Welcome back to this very special edition of Last Week in TV. Today we focus on the TV we loved when we were kids and teens. I was really excited to see how well my classic TV shows held up to today's standards. Surprisingly, many of them did. They had some stereotypical characters and the pacing was slower all around, even in action shows, but the problems we faced as kids/teens still apply today and we're still a world in need of a few good superheroes, be they powered or just great friends to help us through. So check out what we thought of the following shows and hit up the comments to wax poetic about your own favorite childhood gems.
While this is a special edition of Last Week in TV, it's also the last one of the season. We'll be back in late August to highlight our most anticipated pilots and create wish lists for our favorite shows. I hope you'll join us then. I will also put out an all-call for people interested in becoming part of our Last Week in TV team then. If you've always wanted to write for SpoilerTV but either don't have the experience or are not sure you could commit to reviewing a show weekly, this is a great place to get your feet wet. If you'd like more details about guest reviewing, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll send you some information. A HUGE thank you to all our guest reviewers this year. I appreciate all of you and how much you gave to the column. I was a little nervous about having guest reviewers, but you answered the call and made this experience so much better. Thanks, thanks, thanks to you all.
Until next season, thanks to everyone who has read, nominated, commented, and participated in Last Week in TV this season. I appreciate your becoming a part of our community and I hope to see you back in the fall. Until then, happy TV viewing.
Shameless Plug - Although Last Week in TV is taking a hiatus, SpoilerTV is not. After the episode competition ends, it will be time for the Character Cup. It's a little different from the other competitions because the focus is on discussion even if you don't have anyone to vote for. Every day we have a TV Talk Topic and the discussions are often fun, broad, and deep. If you love talking TV, check it out and feel free to add any topics you'd like to discuss in the comments. Also, don't forget to look for the nominations to open about 1 week after the episode competition ends. Nominations go very quickly for the Character Cup.
Well, there’s certainly a lot of hurt feelings going around in this episode. To begin with, Cassie makes it clear to Deacon that she doesn’t return his feelings and she and Ramse argue with Cole and Jones over which mission to take: 1961 Berlin to find information on Titan or 1957 to stop the final paradox. With the red storm only days away from hitting the compound, Jones agrees with Cole that they must stop the final paradox. Cassie and Ramse refuse to go along with this plan and convince Dr. Adler to set the time travel date to 1961. Once there, they drug Cole and leave him behind in his hotel room while they head off to Berlin. Cole finds Agent Gale and together they go after them, arriving just in time to save them after they get caught by Mossad agents who were after the same man they were. That man, Kirschner, was a Nazi during World War 2 doing experiments and was urged on by the Witness to do so. He found a way to create stronger people, people created to be immune to the virus instead of just born that way naturally so he created the path to the Messengers. They decide to take him to his operations on the other side of Berlin to get rid of his experimental notes and then kill him so there will be no Messengers. Unfortunately, Agent Gale dies helping them get through the wall currently being built between east and west Berlin. When they get to Kirschner’s lab, they discover his experiment is a little girl who is very strong. Before they can take her away, the Messenger Vivian grabs her and Cassie splinters. Instead of helping Cole get the girl back, Ramse rips off the Titan information Kirschner had on his wall before they splinter too. Back in 2044, Jones and Cole are both furious at Cassie and Ramse. Now it is too late to prevent the messengers and the final paradox. There isn’t any time left to find Titan. The red storm is upon them. Cole has Ramse and Cassie put in a prison cell like Jones did with Dr. Adler for their betrayal. Outside, Deacon drinks straight from a bottle, watching the red storm approach.
Best Reason To Watch – Agent Gale has some really good scenes, and we find out Olivia’s origin.
Best Scene – The Berlin Wall run was intense.
Best Decision – Locking Cassie and Ramse up. They need a time out. But hey, at least they’re getting along, right?
Most Frustrating – Cassie and Ramse, who are too obsessed with seeking revenge to consider that maybe, just maybe, their mission is more likely to fail.
Most Heroic – Agent Gale
Most Intriguing Reveal – Olivia was the girl in the box and was raised with the Pallid Man.
One Down – Olivia officially has given up on the Witness and in turn the mission. Yay! Small win.
1. Agent Gale: “I got a granddaughter. Two years old. You know what I see when I look at her? I see a little girl who is already dead. Her world dies, and there’s not a GD thing I can do about it. But you can, Cole. Sometimes you just have to go it alone.”
2. Ramse: “You still get what you want, Cole. We put a bullet in Kirschner, we destroy all his research, we all win here.” Cole: “Yeah, why don’t I go back and tell Gale how lucky we are.”
3. Cassie: “Stay here.” Ramse: “What are you doing?” Cassie: “Buying you time to grab Kirschner.” Ramse: “No wonder they get along.”
4. Agent Gale: “You know, Cole, I’ve known you a long time now.” Cole: “What do you mean? We met once in ’44, right?” Agent Gale: “Right…my point is, I’m afraid your loyalty is gonna bite you in the a** one of these days. Sometimes you got to go it alone.”
5. Olivia: “I longed for the day I would see you again, when the forest was red. You told me The Witness would always be there for me. You lied. What other lies did you tell? My place in the great cycle ends today. At least with him. Goodbye, mother.”
Nostalgic Show Reviews
Out of all the shows I've watched for this edition, The A-Team is the most like I remember it. It's full of quips and grouchy teamwork and loads of action. Something gets blown up almost every episode and more gunshots are fired than your typical summer blockbuster. In other words, it's all good. I did forget about Face Man being replaced after the pilot and I forgot about Amy altogether. Maybe because she has no role except occasional dead weight in the story, especially here in the beginning. I do like Murdock a whole lot better now than I did as a kid and that surprises me since he's the most over-the-top character of them all. I also liked Hannibal less because he seems more good guy mustache twirler here than I remembered. Still this show is a lot of fun and totally relevant to today's TV. I'd expect the TV reboot any minute now. (Note - IMDb and Netflix number these differently, depending on whether they count the two-part pilot as one or two episodes. For this purpose, I watched the pilot and the next two episodes.)
Potential for Today's TV - High. With the exception of getting around facial recognition and other modern law enforcement techniques, The A-Team could be a big hit today in a Burn Notice kind of way.
Best Episode - pilot
Best Thing I Loved as a Kid but Didn’t as an Adult - some of Hannibal's grandstanding
Best Reason to Watch - lots of action
Best Character Interaction - BA and Murdock
Best Trade Phrase - Hannibal: "I love it when a plan comes together."
Biggest Switcharoo - Face Man
Biggest Laugh - A-Team trying to get arrested so they put a car through the sheriff's office
Most Iconic - the van
Most Practical - BA
Most in Need of Training - I have no objection to Amy on the journey, but she has to stop being dead weight. Either handle it or stay home.
I was a little older when I started watching Alice so I got more of the humor but the main thing I remember from the show are the catchphrases. “Kiss my grits!” and “When pigs fly” were common staples on the playground in my area. I will never forget when I got mad at my dad about cleaning my room and told him to “kiss my grits” while I stomped off. I’m fairly certain I would’ve been grounded for sassing him if it wasn’t for him trying so hard not to laugh. In revisiting the show, I realized that I still missed 90% of the humor. I laughed so hard in the re-watch that I’d like to go back and re-watch the entire series, maybe even the movie it’s based on too. Many of the problems the characters faced are still relevant today, which helps this show stand the test of time.
Test of Time Grade: A-
Best Thing I Loved as a Kid but didn’t as an Adult – the opening credits song
Reason to Watch as an Adult – hilarious and many of the situations are still relevant
Most Improved Character since Childhood – Alice, I can now fully appreciate her dedication to raising a child but still holding on to her dreams
Least Improved Character since Childhood – Vera, I used to find her endearing but now I wanted to Gibbs' smack her
Biggest Facepalm – son telling his mother she should show more cleavage on her date
Biggest Laugh – everything that comes out of Flo’s mouth, her snark is priceless
Most Relevant Problem – LGBTQ stereotyping, single motherhood, following your dreams
Best Catchphrases – “Kiss my grits” (Flo) / “When pigs fly” (Flo) / “Stow it” (Mel)
I loved the Addams Family reruns as a kid. I didn’t think there was anything strange about them…well, maybe Uncle Fester and Cousin Itt. What I remember the most was how much Gomez loved Morticia and Morticia’s plants. I remember asking my mom if any of the plants in the garden would eat me and my mom telling me that plants like Cleopatra couldn’t live in Minnesota because it was too cold. (My parents used the cold as a ward against anything scary more than lights.) Revisiting the show as an adult was fun even if it’s a bit dated and the abnormal as normal theme gets a bit tired.
Test of Time Grade: B
Best Thing I Loved as a Kid but Didn’t as an Adult – the abnormal as normal theme gets old fast
Best Reason to Watch as an Adult – Morticia and Gomez have a great relationship
Most Improved Character as Childhood – Thing, I get the hand gestures now
Least Improved Character Childhood – Cleopatra, that plant is still creepy
Biggest Change – the children are so polite, don’t see that on TV anymore
Biggest Laugh – Uncle Fester and his propensity to blow things up
Best Character Interactions – Morticia and Gomez
Most Relevant Problem – Pugsley doing things he normally wouldn’t just so he’d fit in better
Best Music – the theme song is infectious, it’s impossible not to snap your fingers along with it
BY Jessica VanWinkle
Boy Meets World was my absolute favorite show as a kid and after rewatching a few episodes, I’m happy to say that I still love it. I wish there were more shows with families like the Matthews and normal teenagers. Cory and Topanga were the first TV couple that I shipped, and I loved them just as much this time around. However, I think my favorite thing about Boy Meets World now is the amazing friendship between Cory and Shawn. I remembered that Shawn always had crazy ideas, wasn’t that great in school, and the Matthews were basically family to him. This was all true, but as much as Shawn needed Cory, Cory needed Shawn too. They helped each other with their problems. In “Hair Today, Goon Tomorrow” Cory was worried because he thought Topanga would dump him for someone more attractive. Shawn not only convinced Cory otherwise, but he had a conversation with Topanga about it. Cory and Shawn were the ultimate bromance. Another relationship I liked when I was younger was Eric and Cory. Cory loved and respected his big brother, but when I watched these episodes it was clear that Eric looked up to Cory as well. The only thing that disappointed me was Shawn and Jack’s relationship. I only watched a few episodes of season five, but the Hunter brothers weren’t as close as I thought they were. It is possible that I just watched the wrong episodes and I know they had a rocky start, but maybe I exaggerated their relationship as a kid. The other thing that slightly bothered me was the episode “And Then There Was Shawn”. It was cheesy and a bit over top, but I never like dream sequences. It did have a deeper meaning behind it so at least it wasn’t a pointless stand-alone sequence. Besides those little things, I loved watching Boy Meets World again. Now I’m itching for a full series rewatch.
Favorite Relationship - Shawn and Cory
Most Nostalgic - Cory and Topanga’s relationship
Favorite Quote - Mr. Feeney: “Ho Ho! Is that the stupid idea train coming around the bend?”
Biggest Disappointment - Shawn and Jack’s relationship
Funniest Moment - Shawn and Cory turn Mr. Feeney’s house into a B&B
Favorite Episode - B & B's B 'N' B (4.13)
Nowadays Cheers is mostly known for its theme song or as a powerful example of a network biding its time to allow a show to grow. However, Cheers was the Friends of its time. Back when cable meant mostly music videos and the Weather Channel, Cheers was must-see TV, garnering ratings in the 20's and becoming the most watched show on TV after starting off as 74th out of 77 shows in its first season. It also received over 100 Emmy nominations and ran for 11 seasons. That makes it the perfect show to review here. In general, Cheers still fits as a workplace/made family comedy. It has its stereotypical characters but the show allows them to seem sympathetic in all their flaws, mostly by sharing the jokes among all the characters and creating softer moments so the audience can get to know them better. It has the requisite will they-won't they relationship already built in with Sam and Diane. These two check off all the shipping boxes: co-workers, dislike masquerading their real feelings, chemistry, helping each other when they really need it, inspiring the other to be a better person, witty banter, etc. Mostly though, it creates a family of lovable misfits that depend on each other to get through the days. It truly is a place where "everybody knows your name" and everybody has a sense of belonging. Therein lies its success.
Potential for Today's TV - In many ways, Cheers is already on TV. Any comedy where the workplace becomes a substitute home and co-workers become family has its roots in Cheers. The show itself would still work but some of the stereotypes would need to be tinkered with and they would need a more diverse cast.
Best Episode - 1.04 or 1.05
Best Thing I Loved as a Kid but Didn’t as an Adult - Carla was a little harder to take here
Best Reason to Watch as an Adult - humor
Best Theme Song Ever- Where Everybody Knows Your Name
Best Guest Star - Fred Dryer, Allyce Beasley, and Julia Duffy
Biggest Laugh - Norm when asked how his day's going each episode
Most in Need of Therapy - Carla
Most as I Remembered / Character I Liked Better as an Adult - Diane
Most Nostalgic - Coach
BY Beth Whitley
Dawson’s Creek was one of those shows that I remember being ‘appointment television’ when I was in high school and you had to watch it live because DVR and streaming weren’t a thing back then (crazy I know!). I was always team Pacey when I was younger and I couldn’t tell you why; I just was. Now as an adult, I know exactly why. Pacey loved Joey for her no matter what, while I believe Dawson loved the idea of the epic nature of their romance. It was his storyline and she, his muse. The show is relevant today because of the struggles those characters faced and I also believe they were ahead of their time in many ways.
Best Character - Pacey, the clown who became the most endearing character
Worst Character - Dawson, who treated his friends/family like the supporting cast in the running movie of his imagination.
Best Character Interaction - Jack and Jen, friendship goals!
Best Gif Before Gifs were Real - Dawson’s ugly cry face on the dock after Joey booked it to be with Pacey.
Most Nostalgic - No cell phones so they were relying on landlines!
Best Quote - Pacey: "Ask me to stay" – the SOS Pacey wrote to Joey on the wall he leased for her.
Biggest Face Palm - Joey and Pacey being ‘trapped’ in a Kmart where there were several doors and windows they could have used to get out. (I still loved the ‘filler episode' though)
Best Advice I’d Give a Character that I probably Wouldn’t Have as a Teenager - Joey, you definitely should have gone to Paris. That is a once in a lifetime experience, and if a boy loves you, he will most certainly be there when you get back!
I was born when the 4th Doctor had the TARDIS and most of the repeats I watched on PBS were of his and Sarah’s exploits. In fact, my earliest TV memory is of the Doctor and Sarah. I was mesmerized by how smart the Doctor was and maybe a little jealous that he could go anywhere in space and time. I don’t have many memories of his specific exploits and I certainly wasn’t old enough to appreciate his humor but the Doctor was my first hero besides my dad. In revisiting Classic Who, it was difficult to not compare it to the new versions but besides better special effects, the Doctor himself hasn’t changed much; smart, resourceful, honorable, snarky and possibly a little crazy.
Test of Time Grade: A
Reason to Watch as an Adult – see what the Doctor was like at the young age of 749
Most Missed Character – K-9 / the TARDIS, neither were in the serial I picked to revisit
Biggest Change – I get the jokes now so it’s much more humorous
Best Holdover from Childhood – the effects used were pretty low-key to begin with so they held over well
Biggest Laugh / Facepalm – Sarah describes the plants eating people as “undignified”
Most Relevant Problem – saving endangered species is important
Best Character Interactions – the Doctor and Sarah. Besides Rose & the 10th Doctor, these two are my favorite Doctor/Companion combo.
The Facts of Life is one of the few shows that was pretty much like I remembered it. Well, minus Jo. I totally forgot that she came in the second season, which was a little disconcerting since she was my favorite character and turned the whole dynamic around. However, without Jo, Blair ended up being a completely different character. She was still vain but she was also very concerned about her schoolwork and cared about things more in general than I remembered. Mrs. Garrett was the same wise but kooky substitute mother, although I forgot that her voice can grate as much as Fran Drescher's. The problem of the week was largely the same as tween shows today, including parent pressure, body image, and cheating in school. For the most part, with a change of clothes and slang, these girls could be characters today.
Potential for Today's TV - There is very little disrespect and a whole lot less slapstick, but otherwise I could see this show debuting on any tween channel with a fashion makeover.
Best Episode - 1.02 and then 1.04
Best Thing I Loved as a Kid but Didn’t as an Adult - Mrs. Garrett's voice
Best Reason to Watch as an Adult - to remind you that the good old days actually had pretty much the same problems as today
Best Reference - Colonel Sanders
Best Character Interaction - Mrs. Garrett and all the girls
Biggest Reaction - the girls are shocked when the principal says "hell"
Most Missed - Jo
Most Improved from My Memory - this early Blair is less snob and more humanized
Most as I Remembered / Most Fun - Tootie
Most Relevant Problem - body image
Most Smarmy - Jason
Most Annoying - the original theme song (the second version is much better)
Best Quote - Blair: "Hey, exams come and go. Worry lines stay with you forever."
BY Beth Whitley
Revisiting Felicity was really interesting. First, I realized that this show was unique in that it started with these characters past the angst of high school and navigating the world for the first time on their own as adults. When I first watched the pilot all those years ago, I know I must have thought that Felicity ended up in New York solely because of Ben, but it wasn’t that. She wanted to take a chance for the first time in her life, and it turned out quite well. Finally, I looked it up and this show mostly filmed in New York, which would be rare today because shows hardly ever film where they are set.
Best Character - Well Felicity of course! She had ups and downs but rooting for her was never hard.
Worst Character - Noel, I struggled with giving him this but he was just childish when life didn’t go his way.
Best Episode - 2x21 ‘The Aretha Theory’. I still want to try a Bonzai Demon and Ben calling a film canister ‘a time machine’ to right the wrong of ditching Felicity earlier in the season because he was scared, hit all the feels.
Best Quote - Javier: "Benjamin, you can’t give up on diamonds!"
Best Piece of Advice I Would Give All The Characters - You guys can branch out and greet each other with something other than ‘hey’.
Something I Had Forgotten for Good Reason - The series finale involved time travel and spells, which turned out to be only in Felicity’s fever dream.
Back in my high school years, everyone's favorite horror TV show was Tales from the Crypt. Now don't get me wrong. That series had moments of true brilliance but mostly it was hit or miss and there were a lot of misses. For me, by far the best horror series was Friday the 13th. Not only did it creep me out, but it had an actual storyline. In fact, it is what inspired me to watch Warehouse 13 with its similar plot. Friday the 13th is the story of 2 cousins who inherit an antique store full of cursed items. Before they realize what they've actually inherited, they sell almost everything so the series is basically about them trying to get it all back before the items kill everyone. The special effects are even lamer than I remember but the stories are still really creepy, as in not really one I can marathon. (I had to break this into 2 days.) I love the antiques they need to collect but I wish they had back story to them like on Warehouse 13. I also wish Micki weren't such a stereotypical horror story girl. She needs a big strong man to help her way too often for someone who constantly nags about not needing anyone.
Grade: C+ (downgrade for Micki)
Potential for Today's TV - Like most of these shows, I think Friday the 13th would do well in today's world with some significant tweaks. They would need a good special effects team and Micki would need to be retooled into a kick-butt female. This show could fill the actual horror story void in today's TV alongside AHS and it's still got a procedural element. Thus, I think it would actually do very well.
Best Episode - 1.04
Biggest Thing I Loved as a Kid but Didn't as an Adult / Biggest Whiner - Micki
Best Reason to Watch as an Adult - genuine scares
Best Mulan Impression - Micki
Best Advice I'd Give a Character - stock up on salt
Worst Horror Trope - the creepy, self-aware doll and the equally creepy kid who is controlled by it
Most in Need of a Giant, Flashing Warning Sign - when someone is conjuring death by tarantula, I NEVER need to see that
Most Horrifying - the effects (they are just sad)
Most Out There Reference - Monty Hall
Biggest Horror Scene - death by guillotine
Biggest Brat - Mary from the pilot
“Everywhere you look, everywhere you go, there’s a heart, (there’s a heart), a hand to hold on to. Everywhere you look, everywhere you go, there’s a face of somebody who needs you, everywhere you look.” The theme song to “Full House” describes the show perfectly. The comedy, which ran from 1987-1995, will always be a special one. The beauty of the show lies in its simplicity and even its sappiness. It gives off a little ‘too-good-to-be-true’ vibe, but honestly, we could all use that sometimes. It’s funny, it’s sweet, and it’ll make you smile — what more could you want? This is the same reason I enjoy current comedies like “The Middle,” “Fresh off the Boat,” and “Last Man Standing.” In the show, when Danny Tanner loses his wife in a car accident, he calls upon his brother-in-law Jesse and his childhood best friend Joey to help raise his three girls: DJ, Stephanie, and Michelle. Eventually, we are also introduced to Jesse's wife Rebecca, DJ's best friend Kimmy, and DJ's boyfriend Steve. Each 20-minute episode focuses on developing the characters, their relationships, and a moral. In the midst of all this, they infuse humor to maintain the balance. The cast takes a little while to get into the groove but once they do, the show really takes off. Would it still work in the current TV landscape the same way it did in its time? Maybe not as well, no. But personally, I know I would enjoy it just as much. I rewatched it earlier this year to be prepared for “Fuller House,” and I realized that the core issues of family/friendship problems and relationship dramas are still very relevant. I think even after all these years, if someone were to watch “Full House” for the first time, they would relate to the characters and the situations they are in.
Episode 4.11 - Secret Admirer
In one of the funniest episodes of the show, Danny invites his girlfriend Cindy and her mischievous son Rusty over for barbecue with the family. As a prank, Rusty pretends to be D.J’s crush and writes her a love letter. This spirals out of control when the letter doesn’t get delivered to her as planned and ends up getting passed to almost every character, each of whom try to figure out who their secret admirer could be.
MVP - Michelle Tanner.
Best Reaction to Receiving the Letter - Kimmy when she thinks Jesse is in love with her.
Worst Reaction to Receiving the Letter - Jesse believes either Danny or Joey wrote it to his fiancé Becky.
Worst character - Rusty, of course. He was just annoying, funny but annoying.
Best Character Interaction: Jesse and Michelle in the opener
Best Quotes -
1. Rusty: "You can help me deliver the letter, like a mailman." Michelle: "I’m very busy today." Rusty: "Tell you what little lady. I’ll give you this bright, shiny, new penny." Michelle: "Don’t be cheap. Give me a nickel!"
2. Michelle: "I got two nickels. What can I buy with it?" Jesse: "A dime!"
Episode 7.19 - Love on the Rocks
After D.J. spends the week away from her boyfriend, she realizes how different they are and that she isn’t dependent on him. She hikes up the mountain with her friends and conquers her fears. The episode is a little more serious and quite excellent because it shows her realizing she’s independent and needs to become her own person. It gives a glimpse into real teenage heartbreak. Also, after Joey pulls pranks on the whole family, they decide to band together to get back at him.
MVP - D.J Tanner, her character development is brilliant.
Best Moment - At the end of the episode, D.J is alone after her break-up on top of the mountain and she smiles and realizes she’s going to be okay on her own.
Best interaction - D.J and Becky when they discuss her relationship.
Best Scene - when the family pranks Joey
Best Quotes -
1. DJ (after they've climbed the mountain): "Well, what do you think?" Steve: "I think there should be an elevator here."
2. Steve: "We’ll lose out on something incredible, us." DJ: "We’ll never lose out on us. We’ll always be friends." Steve: "I hope so because you’re the best friend I’ve ever had."
Episode 3.20 - Honey, I Broke the House
In another insane hilarious episode, Stephanie drives Joey’s car into the kitchen by mistake. She is so scared of what will happen and that Danny will stop loving her, she runs away to Becky’s house. Meanwhile, Jesse and Becky get into a fight of their own.
MVP - Naturally, Stephanie. She’s hilarious even when she’s scared.
Best Reaction to Finding the Car in the Kitchen - Michelle
Worst Reaction to Finding the Car: Joey
Believable as a Kid, Not as an Adult - Parking the car in your backyard. Nope.
Funniest Scene - Jesse finds Steph hanging inside a jacket in Becky’s closet
Cutest Michelle Scene - Singing ‘Rain, Rain Go Away’ when she hears DJ and Kimmy singing.
Best Insult - Kimmy: "You know there’s a country where they eat children as meat." Stephanie: "Then you better not go there because you’re full of baloney! "
Best Quote - DJ: "Michelle, do you know how Joey’s car got in here?" Michelle: "Yes, I do." D.J: "How?" Michelle: "Through the window!"
Officially Gidget is before my time, but it played in reruns when I was a kid so I'm counting it. My basic takeaway from this show is that Gidget is kind of like Lizzie McGuire or Hannah Montana, if you take out animation breaks and pop star singing and replace it with random 60's dancing. There is a language barrier but many of the problems she faces are similar. She's got a pain in the butt sibling - so check every Disney show in the last 6 years. She has a close relationship with a parent but she sometimes can't communicate with him. Another Disney check if you include parent figures as well as blood relatives. She struggles with a breakup and has problems getting settled back in with her friends. She has a crush on someone who doesn't like her back, but in the end, she knows she's loved and a bright, sunny day is around the corner. Yep, it all sounds like the Big Ears Network to me. What she doesn't have is cool gadgets or tons of snark, which might make her refreshing to those whom Disney movies are aimed at. Just call it Teen Beach Movie: The TV Show.
Potential for Today's TV - It would take some tweaking but Disney could revamp it.
Best Episode - 1.03
Best Thing I Loved as a Kid but Didn't as an Adult - Russell consistently chooses Gidget over Anne in one of the worst examples of parental favoritism ever on TV
Best Reason to Watch as an Adult - it's the kind of innocent fun where problems are solved in 25 minutes and you can take a brief break to laugh before worrying about your own
Best Character - LaRue, the wacky sidekick
Best Character Interaction - without a doubt, Gidget and her dad
Best Point - Gidget tells her dad that he should have called if he wasn't coming home until morning
Worst Way to End a Date - with a police escort
Biggest Shock - The pilot episode involved her family thinking Gidget had sex. What the heck! This is Gidget. She's supposed to be the Disney Channel of the 60's.
Biggest Laugh - LaRue's beach outfit
Most Overbearing - Anne and John
Smartest Cookie - Gidget, who realizes that Great Kahuna is playing a part to stop her infatuation
1. Great Kahuna: "The trouble with a Girl Friday is pretty soon she hooks into Saturday and Sunday."
2. Anne: "What's it called when you use a hammer on your own sister?" John: "Justifiable homicide."
Off all the shows I’ve revisited for this article, Gilligan’s Island is the one I remember the most. Ginger was so glamorous, the Professor was so smart, and Gilligan was a bigger klutz than I was, which made him instantly likable to me. I watched repeats almost every day after school but in selecting the show for revisit, I realized I never saw the pilot. When I looked at my DVDs, the insert says that the pilot never aired but I also didn’t realize that all of the season 1 episodes were filmed and aired in black and white and colorized later for syndication. As a kid, I found the physical humor of Gilligan and the Skipper hilarious in a 3 Stooges kind of way but as an adult, it doesn’t hold up nearly as well as the 3 Stooges. Gilligan is more annoying than funny and while the Skipper is still bossy and short-tempered with Gilligan, I get why he is now. That being said, it’s still a cute, clean show that can be counted on for a good laugh or two.
Test of Time Grade: B
Best Thing I Loved as a Kid but Didn’t as an Adult – Gilligan & the Skipper’s arguments
Reason to Watch as an Adult – Nostalgia
Most Improved Character since Childhood – the Professor
Least Improved Character since Childhood – Gilligan
Biggest Change – opening credit song lyrics were “and the rest” instead of “the professor and Mary Ann”
Biggest Laugh – the Professor's trap / Skipper and Gilligan disguised as a bush and a tree
This show is about aliens, who charge Ralph Hinkley and Bill Maxwell with fighting crime using a super suit. Unfortunately, Ralph loses the instruction book before he gets home. I adored this show as a kid. (I still remember the theme song lyrics!) What I loved about the show when I was a kid was Ralph Hinkley’s inability to fly and Bill’s frustration at his inability to get the civilians to adopt his priorities or see him as the ultimate authority on all things crime solving. Re-watching for this article, I was surprised by how well the story held up and the fact that the show wasn’t fluff for kids. It was, in many ways, another of Stephen J. Cannell cop show. In the episodes I watched, the themes were deeper than I was old enough to grasp. Not only are the themes still relevant today, several of the crime stories are still being told today.
Drinking Game Word - “Scenario”
Most Needed Piece of Modern Technology - Cell phone
Most As I Remembered/Most Nostalgic - The little boy that teaches Ralph how to fly…er….get off the ground in his approximation of flying.
Best Character - Bill Maxwell
Biggest Surprise - How relevant and accessible this show still is despite the lack of cell phones.
My memories of Hogan’s Heroes repeats are pretty much just generalities: Hogan always making Colonel Klink look like an idiot, the guard dogs being so nice, and Schultz’s catchphrase. I was far too young to understand why the men were there and what they were doing, which made revisiting the show a big draw. After watching the first three episodes (the first in black and white), all I could think of was these guys were the OG MacGyvers because they made everything out of nothing – a coffeepot wire-tap, the sink turned into a periscope-like spy lens, and one of the bunks turned into a secret passage complete with ladder. However, for all their shenanigans, the humor really didn’t translate well – mostly because this is not even remotely a close representation of how POWs are treated and no Colonel worth his salt would be so oblivious to what they were so obviously doing. The best part about revisiting was seeing a very young and handsome Richard Dawson!
Test of Time Grade: C-
Best Thing I Loved as a Kid but Didn’t as an Adult – the humor
Reason to Watch as an Adult – nostalgia
Biggest Laugh – stealing a tank
Best Character Interactions – Hogan and his men / Hogan and Klink
Best Catchphrase – Schultz: “I see nothing.”
In case you haven't heard, there's a new MacGyver reboot heading to TV so it's a perfect time to revisit the classic. MacGyver is just as smart as I remember and he rivals Michael Westen from Burn Notice in creative uses for duct tape. After all, as Michael said, "Guns make you stupid…..Duct tape makes you smart." While I really liked the pilot and all its MacJiggering, I found quickly that this show is best to take in smaller slices. Marathoning tends to point out all the overlap - like the cute kid trope, all the voiceovers, the macking on the lady of the episode, and most bizarre, the idea that MacGyver is the sole main character. As in, it's him and the guest actors of the week each and every week. Sure keeps casting costs down. Other than that, this is basically where Scorpion gets its roots, minus the team. It's also a lot more plausible than Scorpion, which means it could never, ever in a million years happen as opposed to their zillion years. I would expect that the format will switch dramatically in the reboot so it will feel more like Scorpion than the original, but the character is solid and there's a reason why he's still remembered today.
Potential for Today's TV - It is coming back as a reboot, so very high. Just give him a team this time.
Best Episode - pilot
Best Thing I Loved as a Kid but Didn’t as an Adult - the repetition
Best Reason to Watch as an Adult - the "science" is still a lot of fun and all the action
Best Extended Metaphor - riding a horse to dismantling a missile
Worst Cliché - bad guys can't shoot
Biggest Nostalgia - Russia as the big time 80's enemy
Biggest Idiot - Kate, the investigative photographer who wears sandals to secretly film one of the world's biggest criminals and who just stands wherever to take her pictures
Biggest Laugh - the flying horse visual / MacGyver complains about incessant telephone use…in 1985. I can't imagine what he'd think about smartphones and constant cell phone use today.
Most Fun - map slide
Dumbest Plan - Taking the map instead of taking a picture of the map. Plus he didn't steal the pictures attached to the map, which seem significant.
Most Unbelievable - there's a lot but the Budapest car chase beats chocolate sealing the toxic leak
Man's Best Friend - duct tape
Smartest Guy in the Room, Any Room - MacGyver
Instant Good Guy Alert - when they are smart and part of Big Brothers, you know they are the good guy
Instant Bad Guy Alert - the bad guy mustache (in most episodes)
Trademark Phrase - MacGyver: "I hate heights." / any version of "I've got an idea"
Why Every Hero Should Wear Flannel - makes a nifty temporary gas mask, pot holder, and heroic gesture
Best Quote - MacGyver: "We might be able to whip up a Band-aid."
What I remember most from watching The Munsters reruns during my childhood was wanting a car like Grandpa’s dragster and Lily and Herman’s acceptance of the people they thought of as abnormal. They were both so kind and gentle, it never occurred to me that they were portraying the same monsters featured in cinematic horror movies. In revisiting the show, I didn’t realize how similar in theme The Munsters was to The Addams Family and while The Munster held over a little better than The Addams Family (mainly because they didn’t depend on the abnormal as normal theme as heavily as The Addams Family did but they really focused on getting Marilyn married off) they share the same great message: what’s “normal” is a matter of perspective and differences should be celebrated, not feared.
Test of Time Grade: B, the recurring theme of getting Marilyn married off knocks it down a few pegs
Best Thing I Loved as a Kid but Didn’t as an Adult – Grandpa’s moving snacks were funny as a kid but now they give me the creepy crawlies
Reason to Watch as an Adult / Best Character Interaction – Lily and Herman love and respect each other
Most Improved Character since Childhood – Marilyn, more likable than I remember
Least Changed Character since Childhood – Lily, still as strong and commanding of respect as I remember / Grandpa, still up to no good in his lab
Biggest Change – the journalists actually left when the cops told them too
Best Episode – My Fair Munster, love potion runs amok
Biggest Laugh – Eddie being chased by a gaggle of girls because of the love potion
Best Music – theme song is still stuck in my head
I really enjoyed rewatching Quantum Leap and will probably continue marathoning it after this, although it is really uneven. The pilot is the superior episode because it focuses on world building and allows Sam time to bond with the people in the life he's absconded. The only drawback is that Sam doesn't remember Al in the pilot. Since it's the single most important relationship on the show, it makes the pilot a bit rough in parts. The subsequent jumps of the week had less background and felt goofier (1.02) or preachy (1.03). Also, I didn't remember Sam's amnesia so I felt it took too long for him to be back on board with everything. The CGI is also lame but back then I thought it was really cool. This is one of the few shows that I wish they would remake because the sci-fi bones are still as viable today as they were back in 1989. Actually nowadays it would probably be soapier and definitely more cause of the week, so yeah, I'm okay with Hollywood keeping their mitts off.
Grade: B+ / C / B-
Potential for Today's TV - The bones of the story are still good storytelling today and it has that procedural element that networks like. However, in this version, it's about a scientist with a very firm belief in God who prays to him along with all the sci-fi stuff. Sadly, any remake would probably cut this character development out.
Best Episode - pilot
Best Thing I Loved as a Kid but Didn’t as an Adult - the CGI
Best Reason to Watch as an Adult - the sci-fi and the characters
Best Music - In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida by iron Butterfly, which always reminds me of ShifterDean from Supernatural / the Quantum Leap instrumental version of Eye of the Tiger (not the song but the spirit of it)
Best Historical Tie - Sam creates the Watergate Scandal
Best Character Interaction - Sam and Al
Worst Athletes Ever - whatever team Sam plays against, whose in-fielding would suck in Little League
Biggest Aww Moment - Sam's dead dad invites him to Thanksgiving
Biggest Laugh You'd Never Get Now - getting the pregnant lady drunk in order to stop her labor
Most Interesting One-Off Character - Dixie, the Marilynn Monroe stripper with more depth than expected
Best Quotes -
1. Sam: "Please God, I'd like to wake up now."
2. Al: "Your best shot is freezing the brain until all electrical activity has ceased." Sam: "That's called death." Al: "I never said it would be easy."
Remington Steele remains a charming procedural with one of my first TV heroes…Laura. Yep, not Remington. I was too young for his charms when this aired but watching a lady PI on the screen was awesome. She was the perfect continuation of my Nancy Drew phase. I loved the idea that Laura was actually the smartest and always got the bad guy while Steele tried to keep up. I did forget about how they showed a part of the episode before the title sequence, like current promos. It's a bit odd and I would NOT think people would want to be spoiled 30 seconds before the show began. Still overall, I think this series holds up very well. You'd have to find a reason why facial recognition and DNA samples wouldn't expose Steele's real identity and it would be a lot harder to make up a fake person these days, but this show practically screams current day. For one, it had the two leads of a crime show flirting with each other in a constant will they-won't they dynamic long before every single freaking procedural and most serials followed suit. In fact, I think that's the reason I loved it as a kid. It was the exception and not the cliché at that time. Give Hollywood's penchant for reboots these days, I expect to hear of this one making round 2 any day now.
Potential for Today's TV - A lot being the kind of crime procedural romance that networks and viewers salivate over these days. I'm actually surprised it isn't debuting in fall with MacGyver.
Best Episode -1.03
Best Thing I Loved as a Kid but Didn’t as an Adult - Steele is kind of a jerk, especially to Bernice Foxe
Best Reason to Watch as an Adult - smart crimes without all the gimmicks of today
Best Way to Sum Up Your Exposition - title sequence
Best Character - Laura
Best Character Interaction - Laura and Steele
Best One Shot Character - Emery Arnok, the client dragged through a case and becomes an asset
Most Charming - Pierce Brosnan
Most Punny - the episode titles
BY Jessica VanWinkle
I loved Sabrina the Teenage Witch when I was younger. I chose to watch some of the early episodes because I remembered I liked the first few seasons the best. Sabrina Spellman was a great main character. She’s funny and smart, but also struggles with balancing her studies and her personal life. I felt like she was relatable. I loved her relationship with her aunts and with her cat, Salem. Maybe it’s weird that I liked a talking cat, but whatever. I like cats. Sabrina’s aunts and Salem all cared about her well-being and tried to help her learn magic. They also helped with her problems at school and with her friends. When I was a kid, I loved Sabrina’s on-again-off-again relationship with boyfriend, Harvey, but I didn’t like it as much now. At the beginning of the series, Harvey is a dumb football player. I guess I forgot that or I didn’t notice it when I was younger. His character does change some as the series progresses, but it bothered me that he was so stereotypical. When I was younger I liked Sabrina’s friend Jenny, but I didn’t like her friend Valerie. I thought Valerie was really annoying. Her self-esteem was so low and she always needed reassurance from Sabrina that she wasn’t going to fail at life. Rewatching episodes did nothing to improve my opinion about Valerie. I also thought some of the episodes were over the top, but I guess that’s what happens when you have a show about witches. As a kid I loved some of the ridiculous stories, but this time I preferred the simpler episodes with Sabrina and her friends at school or Sabrina hanging out at home with her aunts and Salem. I did enjoy the Christmas episode in season two; it wasn’t cheesy as some holiday specials, and I just love holiday episodes. For the most part, I still enjoyed watching Sabrina but I think a child or teenager would enjoy it more than an adult.
Best Character Interaction - Sabrina and her aunts, Zelda and Hilda
Favorite Characters - Sabrina and Salem
Thing I Loved as a Kid but Didn’t as an Adult - Harvey
Most as I Remembered - Sabrina’s annoying friend Valerie
Problem I Can Relate To - Sabrina trying to be a good niece, friend, girlfriend, and keep her grades up all at the same time.
Favorite Episode - Sabrina Claus (2.12)
When I signed up for Scooby Doo for this article, I realized I probably shouldn’t have picked this show because I still watch it! I have many of the various show incarnations on DVD as well as many of the movies. I was born after the original Scooby Doo cartoons aired but it was always the original ones that were (and still are) my favorite. Sure it was easy to figure out who the “monster” was but seeing how the clues the gang found led them to that person was why I kept watching, well that and Scooby and Shaggy’s antics. While the current versions of the gang have been updated to reflect our times and the mysteries are a lot more difficult to figure out (sometimes the “monsters” are actually real now), there is nothing like the original. I dare you to watch it and not have the theme song stuck in your head for days.
Test of Time Grade: A
Best Thing I Loved as a Kid but Didn’t as an Adult – the animation
Reason to Watch as an Adult – good, clean fun
Most Improved Character from Childhood – Daphne, smarter than I remember and not as vain either
Least Improved Character from Childhood – Fred, his traps actually kind of sucked
Least Changed – Shaggy and Scooby
Best Episodes / Favorite “Monster” – The Tar Monster, something about the dripping tar is just creepy
Biggest Laugh – Shaggy and Scooby’s appetite
Most Relevant Message – people from all walks of life can be friends
Best Catchphrase – Shaggy: “Zoinks!” / Velma: “Jinkies!” / Scooby: “Ruh Roh Raggy”
Wow! That was a huge eye opener. What a difference 4 decades make. When I was a kid my parents watched this when we were on vacation, so ALL the sexual innuendo went over my head. And I thought Three's Company had the most sexual references. This one has jokes on erectile dysfunction, Joy of Sex, multiple affairs, pornography, homosexuality, transgender, incest, possible sex with a priest, and more. I think the only things they didn't touch on were S& M and bestiality but then again I stopped after 5 episodes. There were also a lot of stereotypical characters and things that people found funny then, especially about being gay and racism, would probably be considered offensive today. It is interesting to see all these actors from other parts though. Still, this was by far the worst show I rewatched.
Potential for Today's TV - none without MAJOR revamping of the characters
Best Episode - 1.03
Best Thing I Liked as a Kid but Didn’t as an Adult - basically the entire show but especially the "humor"
Best Reason to Watch as an Adult - all the actors you know from other places
Best Peacemaker - Mary
Best Character - Benson, whose level of sarcasm rivals any character's today
Best Character Interaction - Mary and Jessica
Best Reference - the Flying Wallendas
Best Twist - Bert's son is Corrine and Jessica's lover
Most Annoying - the iconic show introduction exposition / the music that beeps throughout / laugh track
Most Funny - everyone's reaction to Peter