TV nostalgia: drama & dramedy
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Shows I used to watch when I was a kid, way back in the 1980s (and maybe a little ways into the early 90s). Some of these things I may eventually see again and write better reviews of and move to their own pages. Or not, we'll see.


The A-Team, NBC


Airwolf, CBS
Hulu; IMDb; Retro Junk; TV.com; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

I don't remember the show well, but it was cool. There was this advanced helicopter called Airwolf and the pilot was named Stringfellow Hawk, now isn't that a cool name? He worked for a guy called Archangel. Also there was like a copilot or something named Dominic Santini. I dunno what else to say. Later there was another series or something which I didn't watch, with different people flying Airwolf or something. I think it sucked. But the original series which I don't really remember was pretty cool.


The Beachcombers, CBC (Canada)
IMDb; Retro Junk; TVarchive.ca; TV.com; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

Didn't see much of it and don't remember it well, but it was a decent show. Relic was my favorite character. There were these guys that dragged logs around with their boats and stuff. And a bunch of other people in the town where they lived or whatever. Don't know what else to say. I might like to see some of it again sometime. There was a TV movie in 2002 called The New Beachcombers (IMDb), which wasn't too bad. It was mainly about characters who'd been teenagers during the old show, I guess.


Beauty and the Beast, CBS


Cagney & Lacey, CBS
Feeln; Hulu; IMDb; MGM; official website; Retro Junk; TV.com; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

A police procedural show starring Sharon Gless as Christine Cagney, and Tyne Daly as Mary Beth Lacey. I have only the vaguest memory of watching this when I was a kid, and I'm sure pretty much everything went over my head. But I might like to see it again someday.


CHiPs, NBC
fansite; IMDb; Retro Junk; TV.com; TV Tropes; Warner TV; Wikipedia

I have only a very dim recollection of this. The title, btw, stands for "California Highway Patrol." It was about motorcycle cops, including Frank "Ponch" Poncherello (played by Erik Estrada, who would later become more familiar to me for voice work on Sealab 2021) and Jon Baker (Larry Wilcox, not familiar to me from anything else). I guess the show had enough humor to be considered a dramedy. Anyway... it started in 1977, when I was 2 years old, and ended in 1983, when I was like 7. I never had NBC when I was that young, so maybe I saw it in syndication, or maybe I actually saw some of the show when we still lived in Boston (we moved to Maine when I was four). I dunno.


Crazy Like a Fox, CBS
IMDb; TV.com; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

I don't remember much more than the title of the show, but I'm sure I liked it, when I was a kid. (I'm not even really sure if I should put it under "drama nostalgia" or "comedy nostalgia," but since it was an hourlong show, I might as well think of it as dramedy.) Jack Warden played Harry Fox, who Wikipedia describes as a "free-spirited private detective," which sounds about right. His son, Harrison, was a lawyer who always got unwillingly mixed up in his father's cases. I'd like to see the show again someday to refresh my memory, but I very much doubt that'll ever happen. Oh, I also remember once seeing a movie called So Fine on TV, and I must have assumed it was a TV movie, but apparently it wasn't. Jack Warden was in it, and I vaguely recall either thinking "Hey it's the guy from Crazy Like a Fox," or else seeing that show and thinking "Hey it's the guy from So Fine." I don't remember which I saw first. I couldn't tell you anything about the movie, but Wikipedia could. I do know it was totally crazy, but I probably found it amusing, at the time. I have no idea how I'd feel about it now, nor have I any interest in seeing it again.


Danger Bay, CBC (Canada)
IMDb; Retro Junk; TVarchive.ca; TV.com; Wikipedia

Donnelly Rhodes (whom I'd later seen in some other stuff, like the reimagined Battlestar Galactica) played a marine veterinarian named Dr. Grant Roberts. I think he was widowed. And he had two kids, Jonah and Nicole. There was also a guy named Dr. George Dunbar, who I think was like Grant's boss, or something. I really don't remember anything specific about the show, but I know I liked it, when I was a kid.


The Dukes of Hazzard, CBS
IMDb; Retro Junk; TV.com; TV Tropes; Warner Video; Wikipedia

I don't remember it exceedingly well, but the general premise is still clearer than that of a lot of old shows. There were these guys, Bo and Luke Duke, and their cousin Daisy (short shorts even came to be called "Daisy Dukes," after her), and their uncle Jesse. And they had a car called the General Lee, which was orange with a Confederate flag painted on it. And they were always getting in trouble with the law. There was Boss Hogg, who was like the mayor or something, I don't really know. Maybe he was just some rich guy who had the police in his pocket. Luckily, the police, mainly Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane (who I always thought at the time was called Rosco Pekoe Train, or something like that), were fairly inept. There were at least a couple different deputies, at different times. Oh, and Rosco had a bassett hound named Flash. There were lots of car chases, lots of cop cars got wrecked (though I do believe the show went through a number of General Lees, as well). There was also a mechanic named Cooter, and the whole thing was narrated by Waylon Jennings (aka "the Balladeer"), who also sang its theme song. Anyway, I suppose even if the authorities were often corrupt, the Duke boys must also have done some illegal stuff (nothing too serious, selling moonshine and speeding and whatnot). Mostly the Dukes helped people, though, as I recall. They were basically good guys. And that's all I can think to say. Except that I had a metal Dukes of Hazzard waste basket for many years, but I reckon it eventually became trash, itself.


E.N.G., CTV (Canada)
IMDb; TVarchive.ca; TV.com; Wikipedia

I'm not sure how much of this I actually saw, but I'm fairly sure I watched it on a Canadian channel that didn't come in very well. I don't remember much of anything specific about it, but I found it interesting while it was on, and I liked a lot of the characters. And I'd probably like to see the show again, someday. Looking online now, I see that the title stood for "electronic news gathering." The show was set at a fictional TV station in Toronto, focusing on the news team, both in their personal lives and their efforts to cover the news. The news director was Mike Fennell. The executive producer was Ann Hildebrandt (Sara Botsford). There was a cameraman named Jake Antonelli. I vaguely recall a reporter named Dan Watson, and one named Terri Morgan (played by Cynthia Belliveau, whom I'd later see on Caitlin's Way). There was a guy named Eric MacFarlane, who I think was an editor or something. For the most part, I don't remember what the characters' jobs actually were. I remember Jane Oliver (played by Sherry Miller, whom I later saw in at least one episode of The Famous Jett Jackson). There was a guy named Seth Miller; I think he and Jane were co-anchors. There was someone named Janice Roberts (played by Rachael Crawford, who I later saw in other stuff). I think she was like a research assistant, or something. None of the other characters I see listed online are people I particularly remember, but I'm sure if I ever saw the show again, I'd remember them. And I'm sure I've seen a lot of the show's actors in other things besides what I've mentioned. Um... so I dunno what to say. It was just a pretty good show, and I wish I remembered it better.


The Equalizer, CBS
IMDb; Retro Junk; Thrilling Detective; TV.com; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

Well, I never saw too much of this and don't remember it that well. It has sometimes rerun on A&E, maybe it will again, I'm not sure. Anyway, the Equalizer is Robert McCall (played by Edward Woodward, who I'd also see in other things, like A Christmas Carol). McCall apparently used to work for some government agency, the CIA or something like that. Now he is more of a private detective, although sort of not exactly. Um, he runs an ad for people who need help to contact him and he'll... help them. It's not exactly detective work. It's problem solving, really. Sort of like a soldier of fortune, only more like a secret agent of fortune. Okay, fine, I don't really know what to call him, except just "the Equalizer." Anyway, it was a clever and well-acted show.


Fame, NBC / syndicated
Hulu; IMDb; MGM; Retro Junk; TV.com; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

I have only the dimmest recollection of having watched this. It's based on a movie which I'm sure I can't possibly have ever seen. I'm not sure how much of the series I saw, but it couldn't have been all of it. Anyway, it was about this high school in New York, where students learned to sing and dance or whatever. That's all I remember, but I should say it's entirely possible that when I was a little kid, I may have had a crush on some of the girls in the show. I dunno.


Fantasy Island, ABC
IMDb; Retro Junk; Shout! Factory; TV.com; TV Tropes; Wikipedia
DVD: season 1; season 2

I didn't get ABC when I was a kid, but somehow I saw this. Maybe I saw some of it when we lived in Boston, and probably did have ABC, but I was definitely too young to remember anything from that time. It could have aired on some other channel after we moved to Maine, though. Even then, I was too young to remember it clearly. But anyway, Ricardo Montalban played a guy called Mr. Roarke, who ran a resort called Fantasy Island. (Or maybe it wasn't called that, but anyway it was an island where guests came to live out their fantasies.) And he had an assistant named Tattoo, played by Hervé Villechaize (whom I remember later seeing as himself in an episode of Diff'rent Strokes- see comedy nostalgia). I don't remember anything specific about the series, and even while I watched it I probably didn't really get everything that was going on. But I must have enjoyed it, and it would be nice to see it again someday. (There was a short-lived remake of the series in the 90s, but I never watched that.)


Highway to Heaven, NBC
IMDb; Retro Junk; TV.com; TV Tropes; UP; Wikipedia

This starred Michael Landon and Victor French, who had previously co-starred on Little House on the Prairie. Landon played an angel named Jonathan and French played an ex-cop named Mark. The two of them traveled around together and basically helped people. Jonathan was given assignments by God, I guess. I don't really remember the show well, but I do remember Jonathan would sometimes be given "the stuff," great strength from God, when he needed it. Or something like that. And I vaguely remember one episode where the Devil or some minor demon made trouble for them.


Jake and the Fatman, CBS
IMDb; Retro Junk; Thrilling Detective; TV.com; Wikipedia

I used to watch this. I don't remember it well, but it was okay. If I had to describe it, I'd ask you to reimagine Nero Wolfe as a district attorney in Hawaii in the late 80's, with a bulldog named Max. Except that that would do an unforgivable disservice to Nero Wolfe. And Jake Styles ain't exactly Archie Goodwin, either. So just pretend I never said that, okay? Still, I suppose it's a bit ironic I should say that, as the district attorney in this show, JL McCabe, was played by William Conrad, who also played Nero Wolfe in an earlier series which I've never seen. I expect I'd prefer the more recent Nero Wolfe series with Maury Chaykin, anyway....


Knight Rider, NBC


Leg Work, CBS
IMDb; Thrilling Detective; TV.com; Wikipedia

This was a short-lived show about a private investigator named Claire McCarron. Honestly, the only thing I remember other than the title is that the main character had nice legs (so the title was a pun, you see). It aired probably around the time I was old enough to be starting to get interested in such things, which is probably the main reason I watched it. But it must have had some decent stories, too, I would think. Anyway, looking it up now, I see that it starred Margaret Colin, whose work I'd later enjoy in "Independence Day" and especially Now and Again, so it might be nice to see this again. But I very much doubt I ever will.


Little House on the Prairie, NBC


The Littlest Hobo, syndicated / CTV (Canada)
IMDb; Retro Junk; TVarchive.ca; TV.com; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

What I remember most is the theme song. But anyway, this was about a dog (a German Shepherd, to be exact) who travelled around by himself, and would always stop for a little while to help someone out. Then at the end of the episode, he'd move on again. "Maybe tomorrow, I'll wanna settle down. Until tomorrow, I'll just keep movin' on. Until tomorrow, the whole world is my home." (That's part of the theme song.) Don't worry, the dog didn't talk or nuthin'. Anyway...


Magnum, P.I., CBS
Hulu; IMDb; NBC.com; Retro Junk; Thrilling Detective; TV.com; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

Thomas Magnum lives in Hawaii on an estate which I believe is owned by somebody named Robin Master, or something, whom we never see. The um, landlord or whatever is named Higgins, he's this British guy who often gets kind of annoyed at Magnum, or whatever. I think some people think Higgins really is Robin Master, secretly. Or something. Anyway, Magnum is a private investigator. And he has a couple of friends, TC and Rick, who somtimes help him out. That's about it. I don't remember it that well, but I liked it.


M*A*S*H, CBS


Matlock, NBC / ABC
IMDb; Retro Junk; TV.com; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

This starred Andy Griffith (of The Andy Griffith Show fame) as a defense attorney named Ben Matlock. I didn't get NBC or ABC when this aired, but my local CBS station aired it at some time or other. I'm not sure how much of the show I ever saw, and I don't really remember anything about it now, aside from Griffith being in it. But I'm sure I enjoyed it at the time it was on.


Miami Vice, NBC
Hulu; IMDb; NBC.com; Retro Junk; TV.com; TV Tango; TV Tropes; Wikia; Wikipedia

I guess I must not have seen much of this. I certainly don't remember it well. (I didn't get NBC, but I feel like it must have aired on some channel I did get... or maybe it's one of those shows I always wanted to watch, but never had the chance. Or rarely had the chance, or didn't have the chance until late in its run, or something.) Anyway, what to say? It was about a couple of vice cops in Miami. It pretty much defined the 80's. And I don't really remember it. *Sigh* Maybe one of these days I'll force myself to watch some reruns. Anyway, I always wanted to dress like these guys when I was a little kid. Ah, expensive Italian suits and whatnot. Oh, Lamborghinis. Oh, tropical birds sitting on your shoulder. Fun in the sun, cool music, and um... stuff.... Whatever.


Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer, CBS
IMDb; TV.com; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

So... Mickey Spillane wrote novels about a private eye named Mike Hammer. I never read any of them. But there were at least a few different TV series based on the books, and at least two of the series starred Stacy Keach as the title character. The second of these was called "The New Mike Hammer" (Wikipedia), but I'm not really sure why it's considered a separate series. It was on the same network starting like a year after the other series ended. But whatever... I was young when the show was on, and I don't remember anything specific about it. I'm sure I watched at least a bit of it, though.


Moonlighting, ABC
IMDb; Retro Junk; Thrilling Detective; TV.com; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

Don't remember it well, but Bruce Willis was cool as David Addison. And I'm sure I liked Cybill Shepherd as Madelyn Hayes. I suppose I'd like to see it again sometime. But anyway, these two very different people were detectives who had to work together. And there was this whole sexual tension thing going on, and I dunno that I ever saw much of the show anyway, but I'm given to understand that it jumped the shark when they finally did have sex.


Murder, She Wrote, CBS
IMDb; Retro Junk; TV.com; TV Land; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

This was a long-running series (12 seasons), and I probably saw most of it, so it's an important part of my TV-watching past, and definitely nostalgic. Still, there's not much I can say about it. It starred Angela Lansbury as a murder mystery novelist named Jessica Fletcher, who lived in the (fictional) coastal town of Cabot Cove, Maine. And she ended up becoming an amateur sleuth, aiding the authorities in the investigations of murders (whether they wanted her to or not). I'm sure if I saw the show again, at least a couple characters besides Jessica would be familiar to me. And honestly, it probably was a really decent show (even if it was ridiculous that there'd be so many murders in a small town like Cabot Cove). And the theme music is fairly memorable. Anyway... it's definitely something I enjoyed watching, but even if I did remember it better, I probably wouldn't have much to say about it.


Night Heat, CTV (Canada)
IMDb; Retro Junk; TVarchive.ca; TV.com; Wikipedia

I don't remember it well, but I guess I used to like it. There were some cops, homicide detectives I guess, and a newspaper columnist who reported on their cases and stuff. That's all I can tell you.


Remington Steele, NBC
Hulu; IMDb; Retro Junk; Thrilling Detective; TV.com; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

I recall watching this as a kid, but other than Pierce Brosnan (who would later play James Bond) being in it, I don't really remember much about it. I'd probably like to see it again sometime. Okay, Brosnan played a fake detective. Or something.


Scarecrow and Mrs. King, CBS
IMDb; TV.com; TV Tropes; Warner Bros.; Wikipedia

I remember that I watched this when I was a kid, but other than Bruce Boxleitner (who would later star in Babylon 5) being in it, I don't really remember anything about it. I'd probably like to see it again someday.


Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, CBS
IMDb; Retro Junk; TV.com; Wikipedia

I have only the vaguest memory of this show; in fact pretty much the only thing I remember is the title. I'm sure I must have watched it when I was a little kid, but I really couldn't tell you anything about it.


Sidekicks, Disney Channel/ABC
IMDb; TV.com; Wikipedia

This starred Gil Gerard (from "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century") as Sgt. Jake Rizzo, a cop who was raising this kid named Ernie Lee, who I guess was an orphan or whatever. Actually, the series was based on a TV movie or something, which I probably saw, though I can't remember for sure. It was called "The Last Electric Knight." Ernie was from this clan that I guess had special martial arts skills, that were almost like supernatural, or something. I don't remember the show well at all, but I'm sure I enjoyed it, for awhile.


Simon & Simon, CBS
Hulu; IMDb; NBC.com; Retro Junk; Shout! Factory; Thrilling Detective; TV.com; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

Rick and A.J. Simon were brothers who ran a detective agency. They were very much an odd couple, as Rick (played by Gerald McRaney, who I'd later see in various other things, most notably Major Dad) was like this maverick cowboy kinda guy, and A.J. was more of a socialite type. Anyway, I don't remember the show that well, but it was cool and funny and I suppose it'd be fun to see it again sometime.


Snoops, CBS
IMDb; TV.com; Wikipedia

A short-lived dramedy about a couple, Chance and Micki Dennis (played by real life husband and wife Tim and Daphne Maxwell Reid), who solved crimes together. I don't remember anything more specific than that, except the theme song has always sort of stuck in my head. Of course, I knew Tim Reid from WKRP in Cincinatti, and a couple years before this series, he and Daphne had both been in a show called Frank's Place (Wikipedia), which I must have liked at the time, but which now I barely remember existed. Oh yeah also, whenever I think of Snoops, I can't help thinking of the Energizer Bunny commercials, because it was around this time that I started recording things like music videos, TV themes, and commercials, on VHS tapes. And I'm pretty sure the very first few Energizer Bunny commercials came out at the same time as this, and I think I originally had the theme from this show on the same tape as those. I'm not sure. Not that it matters....


Stingray, NBC
IMDb; Retro Junk; Thrilling Detective; TV.com; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

I don't remember it well, but it was good. Nick Mancuso played this guy who drove a Stingray and helped people in exchange for favors, which would generally be called in to help other people with their problems, in exchange for favors.... That's all I can tell you. But it was good.


T.J. Hooker, ABC / CBS
fansite; IMDb; Retro Junk; TV.com; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

I have only the dimmest recollection of watching this when I was a kid. And since I didn't get ABC, it's quite possible I only saw the one season that was on CBS... though it's also possible I saw earlier seasons in syndication or whatever. Um... so, it was about a cop named T.J. Hooker, played by William Shatner (best known for Star Trek, of course). Also Heather Locklear was in it. But honestly, I barely even remember Shatner, let alone any other characters or actors. It might be nice to see the series again someday. It'd be like watching it for the first time.


Tour of Duty, CBS


Wiseguy, CBS
Hulu; IMDb; Retro Junk; TV.com; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

Didn't see all of it and don't remember it so well, but it was pretty good, especially the Sonny Steelgrave story arc. Anyway, there was this guy, Vinnie Terranova, who was like, um... an undercover cop or federal agent or whatever, who infiltrated criminal operations to gather evidence and shut them down. Eventually he disappeared and was replaced by some other guy, and I think in the end there was a big search for Vinnie, but like I say I don't remember it so good. I think Martika was in a couple episodes or something. I always liked her singing. Dunno what else to say.


The Wizard, CBS



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