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    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
  • 22
    V: The Series (1984)

    V: The Series (1984)

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    NBC (ended 1985)
    They came to Earth, disguised as friends. But instead, they took the planet's water and eat people for food. But there's a resistance... to save the people and the planet.

    V: The Series is preceded by two miniseries, V and V: The Final Battle.moreless
  • 23
    The Bob Hope Show

    The Bob Hope Show

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    NBC (ended 1975)
    The Bob Hope Show hosted by Bob Hope, debuted on April 9, 1950. During the 1952-1953 season, NBC rotated with other variety shows in a Sunday night block known as "The Colgate Comedy Hour" (Sept. 1950 to Dec. 1955). Also known as, "The Chevy Show with Bob Hope." When the first special debuted in October of 1950 it was the most expensive television program made up to that point - costing an astronomical $1,500 a minute to produce. Bob Hope had his own television show and radio show at the same time. For the next three seasons, The Bob Hope Show was broadcast once a month on Tuesday nights, giving Milton Berle a week off. Bob ended his radio show in April, 1956. Bob Hope also had another show by a similar name, "The Bob Hope Show (All Star Revue)". In addition, he performed in "Specials" for many years. It is the longest running variety program in television's history with a record of 45 years of televised entertainment.moreless
  • 24
    Miami Vice

    Miami Vice

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    NBC (ended 1989)
    Miami Vice was one of the most innovative and powerful TV series of all time. Focusing on the Miami Metro-Dade Police "Vice" Department and it's continued battle against the illicit drug, prostitution, and firearms crime underworld of the city of Miami. It used fashion, color, and a varied musical selection in order to accentuate and amplify the emotional undercurrent of the drama it portrayed.moreless
  • 25
    NBC Nightly News

    NBC Nightly News

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    NBC
    Currently anchored by Brian Williams, NBC Nightly News is NBC's evening news program, watched by millions of Americans every night. NBC Nightly News originated from the Huntley-Brinkley Report, but when David Huntley retired, they changed the name and format. You can catch the show every evening at 6:30 PM ET / 5:30 PM CT.moreless
  • 26
    Saved by the Bell

    Saved by the Bell

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    NBC (ended 1993)
    Saved By the Bell focused on Zack Morris and his friends: Samuel "Screech" Powers, Kelly Kapowski, Jessie Spano, A.C. Slater and Lisa Turtle. They had adventures and funny moments at Bayside High School in Palisades, California. They often tried to fool the gullible principal, Mr. Richard Belding, but also sometimes got advice from him. They regularly hung out at a burger joint called "The Max," which was owned in the first season by a magician named Max.

    As the years went by, they had adventures and relationships that lasted a long time. In the third season, the gang spent the summer at Malibu Sands, an exclusive beach club owned by Mr. Carosi, and his daughter Stacey Carosi, whom Zack fell in love with.

    The final season saw the arrival of a new cast member, Tori Scott, who took the place of Kelly and Jessie when Tiffani-Amber Thiessen and Elizabeth Berkley left the show in mid-season. The show ended with the gang graduating and heading off to college in the spin-off series Saved by the Bell: the College Years. There was also another spin-off to this show called Saved by the Bell: TNC.

    Saved By the Bell began as a short-lived comedy/drama series named Good Morning, Miss Bliss, which focused on teacher Miss Bliss and her students at John F. Kennedy Junior High School in Indianapolis, Indiana. After the show was cancelled by the Disney Channel, NBC picked up 4 of the characters (Zack, Screech, Lisa and Mr. Belding) and turned it into a new Saturday morning series called Saved by the Bell, which became more of a comedy concentrating on the antics of the students and was re-located to Bayside High School in Pacific Palisades, California.moreless
  • 27
    Quantum Leap

    Quantum Leap

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    NBC (ended 1993)
    "Theorizing that one could time travel within his own lifetime, Dr. Sam Beckett stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator and vanished. He woke to find himself trapped in the past, facing mirror images that were not his own and driven by an unknown force to change history for the better. His only guide on this journey is Al, an observer from his own time, who appears in the form of a hologram that only Sam can see and hear. And so Dr. Beckett finds himself leaping from life to life, striving to put right what once went wrong, and hoping each time that his next leap will be the leap home."moreless
  • 28
    ALF

    ALF

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    NBC (ended 1990)
    Gordon Shumway, last known survivor from the planet Melmac, crash-lands his spaceship into the Tanner family's suburban garage. Willie dubs him "ALF", short for Alien Life Form. After convincing a military officer that they are not harboring a space creature, the Tanners decide to take ALF in as a member of the family.moreless
  • 29
    Knight Rider

    Knight Rider

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    NBC (ended 1986)
    The adventures of Michael Knight and his incredible super-car K.I.T.T., Knight Industries 2000. Selected by a dying billionaire, Wilton Knight, Michael now works for the Foundation for Law and Government with the job of rooting out evil that is above the law, with only his trusty car!moreless
  • 30
    Another World

    Another World

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    NBC (ended 1999)
    For thirty-five years, Another World was a much loved part of the NBC daytime lineup. Fans followed the Frame, Cory, Hudson, and many other families through trial and tribulation, pain and pleasure. Another World was the first soap to expand to an hour (then 90 minutes from March 1979-August 1980). It also was the first soap to have spin-offs (Somerset and Texas). In April of 1999, the parent company and network made a decision not to continue the program, and the show aired it's final episode in June of 1999. Although gone from the airwaves, the show will live on in the hearts of the fans. "We do not live in this world alone, but in a thousand other worlds." Created By: Irna Phillips with William J. Bell First Broadcast: May 4, 1964 Last Broadcast: June 25, 1999 Program Type: Soap Opera Production Company: Procter and Gamble Productions Broadcast History: 3:00pm - 3:30pm (5/4/64-1/3/75) 3:00pm - 4:00pm (1/6/75-3/2/79) 2:30pm - 4:00pm (3/5/79-8/1/80) 2:00pm - 3:00pm (8/4/80-6/25/99) Television Episodes: 8891 B&W; Color Episodes Spin-offs: Texas (1980-1982); Somerset (1970-1976)moreless
  • 31
    The Tomorrow Show (1973)

    The Tomorrow Show (1973)

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    NBC (ended 1982)
    The Tomorrow Show hosted by Tom Snyder was a late-night talk show that followed The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson.Tomorrow aired Mondays through Thursdays (or, to be more exact, early morning Tuesdays through Fridays). Tomorrow started as a 60-minute series, sometimes known as The Tomorrow Show or Tomorrow starring Tom Snyder. Produced by Rudy Tellez, the show won two EMMY's for its host Tom Snyder in 1974 and 1975. The program expanded to 90 minutes in September 1980. A month later, Rona Barrett joined the series. She eventually became the West Coast co-host and the series was re-titled Tomorrow Coast-To-Coast. Rona Barrett stayed with the show through Spring 1981. In February 1982, NBC replaced Tomorrow Coast-To-Coast with Late Night with David Letterman.moreless
  • 32
    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
  • 33
    A Different World

    A Different World

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    NBC (ended 1993)
    In this spin-off from the popular sitcom The Cosby Show, Denise Huxtable enters her sophomore year at Hillman, alma mater of her parents and grandfather, where she moves into Gilbert Hall and shares a dorm room with 26-year-old Jaleesa Vinson and talkative new roommate Maggie Lauten. Also included in the first season cast were obnoxious and extremely wealthy dormmate Whitley Gilbert, ladies' man Dwayne Wayne and dorm director Stevie Rallen. Lettie Bostic later replaced Stevie as the new dorm director. At the end of the first season, Denise would return home (and to The Cosby Show) after dropping out of college. In the fall of 1988, new students Freddie Brooks and Kim Reese entered Hillman College. Freddie was a "hippie-child" who developed a crush on Dwayne; and Kim, an aspiring med student, became Whitley's new roommate. Giving Dwayne a hard time was his math professor, Col. Bradford Taylor. Also, Ron Johnson and Walter Oakes became regulars in the second season after appearing occasionally during the first season. Vernon Gaines, chef at the campus hangout, The Pit, became a regular in the third season. Whitley and Dwayne began an on-again off-again relationship before they became married at the end of the fifth season. Stories dealt mainly with college-themed issues such as racism, fraternity pledging and on-campus romances. NBC Broadcast History September 1987 - May 1992 - Thursdays 8:30 PM September 1992 - November 1992 - Thursdays 8:00 PM December 1992 - January 1993 - Thursdays 8:30 PM May 1993 - June 1993 - Thursdays 8:00 PM July 1993 - Fridays 8:00 PM A Different World airs on BET, weekdays at 11 & 11:30 PM EST. Theme Song: I know my parents love me. Stand behind me come what may. I know now that I'm ready. Because I finally heard them say! It's a different world from where you come from. Here's a chance to make it. If we focus on our goals. If you dish it we can take it. Just remember you've been told... It's a different world from where you come from. It's a different world from where you come from.moreless
  • 34
    The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

    The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

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    NBC (ended 1968)
    Welcome to the complete The Man from U.N.C.L.E. guide at TV.com. This is the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement.
    Meet our top Enforcement Agents, Mr. Ilya Kuryakin and Mr. Napoleon Solo. For four seasons, their job was to stop evil organizations such as THRUSH in their plans and attempts for world domination.moreless
  • 35
    The Rockford Files

    The Rockford Files

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    NBC (ended 1980)
    James Garner stars as Jim Rockford, a private investigator who lives and works from his trailer in Malibu, Los Angeles. Jim is an ex-con who had been imprisoned for five years in San Quentin for armed robbery – a crime which he did not commit and was later pardoned. Jim has a quarter page advertisement in the yellow pages, drives a tan Pontiac Firebird and has an answering machine, which plays at the beginning of every episode; "This is Jim Rockford, at the tone leave your name and message and I'll get back to you". A person then leaves a message – which usually has no relevance to the episode but is often humorous. The series also stars Noah Beery Jr as Jim's father Joseph "Rocky" Rockford, a retired truck driver. Rocky offers words of wisdom, advice or even assistance in some episodes. Rocky frequently pressures his son to leave the PI business and take up safer, honest work, such as trucking. Jim also has a close friendship with Dennis Becker, played by Joe Santos. Dennis is a Los Angeles Police Sergeant, later promoted to Lieutenant. Jim uses Dennis get information, police computer checks and often makes him the hero of the case Jim was investigating. Any time Jim is arrested in the first four seasons, he simply calls for his attorney Elizabeth "Beth" Davenport, played by Gretchen Corbett. Jim and Beth had a previous relationship, but remained friends until Beth went off to run her own private practice and later write legal fiction. In her absence Jim turns to John 'Coop' Cooper, played by Bo Hopkins in the fifth season. Coop is a disbarred attorney who specialises in legal research, and gets embroiled in three of Jim's cases. While Jim was in prison, he met Evelyn 'Angel' Martin, wonderfully portrayed by Stuart Margolin. So named because he was always praying the hard cases not to hit him; Angel is sneaky and is always up to something illegal - often involving Jim in his swindles. As part of his parole, he works for his brother-in-law who owns a LA Newspaper. Roy Huggins and Stephen J Cannell created The Rockford Files. The shows production team included Meta Rosenberg, Juanita Bartlett, Chas Floyd Johnson and David Chase, all of whom have had further successful series in later years. First Telecast: September 13, 1974 Last Telecast: July 25, 1980 Episodes: 1 Pilot Movie + 123 Color Episodes & 8 Made-for-TV Movies NBC Broadcast History September 1974 - May 1977; Friday 21:00 June 1977; Friday 20:30 July 1977 - January 1979; Friday 21:00 February - March 1979; Saturday 22:00 April - December 1979; Fridays 21:00 March - April 1980; Thursdays 22:00 June - July 1980; Fridays 21:00 Nielsen Ratings: (Top 25 or Better) #12 in the 1974-1975 Seasonmoreless
  • 36
    The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson

    The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson

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    NBC (ended 1992)
    Six months after Jack Paar made a stormy departure from "The Tonight Show" (over jokes about Communism, among other issues) and viewers enduring a succession of "substitute" hosts (and an ill-fated attempt at a magazine-type show), NBC (and middle America) finally got the comedian they were waiting for. Johnny Carson – who had honed his craft on radio and daytime television, and to that point was best known as host of Who Do You Trust – made his debut as host of "The Tonight Show" on October 1, 1962. Thus began a love affair with America that lasted 30 years, not only making Carson wealthy and powerful, but earning him the title, "King of Late Night." It started out shaky. NBC built Carson a cheap set on the sixth floor of 30 Rockefeller Center, not thinking the show would last. Ed McMahon was less confident; he still lived in Philadelphia and commuted for the next three years. In 1962, "Tonight" began at 11:15 pm ET and lasted 105 minutes. By then, most NBC affiliates had inflated their late-evening newscasts to half an hour. It meant that, unless viewers tuned in on the NBC owned-and-operated stations in New York, Washington, DC, Chicago, Philadelphia, or Los Angeles, chances are they missed Carson's monologue. NBC quickly moved the start time of Johnny's show to 11:30 pm ET to ensure everyone could see the best part of his domain. In 1972, the show moved from New York to NBC's West Coast headquarters, thus setting up countless gags about "beautiful downtown Burbank." For a number of years, NBC reran "Tonight" on weekends at 11:30 pm ET. These reruns, of course, didn't score nearly the ratings as the originals maintained. By the end of 1974, Carson told NBC to turn their late weekends to another program. NBC hired a young Canadian performer and writer named Lorne Michaels to develop (what would quickly become) the "Tonight" antithesis -- Saturday Night Live. Carson became the man with whom millions of Americans ended their day with a relatively simple formula: an opening monologue of topical (sometimes corny) humor. Johnny's stock in trade became his down-home, glib sense of humor and his natural wit. He possessed the knack of being equal parts L.A. hip and Midwest backward. However, he never mocked people or resorted to mean-spirited or cheap, off-color jokes; instead, he often poked fun at human nature and events of the day in such a way that made America know it was OK to laugh at themselves. The Carson Monologue became "must see TV," and to miss a night was leave one's self less than "in the know" at the water cooler the following day. On one occasion, a Carson joke about toilet paper shortage actually led to hoarding of the product by thousands of consumers. Following the monologue, viewers saw either a "desk bit" between Carson and McMahon, or a more elaborate, produced skit. Then, interviews and performances by a wide range of celebrities followed (some reports have Johnny's guest list at more than 20,000). Carson was often at his best while interviewing the "everyday" person, especially young children. Some of the notable skits and features: • Carnac the Magnificent – Debuting in 1964, Carson (wearing a jeweled and feathered turban) would "divine" answers to questions from "hermetically sealed" envelopes, a standard gag from Vaudeville. Example: "The answer is...Chicken teriyaki! The question..."What is the name of the last surviving Japanese kamikaze pilot?" • The Mighty Carson Art Players – Starting in 1967, this catch-all title featured parodies of movies, TV shows and commercials. Classic skits included a tongue-twisting take-off on Dragnet (1968, with Jack Webb); commercial parodies of E.F. Hutton (with a deceased Carson rising from a casket to "my broker is E.F. Hutton..."), American Express (with Carson as Karl Malden), Energizer Batteries (Carson as Robert Conrad), and various diarrhea commercial take-offs. Also under the "Mighty Carson" umbrella was the Tea Time Movie sketch, with Carson playing Art Fern, an oily afternoon movie host and commercial huckster. These sketches were full of double entendre humor, first featuring busty Carol Wayne as the straight foil, "the Matinee Lady." Following Wayne's drowning death in 1985, Teresa Ganzel was added. Other classic moments included Carson as President Reagan (and actor Fred Holliday) in a hilarious "Who's On First?"-style routine, and a duet with Julio Iglesias ("To All The Girls I've Loved Before"), with Carson giving a convincing Willie Nelson impersonation. • Floyd R. Turbo – The super-patriot who gave over-the-top editorials. Other memorable moments: • Falsetto-singer and ukulele player Tiny Tim on-air marriage to Miss Vicki (Vicki Budinger) on December 17, 1969. • Ed Ames infamous tomahawk throw demo, striking the outlined target squarely in the crotch. • The marmoset who relieved itself while poking around at Carson's head; plus other animals (brought on by frequent guests Joan Embery and Jim Fowler) who refused to behave or were just being themselves. • Potato chip collector Myrtle Young, who momentarily thinks Johnny has eaten one of her prized chips. Among the performers who owe (at least part) of the beginning of their careers to Carson: Joan Rivers, Roseanne Barr, Drew Carey, Jay Leno, David Letterman, Eddie Murphy, Jerry Seinfeld and Garry Shandling, plus many others. Ironically, Letterman (a frequent "Tonight" guest host in the late 1970's) was Carson's first choice as his successor. Leno, however, had already been given the seat as "permanent guest host," following Carson's professional breakup with Joan Rivers (who had joined the up and coming FOX Network to do her own late night show in 1986.) Leno, though seen by some at NBC as "too ethnic looking," had the favor of NBC's West Coast executives, and was chosen over Letterman, whom NBC West saw as "too cranky and edgy" to replace the mild-mannered Carson. This was perceived as a final snub to Carson, and prompted Letterman to defect to CBS, and compete head to head against the show he'd always wanted to host. The entire "Tonight" endgame saga would be the subject of Bill Carter's book The Late Shift: Letterman, Leno & the Network Battle for the Night (later turned into an HBO film, with Rich Little as Johnny). Carson's 30-year ride was hardly without its more tenuous moments, thanks to several contract disputes and his well-publicized failed marriages (he was thrice divorced during his run on the show). Carson's "alimony payment" jokes would become a staple of the show. Following much protracted negotiation (including talk of his leaving "Tonight"), Carson signed a new contract with NBC in 1980. Three stipulations in the deal: 1) "Tonight" was reduced from 90 minutes to 60; 2) Carson would dictate what kind of show NBC could run at 12:30 am ET. This meant replacing Tom Snyder's Tomorrow show with from Carson's stable. 3) Carson Productions was formed. Among its most heralded works was the show that followed "Tonight" -- Late Night with David Letterman. Carson Productions' other gift to NBC was a series of specials called Television's Greatest Commercials, hosted by Ed McMahon. McMahon was also a victim of a one-shot deal called Johnny Carson's Greatest Practical Jokes, in which Johnny had loaded the trunk of Ed's car with office equipment and taped Ed failing to get past NBC Security (and a guard named Carson). Both of these specials would merge with Dick Clark's running TV Censored Bloopers in January 1984, becoming TV's Bloopers & Practical Jokes. In 1983, Carson Productions produced and distributed "Carson's Comedy Classics," a somewhat low-budget, 30 minute repackaging of "Tonight" clips, culled mainly from the years 1972-1982. Carson's lock on late night came into question in the late 1980's, likely precipitated by two events: the debut of The Arsenio Hall Show in 1989, and Dana Carvey doing a less-than-loving portrayal (with Phil Hartman as a one-note Ed McMahon) of Carson on Saturday Night Live. Carvey's "Johnny" was basically a dinosaur -- a relic clueless of pop culture and mired in "unhipness." In one of the more scathing takes, Carvey presented Carson as "Carsenio," giving his Johnny a wedge cut and Arsenio-styled suit. These less-than-flattening portrayals of Carson on SNL were seen by some as NBC giving tacit approval to the move to push Johnny out. Carson, during his last show, in thanking Doc and the band, would lament TV's loss of the "last big swing band," saying, "To say that this band is not 'hip' is to not know the meaning of the word." In 1991, as Carson was starting his 29th year, the "King of Late Night" announced in his usual no-big-deal style that he was retiring, expressing a desire to leave the show while still in his prime. His second-to-last show on May 21, 1992 featured just two guests: Robin Williams and Bette Midler, with Midler serenading Carson with "One for My Baby," a teary-eyed Carson taking in the moment. The final show on May 22, 1992 was a quiet and contemplative retrospective, featuring "a day in the life" on the Tonight Show set, and a tribute to his late son, Rick (who was killed in a car crash the previous June). Alone on a stool, in front of the familiar curtain, a tearful Carson bade his audience "a heartfelt good night," thus ending not only a show, but an era of television. With very few exceptions, Carson's "Tonight" departure was the last most people saw of their beloved late-night TV comic. Most notably: a voice appearance as himself on The Simpsons episode, 'Krusty Gets Kancelled,' and a pair of appearances on Late Show with David Letterman. Just prior to Carson's death, it was revealed that Johnny would occasionally give Dave an idea or two for his monologue, thus cementing the notion that Carson saw Letterman as his true late night heir. When Johnny Carson died on January 23, 2005, America mourned the passing of a late-night legend. Jay Leno devoted his January 24, 2005 show to his predecessor (though it should be noted, Leno read a prepared "tribute" from cue cards). On the show were Ed McMahon, Drew Carey and Carson's close friends Bob Newhart and Don Rickles, all providing their remembrances. Letterman's first new show following Carson's death featured longtime "Tonight" executive producer Peter Lassally and a performance of "Here's That Rainy Day" -- one of Johnny's favorites -- by bandleader Doc Severinsen, with NBC Orchestra mates Tommy Newsom and Ed Shaughnessy. Thanks to TV Tome contributors Brian Rathjen & doppelgänger.moreless
  • 37
    Buck Rogers in the 25th Century

    Buck Rogers in the 25th Century

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    NBC (ended 1981)
    In the year 1987, NASA launched the last of America's deep space probes. Aboard this compact starship a lone astronaut, Captain William "Buck" Rogers, was to experience cosmic forces beyond all comprehension. In a freak mishap, his life-support systems were frozen by temperatures beyond imagination. Ranger III was blown out of its plan trajectory into an orbit 1,000 times more vast, an orbit which was to return Buck Rogers to earth 500 years later.moreless
  • 38
    Late Night With David Letterman

    Late Night With David Letterman

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    NBC (ended 1993)
    David Letterman made his name as a TV legend with this influential comedy/talk show series. Dave was a departure from the usual happy, pleasant host; he was sarcastic, moody, grumpy--and on a bad night, he could be all three and almost unwatchable. Generally, though, he treated guests with a refreshing irrereverence. The comedy segments often cast a jaded eye at the cliches of life and especially show business--a wink to the audience that we were all in on whatever scam was being perpetrated on us. Along that line, bandleader Paul Shaffer would banter with Dave in a faux-Rat Pack/swinger style, an exaggeration of how the typical 'hip' talk show musician acted. Recurring bits over the years included: the nighty 'Top Ten' list, often based on a topic in the news; 'Stupid Pet Tricks', when real people and their pets demonstrated, well, exactly what the title says; 'Peggy, the foul-mouthed chambermaid', who would come out and curse at Letterman (most of her dialog was bleeped); Chris Elliot as the creepy guy under the stairs; and TV cameras attached to anything that moved, most unforgettably to a chimp. Borrowing an idea from Steve Allen, Dave ocassionally performed ridiculous stunts. Among them, he had himself dunked into a giant bowl of milk; wore a suit of suet; almost passed out from fumes when, covered with Alka-Seltzer tablets, was dunked in a tank of water; and, wearing a velcro suit, jumped on a trampoline and stuck to a wall. "Late Night with David Letterman" was highly praised, winning five Emmy Awards, and a prestigious Peabody for taking, as the award said, "one of TV's most conventional and least-inventive forms, the talk show, and infusing it with freshness and imagination." NOTE: Thanks to noted Letterman expert Don "Donz5" Giller for his help in correcting and contributing to this episode guide.moreless
  • 39
    Mama's Family

    Mama's Family

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    NBC (ended 1990)
    Mama's Family mined humor from a squabbling family in the Midwestern blue collar suburb of Raytown. The noisy clan was headed by Mama, a buxom, gray-haired widow with sharp opinions and a sharper tongue who shared her small house with her high-strung sister Fran, a journalist for a local paper. Mama's lazy, dimwitted son, Vint, a locksmith by trade, moved in at the start of the series with his troublesome teenage children, Buzz and Sonja, after his wife run off to become a Las Vegas show-girl. Much to Mama's disgust, Vint soon took up with the flirtatious neighbor Naomi. The two where married in early 1983, and Naomi moved in too. Further uproar was caused by the periodic visits from Mama's two married daughter's, the foul mouthed Eunice and the snobbish Ellen. Ed was Eunice's Dolt of a husband. In the Fall of 86 Mama's Family returned to TV in first-run syndication. Fran had recently passed (Rue McClanahan was now starring in The Golden Girls) and Ed and Eunice had moved to Florida. They had neglected to mention this to there delinquent son Bubba who, after serving a time in Juvenile Hall for car theft, ended up living with Mama in Fran's old room, much to the consternation of Naomi and Vinton who thought they were getting it. Iola was the prissy neighbor who barely convealed her romantic designs on Vinton. The Biggest event in the run of Mama's Family occured in the Spring of 1990 when Naomi, who had seemingly been pregnant for an eternity, presented Vinton with a bouncing baby girl named after his Mama-Tiffany Thelma. They had moved out of her house but not of her shadow, as they were now living in a trailer on her property.moreless
  • 40
    The Smurfs

    The Smurfs

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    NBC (ended 1989)
    The Smurfs are a group of over 100 bluish, three-apple tall creatures who live in the mushroom homes of Smurf Village. They are led by 543-year-old Papa Smurf (who doesn't look a day over 530). Their lives would be perfect were it not for the villainous Gargamel, a wizard who spends his days trying to capture them to eat, turn into gold, or for some other evil reason. Gargamel's cat Azrael adds to the menace, always looking for a smurfalicious snack. The single-emotioned smurfs, including Brainy, Jokey, Vanity, Grouchy and Clumsy, and others, were later joined by Grandpa Smurf, five Smurflings (who went back in time to become youngsters), and even Nanny late in the series. Gargamel, too, got a friend in the form of the unscrupulous Scruple. In 1982, the Culliford characters Johan and his aide Peewit ("Peewee" to U.S. kids) were given their own segments during the expanded, 90-minute The Smurfs, but the two humans simply weren't as smurfy as their tiny friends, and thus did not last. Despite its incredible popularity, The Smurfs actually encountered some controversy. Some adults considered the show quite sexist in its use of the one original female character, Smurfette, who was created by Gargamel as a way to fool the other Smurfs. In reaction to the criticism, the siren was changed into a sweetie via some Papa Smurf magic, and later seasons brought further smurf femmes like Sassette and Nanny. Perhaps the most memorable feature of the show was the use of the word "smurf" in every possible tense and construction. For instance, it wouldn't be unusual to hear a Smurf remark something like, "It's such a smurfy day, I think I'll go smurfing in Lake Smurf." In any case, the show won two Emmys as Outstanding Children's Entertainment Series and, in 1987, actually did a message episode. In an anti-drug show, Poet Smurf became addicted after rubbing a witch's magic orb, requiring the help of Papa and the gang to overcome his problem. The Smurfs hit the silver screen in 1984 with The Smurfs and the Magic Flute. The film was actually a dubbed version of an older Belgian Schtroumpfs feature, and our teeny weeny heroes didn't even appear until a ways in. The film flopped, but the cartoon continued to rule Saturday morning for the better part of the decade. In 1989, in an attempt to save the nearly decade-old show, the producers had the Smurfs leaving Smurf Village to visit various times and locations. Fans were smurfed off. The show was cancelled after that season, surviving only in the syndicated package titled The Smurfs' Adventures. Catch an hour of The Smurfs every weekday morning on The Cartoon Network at 11AM - 12PM EST and on the Boomerang Network at 8AM, 4PM, and 12AM EST.moreless
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