, Ellen Foley, Charles Robinson, Markie Post, Florence Halop, Marsha Warfield
Every sitcom needs a good set-up, and Night Court's was one to marvel at, if only for how smart the pitch was. Picture it: A show that revolves around the night shift of a Manhattan court. Each week you bring in new, zany characters that've been arrested to bounce and play off the already zany court staff. You've got the judge who loves magic, the priapic prosecutor, a bunch of attractive public defenders, and a hulking, dumb bailiff.
Over the course of 9 seasons, Reinhold Weege's Night Court was nominated for 31 Emmys. For five seasons straight, it was a Top 30-rated show, and when it came time to end, almost a quarter of Americans watched the finale. The show is best remembered for John Larroquette's performance as prosecutor Dan Fielding; the comedy legend won four consecutive Emmys for his portrayal of the walking hard-on with a heart of gold. —RS