It is widely known that I have a knack (a gift? a curse?) for committing to memory the most random and most trivial pieces of television history. A gift, because it advanced me to the Interview Round of the auditions for VH1's World Series of Pop Culture back in January. A curse, because whenever I eavesdrop on passing conversations in which Person A will misinform Person B on an episode they watched, describing the wrong actor or plotline, I can't resist to intervene and correct both parties while mentally tsk-tsking their stupidity.
My Sunday afternoon, while bedridden and recovering from a nasty stomach bug (Bad cashew chicken, bad!), was blessed with a trip down boobtube memory lane, looking back on the short-lived television programs my gift has kept me from forgetting. Some were true gems that had potential while others were just blatant in their inanity.
Join me now in a walk down the Hall of TV Shows That Died in Infancy:
1. The Bradys (1990) – CBS, attempting to fill in the void that was once occupied by Falcon Crest, brought America’s “lovely lady,” her “man named Brady,” and their brood back to TV, this time in the guise of, yes, a primetime soap. See Mike run for Congress! Gasp when racecar driver Bobby becomes paralyzed after a horrific accident! Witness eldest sib Marcia fall into the hell of alcoholism (“Vodka, vodka, vodka!”).
2. My Sister Sam (1986-88) – Look, it’s the guy from An American Werewolf in London! Look, it’s the gay florist from Six Feet Under! And is that Kim Carnes singing that awesome pop theme song? And let us take a moment of silence for the gone but not forgotten Rebecca Schaeffer.
3. From Big to Small – During the late 80s/early 90, usually during repeat-heavy summers, networks, in an attempt to fill in empty timeslots, aired pilots that were never picked up for the fall schedule. Many were adaptations of successful films from the 80s. Some of the failures that had their brief moment on the tube: 1989’s Adventures in Babysitting (with Joey Lawrence and Brian Austin Green), 1991’s Revenge of the Nerds, and 1990’s Working Girl (starring an eyebrow-plucker-deprived Sandra Bullock).
4. The Charmings (1987-88) – Snow White and Prince Charming wake up from a magic spell and find themselves living in 1980s Los Angeles. I’d like to know what hallucinogenic-addicted exec over at ABC greenlit this...However, a highlight: Paul Winfield as the Evil Queen’s sass-spouting Magic Mirror on the Wall.
5. Models Inc. (1994-95) – Before she donned the leather suit as Trinity, Carrie-Anne Moss played the sister of the murdered Terri, who later came back as doppelganger Monique, who married Adam, who was divorced from Grayson (Emma Samms), who tried to take over the agency from Hillary, who was the mother of MP’s Amanda Woodward, who...um, let's just say I watched the show.
6. Central Park West (1995-96) – Before Sex and the City, Darren Star was all like, Listen up, Aaron Spelling, 90210 was fun and all, but I’m gonna control my own primetime soap, only this time it’ll be set in Manhattan, focus on rich and beautiful New Yorkers, and air on CBS because they’re dying for a younger demographic. How do you like me now, bitch?
7. Pacific Palisades (1997) - ...To which Aaron replied with this Knots Landing rip-off on Fox.
8. Titans (2000-01) – Spelling’s final attempt to bring Beautiful Rich People With Ugly Problems back to primetime. Little did I know, five years later, I would be working alongside its creator on a TV pilot that would fail even more miserably and, one year after that, eat lunch with one of its co-stars (Josie “I-Was-In-Charles-in-Charge” Davis) while shooting a Rocher commercial directed by the client of my current boss.
So, what have we learned here, kiddies?
a. TV shows based on movies = bad.
b. Pam Dawber will probably never work again.
c. Uncle Hiko was a primetime soap freak in the mid-to-late 90s.
Thanks for tuning in.
I'll return you to your regularly scheduled lives.
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