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
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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


CHiPs, NBC
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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


Danger Bay, CBC (Canada)
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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
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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


Fame, NBC / syndicated
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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, on 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
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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
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This ran for five seasons, from 1987-92. I don't remember much about it, nor do I know how much of it I actually watched. But I know I watched at least some of it, and thought it was okay. The internet informs me that it was a spin-off of "Matlock," and that Diagnosis: Murder was a spin-off of this show. (I don't recall whether there was a time that I was aware of that, though I probably at least was aware of the latter fact.) Anyway, William Conrad played a district attorney named JL "Fatman" McCabe, who worked with a special investigator named Jake Styles. And McCabe had a pet bulldog named Max. That's pretty much all I can tell you. I'm not even sure whether this is something I'd classify as a detective show, a lawyer show, or what.


Knight Rider, NBC


Leg Work, CBS


Little House on the Prairie, NBC


The Littlest Hobo, syndicated / CTV (Canada)
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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


M*A*S*H, CBS


Matlock, on NBC / ABC
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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
COZI TV; Hulu; IMDb; NBC; 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


Moonlighting, on ABC


Murder, She Wrote, CBS


Night Heat, CTV (Canada)
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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


Scarecrow and Mrs. King, CBS
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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, on Disney Channel & ABC
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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


Snoops, CBS


Stingray, NBC


T.J. Hooker, on ABC / CBS
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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
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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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