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25 years of hits from Fox

Fox is marking its 25th anniversary tonight at 8 with a two-hour special that celebrates the network's general awesomeness over the years. Let's pay homage to 10 game-changing Fox shows that tossed a firecracker down TV's pants:

"Married ... With Children" (1987-97): Many critics found the buffoonish Bundys to be more disgusting than delightful, but the dysfunctional clan surely brought more edge to the often-stale family sitcom.

"The Simpsons" (1989-present): Objections to the show's subversive attitude waned as it became clear that this wasn't just a brilliant cartoon, but one of the best TV comedies, period.

"In Living Color" (1990-94): With its multiethnic cast, this bawdy sketch-comedy/variety show established itself as a fresh alternative to "Saturday Night Live." The humor was broad, sometimes crass, but never vicious.

"Beverly Hills, 90210" (1990-2000): Yes, this sun-dappled soap contained the Aaron Spelling trademarks, but it also brought real-life grit to the teen drama as its characters confronted issues like date rape, suicide and AIDS.

"The X Files" (1993-2002): Conspiracy theories, paranoia, alien invasions and an abundance of sexual tension -- this supernatural cop show fed upon it all. The series proved that there was a place in prime-time for well-crafted sci-fi.

"Ally McBeal" (1997-2002): David E. Kelley's romantic legal farce was quirky to a fault. But it got America talking about its flustered leading lady (Calista Flockhart), while sparking debates over the state of feminism in the workplace.

"24" (2001-2010): With its split screens, ticking clocks and tireless hero (Kiefer Sutherland), "24" brought new energy to the TV crime drama. It also served as a flash point in the national debate over wartime torture tactics.

"American Idol" (2002-present): It was startling to hear Simon Cowell cut deluded wannabes down to size. The show swept us up in the intoxicating idea that a starry-eyed nobody could become a very special somebody right before our eyes.

"House" (2004-present): The flawed antihero had found a home on cable ("The Sopranos"), but was largely absent from broadcast TV. Then along came Hugh Laurie's misanthropic narcissist.

"Glee" (2009-present): Nothing like it had been tried on TV before: A campy series with huge musical numbers and weekly lessons about the joys/pains of being different.