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    Guiding Light

    Guiding Light

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    CBS (ended 2009)
    The late soap journalist Christopher Schemering once wrote that soap operas are not just dramas; "they're little pockets of American history." So it's only fitting to consider that at one time, The Guiding Light,-the longest running program in broadcast history, spanning 71 years-- brought fifteen-minute bits of escapism to war-weary housewives, as their men trudged off to fight the indignities of WWII. It brought social awareness to a nation that began to think about the big picture beyond their picket fences and suburban streets. Soap opera is a truly dynamic genre that reflects life as it is lived, the quintessential American art form. Although berated and belittled, the soap opera has an illustrious lineage, with no less than the books of Charles Dickens as an inspiration. Created by the legendary, if not iron-fisted Irna Phillips, The Guiding Light began its life on January 25, 1937. Originally, the show focused on the Chicagoan suburb of Five Points, a bustling enclave of German-Jewish immigrants hoping to find their own piece of the American dream. Giving them the hope and inspiration they needed was a kindly minister named Reverend John Ruthledge (voiced by Arthur Peterson of Soap fame). The Reverend's sermons of hope and forgiveness made such an impression that a bestselling book was published of his most popular homilies. The Reverend's message could be summed up by his favorite mantra from Edwin Markum "There is a destiny that makes us brothers, none goes his way alone, all that we send into the lives of others, comes back into our own." On the desk near his window, the minister placed an old lantern, a "guiding light" to those parishioners passing in the cold, hopeless night. In the 1940's the Reverend Ruthledge enrolled as a chaplain to do his part of the war effort. However, when the production of the show moved to the west coast, Peterson refused to join them, so Irna Phillips had the minister die when his plane was shot down overseas. His "friendship lamp" went too with the production move to the town of Selby Flats, California. Reverend Matthews took over for the late Rev. Ruthledge as the center of hope and inspiration. However, by the time that the show was slated to move to television, the religious undertones of the show were virtually gone and the focus was moved yet again to the family Bauer. * Guiding Light was cancelled on April 1, 2009 and the last episode aired on September 18, 2009.moreless
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    Marcus Welby, M.D.

    Marcus Welby, M.D.

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    ABC (ended 1976)
    These are the cases of Marcus Welby and Steven Kiley, a Santa Monica Family Doctor and his young partner. At a time when doctors still made house calls, Marcus Welby, M.D. was both entertaining and informative. Welby is able to address many of the health issues of the era while also helping to educate the viewing public at the same time. It was the highest-rated show in prime time for the 1970-1971 season.moreless
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    thirtysomething

    thirtysomething

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    ABC (ended 1991)
    When thirtysomething debuted in 1987 it was attacked by some critics as being a self-indulgent examination of the minutiae of yuppie life. Before the first season was over, some of those same critics were covering their tracks by calling it "the most improved show on television." Producers Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz had teamed up before on Family and would go on to create My So-Called Life, Relativity and Once and Again. Often using feature-film techniques, their brand of what could be called "reality" television tackled not only the small subjects, but the big ones too, all the way from life to death, as they followed their characters on the road from the idealism of youth to the search for security and responsibility as they glided toward middle age. And it was even funny sometimes. After its network run came to an end in 1991, thirtysomething became a staple rerun on many other networks.moreless
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    The Wonder Years

    The Wonder Years

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    ABC (ended 1993)
    "The Wonder Years" was a hit comedy series starring Fred Savage as Kevin Arnold the main character, a boy facing rites of passage on his way to adulthood. Kevin lives with his brother Wayne (Jason Hervey), his sister Karen (Olivia d'Abo), his father Jack (Dan Lauria), and his mother Norma (Alley Mills). Kevin grows up with his on-and-off girlfriend, Winnie Cooper (Danica McKellar), and his best friend, Paul Pfeiffer (Josh Saviano).

    The show had a successful 6 year run.

    Theme Song: "With a Little Help From My Friends" by John Lennon & Paul McCartney -- performed by Joe Cocker

    ABC Broadcasty History: January 1988 - April 1988 --- Tuesdays 8:30 October 1988 - February 1989 --- Wednesdays 9:00 February 1989 - August 1990 --- Tuesdays 8:30 August 1990 - August 1991 --- Wednesdays 8:00 August 1991 - February 1992 --- Wednesdays 8:30 March 1992 - September 1993 --- Wednesdays 8:00moreless
  • 65
    Tour of Duty

    Tour of Duty

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    CBS (ended 1990)
    As the first television drama series about the Vietnam War, Tour of Duty focuses on a single platoon of young U.S. soldiers through their one-year tour of combat duty in Vietnam during the late 1960's. While their own country is rocked by a massive anti-war movement, these young men find themselves thrown into combat in Southeast Asia, where they face enemy troops they can not see and sometimes can not kill. They also face their own fears, as they struggle in a hostile environment just to keep themselves and their fellow soldiers alive. Terence Knox, Kevin Conroy, Stephen Caffrey, Joshua Maurer, Steve Akahoshi, Tony Becker, Eric Bruskotter, Stan Foster, Ramon Franco and Miguel A. Nunez, Jr. star as the infantrymen who represent diverse racial, cultural and philosophical backgrounds but must ultimately depend on one another to get through the war alive. Tour of Duty takes place in 1967, when the war in Vietnam has escalated to terrifying heights. Four hundred seventy-five thousand U.S. troops are stationed in South Vietnam. Like most fighting units "in country," Company B is a diverse mixture of young men, mostly teenagers, from across the United States. Its base is a remote firecamp, composed of sandbagged bunkers and surrounded by mine fields and the scorched remains of once-lush forests. The enemy they encounter is the well-trained and well-supplied regulars of the North Vietnamese Army. Company B's driving force is Sgt. Zeke Anderson (Knox), an amiable and popular sergeant, already on his third tour of duty in Vietnam and determined to keep himself and his men alive. He shares a mutual respect with Capt. Rusty Wallace (Conroy), the company commander and a patient leader, tolerant of the young soldiers for whom he is responsible. Lt. Myron Goldman (Caffrey) is a newly arrived officer, anxious to assert leadership despite his inexperience. Others are Pri. Roger Horn (Maurer), "Doc" Randy Matsuda (Akahoshi), Cpl. Danny Percell (Becker), Pri. Alberto Ruiz (Franco) and Pri. Marcus Taylor (Nunez). Tour of Duty goes beyond the massive political turmoil caused by the Vietnam War and attempts to portray the human side of the conflict. Nearly three million American servicemen were sent overseas, and more than 57,000 of them never came back. It is only recently that Americans look anew at the war and remember the men of all races and backgrounds who served there at such tremendous personal sacrifice. In the UK the series was shown regionally on the ITV network, differing nights at times between 11:30pm and 1:30am.moreless
  • 66
    Eight is Enough

    Eight is Enough

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    ABC (ended 1981)
    Based on the book by Thomas Braden, this family drama chronicles the lives of the Bradford family: the father Tom, who worked as a columnist for a Sacramento newspaper); the mother Joan; and their eight children: David, Mary, Joanie, Susan, Nancy, Elizabeth, Tommy, and Nicholas.

    As anyone from a large family can tell you, get these many different people – related or not – under the same roof, and chaos will certainly ensue. Enter in all their relationships, school, and work problems, and you can guarantee something is always going haywire in the Bradford home.

    Diana Hyland died during season one and her character was "sent away" .So in season two, Tom married Abby, a school teacher.

    In season four, two of the Bradford children got married: David to Janet; and Susan to Merle, a baseball player. In France the show is known as Huit, ça suffit !.
    In Italy it was known as La famiglia Bradford ("The Bradford Family") on Channel One, but titled Otto Bastano on Channel Four.moreless
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    Simon & Simon

    Simon & Simon

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    CBS (ended 1988)
    Simon & Simon is a show based on two brothers who just happen to be private investigators. They live and work in San Diego where once a week, for eight seasons, the series revealed the loyality and love they had for one another. "They're more than brothers, they're best of friends." The show was cancelled midway into the eighth season, and it was only in re-runs that the final episodes were ever aired.

    The original theme song for the show was performed by The Thrasher Brothers. Later seasons featured a more contemporary instrumental theme, but used the same music as the original.moreless
  • 68
    Fantasy Island

    Fantasy Island

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    ABC (ended 1984)
    Welcome to the Fantasy Island episode guide. Smiles everyone, Smiles! So began this long-running (7 season) series which was one of the ABC Network's anthology guest-cast series (along with The Love Boat) that proved wildly popular. Each week two guests came to Fantasy Island to get their wish/fantasy fulfilled. Their mysterious host, the debonair and suave white-suited Mr. Roarke (Ricardo Montalban), would do the sometimes impossible and grant them their wishes ... but there was always some twist to the fantasy, letting the guest learn something about themselves or get something they weren't expecting. Best remembered for the presence of Herve Villechaize as the diminuitive "Tattoo" and his cry of De plane! De plane!, the show proved popular enough to go the distance and then spawn a brief revival/remake in the 1990s. A remake of Fantasy Island (1998) in the late 1990's was not as successful as its predecessor.moreless
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    Highway to Heaven

    Highway to Heaven

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    NBC (ended 1989)
    Highway to Heaven was Micheal Landon's second pairing with Victor French (the two both starred on Little House on the Prairie). This show was about Jonathan Smith, an angel sent down by God, aka "The Boss," to partner up with ex-Oakland cop Mark Gordon. They would be assigned duties by the Boss in which they would help people see a better life, and sometimes help each other. The show ran for 5 years on NBC. Each episode began with clips of that episode. Then the sky would fill with a heavenly shot of clouds. The clouds would fade away, and the soothing theme music would begin to play, and the highway to heaven was open to all. The show ran for a seemingly short five seasons and is shown today in reruns on the Goodlife TV Network (Monday through Friday 1 p.m. EST and 7 p.m. EST) (Also, it will show on TVLand, every day at 8pm EST. First Telecast: September 19, 1984 Last Telecast: August 4, 1989 Number of Episodes: 111 it is also having a re-run on true entertainment channel on freeview weekdays at 5.00 pm in the uk followed by touched by an Angelmoreless
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    The Fall Guy

    The Fall Guy

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    ABC (ended 1986)
    The Fall Guy was a series about bounty hunter Colt Seavers. Every week Colt and his gang was assigned to apprehend a fugitive from justice.

    Colt and his cousin Howie were also working as stuntmen in Hollywood. The tricks of that trade often helped them to capture their guy.moreless
  • 71
    Family

    Family

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    ABC (ended 1980)
    The trials and tribulations, joyous occasions and heartbreaking moments of the Lawrence family: lawyer father Doug; housewife, student, and musician Kate; married (and quickly divorced) daughter student soon to be lawyer Nancy; teenage son Willie; and just-hitting-puberty daughter Buddy. In this critically acclaimed series, we watched various Lawrences fight, fall in love, become ill, graduate school, begin new jobs and, most of all, love each other. This show was ground breaking in its content, which include child and spousal abuse, teenage drinking, terminal illness, adoption, and marital affairs.moreless
  • 72
    CHiPs (1983)

    CHiPs (1983)

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    NBC (ended 1983)
    The adventures of Highway Patrol officers in Los Angeles. This great series had 6 seasons before it ended. The main characters are Jon Baker and Frank Poncherello, two motorcycle officers always on the street to save lives. 1998 followed the TV movie "CHiPs ´99" with some of the series cast but we can also see new faces like Officer Roulette and his partner or Sandy Baker, Jon´s spouse.moreless
  • 73
    Miss Marple

    Miss Marple

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    BBC Two (ended 1992)
    Miss Marple is an amateur detective created by famed mystery writer Agatha Christie. Marple, an elderly spinster, is always able to solve crimes that the professionals cannot, because of her keen eye and her experience with all the foibles of human nature through the years in her home town of St. Mary Mead in England. These 12 BBC productions are adaptations of the 12 novels Christie wrote about Miss Marple, originally published between 1930 and 1976.moreless
  • 74
    St. Elsewhere

    St. Elsewhere

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    NBC (ended 1988)
    St. Eligius Hospital in South Boston was not exactly the world's best health care center. Despite its flaws, it featured some of the most caring doctors and nurses you could ever meet. Led by Dr. Donald Westphall (and later by Dr. Benjamin Gideon), St. Eligius became a sanctuary for the underdog and the downtrodden. "St. Elsewhere" ran on NBC for six seasons. Originally a ratings flop, NBC picked it up for a second season for the sole purpose of grabbing some additional Emmy nominations. It eventually became a minor hit for The Peacock, until burnout by the writers resulted in its 1988 cancellation. The series was nominated for 63 Emmy Awards and won 13.moreless
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    Designing Women

    Designing Women

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    CBS (ended 1993)
    Julia Sugarbaker (Dixie Carter), Mary Jo Shively (Annie Potts), Charlene Frazier-Stillfield (Jean Smart) and Suzanne Sugarbaker (Delta Burke) are associates at their design firm, Sugarbaker and Associates. Julia Sugarbaker is the owner of Sugarbaker and Associates and is very outspoken and strong-willed. Mary Jo Shively is a divorced single-parent who is just as strong-willed as Julia, but isn't as self-confident. Charlene is the naive and trusting farm girl from Poplar Bluff, Missouri. Suzanne Sugarbaker is the self-centered ex-beauty queen who has a number of wealthy ex-husbands. At the end of Season 5 Delta Burke was fired from the series and Jean Smart left to pursue other goals. Two new characters were introduced: Allison Sugarbaker (Julia Duffy) and Carlene Frazier Dobber (Jan Hooks). Soon, Julia Duffy was taken out of the series and a final cast change brought in Bonnie Jean "B.J." Poteet (Judith Ivey). The series was very successful for CBS, lasting 7 seasons (163 episodes). Reruns from the series continue to air on Lifetime. In 1995, Delta Burke reconciled with the series creators and reprised her role of Suzanne Sugarbaker for the far less successful spin-off Women of the House, which co-starred Teri Garr and Patricia Heaton. Carter, Burke, and Bloodworth-Thomason had all previously worked together on the 1982-83 sitcom Filthy Rich, from which a lot of dialogue in Designing Women was recycled. Nielsen Ratings: (Top 30 or Better) #23 in the 1989- 1990 Season
    #11 in the 1990- 1991 Season
    #6 in the 1991- 1992 Season
    moreless
  • 76
    Space: 1999

    Space: 1999

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    (ended 1977)
    It's 1999 and a base has been built on the Moon. Moonbase Alpha safeguards the nuclear waste shipped from Earth and carries out research. Moonbase Alpha is staffed with 311 crew members. On September 13, 1999, disaster strikes. The nuclear waste explodes, in a chain reaction, and the Moon is hurled out of Earth's orbit, into deep space. Thus begins the adventures of Space:1999. "We've had a lot of success so far. We know what dangers to expect out there from black suns, neutron storms, radiation and the like, but if we think we know everything that goes on out there, we're making a terrible mistake!" -- John Koenig, Commander Moonbase Alpha In 1976 several episodes were compiled into movie length specials. Compilation movies: Alien Attack: #1-1 Breakaway & #1-4 War Games Journey Through the Black Sun: #1-3 Collision Course & 1-10 Black Sun Cosmic Princess: #2-1 The Metamorph & #2-14 Space Warp Destination: Moonbase Alpha: #2-18 & 2-19 The Bringers of Wonder pts 1 & 2 Video special: Message From Moonbase Alpha shown at Space: 1999 Breakway Convention in Los Angelas, California on September 13, 1999. This "final" episode is 7 minutes long and features Data Section Coordinator Sandra Benes (Zienia Merton) transmitting a final message from Moonbase Alpha to Earth.moreless
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    Masterpiece Theatre

    Masterpiece Theatre

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    PBS
    Welcome to the Masterpiece Theatre guide at TV.com.

    On the air since 1971, in its early days the show consisted entirely of British drama productions, more than half of them from the BBC. Since the year 2000, some classic productions from the American Collection have also been included, but the bulk of the show still comes from the UK.

    Masterpiece Theatre has won thirty Primetime Emmy Awards, as well as many other awards. To buy episodes of Masterpiece Theatre on DVD, visit its online store.moreless
  • 78
    Doogie Howser, M.D.

    Doogie Howser, M.D.

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    ABC (ended 1993)
    Doogie Howser showed the coming of age of a teenage genius who was a board-certified surgeon by the time he was 16. At that tender age, Doogie (a childhood nickname for "Douglas") has to balance life with his parents and contemporaries and the demands of a career that's stressful even for adults. He has help and support from understanding parents Katherine and David Howser, the latter also a doctor, co-workers at the hospital who respect him despite his age, best friend Vinnie, and girlfriend Wanda. Doogie Howser, despite having a relatively short four year run, was popular among young adults of the early 1990s. The show catapulted star Neil Patrick Harris to fame.moreless
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    Police Story

    Police Story

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    NBC (ended 1977)
    Police Story was created by former Los Angeles policeman Joseph Wambaugh. After retiring from the force, he wrote two highly successful novels about police operations, The New Centurions and The Blue Knight. He served as consultant on this show to ensure its authenticity. The stories probed with the psychological problems and effects that police work had on the force. Three episodes of Police Story went on to become serieses of their own: Police Woman, The Return Of Joe Forrester, and David Cassidy - Man Undercover. Although Police Story was an anthology, several characters occasionally made return appearances. The most notable examples are Tony Calabrese and Bert Jameson. The realism and exceptional story telling made this the cop show of its time.moreless
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    The White Shadow

    The White Shadow

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    CBS (ended 1981)
    A knee injury forced Chicago Bulls forward Ken Reeves into retirement and he was talked into a coaching career by his old friend and teammate Jim Willis. That was the premise behind TV's White Shadow. Jim was a principal at Los Angeles' Carver High School, nestled right inside an inner-city, working-class neighborhood…and though Reeves was new to the world of clipboards and de facto paternal responsibilities, coaching soon appeared to be his true calling. The White Shadow was created by TV producer (and big basketball fan) Bruce Paltrow. It was about the sport, of course, but it was also about a growing up in a tough neighborhood at a tough time. The kids on the team had to face drugs, gangs, race hostility, learning disabilities, financial hardship, and more-so it wasn't all towel rattail fights in the locker room. Whatever the dilemma, Coach Reeves figured into the solution, be it through good advice or hands-on intervention. His players trusted him, and given the general mistrust they had for people older than them, that was really saying something. In the 1979-80 season, b-baller Curtis Jackson was shot while standing in a liquor store that was being held up. That was also the year that a load of players "graduated" from high school and moved on…and a new batch of actors came in to take their place. In its third season, the show lightened up--there were less episodes that dealt with serious topics, but the season still had it's moments, such as teacher burnout ("Burnout") and unfair treatment by law enforcement ("Cops"). On the court or off, the young men on the Carver High basketball team were a funny and eclectic group, and their coach, their "white shadow," was always there to lend an assist.moreless
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