I was the generation to which it was introduced. I can't remember one person in my school ever saying they liked it. We ususally considered it outdoor time or time to get homework done before the real stuff started on TV. I can remember ABC advertising them and all of us groaning and trying to figure out what on earth we were going to do for the time it was on. The shows to put it in our terms were lame, dumb and talked down to us. The cute moral messages were over cooked and over done and the acting and story line didn't support them well.
It was rated right up there with going to the dentist to have a tooth drilled. It was something you had to put up with because ABC thought it was being improving. I always wondered if they ever bothered to ask a kid.
Hindsight many years later, I can tell you the acting was bad, the plots were bad and the message was indeed over done. Really bad TV that was suppose to enlighten instead boring the audience.
I grew up watching these afterschool specials and I think it is about time they made a comeback to the afternoon television line up. There is so much junk on tv today that kids/teens really do not need to be watching. Most of television is "Hollywood" reality television which tends to glamorize sex and drinking and these are the shows our youth are watching and modeling themselves after. The youth of today are trying to grow up way to fast and are dealing with the pressures sex/drugs/drinking at a younger age. These afterschool specials were clean, honest, simple shows that dealt with a specific issue and delivered the message in a realistic manner, not the "hollywood" version. I learned alot from these shows and I think the youth of today could benefit from them making a comeback!
A classic from my childhood and adolescent years. Yes, it could be predictable and sappy and focused on youthful trauma and humiliation. But for some kids going through stressful situations (divorce, eating disorders, pregnancies, family pressures, date rape, etc.) alone, I'm sure it was comforting to see they weren't alone. Unfortunately, as time went by, themes were repeated over and over and the series became less original simply by its longevity (which happens to most series). It became a punchline to jokes rather than being relevant to the changes teens were going through in the 1990s. It outlived its usefulness but it is a shame that there doesn't exist something like this show--updated, of course,--for the current generation.
There is uncertainty about the life span for this show. Despite documented evidence in the "Episode List" to the contrary, it has been assumed the The ABC Afterschool Special were a fatality of the first U.S. war with Iraq. Then again, it may have just been that more and more ABC affiliates got sick of wasting one hour each month that could have been devoted to Oprah Winfrey.
these were actually really good shows. they taught lessons to a generation of young people. the only time they could get a good actor was when someone got busted. ie drew barrymore. we always had a joke about our lives were just one long after school special when i was young.
What other people say about SHOW doesn't bring it any justice. To give it anything less than a 10 would be an outrage. What's good about it? If you need me to tell you what's good about it, it means you can't even tell the brilliance behind The ABC Afterschool Special. Nuff said.
I had a good laugh out of watching The ABC Afterschool Special. In fact, not that the show was particularly humorous but there was something special, something unique that brought a smile to my face when I watched this.
I had a good laugh out of watching The ABC Afterschool Special. In fact, not that the show was particularly humorous but there was something special, something unique that brought a smile to my face when I watched this. Definitely one of the highlights of my television experience this month.
I remember coming home as a kid and teenager in the eighties and nineties.
To these shows that taught moral vaules.
That are sadly lacking in today's youth.
If you think we kids in that era had it rough, let me tell you, that was just a cakewalk.
Not just are these specials good writing and acting.
But also just wonderful for the family to sit down and watch.
To get the moral of the story.
Like from drugs, child abuse, sex, etc.
I wished that these shows would be on today.
Sadly tv is just filled with trash I am afraid.
Sometimes a TV show passes into the cultural fabric of the country. The ABC Afterschool Special is one of those shows.
It aired for more than 20 years providing a monthly dose of drama to pre-teens and teens during the school year in the hours after school before dinner. The specials were TV movies that explored the angst and problems that real kids experienced. They were little morality plays that while not being preachy, showed that actions have consequences.
Some of the known young stars of the times appeared including some who are stars now. For many it was one of their first jobs in the industry and for others it was their way of contributing to the community.
Stars included Ben Affleck, Heather Langenkamp, Jane Kaczmarek, Brandon Cruz, Christopher Knight, Melissa Sue Anderson, Kristy McNichol, and Scott Baio, and my favorite Lance Kerwin.
My favorite was Lance Kerwin. He appeared in several of the specials including "Pssst! Hammerman's After You!" and "The Boy Who Drank Too Much" with Scott Baio. Those two shows are my favorite. Baio also was in several specials.
The series came to an end as Oprah Winfrey took over the time slot on many stations in the early 90's. A local station would keep more of the advertising money by airing syndicated programs like Winfrey's talk show, reruns of old TV shows, or the tabloid shows like Judge Judy. Just like the toy companies killed the Saturday morning cartoons, money became more important than the community. Whenever I get overcome with the dreck on between 4 and 6 PM I wax nostalgic for those specials.
The specials also added to our cultural lexicon. Whenever someone is getting overly dramatic or sentimental how often to hear a response like "This isn't an Afterschool Special." Some the specials have been collected on DVD but I would like to see the specials come back. The ABC Afterschool Special holds a special place in my heart along with Schoolhouse Rock and American Bandstand.
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