This will be the last installment of the best of TV shows as I said, Television swung to reality TV in the 90’s with the exception of NBC’s Law and Order Franchise and CBS’ CSI Franchise. 24 is still going strong after a 4 year hiatus. We can only hope that the ratings for Fox and Jack Bauer warranted continuing the series. This season was only 12 episodes long instead of the usual 24 one hour installments. Time will tell.
THE SIMPSONS – The Simpsons were created as cartoon “shorts” for “The Tracey Ullman Show”. The response from the public was so overwhelming that shortly after their appearance on the Ullman show, The Simpsons had their own show as Tracey Ullman faded into Obscurity. Although the Simpsons just caught the end of the 80s, they still make the list.
SEINFELD – It was a story about nothing. Jerry Seinfeld played himself and made a hit series out of his life as a standup comedian. I guess you could say it was an 80s version of “I Love Lucy”. Many of the characters came from ABC’s failed variety show “Fridays”. But the writing was non-specific. The success of the series was dependent on the stories that came from the characters being “ordinary people”.
CHEERS – Cheers was a TV Series about a bar in Boston called “The Bull & Finch”. It’s as popular as Fenway park if you’re touring Boston. Unlike the TV Show which features a horseshoe bar (and ferns) The Bull & Finch is what you would think a Bostonian corner bar would look like. It has the Indian. The bar is a simple counter. Around back where the pool Table was exists a T-shirt shop. It is underground as in the TV show so be sure and watch your step.
MARRIED WITH CHILDREN – This was the most popular TV Series in the correctional system across America. It was Fox’s live version of the Simpsons (which was animated) The show ran 11 seasons until the patron saint of Shark jumping became a cast member. The infamous “Ted McGinley”. I could do a whole article on the shows Ted Killed off starting with Welcome Back Kotter. Most of you would recognize McGinley as the Quarterback Jerk in “Revenge of the Nerds”.
THIRTYSOMETHING – 30 something was a show aimed at baby boomers. It was a primetime soap opera for the Baby Boomers that were in their 30s. You either liked it or you hated it. The writing was well done but they ran short of stories after a while. The series had that New York Woody Allen/Nora Ephron flavor to it.
THE WONDER YEARS – The wonder years was a retro boomer series about life 20 years prior to the year we were in. It started in 1983 and every Junior High was changing the name of their school to J.F.K junior High, or Kennedy High School. (Starting in 1963) This was much like 30 something only it could have been called 12 something. We get to follow the pre-pubescence stories of life in middle school, then High School then finally the show ends with the Narrator playing catch with his son. The Narrator played the main character (Kevin Arnold the original 12 year old) of the show and the show was being told in the third person. In fact, the Idea came from the movie; “A Christmas Story”
MOONLIGHTING – “Look he has hair”! Moonlighting was the story of two Private Investigators who were of the opposite sex. It was the launch of Bruce Willis’ career and co-starred Cybil Shepherd. The show was a short lived hit for ABC only because Willis was bound for stardom and the Silver Screen was calling. It was screaming the words DIE HARD quite loud.
DYNASTY– Dynasty was a prime time soap Opera which was another “The life and follies of the Rich and Famous”. Dallas had gained a head start in the 70s while Dynasty which was supposed to be based out of “Denver” show cased beautiful people that could not act. That’s what the value of Dynasty was; Beautiful people. Of course it had John Forsyth, Linda Evans and Joan Collins for acting credibility, but all of the boy toys and girlfriends were Revlon models or Sports Illustrated cover girls. One pretty face that got her start in the Dynasty series was Heather Locklear. Yes Heather be thy name.
WAR OF THE WORLDS – In 1988 someone decided to do a TV Series of the Radio shocker: “The War of The Worlds”. It looked like it had a great future ahead of it. The series lasted two seasons and folded. It really hurt not being able to see “Lynda Mason Green” any longer.
WHEEL OF FORTUNE – In 1983 America got its’ first glimpse of the game show that would have millions tuning in just to watch Vanna White turn cubes to see what letter was behind it. Vanna was discovered by Merv Griffin and the rest is history and I’m done scraping the bottom of the Barrel. From Combat in 1963 to Wheel of Fortune in 1983. I didn’t have room for “The Cosby Show” but if you want black programming, just turn on some commercials.
There you have it.