In its prime, the NBC Thursday machine produced a handful of classic sitcoms that still live in the public consciousness, shows whose influences and cast members continue to thrive. The must-see tale began in the 1980s with “The Cosby Show,” “Family Ties,” and “Cheers,” and it continued through the 1990s with “Friends” and “Seinfeld,” with “Frasier” and “Will & Grace” in the mix. There were, of course, plenty of duds plugged in between these hits; the words “Suddenly” and “Susan” still strike fear in the hearts of many, and Kirstie Alley’s “Veronica’s Closet” is under consideration by the FBI for use as a torture device.
What happened? Why is the network now trying to revive its glory days by bringing back a “Family Ties” star in the lousy “Michael J. Fox Show” and a “Will & Grace” star in the even lousier “Sean Saves the World”? Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.