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    Star Trek

    Star Trek

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    NBC (ended 1969)
    "Space...The Final Frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship, Enterprise. Its 5-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before!"

    The series is set in the 23rd century where Earth has survived World War III then moved on to explore the stars. Humanity has allied with other alien races and formed the United Federation of Planets, and Starfleet serves as its exploratory and military branch. Captain James T. Kirk of the starship Enterprise explores the galaxy with a crew of 430 men and women, contacting new life forms, conducting diplomat missions, and exploring the unknown.

    Star Trek premiered on NBC after executive producer and creator Gene Roddenberry produced not one but two pilots to convince them of the quality of his show. The series ran two years but never achieved good ratings despite building a small but solid fan following. A letter-writing campaign convinced NBC to run a third season, but Roddenberry left in protest and the network buried the show in a late Friday night time slot.

    After its three-year run Star Trek began running syndication where it was discovered by legion of new fans and became a phenomenon. This led to an animated series, six movies, and four spin-off television shows. Despite its short network run, Star Trek has become one of the most successful shows in television history.

    Aside from its three main stars, Star Trek featured a large cast of reoccurring guest stars that includes James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Majel Barrett, and Grace Lee Whitney. Other notable guest stars include Diana Muldaur, Gary Lockwood, Ricardo Montalban, Sally Kellerman, Julie Newmar, Frank Gorshin, John Colicos, Roger C. Carmel, William Campbell, Ted Cassidy, Michael Ansara and Elisha Cook, Jr. Notable writers for the series include Gene Roddenberry, Gene L. Coon, George Clayton Johnson, Jerry Sohl, Jerome Bixby, Robert Bloch, Theodore Sturgeon, Harlan Ellison, David Gerrold, and D.C. Fontana.moreless
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    The Twilight Zone

    The Twilight Zone

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    CBS (ended 1964)
    The series was a collection of various tales that range from the tragic to the comedic. They may be scary or just thought-provoking. Most episodes have unexpected endings and a moral lesson. But, no matter what, it's "a journey into a wondrous land, whose boundaries are that of the imagination." Rod Serling, creator and host of the series, won two Emmys for outstanding writing (1960 & '61), and the Golden Globe in 1962 for best TV director/producer. Reruns of the original Twilight Zone can be seen on the US Sci Fi channel. This is the Original 1959 series, not the CBS The Twilight Zone (1985) version nor the UPN The Twilight Zone (2002) version. CBS Programming History October 1959-September 1962 ..... Friday 10:00 January 1963-September 1963 ..... Thursday 9:00 September 1961-September 1964 ..... Friday 9:30 May 1965-September 1965 ..... Sunday 9:00 Note: Seasons 1-3 & 5 have a running time of 30 minutes. All of the episodes in Season 4 have a running time of one hour.moreless
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    Bonanza

    Bonanza

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    NBC (ended 1973)
    White-haired Ben was the proud patriarch of the Cartwrights, the family at the center of one of TV's most beloved and long-running series. Their ranch, the Ponderosa, was 1,000 square-miles (600,000 acres) in size and sprawled from mountainous shores of Lake Tahoe to the desert terrain near Virginia City in the Nevada Territory. Ben oversaw his frontier empire with the help of his three sons: Adam, Hoss, and Joe. The series was set in 1859 when the series began and would progress through and following the Civil War.
    ---------------------------------- Series creator and producer David Dortort, who oversaw the series during its 14 year network run on NBC, says he first first got the idea for the series writing the 1953 episode of "Fireside Theatre" titled "Man of the Comstock."
    ---------------------------------- By 1959, NBC wanted a big filmed series to promote the sales of color television sets. NBC was the only network investing in color programs since its parent company RCA owned the electronic color transmitting system used by TV. "Bonanza" was just the type of show the network needed to "show off" its living color. In its initial season, it floundered in the ratings on Saturday nights against CBS' "Perry Mason"; it's said its renewal had a lot to do with its being shot in color. In the second season, "Bonanza" more than held its own in the Nielsens. It was the network's decision to move the series to Sunday nights that allowed it explode into a Top-10 hit.
    ---------------------------------- "Bonanza" differed in many ways from the dozens of other westerns on the air during its run. It relied more heavily on the characters than it did on action--though there was plenty of that. Good and bad weren't always as simple as "black hats" vs. "white hats"; many times, good people didn't live happily ever after. Despite that, Ben imparted a high code of ethics upon his sons. Among the principles: 1-Intolerance and bigotry were not acceptable. The Cartwrights often came to the defense of Indians, Chinese, and others who were the targets of the narrow-minded. 2-Once a man had paid his debt to society and was released from prison, he deserved a clean slate and a chance to start over. 3-The land was sacred. Ben's greatest business headaches came from his refusal to allow his land to be polluted and destroyed for profit. When the Cartwrights cut down a tree for lumber, they planted another. Their environmental concerns remain unique for a television series.
    ---------------------------------- Ben's path to his dream home of the Ponderosa (named for the Ponderosa Pine, plentiful in that area) was a long time in coming. He was a seaman, acting as first mate for Captain Abel Stoddard, when he met his boss' daughter Elizabeth and fell in love. She died after giving birth to first child Adam. Leaving the sad memories behind in the Northeast, he traveled to St. Louis and opened a trading company. He met and married the Swedish stunner Inger Inger Borgstrom who loved horses and shooting. She gave birth to son Hoss en route to the frontier, but was killed by an arrow during an ambush. Moving to New Orleans, Ben became an importer/exporter and fell for Creole beauty Marie DeMarigny. He made her wife number three and finally made it to the West. They established the Ponderosa and she gave him another son, Joseph. Marie died several years later in a riding accident. The story of each of these romance were detailed in individual episodes early in the series' run.
    ---------------------------------- The high mortality rate of women encountered by Ben and his sons, known jokingly as the "Cartwright Curse," became a running gag among comedians and viewers alike. If a female became a love interest to any of the show's men, even money says she'll be sick, dying, or dead by the end credits.
    --------------------------- Location filming kept the series from feeling "studio bound" and gave Bonanza a chance to highlight its color cinematography. Though much was filmed on a huge sound stage at Paramount Studios, scenes were regularly shot on the studio's outdoor "Western Street" and on locations throughout Southern California and Lake Tahoe, Nevada. The rising cost of shooting at Paramount eventually forced a move to the Warner Brothers studio in Burbank. To explain the new appearance of Virginia City, Season 12 began with "The Night Virginia City Died" where a huge fire destroyed the "old" town.
    ---------------------------------- Changes inevitably took place among cast members during "Bonanza"'s long run. After several years of complaining about being held back from a movie career, Pernell Roberts was finally sent on his merry way after of Season 6. Prior to that, amid fears of Roberts' departure, Guy Williams was brought in for a few episodes as Ben's nephew Will Cartwright. It's said the cast resented his character being added and he disappeared after five appearances. Beginning with "Sense of Duty" in Season 9, David Canary joined the cast as Ponderosa ranch foreman Candy Canady. He practically became a Cartwright, appearing in roughly a third of the series' total episodes. He disappeared with no mention at the end of season eleven after failing to get a raise from producer Dortort. Young orphaned teenager Jamie Hunter did become a real fourth Cartwright son when he was taken in by Ben in Season 12 and legally adopted in "A Home for Jamie" the next season. In the wake of Dan Blocker's death following Season 13, the cast was beefed up. David Canary returned as Candy (reportedly Michael Landon personally asked him to appear) and Tim Matheson was added a Griff King, a young man paroled into Ben's custody who was hired as a ranch hand.
    ---------------------------------- The loss of Blocker left a hole that simply couldn't be filled. This, combined with the show's move to Tuesday nights after eleven years on Sunday, dealt the series a death blow. Ratings took a nosedive and Bonanza aired it final episode in the middle of Season 14 on January 16. 1973.
    ---------------------------------- After all these years, Bonanza remains hugely popular. Besides the quality of the program itself, having filmed in color has kept it from looking "old". Episodes began to be released by CBS/Paramount on DVD beginning in 2009, and were uncut from their network airing with all the original music intact.
    moreless
  • 4
    Doctor Who (1963)

    Doctor Who (1963)

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    BBC (ended 1989)
    "My name is William Hartnell, and as Doctor Who, I make my debut on Saturday 23rd November at 5.15." Doctor Who is the longest-running science fiction TV series in history, airing initially from 1963 to 1989. The series told the story of the Doctor, a mysterious traveller in space and time, whose TARDIS can take him and his companions anywhere in time and space. Inevitably he finds evil at work wherever he goes… The series was postponed indefintely in 1989, but fans of the series would not allow it to die, and a whole cottage industry was created around original novels and audio-only productions. There was an abortive attempt to renew the franchise as a series of telemovies in the U.S., but ratings for the pilot were judged insufficient. In 2003, the BBC announced that, at long last, it would commission a revival of Doctor Who. The series, initially starring Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor, was launched in 2005. You can read about the new series here. Traditionally listed by production, the data on this site has now been amended to TV.com standards and lists each of the 697 broadcast episodes from the original series. I hope that you find the site useful, and that it might act as a springboard to the wider world of Doctor Who appreciation. TheOldBillmoreless
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    Columbo

    Columbo

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    NBC (ended 2003)
    Many criminals made the mistake of underestimating Lieutenant Columbo, a homicide investigator with a crumpled trench-coat and a beat-up car, who certainly acted as an incompetent bumbler. But he was so polite to every suspect, and he talked so much about his wife (who we never got to see on any episode, but who many believe later had her own show, starring Kate Mulgrew, later of Star Trek: Voyager fame) that he lulled even the shrewdest murderer into a false sense of security. And although the audience had witnessed the murder in the beginning of each episode, it was still a surprise to see what mistakes the killers had made during the seemingly perfect murder. Peter Falk carried the old trench-coat for 7 seasons of 90 and 120 minute movies on NBC, before the series ended. But over a decade later, Falk agreed to revive the character on ABC for an additional 2 seasons with a subsequent string of TV-movies with the loveable detective once again using his calling-card false good-byes: "Oh, there´s just one more thing..." (A note on the running time of the episode: During the first 7 seasons, 18 episodes were 120 minutes long, while the other 27 episodes were 90 minutes long. The episodes after that were all 120 minutes long. In the episode guide, I have only marked out the 90 minute-episodes.)moreless
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    Star Trek: Remastered

    Star Trek: Remastered

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    CBS
    Star Trek: Remastered takes Gene Roddenberry's groundbreaking 1960s science fiction series and gives it a fresh coat of paint for a new generation. The Original Series gets a full make-over, presented now in high definition with new CGI effects and enhanced audio. This digital re-mastering was released in 2006 to commemorate Star Trek's 40th anniversary. Star Trek didn't always have the loyal following it does now. It's first season received lukewarm ratings, and while it developed a significant fan base, it received little network support and was canceled after three seasons. Nonetheless, the show continued to run in syndication in the 70s and gained popularity. Now, Stark Trek is one of the most-loved sci-fi stories of all time, with many spin-off series and several feature films. Star Trek holds the Guinness World Record for having the largest number of spin-offs among television shows in history. The Original Series has stood the test of time, and this updated version gives it a new, polished finish. Whether you're a long-time fan of this smart sci-fi classic, or a recent convert looking to catch up, Star Trek: Remastered is the best Original Series viewing experience available.moreless
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