FW Presents – 70s/80s TV

Don't touch that dial! Based on a Patreon suggestion, Shag, Rob, Siskoid, and Max discuss their favorite prime time TV shows of the 1970s and 1980s!

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51 responses to “FW Presents – 70s/80s TV

  1. This is from a message to Shagg. I wanted to just share this on the website.

    Just started the new podcast. I love it. I was born in 1968 so all of the shows Rob and Max
    references are shows I loved.

    Haven’t listened to the whole show yet. But an all time favorite show from the 70s is Family. Kristy Mcnichol was the kid, her older sister was Meredith Baxter from Family Ties was the older daughter. I rewatches the series on YouTube lasr summer. Loving this podcast.

    Loved your comments on Midnight Caller. Great shoe I mentioned that I was lucky to be an extra in Lucas. Gary Cole had a very small part so it was early in his career. He was nice but didn’t say a lot to us dumb kids. And Tour of Duty, Rob’s choice was a huge favorite. I’m a TV show freak. Most shows I loved back when I was a kid I have all seasons of on DVD. I agree about how the Tour of Duty DVDs are filled with that horrible generic music.

    Tour of Duty, China Beach, those were following the success of Platoon, Hamburger Hill Full Metal Jacket and Good Morning Vietnam. I remembered in my last conversation with Charlie Sheen during a Lucas reshoot I asked what he was working on next. It was mid December 1985. He said he was flying to the Phillipines to shoot a war movie. Turned out of course to be Platoon.

    This was a bad copy and paste of my message to Shagg. Great episode with such great comments by all the whole gang.

    As I mentioned above all the shows referenced were huge favorites for me. Below are shows that I loved through the late 80s.

    The Rookies
    Police Woman
    Police Story
    Simon & Simon
    Miami Vice
    Quantum Leap

    And in regards to the Ken Wahl discussion. The one movie I remember him in was Purple Hearts. A Vietnam era movie which was on HBO numerous times in the mid 80s. The one reason I remember it isn’t Ken Wahl. It had my favorite Charlie’s Angel, Cheryl Ladd. Wahl was a lucky dude

  2. What a wonderful conversation – not surprised that it lasts for almost 2 hours, because the topic is virtually inexhaustible.
    First, before I forget, I have to mention a few things you passed over pretty quickly in the early part of the show: All In the Family was also groundbreaking in its treatment of homosexuality and, one could argue, even transgender issues – it was way ahead of the curve in that regard.
    As for Fantasy Island, I have vague memories of watching the pilot movie, and the nature of Mr. Roarke was far more ambiguous there. For example, at the end of that bit at the start when he greets the guests and says, “Welcome to Fantasy Island,” he mutters something like “Fantasy indeed” under his breath. And the whole tone of the movie was sort of in line with that saying about “be careful what you wish for.”

    I loved that Max picked “Chico and the Man” for this ’70s spotlight show. That was one of those rare shows that most of my family watched and enjoyed back then – even my dad, who generally didn’t like watching anything on TV except the news and Hee Haw. I have to say, though, based on watching a few episodes that were posted on YouTube a few years ago, I can’t say it holds up very well for me. I think the best thing about it now is that fantastic title sequence, with the song by Jose Feliciano and the streets scenes from East LA.

    Otherwise, I don’t agree that Happy Days maintained its commitment to period-authentic sets, wardrobes and hairstyles. The initial run of seasons were pretty good in this regard, but I recall thinking even back then, as I was moving into my teens, that, say, the various characters were dressed and had hairstyles that looked very ‘modern’ (i.e., late ’70s/early ’80s). One thing I thought really stuck out like a sore thumb was Scott Baio/Chachi wearing a bandana tied above his knee. Also, the remodeled Arnold’s looked like a family restaurant from the 1980s, not an early ’60s burger joint.

    Personally, I have to say that if I were participating in this conversation, my pick for ’80s show would have been Magnum PI – I absolutely *loved* that show from my early teens and all though high school. It actually made me an odd man out among my peers, as most of them rarely watched it, while I never watched Miami Vice, which seemed to be everybody else’s favorite show back then.

    1. Hee-Haw! I had completely forgotten about that one! My grandfather was a big fan of Hee-Haw (I suspect the farmer’s daughters had something to do with that), and it’s lead-in, The Lawrence Welk Show. I saw way more Lawrence Welk than any child should be subjected to, honestly.

      Others make similar comments below, and yes, I watched Magnum, P.I., faithfully! The biggest problem doing this show was NOT talking about every show we loved from those eras.

      1. Hee-Haw and Lawrence Welk were the weekend double-whammy in our household. Saturday evenings my dad watched the former (and he truly watched it for the country music and hayseed humor, not “farmer’s daughters”), while on Sunday evenings my mom watched the latter. Usually that meant I shut myself in my room and read comic books…

  3. Wow! This episode was a major trip through Nostalgia Land!

    Shagg, I think you’re right that there is something magical about the movies, TV, and books we encounter as 11 – 14-year-olds. That’s the time frame I tend to go back to when I think of the most memorable stuff I was watching or reading as a kid.

    I’m a little bit younger than you guys. Not a dig – just a statement of fact. I was born in 1975, so I don’t feel a real connection to the 70s TV shows you guys were mentioning. Many of them I watched in reruns, but there’s something special about the shows you watched from week-to-week when they were actually on the air.

    If we are sticking with prime time TV, it wasn’t until the mid to late 80s in which I was actively and regularly following any shows. I mean, I watched The Dukes of Hazzard and The Incredible Hulk as a kid, but I was never interested in watching a lot of TV at night. I was reading comics and playing with my action figures in the evenings. My TV watching was mainly for Saturday morning cartoons and afternoons when I got home from school.

    It wasn’t until middle school that I started following TV shows with any regularity. I leaped for joy when Max brought up The Golden Girls. That was the cornerstone of Saturday night television viewing for me. And, I consider it to be the quintessential sitcom of the 1980s, even more so than The Cosby Show or Cheers, for primarily the reasons Max mentioned. There was something innocently naughty about the show in that I felt like I was watching something a little racy but not too much to raise an objection from my parents. Also, like Max said, the show was phenomenally consistent throughout all seven seasons and never took a serious dip in quality.

    As for other shows, I remember Beauty and the Beast with Linda Hamilton and Ron Pearlman being a big deal in my neck of the woods because Linda Hamilton is from my area, the Delmarva Peninsula. She even did a few promos for the show for the local CBS affiliate here, WBOC. Never mind the fact that she had already starred in The Terminator – Beauty and the Beast is when Linda Hamilton became a name in my area because now she was in our homes every week and my grandparents, who couldn’t give a fig about The Terminator, might actually catch an episode of the show if for no other reason than most TVs in the vast rural farmland only got two channels, maybe three on a clear day.

    I remember liking the show for its blend of action and romance. Yes, even at 11 – 12, I was a hopeless romantic. It had nothing to do with the fact that I clearly remembered Linda Hamilton’s being the first set of boobs I saw in a movie (i.e. The Terminator) when I sat down to watch the premiere of Beauty and the Beast. That thought NEVER crossed my mind. It was totally the romance of the show. TOTALLY.

    Okay, and maybe the boobs…a little.

    Further into my middle school years is when Fox started to become a contender with original programming. In eighth grade, you were nobody if you hadn’t seen the latest episode of 21 Jump Street. I have fond memories of the show, not for how good the show was or even for how much I liked it, but rather for the social interaction it prompted for me at school. Similarly, Head of the Class (although not a Fox show) has a special place in my heart because I had a deep, abiding crush on Khrystyne Haje.

    Anyway, that’s my tidbit. Thanks for the great episode, guys. I loved hearing all the discussion about these wonderful classic shows.

  4. From Sesame Street to the Norman Lear shows, ’70s programming was representative of my multicultural surroundings, and informed my “wokeness.” Being in Texas certainly raised me “right,” but as a child, racism & inequality was always treated as one of the great evils of all time (and led to my far leftward shift as an adult.) Also, middle-to-upper class white shows simply didn’t reflect my lived reality or concerns.

    I watched Fantasy Island with my grandmother on Saturday nights, and enjoyed the interwoven monkey’s paw storylines. I also knew Ricardo Montalbán from the Apes movies and Hervé Villechaize from Bond, so they were just part of the cultural landscape. We also watched Love Boat, which I wasn’t as into, but I liked to imagine Captain Stubing was the one ferrying people to Mr. Roarke & Tattoo. Like most of America, I have rejected all subsequent revival attempts on principle.

    I watched All In The Family for Archie Bunker, the racist with a “heart of gold.” Again, maybe because of my upbringing, the liberal whining of the family was off-putting. The crude straight-shooting of Archie was the draw, but he had a line that he wouldn’t cross to separate him from the truly awful people. That said, I was much more into Good Times and The Jeffersons, and I never had much use for Archie’s Place. George Jefferson was a bigot that I could get behind, and I had more fun with him hassling his fellow upper crust tenants. It was more cartoonish, so it didn’t hit in that Rosanne way, and I just thought the cast was far better. You also had Marla Gibbs as an effective foil, and while I wasn’t as into 227 or Amen. I did follow the cast there. Good Times was definitely more dour, but the cast was rock solid, and the girls were a lot cuter than Sally Struthers. Maude barely ran in Houston, so Golden Girls was my primary Bea Arthur fix. Used to work with seniors who always had that on, and it holds up (ditto In The Heat of the Night.)

    I only have the vaguest of memories of seeing Chico and the Man in syndication, specifically the later episodes with Charo. I was also familiar with Scatman Crothers from a sitcom, but I never realized that it must have been this one, since it appears to be the only show on which he was a regular. I bought a DVD of highlight episodes from a dollar store when such finds were a rarity, but have yet to take it out of the package.

    As a kid, I tended to confuse Space: 1999 and The Black Hole because they were both sci-fi properties staffed with pensioners. Obviously I never invested much in either, and to this day can’t tell you whether I saw Black Hole theatrically or just had some figures and the Book & Record (yeah, I know Space: 1999 had a Power Record, but I didn’t buy that.) I was lucky enough to not only lack for “deserts” of sci-fi, but more or less actively reject shows that weren’t to my taste. I caught enough Battlestar Galactica and had a few figures, but Buck Rogers was more my bag. The repackaged episodes of Planet of the Apes didn’t hold up to the movies, so I treated them as background noise. I guess Voyagers was more of a fantasy, which I watched with my mom, who thought the lead was hot. We skipped the show on PBS with the funny-looking guy in a big scarf. Obviously, nothing compares to V.

    I also watched Happy Days, but was more of a Laverne & Shirley and Mork & Mindy kid. Caught a few episodes of the cartoon because it had The Fonz in it. Family watched the Miami Vice pilot, but didn’t carry over to the series. Saw a lot of A-Team and Knight Rider but remember very little of either.

    There’s a lot of jumping around that I’ll eventually cover (or have already covered) on Comic Reader Resume, but I have to specifically latch onto China Beach. While I don’t think that the show ever recovered from Chloe Webb’s departure, I still watched most of the series first run, and bought the box set. I couldn’t get my girlfriend to even finish the pilot, but obviously I want to do a re-watch inevitably. That show impacted on my life, Dana Delany is a forever crush, and “Reflections” is still probably my favorite sourced TV theme show ever. Tour of Duty was too butch for me, so I dropped it after the pilot. It didn’t help that letter writers to TV Guide used to crap on China Beach (“stupid soap opera with stunt attempt to film in Vietnam”) and praise Tour of Duty. I lost interest sometime around season 3, but came back for the finale.

    The Flash and The Simpsons were both intended to take down Cosby at least a peg, and failing that, one died while the other retreated. Family Guy did both, but I don’t recall against which other top show.

    I also have an undying affection for Moonlighting (another great theme,) despite both stars turning out to be complete assholes. I watched too many episodes of Bosom Buddies as well. I was a New Twilight Zone regular, and occasional Amazing Stories viewer.

    I was aware of Midnight Caller, but never saw a single episode. My key Gary Cole exposure was American Gothic in the ’90s, making him a fave. I got my girlfriend hooked on the first season of Murphy Brown, but the music rights meant that was the only season released on DVD. We tried to follow the revival, but it was painfully wretched. I failed to get her into Designing Women, another very preachy show, but we gave up after a few episodes. Never watched Wiseguy or Crime Story. I had several Dukes of Hazzard action figures that I never used to reenact the episodes that I half-watched. I think my defining relationship with the show is that I had less of one than any of the other kids I knew.

    1. I watched and covered China Beach on “In Country” a few years ago and thought it was outstanding, even if the third season did drag quite a bit. But the moment the fourth season began in the 1980s and proceeded to spend its time jumping around from the war to the postwar experiences of its characters, I was hooked back in. I think the only downside to the finale is some of the “aging” makeup on a few of the actors, but it all holds up incredibly well on DVD.

  5. Hey Fellas:

    Great episode! I had actually forgotten about my suggestion so this was a nice surprise. I have been actually mulling over that a podcast looking in-depth at particular episodes of various TV series would be kind of fun. It’s kind of what I do now in my TV as Popular Culture course at BGSU. I cover the evolution on issues such as race/ethnicity, sex & romance, violence & crime, advertising trends, etc. It’s a lot of fun. Perhaps the biggest change in TV from the 1970s & 1980s is the fragmentation of the audience. There are so many choices, platforms, & ways to watch TV (bingeing for example) that TV has lost its ability to bring people together in a common viewing experience. Maybe the Super Bowl is the last of these “TV events.” For example, I believe something like 60 million viewers tuned into All in the Family at its ratings peak. A top network sitcom today is lucky to crack 15-20 million viewers in a country with so many more people.

    In my class, I usually say All in the Family is the most culturally significant show in American TV history (sorry MASH). My reason for placing it above the 4077 crew is that it was able to touch many more topics due to it being set in NY rather than Korea. That there are more stories told from different perspectives in terms of age, gender, race, political leanings, etc. allowed for a much broader canvas. Recently, I have been rewatching the AITF episodes and I am reminded that Carroll O’Connor & Jean Stapleton are perhaps the best TV performers of the 1970s.
    In no particular order my top picks of the 1970s & 1980s
    1. All in the Family
    2. Mary Tyler Moore Show
    3. Bob Newhart Show
    4. Carol Burnett Show
    5. Sanford & Son
    6. Dallas
    7. St. Elsewhere
    8. Newhart
    9. Cagney & Lacy
    10. Soap

    I’ve not seen Dukes of Hazzard in many years, but I did buy them all on DVD (even the Coy & Vance season). I can see why some may have a problem with it today, but it’s a cartoon come to life. I’ve had students say they have had problems with some of the clips I screened of AITF in class. Another said she had problems with The Honeymooners as she saw it making light of domestic violence. In many ways, viewer are now both more conservative & liberal than in the past.

    My question for you all would be: Was there any TV show that you were forbidden from watching as a kid? I am constantly shocked when some of my contemporary students say programs like The Simpsons & Spongebob! When I was a kid, the 2 shows my mom wouldn’t allow were Soap & Three’s Company!

    Finally, I distinctly recall being in elementary school and being totally surprised when the kid down the street had never heard of Johnny Carson!!

    1. Though I told a story about being sent to bed before certain shows were on, we were not forbidden to watch anything as long as it didn’t interfere with what the family wanted to watch or bed times. I didn’t mention this because it’s not a “show” per se, but by the time I was in my teens, I was staying up to watch “Bleu Nuit” (Midnight Blue I think would be the best translation), a time slot Quebec’s trashiest channel where they would show erotic films like Emmanuelle, Tender Cousins, and such. And it was fine. (I mostly didn’t want to get into an argument with Rob as to the best Emmanuelle.)

      1. I wonder if it’s some truth to that joke about kids of a certain generation basically being left to their own devices much of the time. I can’t remember a single TV show I wasn’t allowed to watch – I think my parents probably thought many of them were good gateways to introducing me to societal issues and any questions I might’ve had. Of course, it might’ve been just been my parents, too; I’ve mentioned more than once on Rob’s Film & Water how my folks threw me into the deep end when it came to movies. Scarred for life, I tell you!

  6. Great episode! So many memories of flipping channels and thank you SO MUCH for the reminder of how much younger I am than some of you! I was born in 1977, so if I have any memory of 1970s television, it might be of a baseball game being on (my grandfather rooted for The Team That Shall Not Be Named), or an episode of Sesame Street or Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. I watched a number of 1970s shows in reruns during my childhood in the 1980s, as the sitcoms and drama shows were put into regular syndication, and even deep into the early 1990s, I was watching reruns of Happy Days and The Brady Bunch.

    I spent much of the early 1980s with a pretty strict bedtime, so I actually missed out on the A-Team and Knight Rider. The Greatest American Hero and the Dukes were the only shows that I was allowed to stay up and watch. You guys are right–Dukes does not hold up at all (although I did meet Ben Jones, who played Cooter, at his restaurant once)–but Shag’s wrong because the first season of The Greatest American Hero is really fun television. Still haven’t done a rewatch of the remaining seasons.

    If I saw another primetime show that aired after the 8:00 p.m. slot, it was probably on a Friday or Saturday night because they were not school nights. That’s why I watched Sledge Hammer! (man, I loved that show) and pretty much all of ABC’s TGIF lineup once it got going toward the end of the decade and early 1990s. If I wasn’t watching a Mets game, that is.

    You know what else doesn’t hold up very well, even as a satire? Married … With Children. While the episode I recently re-watched for Pop Culture Affidavit’s Christmas episode held up very well, the majority of that show is nigh unwatchable, even if the performances are great (especially Katey Sagal and Christina Applegate who have gone on to show some range way beyond Peggy and Kelly Bundy).

    That being said, a couple of shows I watched first run or in reruns that didn’t get much mention.

    1. Magnum, P.I. I don’t think you guys mentioned this AT ALL and because of that, I think you need to go check on Andy Leyland. My mom, like many moms in the 1980s, LOVED Tom Selleck. So I caught glimpses of this if I was able to stay up late for it. When I was in junior high and high school, it got rerun in syndication and I watched the crap out of it. Has an amazing theme song as well.

    2. Various 1980s sitcoms, especially family ones. You did mention a few of them, and while the GOATs are Family Ties and The Facts of Life (the absolute wonder of the El DeBarge episode …), you couldn’t swing a dead cat in the Eighties without hitting some formulaic family sitcom. I especially gravitated to ABC’s troika of Who’s the Boss, Growing Pains, and Mr. Belvedere. And syndicated stations reran the crap out of them even into the early 1990s, so I think I’ve seen just about every episode of all three of them (especially Growing Pains–I didn’t find out about Kirk Cameron until I saw the E! True Hollywood Story about the show in 1999/2000). Points are lost, however, because of how ABC also unleashed the unholy abomination that is “Full House” on the world.

    3. 21 Jump Street. How did not one of you mention this show? And by the way, Shag, you’re wrong again because THIS show has the best theme song EVER. Hands down. I own all five seasons of this on DVD (even the Depp-less syndicated season) and I’ve found that while it definitely is of its time in a number of ways, it also holds up incredibly well. Plus, there was a time in the late 1980s/early 1990s where Fox was the “cool” TV channel, especially if you were in that 11-14 age (and I was) , and this show was one of the primary reasons for it.

    Really enjoyed the episode. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am going to dive back into those late 1980s/early 1990s shows, because Netflix just sent me season 2, disc 1 of “Parker Lewis Can’t Lose.”

    1. Tom, after reading your post, I feel seen. You were nobody in middle school if you weren’t watching Fox. And, Parker Lewis Can’t Lose was my first glimpse at quirky brilliance in a TV show and made me appreciate the quality whenever I saw it in other shows. Haha!

      1. Steve, I have been doing a rewatch of Parker Lewis for the first time since it originally aired and it holds up surprisingly well. Now, that may be because I enjoyed shows like “Scrubs” so much.

        Watching Fox shows in that era was my only way to be “with it” because I didn’t have cable and therefore couldn’t watch MTV


    I made a mistake when I said that CBS put THE FLASH against COSBY SHOW b/c they had no faith in it. Actually, the opposite was true: CBS thought THE FLASH could pull a different, younger audience off COSBY by offering such a stark alternative. It didn’t work, of course, but I was wrong in saying what I did on the show.

  8. Great show guys! I was nodding along to pretty much everything (except L.A. Law, we never actually watched that in my house). I was huge into Happy Days as a kid. Had the Mego Fonzie and Ralph’s car (which Mego called “Fonzie’s Jalopy”. AYYYYY?), and even a leather jacket! I didn’t have a Dr. Fate in my pocket, though.

    Magnum P.I. was huge in our house, because my Mom loved Tom Selleck. I liked it too (not for the same reason), but really dug Simon & Simon. I’m not sure why. Both shows had great themes, too!

    Oh, and I watched The Greatest American Hero a few years back and really enjoyed it, because now I was watching for the great chemistry between Katt and Kulp. The bad super heroic shenaniagans weren’t really important to me anymore.

    Shows that don’t hold up: Dukes, unfortunately yes. Absolutely LOVED that show. Had the Mego figures, tons of die-cast General Lees, etc. Anyone remember the Enos spin-off? I watched that too. I even boycotted the show when Bo and Luke were replaced by those scabs Coy and Vance. I didn’t really watch the show until the originals returned. But yeah, political correctness aside, the premise is pretty thin and the humor very broad for a long-running show. I have a hard time thinking of others, because I’m really good about resetting my brain to the time something was made and being able to enjoy it on that level at least. Full House is kind of…bleh, but it was then, too. Poor Bob Saget probably just wanted to drop an F-bomb every once in a while.


  9. Max and I have talked about the significance (Capital S) of Chico & the Man. I will defend and love that show till my dying breath,. Thank you for talking about, Max.

  10. What? No Manimal?

    Kidding aside, this was a fantastic trip down memory lane! Thanks, Chuck, for suggesting this topic and thanks to all involved for excellent coverage of classic shows. It’s great to hear how some of these shows affected you guys in your formative years. Well done, everyone!

    For myself, I don’t think I watched as much TV as you guys did, though I certainly was raised on the boob tube and for me to go into all my favourites here would take too long. Suffice it to say, you guys talked about some of them and the commentators have talked about some more. It certainly did make me think back to all the great shows that were made over the years.

    But Siskoid, no Four On The Floor love? I would have thought with your interest in improv, this would have been an important show for you. Though I guess it did only last one season and “Canadian prime time” just doesn’t have the same caché.

    Thanks again for another great episode everyone! Keep up the great work!

    1. I can’t believe I forgot that you guys forgot The Muppet Show! That, the Wonderful World of Disney, and later Fraggle Rock were definitely must watch prime time family time.

    2. I mentioned Manimal in my quick-quick list of shows. These failed concept shows are probably more memorable than countless sitcoms and dramas we may also have watched and forgotten just on basic premise alone.

      I have no idea what Four on the Floor is, Mike. The most important show for me during the 80s was the big weekly improv game from the National League on Radio-Quebec. I think we can correctly say it changed my life. An “interest” in improv is I think underselling it.

      1. This all tracks with how bad my memory is, even just after listening to the show!

        Four On The Floor, from what I remember (which we established isn’t that great), was just one season on CBC, but I remember it being popular at the time. Though I guess not popular enough. It was a sketch show made by the comedy troupe, The Frantics (Boot to the head!), who I thought did some improv as well, but I could be wrong about that.

        Being in B.C., bilingualism isn’t taken very seriously so I was never exposed to a lot of Quebec shows or radio but I would have been interested in the National League, if I knew about it. Are you part of the league now?

        1. Oh wow, no. You pretty much have to be an actor in the Montreal area. When I was a kid, it was full of TV/movie celebs. Now it seems to be all people we played against/with at university.

          They call it “National” 1) as a mirror to the NHL and 2) because, well, Quebeckers, amirite?

          I’m president of Improvisation NB – which at this point might as well be Improv Atlantic – which organizes tournaments at the junior and high school levels, and creates opportunities for adults as well. We just launched an online formula for competitive play, I’m working on full-length improvised plays that COVID keeps pushing back, I give a lot of workshops, and my French-language podcast is about improv. All the French-Canadians you’ve heard on my FW shows are involved in improv at some level, Isabel and I most of all as the point-persons for the province.

          1. That’s super awesome! Now I truly wished I had paid more attention to French class in high school…… Je suis stupide.

  11. What a fun episode. You guys reminded me of a bunch of shows I used to watch all the time, but had forgotten about.

    One long-running 80s show that I didn’t hear mentioned was Murder She Wrote. I didn’t watch it much at the time it first aired, but it was appointment viewing in my wife’s childhood home. We now own the entire series on DVD, so I’ve become more familiar with the show over the last year or two. The one thing that show has taught me is to never attend a birthday party, retirement party, wedding, or funeral, if Jessica Fletcher is on the guest list.

    1. Jessica Fletcher is the Angel of Death.

      It was an enjoyable show, though, and part of a small wave of shows featuring older characters — Murder, She Wrote; Golden Girls; Matlock; others I’m sure I’m forgetting. I’m not sure something like that would happen the same way today.

  12. In her interview with the TV Academy archive, Betty Garrett gives special praise for giving so many older actors a job when they were few & far between. It’s nice to see stars from Hollywood’s Golden Age still working in the 1980s. Watching random Love Boat episodes on MeTV & seeing Ginger Rogers or Ethel Merman turn up is a treat. FYI the Love Boat & Fantasy Island did have 1 sorta crossover: Loni Anderson is a passenger on the cruise ship & next hour her character visits Fantasy Island.

    Now, I’d love to know what you all watched during daytime TV: soaps, game shows?

  13. Love this new podcast episode. When you talked about Happy Days, the “backdoor” pilot for it was on a show called “Love, American Style”. It was an anthology show with self-contained done-in-one episodes. Ron Howard’s episode was called “Love and the Happy Days”. Episode 87. I think only Ron Howard, Marion Ross, and Anson Williams were in that episode.

    Like you guys, the TV was also on all the time in my family’s house. I watched a lot of what you mentioned, but I had great appreciation for the sitcoms that featured kids. Different Strokes, The Facts of Life, Silver Spoons, and Family Ties.

    I look forward to you doing more offshoots of this topic. Maybe on Saturday Morning Fever to talk about your top cartoons? Or the edu-informational programs like 3-2-1 Contact?

    1. I would also like to hear about your top cartoons! And, man oh man, I loved 3-2-1 Contact but only for the Bloodhound Gang. The same for the Electric Company and their Spider-Man segments.

  14. Thoroughly enjoyed this although disappointed there was no mention of Bruce Forsyth’s Generation Game or Basil Brush!

    Magnum PI was a great show. Originally envisioned as a glossy piece of pap by Glen Larson, producer Don Bellisario and Tom Selleck reworked the concept so Magnum was more of a shlub and not a rich playboy. It works because it concentrated on character – by the end Tom Magnum is NOT the same person he was at the beginning and we know everything about him from his childhood, to his favourite film to his love of Agatha Christie novels. Contrast that to Michael Knight or Steve Austin who didn’t change at all!

    Speaking of Steve Austin, Barney Miller was the name of the SEVEN Million Dollar Man. For his second appearance in an episode called The Bionic Criminal, they changed his name to Barney HILLER because the producers didn’t think the audience were smart enough to know the difference between a Bionic Ham actor and a police detective!

  15. Gents! This was an amazing show! What a great idea for show. There were so many shows that y’all mentioned that I did a “Oh yeah!” when you mentioned them. My first memory of television was Happy Days and me standing on the sofa, age 4, singing the theme song of Happy Days. I remember watching Buck Rogers as well as Battle Star Galactica (and being very confused).
    The 1980’s was my jam though. Knight Rider I would watch every single time. I even sent in for the Knight Rider blueprints in the mail which I waited 8 months to receive. I was not allowed to watch the A-Team because my mom thought Mister T was a drug dealer in the show and didn’t want to be my influence. So if they were not in the room I would quickly flip over there and watch it. I was very much into Magnum P.I. (still watch it now actually) and Miami Vice – I literally went to college in Daytona Beach because I had Miami Vice fantasies. When the show first came out (I think I was in middle school) I got my friends together to film “New York Vice” . Got my friend’s Mark’s dad (a dentist) who had a camera to film it, we filmed in each of our parent’s houses. It was more violent then the show. I need to digitize it. Anyways- big influence. I went dressed to the prom as Don Johnson.

    I was really into the theme songs for the shows. I recorded them onto tape. I had my own radio show (for myself) where I introduced the theme songs that I liked.
    My favorites at the time:
    – Knight Rider
    – A-Team
    – Magnum P.I.
    – Hillstreet Blues
    – St Elsewhere

    Watching the shows now, I have to say why did they spend 3 whole minutes for the title sequence and theme song? It’s really freaking long! They still do it today, rarely, like Game of Thrones title sequence or Dexter.

    One final thing – I liked hearing Siskoid’s discussion where he mentioned French Canadian shows. I would be very interested to know of non-english TV in the 1980’s. Like was there a Canadian French version of Knight Rider? What about other countries? A Turkish version of Miami Vice? A Norwegian version of Cheers? (that would make a great show wouldn’t it? they would all be Vikings)

    Thank you again!

    1. French tradition is dubs. Quebec has liked, especially in recent years, to create shows in a Quebec setting. Its version of Brooklyn 99 looks to be about as awful as its failed pilot for The Office (starring a guy I played improv against as Quebec’s answer to Michael Scott).

      The one GREAT dub that’s actually better to my ears than the American version is The Flintstones, which had celebrity voices in the four key roles, and came off as VERY French Canadian, and then created all new puns for the show etc. There’s also a Quebec dub of the Simpsons, but it’s unfunny in the extreme because the references become nonsense.

  16. Impressive Pod cast. Most Impressive. I liked most of these shows. What….. I saw Blake 7 and Sisko hasn’t? Shocking. Lets see best theme? 70s Dr. Who. No mention of U can’t do that on Television? Come on the second Wonder Woman in live action was Alanis Morsette. How can ya not love that? Can’t wait to hear the next pod cast.

  17. I apologize for the very very late responses here. I finally listened to this. As a child of the 70s and 80s and as a kid who watched a lot of television, so much of this resonated.

    So much has been said so just a few comments.

    First off, Rob … I remember Darkroom. As a kid who loved The Magnificent Seven, I always wanted to be James Coburn. And as a kid who loved the Twilight Zone, I loved this concept. Not only do I remember it, I remember a story episode which still haunts me. The guy who played Boom Boom Washington on Welcome Back Kotter kills a Haitian priestess. Unknowing to him, she has made a voodoo doll of him … a doll her dog discovers and thinks is a toy, They show the dog chewing and tossing the dog around and Washington wracked with pain in the middle of some woods. Then the dog buries the doll and he asphyxiates in the middle of nature. Soooooo disturbing for a kid to see!

    As for shows, Moonlighting and LA Law were the first shows I felt were ‘schedule’ television. Loved them.

    And I’ll throw ‘We Got It Made’ (or was it ‘We Got It Maid’) in which two goofy guys hire a smoking hot woman to be their maid. I never ever missed that show.

    Thanks for this nostalgia. I ask for another show but with your favorite theme songs. Max, I have the Chico theme on a playlist!

  18. I found myself a bit confused by the… confusion at the end when everyone was asked to come up with their favorite theme. Words, no words, score? I’m wondering if there are regional/language issues at play here. Here’s how I use the relevant words:

    Theme – The music (with or without words) used during the opening titles sequence.
    Score – The music used *within* an episode. Not relevant to the question asked (as I understood it).

  19. I’m just getting to this episode (and only part way through). Not much to add to all the great comments above.

    Just wanted to say thanks to Max for taking me down that rabbit hole about Mr. Roarke. I loved that show as a kid, and never gave that much thought, but wow, that makes a lot of sense.

    Also, Chico & The Man. I remember the show from when I was a kid, but don’t remember anything about it. It was fascinating to hear Max speak about the show’s relevance to himself. Thanks for sharing that.

    And All In the Family. I remember being in my early teens (I, too, was born during the Nixon administration), having a conversation with my mother about that show. I told her how horrible I thought the show was, because Archie was racist. She enlightened me to that what the show was really about. Really opened my eyes. It’s interesting that Archie is as relevant today as he was 50 years ago.

  20. Here it is, days later since I’ve listened to the podcast, and I’m still thinking new thoughts to share.

    There are four shows I didn’t hear mentioned, that I wanted to throw out there:

    1. Falcon Crest – my parents watched this every Friday night, and we were a one TV family, so I watched it too.
    2. Real People – LOVED this show. It was all about America, the people of America, tons of interesting and funny stories. Fred Willard was a contributor, and Peter Billingsly was also on the show for awhile, too.
    3. That’s Incredible! – all those amazing stunts!
    4. Otherworld – Did anyone else ever watch it? I feel like it was only me. A family takes a tour of the Great Pyramid of Giza, and ends up transported to some other place (alternate dimension? planet?). Only lasted 8 episodes. Totally sci-fi geekery.

  21. Siskoid, I am so thrilled with your choice on this episode!

    This is the second or third time that Space:1999 has come up in various Fire & Water podcasts over the years, and I’m always overjoyed when it does, because that show holds a special place in my heart. My dad and I used to watch it when I was a very little kid, and I was way too young to be watching it, but I loved the ships and the moonbase suits, and the look of the whole thing. Rob, as you noted, the show is really a mix of science fiction and horror (at its best). This is not Star Trek. These people are marooned, careening through space and just trying to survive in a vast and uncaring universe that would just as soon kill all of them, and always encountering things they barely understand or have any control over. It is such a cool premise (even if it’s totally hokey about the moon being blown out of orbit.)

    There’s one episode called “Dragon’s Domain” that is some serious, straight-out-of-Lovecraft-level space horror. I should NOT have seen that, it gave me nightmares for many nights, and yet, it has stayed with me all my life as a cherished memory. Weird how that works.

    I’m only just now, at age 51, getting around to watching the second season of this show, and woof! It’s pretty bad. But the IMO first season had eight really good episodes (out of 24), which are:

    1. Breakaway – Pilot

    3. Black Sun – A black hole threatens Moonbase Alpha

    5. Earthbound – aliens (including Christopher Lee!) offer a chance for just one Alphan to return to Earth. The end is truly creepy and horrifying.

    6. Another Time, Another Place – a duplicate, wasteland version of Moonbase Alpha is discovered

    14. Death’s Other Dominion – a hidden race of humans (including Brian Blessed!) has achieved immortality, at a very high price. Another horrifying and memorable ending. Rob, I think maybe you saw this one based on your discussion in the Power Records episode.

    22. Mission of the Darians – Joan Collins tends the remnants of a once-great civilization in an asteroid-city.

    23. Dragon’s Domain- Yeah. This is Cthulu in space. Absolutely terrifying when you are six.

    24. The Testament of Arcadia – the Alphans encounter signs of a guiding force that has been aiding them through their trials so far, and offers a glimpse of a long-distant future. A quasi-mystical episode, in a good way.

    All right. Well guys, thanks for a great episode, and if you ever get around to talking more Space:1999, count me in!

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