ABC (ended 1986)



User Score: 2009

out of 10
User Rating
305 votes

By Users

Show Summary

Benson, a spin-off of the controversial series, Soap, first aired in September of 1979 on ABC and would run for seven years, outlasting it's parent series. Created by Susan Harris, who would later create The Golden Girls and Empty Nest, Benson centered on Benson DuBois. In Soap, Benson was the butler for the Tate household. Jessica Tate sent Benson to help her widowed cousin, Governor James Gatling. Benson in essence soon began running the household of the Gatling mansion. Other constant characters included, Katie Gatling, the governor's daughter and Gretchen Kraus, the German housekeeper. Marcy Hill was the governor's secretary who was later married. John Taylor was the political aide who was later replaced by Clayton Endicott III. Pete Downey was the press assistant. Later, Benson was appointed state budget director and gained a secretary of his own, Denise who would later marry Pete. In 1986, ABC cancelled the series leaving the series ending on a cliffhanger, who won the election for governor, Benson or Gov Gatling?moreless
Caroline McWilliams

Caroline McWilliams

Marcy Hill (Seasons 1-2)

Robert Guillaume

Robert Guillaume

Benson DuBois

James Noble

James Noble

Governor Eugene Xavier Gatling

Didi Conn

Didi Conn

Denise Florence Stevens Downey (Seasons 3-6)

Ethan Phillips

Ethan Phillips

Peter John Downey (Seasons 2-6)

Lewis J. Stadlen

Lewis J. Stadlen

John Taylor (Season 1)

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  • Governor Gatling for President!

    He would get my vote over the Bozos running this year. Benson was a very funny show.
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  • What can I say?

    This show was good for what it was. It was not an off the wall show, like the show it spun-off from, "Soap" the characters were kind of dull and boring, and Benson was no where near as funny in this show as he was in "Soap." There was no more making fun of Mr. Tate or Mrs. Tate or griping about Jessica's sister and her crazy family. The chemistry was not the same, and the characters were not as interesting. I am very surprised it lasted longer than "Soap."moreless
  • Two words to describe this show''Shear Brilliance''

    Back in the eighties when ''Benson'' was airing i was one of those guy's watching faithfully and i could be wrong, but i believe that it aired on fri.nights allthough iv'e read it was on sat. but of course your going back 20yrs but thats realy not important ,but what i remember was this shows creative writing and acting,probably one of the better writin' shows iv'e seen .The chemistry was there with each character,J.Noble as the ''GOV.'' played the part perfect i dont think they could have found a better acter to play that part and R.Auberjonois as ''Clayton'' same with him, great acter. I know there were two other acters that played this part before him but Auberjonois was put in during the start of the 1980 season and was the right choice being that he stuck around till the end says something.The second best character was ''Krause'' played buy I.Swenson her banter and wit made her a perfect choice, and then there's R.Guillaume ''Benson'' the bantering between Benson and Krause is what made the show for me to have good writing is one thing but you have to have the talent to pull it off and they all did for many years.Now the other characters like E.Phillips who played ''Pete''i liked, a good acter who fit into the show well and C.McWillims who was Marcy i thought was also a good fit for the show but only stuck around for 3 seasons was replaced by Didi Con ''Denise''who i thought was ok and the last acter Billie Bird ''Rose'' who took over Kraus's position on the show was my least favorite, to me, she just wasnt funny or didn't have funny lines?.Benson was one show that i allways laughed at at every episode even at some of the shows that had a serious tone to them . They weren't all brilliant though a couple of the episodes like ''Made in HongKong''episo.1 and 2 were not one of my favs.That episode wasnt as funny as it tried to be along with being a little to goofy at times .It seemed to me that they could have just saved time and money and filmed those two episodes on the back lot of Warner Bros.Filming the outdoor scenes ''on set'' would have been better for those episodes,it's hard to get laughs when your filming outside and then you go into studio to record your voice tracks to be used for when your out on the steets walking around ,some of the voice acting didn't seem to fit in the scenes they were shooting it seemed bland,unfunny and forced at times,also it didnt seem like they wanted to be there or were not having a good time when they were filming but im nit-picking,overall the series was sheer brilliance,Guillaume of course made the show what it was and if you whatched the series marathon on Tv-Land you could see the energy and freshness from the start of the'79 season on up to the '84 season but you could see where the acters were almost starting to get a little tired maby the writing wasnt as fresh as the earlier shows or trying to come up with new and funny ideas maby the wholeness of it was starting to get a little stale like Missy Golds character Katie was good but when you grow up you lose that cutness in that character and she didnt have the same impact on the show that she did when she was 9 it's almost like they were trying to fit here into differnt scenes near the end .It wasnt her fault and she was never a ''main '' character although she lasted through it all which says something, with that said, they did make great ones on and off through the '84-'86 season but i noticed the energy wasnt as strong and the plots were so-so .I mean how far can you take a series and keep it fresh year after year?I just wish they would do a reunion show ! .But 7 seasons is a long time for a sitcom considering a lot of shows dont even make it to post production .So yes,you would say that i was hooked from day one and to think back was probably one of the top ten shows of all time in my eyes anyways.Maby soon we'll see a DVD set.moreless
  • A funny show during the Reagan years.

    I watched Benson during its original run on ABC, and I am watching bits and pieces of TV Land’s 48 hour marathon, although I feel the cable network’s tradition of introducing a new show to its line-up with a 2 day marathon is over kill. I have to say that the show is frequently very funny, and certainly cute, often lapsing into extreme sentimentality, certainly not groundbreaking or controversial. It definitely looks like a Witt/Thomas/Harris show, particularly with its extreme lighting, and musical transitions. Benson has many of the same writers and producers that would go on to work on The Golden Girls. I still prefer the Norman Lear shows, where adults actually discuss real life issues and take sides. Susan Harris got an early start with Lear, writing the controversial abortion episode of Maude. Viewers wishing to catch a glimpse of a young Jerry Seinfeld will be disappointed. His one season appearances as Frankie are brief, and unmemorable. In watching the marathon, some episodes have Seinfeld listed in the closing credits, although he is not in them. Fans of TV themes will also notice that the Benson opening is edited and cut short, like The Golden Girls in syndication.moreless
  • © 2009 Sony
  • © 2009 Sony
  • © 2009 Sony
  • © Sony

More Info About This Show




child stars, long running show, Sitcoms, spinoff, for the nostalgic