CBS (ended 1988)
I totally agree with 123home’s comments he made on 26 July. Specifically, his point regarding this show and the Vietnam War is spot-on. Magnum P.I. was the first show whose characters not only discussed Vietnam as an issue, but were veterans of the Vietnam War themselves. As such, Magnum P.I. was different in that it portrayed the Vietnam veteran in a totally new light - not as the burned-out, fatigue-clad drifter that the media often used as its stereotype, but as characters who served in Vietnam, dealt with Vietnam’s nightmares and still emerged successful.
Why I loved Magnum, P.I., well besides Tom Selleck, was that the characters did not take themselves too seriously. Higgens did for a while but he even settled down. T.C. was the hardworking helicopter pilot suceptible to Magnum's schemes. Rick was the bad boy - and what was really his relationship to Icepick? And Magnum was not a rich guy deciding to be a private eye. He was a poor slump that took care of the security and allowed to drive Robin's cars. The friendship between the three guys - two Marines and a Naval officer, brought some of the best stories. The episodes were fun to watch.
I did not start watching it until 1982, when we moved to Texas. My husband's elderly aunt, Julia (she was 75 then), had me watch a show with her. She absolutely loved this show. She thought Tom was hot! When it went into syndication, I caught up on the first couple years. I am now collecting "Magnum" along with a few other shows that I really care about watching uncut - "Midsomer Murders", "Poirot" and "Moonlighting". My mystery collection!
Magnum is different because it was the first out of the three shows to air. Premiering in 1980, those who watch the first few episodes recognize a theme that shouts 70's. It quickly evolves into a show that moves away from slow moving 70's detective/drama theme into a new 80's detective/action genre that is replicated in the other two shows. It is a Larson/Belisarius production, whereas the others are either Cannell or Larson by himself.
I remember Magnum being one of the first shows that everyone could watch and enjoy - young kids, women, men, and older folks. Very few show could do that. My family loved Hill Street Blues, but very few of my peers (I was 11-12 at the time) watched it or their parents wouldn't let htem watch it. We, however, all loved the A-Team and shows like that when they came out, but my parents certainly didn't because they felt it was too silly.
Magnum, however, seemed to please everyone.
Also, as was said before, it was somewhat of a "lifestyle" show. Everyone saw something they wanted in Magnum.
It was the perfect show. In fact, I remember tearing up when I watched the last episode.