Monday, April 15, 2013

Blast from the Past: TV Shows That Nobody Remembers

This week's Blast from the Past is a personal favorite topic. It's kind of the basis for columns like this: nostalgia, and forgotten pop culture nuggets. Sometimes "forgotten" just means you haven't seen it in a while, and it slipped your memory. But this list is more like, I'm the only one who remembers. Now, I will cop to being a little too absorbed by pop culture my whole life, and to having an unusually sticky brain that remembers useless details. So sometimes, I'll remember a show that may have been on only a couple of seasons, maybe wasn't really all that highly rated, but I just love it. Then it is cancelled, and never gets rerun anywhere, so the world forgets.

Not me. I remember them all. And this list is an unearthing of the corpses of several of my favorites.

1. Throb (1986) - This was a show about a working single mom (Diana Canova of Soap), raising a cute kid (Paul Walker of The Fast and the Furious), who takes a job at a fledgling record studio, working with the flighty Blue (Jane Leeves of Fraiser) and diminutive-but-adorable boss Zach (Jonathan Prince). At home, she had best friend Meredith (Maryedith Burrell of Fridays). It was syndicated, and only lasted three years, but I loved it.

2. Tucker's Witch (1982) - This one is probably forgotten because it only lasted 12 episodes, though they were spread out over an entire season. It starred Catherine Hicks (7th Heaven) and an in-his-prime, frequently shirtless Tim Matheson (Animal House) as a husband-and-wife sleuthing team with a twist: she was a witch. It was like Bewitched crossed with Hart to Hart, only with younger, hotter actors. Particularly memorable were Barbara Barrie as Hicks' mom, and Dickens the Himalayan cat.


3. Stingray (1986) - Nick Mancuso was a mysterious man (identity unknown!) who drove around in a black vintage Corvette Stingray (naturally), and looked cool doing it. Notable mostly for its Mike Post theme song, and a vibe that pegs it as sooo 80s, right in the heart of the Hunter and Silk Stalkings milieu.

4. The Phoenix (1982) - Judson Scott (Ricardo Montalban's number one in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn) stared as a frequently shirtless alien/superhero. The show was unremarkable. But you might be catching a theme of some of these "favorites."

5. The Powers of Matthew Star (1982) - Peter Barton starred as another alien/superhero, who wasn't as frequently shirtless, possibly because he suffered some pretty bad burns as a result of shooting the show. But again, you see where my memories tend to congeal.

6. Automan (1983) - I know it seems that I had a one-track mind when it comes to these things, and I guess I kind of did! But I disguised that aspect of my personality in those days, which wasn't hard to do because I also loved superheroes. Automan starred the amazing looking Chuck Wagner as a holographic hero drawn by a cursor into the real world. He was programmed by the still cute Desi Arnaz Jr., and together they fought crime. Really ahead of its time, and probably should be rebooted!

 7. Sledge Hammer! (1986) - Getting away from the studly heroes (but not too far) comes this over-macho, crime fighting farce, starring David Rasche as Hammer, who talked to his gun as if it were a woman. It was very much in the spirit of Police Squad! but lasted a bit longer.

8. Cover Up (1984) - And we're back to the often-shirtless crime fighter. Starring Jennifer O'Neil and the impossibly good looking Jon-Erik Hexum as undercover CIA agents. Their cover was photographer and model. Sadly, Hexum shot himself with a prop gun and died, and was replaced by Antony Hamilton (also quite the looker), who died only years later, an early casualty of the AIDS crisis. Very oddly, O'Neil had accidentally shot herself a couple of years before.

And on that very strange note (but no stranger than both Robert Wagner and Stephanie Powers of Hart to Hart losing their spouse/partners to unusual deaths two weeks apart), we leave the trip through my memories, and face a new week. Happy Monday everybody!

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