You could make an argument that Raymond is one of the five or ten most successful TV shows of the last decade, yet it leaves behind nothing. There are no cultural artifacts left over from its run. It hasn’t launched anyone new into zeitgeist. And it hasn’t changed the TV industry or the sitcom in even a small way.
Can any of you point to shows with as much success as Raymond, but less influence?
Update, 11:15 a.m.: Galley Friend J.E. writes in:
Frasier. Dallas. And others. The influence of a show like Raymond should be measured by how it "inspired" other series. Raymond rewrote the utterly dysfunctional family (Married With Children) into something that looks and feels fresh and true. It wasn't mean spirited, the way family comedies had been for at least ten years. Now there's a bunch of shows (like King of Queens) that don't paint all families as pathological. That's a lot of influence.
I would say that Frasier was nowhere near Raymond in terms of commercial success--Raymond has been a top 10 show for almost seven years and an anchor for CBS, while Frasier was a critical darling that NBC had to shift around in the schedule to protect. And I would suggest that Dallas practically invented the modern cliff-hanger: "Who Shot J.R.?" captivated the entire nation like nothing else in pop culture and the reveal was, at the time, the highest-rated series episode in TV history.
But J.E.'s larger point, that Raymond has made it safe for television to love the functional family again, seems pretty spot-on, and is a very big deal indeed. Could this be Raymond's hidden legacy?