Sept. 22: Happy birthday to several classic TV shows

The date marks the anniversary of the pilot episodes of "Friends," "The West Wing," "Lost" and "Veronica Mars."

Television shows have been a mainstay in modern society and culture. Nowadays, series like "Wednesday," "The Last of Us," "Game of Thrones," "Money Heist," "Narcos," "Stranger Things" and countless others are available with just the press of a button.

However, despite the impact that TV shows have on society, they do not have their own official day. However, it would be easy to choose a date, as on Sept. 22, several classic shows have premiered their pilot episodes. Here are a few:

'Family Matters' (1989)

One of the first sitcoms, "Family Matters" premiered on ABC on Sept. 22, 1989. The comedy introduced us to Carl and the Winslow family.

However, perhaps the best-known character from this show was the annoying and nerdy neighbor, Steve Urkel and his classic catchphrase, “Did I do that?” He uttered these words for first time in the middle of the first season. With Urkel taking center stage, the show aired more than 200 episodes and a total of nine seasons.

'Friends' (1994)

Perhaps the most iconic sitcom, "Friends," launched on NBC on Sept. 22, 1994. On this day, viewers first met Rachel, Joey, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe and Ross, a group of friends who shared an apartment in New York and frequented the Central Perk coffee shop.

The show served as a commentary on modern society and aired for a total of 10 seasons. It even had a special to celebrate its 25th birthday that aired on HBO Max in 2021. The show is also remembered for its iconic theme song, "I'll Be There For You," performed by The Rembrandts:

'The West Wing' (1999)

This fictional political drama also premiered on NBC on Sept. 22, 1999. "The West Wing" followed fictional President Josiah "Jed" Bartlet, played by Martin Sheen, as he led the country alongside the Democrats.

Viewers learned the secrets of the famous Oval Office as well as the rest of the main members of the president's team, all located in the West Wing. The series, which lasted seven seasons, ended in 2006 and won three Golden Globes and 26 Emmys.

'Two and a Half Men' (2003)

"Two and a Half Men," the sitcom starring Charlie Sheen in its first many seasons and Aston Kutcher in its last, premiered on Sept. 22, 2003. The series followed the lives of Charlie Harper and his brother Alan, who moved into Charlie's house after getting divorced and looking to rebuild his life. They were both frequently visited by Alan's son and Charlie's nephew, Jake.

The CBS series had an average audience in the United States of 13.9 million viewers during its 12 seasons. Charlie Sheen was eventually replaced due to his various controversies by Aston Kutcher. However, the change was well received by fans, and it felt just right that Alan Harper continued living in the house when the wealthy tech businessman Walden bought it.

'NCIS' (2003) and 'NCIS Los Angeles' (2004)

"Naval Criminal Investigation Service," better known as "NCIS," premiered on Sept. 22, 2003, on CBS. This series, which will soon premiere its 21st season, is not over yet. The show follows the Washington Naval investigation team as they pursue crimes that have either been perpetrated by Marines or whose victims were part of the military branch. In it, Gibbs and his team (which changes as the years go by) tirelessly investigate all the evidence until they find the culprit and put them behind bars.

"NCIS" was the first in a series of spinoffs that garnered great ratings on American television. "NCIS Los Angeles," released on Sept. 22, 2004, recently concluded. "NCIS New Orleans" and "NCIS Hawaii" also made it to the small screen, with the latter and the original "Naval Criminal Investigation Service" as the only two that remain on the air. They will soon be joined by "NCIS Sydney," which will be part of the 2023-2024 CBS lineup.

'Lost' (2004)

Without a doubt one of the best-known series in the world, "Lost" arrived on ABC on Sept. 22 , 2024, and placed us on Oceanic Airlines flight 815 Sydney-Los Angeles. The series told the adventures of the surviving passengers of the aforementioned flight on an apparently deserted island. As several strange things happen that the group of survivors led by Jack and Claire, they must resolve their own situation while fighting to save their lives and discover that all of them, to a greater or lesser extent, are connected to the mysterious island.

It is, without a doubt, one of the most popular shows in television history, and although many were not satisfied with its ending, which it remains unclear if it was happy or tragic, what is clear is that today there are still many people who debate what it may have meant.

'Veronica Mars' (2004)

The same year that "Lost" hit the small screen, so did "Veronica Mars." On The CW, viewers met the most irreverent youth detective from Neptune, a small town in California, played by actress Kristen Bell. She is a high school student who works as a private investigator under the tutelage of her father, also a detective. In each episode, viewers saw how Veronica solved an independent case while discovering clues to a more complex mystery that changed each season.

This series also revolutionized TV fandom. After four seasons on the air, "Veronica Mars" was canceled with an open ending. Its disappointed fans began a campaign to get it back on the air, and they eventually managed, ten years after its release, to spark the production of a film that would serve as its ending. Years later, in 2019, the series returned with a fifth season on Hulu, thus bringing this legendary show to a close.

'CSI New York' (2004)

"CSI New York" was the third spin-off of the CSI universe and premiered on Sept. 22, 2004. The forensics team led by Detective Mac Taylor, played by Gary Sinise, began with a runaway success on CBS, with its pilot achieving 19 million viewers.

It was the natural continuation after the shows about the Las Vegas and Miami teams. The show was the first of the franchise to be canceled after nine seasons on the air and several crossovers between all the different shows in the universe.

'Criminal Minds' (2005)

Sept. 22 seems to be the premiere date for every police show. In the case of "Criminal Minds," the series launched on CBS on Sept. 22, 2005. The series follows a group of elite profilers analyzing the country's most dangerous criminal minds to anticipate their next moves before they strike again.

With 15 seasons on the air, the show ended its run in 2020, leaving behind two other spinoffs, "Criminal Minds: Suspicious Behavior" and "Criminal Minds: Without Borders."  However, two years after its finale, Paramount Plus decided to relaunch the legendary series with a 16th season. The success of this new season caused the platform to renew "Criminal Minds" in January 2023 and for a 17th installment.

'The Good Wife' (2009)

Julianna Margulies is the star of another classic series, which CBS premiered on Sept. 22, 2009, "The Good Wife." The television series introduced us to Alicia Florrick, a mother and wife who has to take care of her entire family when her husband, Peter, a famous politician who serves as the district attorney, is removed and imprisoned after being accused of corruption.

The show lasted seven seasons and had its own sequel, "The Good Fight." Among the awards it received are five Emmys, a Golden Globe Award and a Satellite Award, among many others.