I don’t watch much tv these days. I recently had my heart broken by a tv show and on top of that my basic cable “package”, which only gives us 10 channels, doesn’t offer many options for tv viewing. But whether you have 10 channels or 310 this one fact remains…they just don’t make good tv shows like they used to.
It’s hard to narrow the list to just ten…and many of the shows that I would pick have actors who have left us long ago. At the risk of being the 126 person to say, “Bring back The Cosby Show!” (and seriously…bring it back!). I thought I’d take a different approach and put out a plea for some shows you very well have never heard of. To give my other favorite shows of all time the recognition they deserve I have listed them at the bottom of this post in no particular order with no additional commentary.
If you don’t know what that abbreviation stands for than chances are that you’ve never seen this show. Mystery Science Theater 3000, called MST3K by fans, was a series about a man named Joel who is trapped on a space station by an evil scientist and forced to watch bad movies. Joel created robot friends, Crow and Tom Servo, out of spare parts and to keep sane, Joel and the robots provide “commentary” by cracking jokes throughout each film.
My dad introduced me to the show when I was in high school with episode 312 Gamera vs. Guiron. By the “Hello…thank you!” scene I was hooked. It takes a special kind of person to see the humor behind MST3K and you’ll either love it or you’ll hate it. I personally found it hilarious and I’d love to see it make a comeback. But I only want episodes with Joel. You can keep Mike.
Hello…thank you! Oh so funny!
2. Swans Crossing:
I think I’m one of the five people in the world that remember this short-lived teen drama series that aired in 1992. One of the few actors from Swans Crossing who managed to make it out with her career still alive was Sarah Michelle Gellar who played mean rich girl, Sydney Rutledge. The summer before 8th grade my sister and I would watch this show every afternoon and then play some Super Mario Brothers on Nintendo back when video game controllers still had joysticks. No, it wasn’t near as good as our beloved Saved by the Bell…in fact it was downright awful…but we loved every awful, cheesy, minute of it! For more info about Swans Crossing click here or here
The Swans Crossing Theme Song
You also don’t want to miss this video of Mila’s Birthday Party Invitation (starts at 5:00).
Another short-lived teen drama of the early 90s was Canadian-American teen soap opera, Fifteen, which ran on Nickelodeon from 1990-1993. It was equally as cheesy as Swans Crossing, but with slightly better production quality and a longer run on air. It still wasn’t as awesome Saved by the Bell (what is?), but it had the right amount of drama and crushes and whatnot for a teenage girl.
Looking for a well-known actor from Fifteen, how about this guy right here…
Ryan Reynolds played the role of Billy Simpson.
Watch a young Ryan Reynolds at work with the ladies…
4. Today’s Special:
Do you remember the Nickelodeon show that ran from 1982-1987 about a department store mannequin that comes to life at night and hangs out with a security guard and a mouse who are puppets? Well, I do! It was called “Today’s Special”. Sometimes the mime was a little creepy, but overall I enjoyed the show as a kid.
Today’s Special Theme Song
5. Danger Mouse:
Danger Mouse is a superhero/secret agent mouse who works with his sidekick, Penfold, and he is awesome! My sister and I loved Danger Mouse as kids. It too aired on Nickelodeon.
Danger Mouse opening
6. Banana Man:
Bananaman was a cartoon short that aired on Nickelodeon in 1983 after Danger Mouse. It’s about a boy who turns into a superhero whenever he eats bananas. I don’t remember too much about it except that my sister and I liked it at the time…probably because we associated it with Danger Mouse, which we loved.
For more banana goodness try here
7. Sharon, Lois, and Bram’s Elephant Show:
The Elephant Show was a Canadian children’s show which aired on Nickelodeon from 1987-1994 starring singing trio Sharon, Lois, and Bram. Admittedly I watched much more of this show at 15 than I ever did at 8. I don’t know, I loved all of the kid’s songs and how hokey it all was. I think that lame is fun and cool…so what do I know. And guess what…you can like them on Facebook! 😉
Sharon, Lois, and Bram’s Elephant Show opening
…and don’t forget about Skinnamarink
Pinwheel was a kid’s show that aired on Nickelodeon from 1977-1990 using cartoons and puppets that interacted with humans. It was pretty awesome. You may remember watching Paddington Bear or Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings on Pinwheel. Or you may remember the theme song:
Pinwheel, pinwheel, spinning around.
Look at my Pinwheel and see what I’ve found.
Pinwheel, pinwheel, where have you been?
Hello, how are you, and may I come in?
Pinwheel, pinwheel spinning around.
Look at my Pinwheel and see what I found.
Pinwheel, pinwheel, breezy and bright.
Spin me good morning, spin me good night.
(although it’s different than I remember, this is probably an earlier version)
9. Nancy, an operator here at the Disney Channel:
Okay, I know that it’s not a “show” and the Disney Channel is now “free” (for those of you who are willing to pay for standard cable or more)…but wouldn’t it be awesome if Nancy popped up on the Disney Channel every so often trying to sell it to you? My sister and I loved Nancy and I still remember when my mom finally picked up the phone to order the Disney Channel my sister and I were standing right next to her asking, “Are you talking to Nancy?!” I’m guessing it wasn’t her 😦
10. The Office:
I know that this show is still on the air…but being a pessimist and all I’m not predicting a bright future for the show now that Steve Carrell is gone. I hope I’m wrong, but I miss him already!
Apparently I liked a lot of Nickelodeon back in the day and apparently Nickelodeon relied heavily on Canadian and British shows in the 80s. Most of these shows aren’t even available on DVD and that makes me sad. I’d be happy to buy a bunch of DVDs of quality 80s/90s kid’s programming and show that to my kids all of the time rather than some of the junk that’s out there now. We exclusively watch PBS now (then again with only 10 channels we don’t really have other options!).
What are some tv shows you’d like to see make a comeback? Let me know in the comments!
Honorable Mentions of Great TVs Past:
Classics: I Love Lucy, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Bob Newhart Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, Welcome Back, Kotter!, Get Smart, and All in the Family.
Family Shows of the 80s/90s: The Cosby Show, Growing Pains, Full House, Family Matters, Step by Step, Saved by the Bell, Home Improvement, and Boy Meets World
Other great 80s/90s Shows I Loved: Perfect Strangers, Who’s the Boss, Family Ties, The Wonder Years, Alf, Mama’s Family, and Golden Girls
80s/90s Cartoons: Muppet Babies, Care Bears, Jem, Rainbow Brite, Strawberry Shortcake, He-man, She-Ra, Gummi Bears, My Little Pony, Wuzzles, Popples, Pound Puppies, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Duck Tales, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Captain Planet, and Animaniacs
Other Writer’s Workshop Posts:
*Funny Things Adaline Says
*Dreams and Aspirations
*Friends Don’t Get Friends Grounded (as an adult)
*15 Reasons Why My Hubby is Awesome
*The One That Got Away
*In School Suspension
*The Newsboys Wouldn’t Ditch Their Friends
*Youth Camp Stinks
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