Glory is a fan of 70s TV entertainment and enjoys writing about the popular and not-so-popular shows and TV movies of that decade.
Easily Forgotten 1980s TV Series
This is a brief look at 28 short-lived and easily forgotten television series from the 1980s with brief plot summaries, cast lists, photos, trivia, and more.
Some of these shows actually had potential. Why they never found their core audience is a bit of a mystery. For others shows, after watching an episode or two, you might wonder how these shows ever made it into production to begin with. Whether they are good or bad, they are all short-lived TV series from the 1980s.
How many do you remember?
1. Ace Crawford: Private Eye
This short-lived CBS comedy series aired from March 15, 1983, to April 12, 1983, with a total of five episodes.
Ace Crawford (Tim Conway) was a private detective who solved every case he worked on through a miracle of sorts, as he had no skills whatsoever. Assisting Ace with his cases was bumbling Toomey (Joe Regalbuto), an accountant by trade who idolized Ace and thought his bumbling personality was simply part of Ace's detective work.
His favorite hangout was The Shanty, a wharfside bar owned by Inch (Billy Barty) who employed Luana (Shera Danesand), a singer who was in love with Ace. Rounding out the cast was Dick Christie as Lt. Fanning, a police officer who was amazed at Ace's ability to solve crimes despite his bumbling.
While Ace was created to bring about memories of the classic Sam Spade style of detective, he was really more like Maxwell Smart. Even Conway admitted that the show probably needed canned laughter to help audiences know when to laugh.
Shout Factory TV, in August 2020, purchased the streaming rights to the show, so if you want to see it again, or watch it for the first time, fire up your Roku or other similar device and do a search.
Automan (short for Automatic Man) was a one-hour superhero comedy drama series that aired on ABC from December 15, 1983, to April 2, 1984.
It starred Desi Arnaz, Jr. as Walter Nebicher, a computer expert who worked for the police department as a programmer. However, he really wanted to be a street cop. His superiors, Lieutenant Jack Curtis (Robert Lansing) and Captain of Detectives E. G. Boyd (Gerald S. O'Loughlin), felt he wasn't suited for such work. Using his computer skills, Walter created a hologram that was able to come off of the computer screen and into the real world. He named his creation Otto J. Mann and gave him a backstory of being a government agent.
The show was expensive to produce, and it was scheduled up against the highly popular Scarecrow and Mrs. King on CBS and TV's Bloopers & Practical Jokes on NBC. It did manage to survive for 13 episodes with a 14th never being aired. The complete series, with bonus material, is available on DVD.
3. B.A.D. Cats
B.A.D. Cats (Burglary Auto Detail, Commercial Auto Thefts) was a one-hour crime drama that aired on ABC from January 4 to February 8, 1980. It was cancelled after six episodes aired; four episodes were left unaired.
It starred Asher Brauner as Nick Donovan and Steve Hanks as Ocee James, two former race car drivers hired by the LAPD because of their superior driving skills. They are to become members of the newly formed B.A.D. Cats division, a squad designed to investigate car thefts. Helping them in their work was Officer Samantha "Sunshine" Jensen, played by Michelle Pfeiffer.
Rounding out the cast was Vic Morrow as Captain Eugene Nathan, Jimmie Walker as Rodney Washington, LaWanda Page as Ma, and Penny Santon as Mrs. Bernardi.
The series is available on DVD.
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4. Beyond Westworld
This sci-fi action show began its run on CBS March 5, 1980, and it lasted until March 19, 1980, with only three of the five episodes being aired before cancellation.
In the feature films West World and Future World, the Delos Corporation manufactured robots that ran amuck with a will of their own. In this small screen envisioning, a mad scientist by the name of Simon Quaid (James Wainwwright) took control on the robots and planned on taking over the world. Standing in his way was John Moore (Jim McMullan), the Security Chief for Delos. Helping him was Pamela Williams (Connie Selleca) and Joseph Oppenheimer (William Jordan).
The series is available on DVD.
5. Blacke's Magic
Blacke's Magic, a one-hour crime drama, aired on NBC for 13 episodes starting on January 5, 1986, and ending on May 7, 1986.
It starred Hal Linden as Alexander Blacke, a magician who decided to retire after having had a near-death experience. His life changed when his father, former con man named Leonard (played by Harry Morgan), moved in. Together the two of them discovered they had a knack for solving crimes, and with their combined backgrounds in sleight of hand and con games, they were able to solve even the most impossible of crimes.
6. Breaking Away
Shaun Cassidy, who gained teen idol status as Joe Hardy on The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, took on the role of Dave Stohler, a guy who loved bicycle racing in the series Breaking Away, inspired by the 1979 feature film of the same name.
The series may have done a little better than it did if it hadn't been caught up in the 1980 Screen Actors Guild strike, which prevented it from going into production until late in the fall. While ABC had publicized it heavily, audiences didn't seem to notice it once it came on the air. It was pulled from the schedule after filming only eight episodes, only seven of which were shown. It ran from November 29, 1980, to January 10, 1981.
Cassidy didn't see the film before beginning to work on the series as he didn't want to allow his take on Dave Stohler to be influenced by the way Dennis Christopher portrayed the character in the film. Cassidy was proud of the show and how it dealt with real human issues and relationships. It had no gimmicks at all and was a welcome departure from The Hardy Boys.
By this time, Cassidy had given up touring in his musical career, although he had released the album WASP. It was speculated he should tour somewhat to promote it.
Barbara Barrie, Jackie Earle Haley, and John Ashton reprised their roles from the feature film.
7. Concrete Cowboys
The short-lived series Concrete Cowboys was inspired by a popular 1979 television movie of the same name that starred Jerry Reed as J.D. Reed and Tom Selleck (before his Magnum, P.I. days) as Will Eubanks.
The series began its life on February 7, 1981, and it lasted until March 21, 1981. The show featured Reed reprising his role, but in Selleck's place was actor Geoffry Scott as Will.
The series was about two cowboys who, instead of riding horses on the open range, roamed across the countryside in their beat up camper looking for adventure and finding it. They made most of their money gambling, but when having a run of bad luck, they would pick an occasional job, which is usually where all the fun took place.
The series has not made its way to DVD, but you can find the television movie that inspired it.
8. The Devlin Connection
Hollywood legend Rock Hudson starred with handsome Jack Scalia in this private detective series. The series aired on NBC for 13 episodes, lasting from October 2 to December 25, 1982.
Brian Devlin (Rock) is a retired military intelligence officer who learns that he has a 28-year-old son in the guise of Nick Corsello, a struggling private detective, who begrudgingly accepts the help of his father when it comes to solving cases he is hired to investigate.
The plot of the series wasn't anything spectacular as a man finding out he is a father years after the big event happens isn't all that uncommon in the real world or in the movies. The series got off to a slow start. It was to begin production in June of 1981, but it was postponed because of a screen writers strike and then because of Hudson's heart surgery.
Hudson was disappointed that the relationship between his character and his son was never developed fully, and he admitted that he was actually thrilled that the show was cancelled because he said it lacked any real spark and had no comedy to it.
9. Fathers and Sons
Former football player Merlin Olsen starred as Buddy Landau, an ordinary guy who loved sports and who ended up coaching his son, Lanny, and his baseball team. Lanny has no real talent for the sport and was only involved in it to please his dad.
The show, a sitcom, aired for only four episodes on NBC starting on April 6, 1986, to May 4, 1986. The series tried to find its comedy by the interactions between Buddy and the player's on his son's team.
This was the first time Olsen's acting career centered around a role connected with sports. He had wanted to keep those two aspects separate and wanted to give acting a serious try.
The shows also starred Jason Late, Kelly Sanders, and Andre Gower.
10. Gung Ho
Based on the film of the same name, Gung Ho starred Scott Bakula as Hunt Stevenson in this short-lived series that first aired on ABC December 5, 1986, and lasted until June 27, 1987.
The setting was an auto plant in Hadleyville, Pennsylvania, that had been reopened as part of Assan Motors, a Japanese company. The comedy of the show was the clash of cultures faced by the American workers and the Japanese management.
The series co-starred Gedde Watanabe (who reprised his role from the movie), Stephen Lee, and Clint Howard.
Harball, a cop show, lasted for 18 episodes and aired on NBC from September 21, 1989, to June 29, 1990.
Plainclothes cop Charlie "C.B." Battles (John Ashton), a veteran of the force, is given a choice. He could retire or be partnered with young and brash Joe "Kaz" Kaczierowski (Richard Tyson). The two had their own ways of going about enforcing the law, and their respective styles often clashed.
The theme song for the series, "Roll It Over," was written by Sylvester Levay, Mark Spiro, and Eddie Money, with Money performing it.
Robert Blake was Father Noah "Hardstep" Rivers, a priest at St. Dominic's parish, which was in a tough east LA neighborhood. This NBC series ran for 15 episodes. It aired from September 4, 1985, to December 25, 1985.
The character was often thought of as Baretta (Blake's famous cop role from the 70s) in a priest's collar. Sadly, the show was pitted against ABC's Dynasty and didn't stand much of a chance.
Blake began working on the concept for Helltown when he was working on Blood Feud in 1983. He took the idea for the series to ABC because he had done Baretta for them, but they weren't interested, much to his disappointment.
The show also starred Whitman Mayo, Natalie Core, Jeff Cory, and Tony Longo.
13. The Highwayman
The Highwayman was an adventure series that aired on NBC beginning on March 4, 1988, and it lasted until May 6, 1988.
Sam Jones (of Flash Gordon fame) was the Highwayman, a US Marshal in this futuristic series that critics said was a cross between Mad Max and Knight Rider.
Partnered with Jones was Jetto, played by an Aussie actor, Jacko, whose main claim to fame here in the US was a series of commercials for Energizer batteries. You remember those, right? He would stick the battery on his shoulder and dare you to knock it off.
The series co-starred Tim Russ and Jane Badler, and it was produced by Glen A. Larson, who said he envisioned it as being a cross between Gunsmoke and The Road Warrior.
14. The Last Precinct
This series lasted from April 11, 1986, to May 30, 1986. It was viewed by some as merely a way for NBC to cash in on the popularity of the Police Academy movies of the big screen. The 56th Precinct, known as The Last Precinct, was a dumping ground of sorts for various LAPD police officers who really didn't seem cut out for a career in law enforcement.
Jonathan Perpich was Price Pascall , a handsome police officer who was the only one to have any kind of real detective skills. Ernie Hudson was Sgt. "Night Train" Lane. Rick Duncommun was Officer William Raider, an overweight and bumbling motorcycle cop. Randi Brooks was Mel Brubaker, who used to be a man. Peter Willcox was King, an Elvis impersonator. Keenen Wynn was Butch and Hank Rolike was Sundance; they were two over the hill cops just waiting for retirement. Heading up the Last Precinct was Adam West as Capt. Robert Wright.
The show never found an audience because it was pitted against Dallas on CBS.
The was West's first series in 20 years and he said that the show was really an attempt to modernize the Keystone Kops with lots of slapstick comedy, a sort of "upside down Hill Street Blues."
15. Maggie Briggs
This short-lived series was co-created by Pleshette and aired on CBS from March 4, 1984, to April 15, 1984.
Maggie Briggs (Suzanne Pleshette) worked for the financially troubled New York Examiner, and in order to try to turn around their finances, the paper wanted a new look. They figured adding a new feature called Modern Living would just be what they needed. They, of course, wanted Maggie to write the column, but she was used to writing the hard-hitting human interest stories and wasn't the least bit pleased about having to write fluff about puppy dogs and nuns.
John Getz played Geoff Bennett, her editor who was a handsome playboy, a fact that Maggie tried to ignore. Her mentor at the paper was Walter Holden (Kenneth McMillian) and her best friend was Connie (Shera Danese).
The show lasted for eight episodes beginning on September 30, 1983, and it ended on December 31, 1983. It starred handsome Simon MacCorkindale as Jonathan Chase, a professor at New York University who taught animal behavioral sciences. This fit well with the special power that Chase had, the ability to transform into any animal at will. Chase used his special ability to fight crime, and only a few people knew about his talent. This included Ty Earle (Michael D. Roberts), a friend with whom Chase served with in Vietnam, and pretty police detective Brooke McKenzie (Melody Anderson), who often teamed up with Chase to solve crimes.
Sadly, Simon would pass away on October 14, 2010, at age 58 from colorectal cancer.
Manimal was released on DVD in 2015.
17. The Misfits of Science
This 1985 show was a mixture of comedy, fantasy, and science fiction. The show's plot was that a group of "misfits" who ended up getting together because they all shared one thing in common; they had super powers.
Dean Paul Martin (that's right, Dean Martin's son) was Dr. Billy Hayes, the leader of the group and the only member who had no super powers to speak of. He was a research scientist who specialized in studying those who were considered to be human anomalies.
Mark Thomas Miller was Johnny "Johnny B" Bukowski, a rock musician who had been electrocuted on stage. Instead of being killed, he ended up having the ability to charge up electricity. He could hurl lightning bolts and run super fast. He always wore sunglasses which hid his eyes. This was to hide his glowing eyes when he was fully charged.
Courteney Cox was Gloria Dinallo, a teenage girl who had the power of telekinesis and whose mother was locked away in a mental hospital. Gloria had a major crush on Johnny.
Kevin Peter Hall was Dr. Elvin "El" Lincoln, a towering giant who had the ability to shrink to small sizes.
In the pilot episode, Mickey Jones starred as Arnold "Ice Man" Beifneiter, who had the power to freeze anything he touched. His character was missing from the weekly series because Marvel comics had a similarly named superhero.
Executive producer and writer James D. Parriott didn't expect anyone to take these characters seriously as they weren't meant to be. They were written for fun and laughs as the humor was very campy and tongue-in-cheek.
This was a really fun series that was cancelled due to low ratings, because it was going up against Dallas on CBS.
The series has only been released on DVD in Germany and France. It has yet to see a US release.
18. Nero Wolfe
Airing on NBC from January 16, 1981, to August 25, 1981, William Conrad brought to life Rex Strout's reclusive, orchid loving detective, Nero Wolf. Lee Horsely, in his first television role, was his able-bodied assistant, Archie Goodwin. Conrad took the role because he liked the idea of playing a detective who let someone else do all the legwork, jokingly saying that, "I don't have to run any more. My poor feet are still aching from all the running I had to do in Cannon," referring to his previous five-year stint on ABC as private detective Frank Cannon.
Orson Welles had originally been asked to play the role, but creative differences with Paramount, the production company, prompted him to bow out of the project.
Sadly, the series debuted against CBS's very popular series The Dukes of Hazzard. The network did like the show enough to try to find a better night and time slot. It was moved from its original Friday night position to Tuesday, but the viewers still never showed up.
This really was a great show and should be released on DVD! Ya hear that Paramount!
19. The Nutt House
The Nutt House was a comedy series from the minds of Mel Brooks and Alan Spencer. It aired on NBC from September 20, 1989, and it lasted until October 25, 1989.
The setting was a once elegant hotel known as The Nutt House that had fallen on hard times. Of course, it didn't help that it was staffed by a bunch of "loonies" which included owner Edwina Nutt (Cloris Leachman), who relied on her right hand manager, Reginald T. Turkington (Harvey Korman), who in turn had to deal with head housekeeper Ms Frick (also played by Leachman).
Rounding out the cast was Mark Blankenfield as Freddy, the nearly blind elevator operator, Brian McNamara as Charles Nutt III, Molly Hagen as Sally Lonnaneck, and Gregory Itzin as Dennis.
The humor was silly, absurd, and ridiculous, and it certainly lived up to Brooks comedy philosophy of "Be savage to those in authority, but be kind to those underneath it, that suffer from it."
For the most part, it received good reviews, but it just couldn't find its audience.
20. The Phoenix
The Phoenix aired on ABC on March 19, 1982, and ended on April 16, 1982.
Blond-haired, blue-eyed Judson Scott was Bennu of the Golden Light, an ancient extraterrestrial who was awakened from his sleeping place in Peru. Bennu was an enlightened being who was socially responsible, kind, non-violent, and environmentally aware. He had special abilities like telekinesis, the power to levitate and to do astral projection, etc. His strength and powers were given to him or made stronger by the special Phoenix amulet he wore, which got its powers from the sun. His main purpose was to find his mate, Mira, who came from the planet Eldebran, some 40,000 years earlier. Without her, he had no clue as to what his mission on Earth was about. Richard Lynch played Justin Preminger, a man who wishes to capture Bennu.
Nine episodes were planned, but only four were ever filmed. The 90-minute pilot movie was also filmed. I think this series was just a little bit too ahead of its time. It does have a bit of a cult following, and I think it had the potential to be a decent series if it would have been given more of a chance.
Producer Mark Carliner described the series as what you get if you "Season a pot of Robert A. Heinlein's A Stranger in a Strange Land, with a pinch of Gore Vidal's Kalki, fold in a cup of Eric Van Danniken's Chariots of the Gods and you've got it."
21. Private Eye
This 1987 series was set in Hollywood during the 1950s. Jack Cleary (Michael Woods) was a good cop who lost his job because of a frame up by those on the force who were the bad guys. Sounds kind of familiar, right? Now, to make ends meet, he works as a private detective. Working with him is Johnny Betts (Josh Brolin), a young man who worked with Cleary's deceased brother, who happened to be a private detective but was killed while working on a case.
Bill Sadler played Lieutenant Charlie Fontana, Cleary's only friend left on the force that helps him with his cases whenever possible. Lisa Jane Persky was Dottie, the ever faithful secretary.
The pilot for the series cost 6.5 million dollars to film. It was expensive to use cars, clothes, and sets that fit the 1950s feel of the series. The budget for the remaining 11 episodes was set at $18 million dollars.
The series lasted from September 13, 1987, until January 8, 1988, with 12 episodes. It has yet to be released on DVD and I don't think it has ever been aired in rerurns. This is sad because it was good show.
Sam Waterston stared as Quentin E. Deverille, a brilliant American professor who found himself laughed out of a job at Harvard because he dared to speculate that it was possible to transmit picture and sound through the air.
He then took off for England, which he hoped would be more receptive to his brilliance, but instead he found himself fighting crime using all the cool gadgets that he invented.
Set in 1912 England, our hero is helped in his adventures by his trusty butler/chauffeur, Phipps (George Innes), and Jenny (Caroline Langrishe), his beautiful and very resourceful secretary. Of course, every brilliant hero has to have an arch villain as an enemy, and in this case, it's Dr. Stefan Kilkiss (Julian Glover).
The series aired aired on CBS from March 23, 1982, to April 27, 1982. It was created by John Hawkesworth, who gave us such classics as Upstairs Downstairs and The Duchess of Duke Street.
23. The Renegades
The crime drama series starred the late Patrick Swayze in an early television role. It aired on ABC from March 4, 1983, to April 1983.
The plot involved a gang of street toughs who were given a choice; work for the police as undercover agents infiltrating street gangs in order to prevent gang-related crimes or go to jail.
The cast had Swayze as Bandit, Tracy Scoggins as Tracy, Kurtwood Smith as Captain Scanlon, Paul Mones as J.T., Randy Brooks as Eagle, Robert Thale as Dancer, James Luisi as Lt. Marciano, Brain Tochi as Dragon, and Fausto Bara as Gaucho.
Critics dismissed it by saying it was just a Mod Squad update. The series did have a very catchy theme.
24. Street Hawk
Street Hawk aired on ABC from January 4, 1985, to May 16, 1985. Teen idol Rex Smith starred as Jess Mach, an amateur dirt-bike racer and ex police officer who was chosen to test an all-terrain attack motorcycle. His skills as a dirt bike racer came in handy since this motorcycle could travel at speeds up to 300 miles per hour.
During the day, Mach worked as a trouble shooter for the police department, but by night he was a crime fighter known as The Street Hawk. He was considered by many to be nothing more than a lawless vigilante, no much better in ethics than those he helped to catch and send to prison.
The series was released on DVD in 2010.
25. Tucker's Witch
Tucker's Witch began its run on CBS October 6, 1982, and it lasted until August 8, 1983.
Catherine Hicks and Tim Matheson played Amanda and Rick Tucker, a husband and wife team who run a detective agency. But this was no run of the mill detective agency. Amanda was a witch who used her powers to solve cases. This may sound like it made things easy, but let's just say that her powers were sometimes a little unreliable.
The title of the pilot was The Good Witch of Laurel Canyon, and it aired in May of 1982. It starred Art Hindle and Kim Cattrell. It was picked up as a series, but during the summer of 1982, the movie Porky's, which Kim had a role in, became a huge hit at the box office. CBS took exception to some of her scenes in the film and decided that they needed to replace her, so the series was totally revamped and given the new name of Tucker's Witch.
This short-lived series that aired on NBC from February 3, 1989, to April 14, 1989, brought David Soul back to primetime as Westley Grayson, an agent with the Behavioral Science Unit of the U.S. Justice Department. He, along with his crew, investigated crimes committed by serial killers.
This was very similar in plot to the present day series Criminal Minds. The series co-starred Kent McCord and Richard Kind.
The series has never been released on DVD, but you can find an episode or two on Prime Time Crime: The Stephen J. Cannell Collection, which released on DVD in 2010.
27. Walking Tall
This short-lived series aired on NBC from January 17, 1981, to June 6, 1981. It was the small screen's continuation of the story of legendary lawman Buford Pusser.
Bo Svenson took over the role created on film by Joe Don Baker. Pusser, a real life sheriff in McNeal County, Tennessee, gained fame as a tough and rowdy lawman who didn't hesitate to use force to arrest criminals. He carried a four-foot long club to mete out justice to wrong doers.
In real life, Pusser died in a car crash that left some thinking that it wasn't accidental. They believe his enemies finally had gotten rid of this thorn in their sides.
The complete series was released on DVD in 2006.
28. Wizards and Warriors
The late Jeff Conaway (of Taxi fame) starred in this very short-lived 80s show that lasted from February 26, 1983, to May 14, 1983. Set during the time of King Arthur's Court, Conway played Prince Erik Greystone, a knight who was the defender of the Kingdom of Camarand, which was ruled by the kindly King Baaldorf (Tom Hill) and his wife, Queen Lattinia (Julie Payne). Their daughter, Princess Ariel (Julia Duffy), was betrothed to handsome Prince Erik. Of course, every good guy needs a bad guy as a rival, and that came in the form of Prince Dirk Blackpook (Duncan Regehr), who wanted to take over Camarand and tried every dirty trick in the book, including black magic to do so.
Rounding out the cast was the lovely Randi Brooks, Tim Dunigan, Clive Revill, and Walter Olkewicz.
Sadly, Conaway passed away on May 27, 2011.
The series was released on DVD on July 29, 2014.
Whew! You made it through the list. I hope that you had fun and that I sparked a few great memories for you. I know I had fun compiling this list and believe me there are so many more that would fit, but I just couldn't include them all.
Thank you for the visit and share this page with your friends, too.
© 2009 Glory Miller
Forgotten 80's TV Shows Guest Book
Dennis Bagguley on August 24, 2020:
Hello does anyone know a good website that sells TV series on DVD?, i am looking for The New People-1969-1970 at the moment.
Pam on March 30, 2020:
I couldnt remember the of the complete name of the show with science mutant kids. It was great to see the title again, Misfits of Science.
Kind of like Flash or X-Men type shows.
Curious to see one again.
K on March 14, 2020:
Thank you. With all the new mutant type stuff I was desperately trying to remember Misfits of Science. It's been bugging me for months.
Kelly Ann Christensen from Overland Park, Johnson County, Kansas on January 03, 2020:
It looks like you are right, Glory. There are quite a few memorable stars, but I do not recognize any of these TV shows! You have some great photos of the memorable stars.
G on November 07, 2019:
"Starman" andd "Hard Time On Planet Earth".
The Wizard on September 05, 2019:
Grasshopper54 on August 23, 2019:
What about the short lived series "The Four Seasons" which was a take-off from the successful movie? Including the two part pilot, this dud lasted for thirteen episodes from January 9, 1984 to June 17. I remember watching one of the episodes and walked away from it because it lacked depth and was quite boring.
80's fan on July 02, 2019:
this is for Goofy....the shhow is called Kolcheck The Night Stalker. Starred Darren McGavin. also had a few made for tv movies as well.
Moe on June 11, 2019:
I loved macgruder and loud !!
Ronda on June 02, 2019:
You forgot Hot Pursuit and Cover Up from 1984. Both were pretty good shows.
Coni Burnham on May 04, 2019:
Kathy Lunt I think the show you are talking about is MacGruder and Loud (1985)
OliviaJoy1995 on April 16, 2019:
I remember the show The Greatest American Hero with the guy who could fly. Connie Sellecca was on it too. I loved that show when I was a kid.
Goofy on March 17, 2019:
Anyone remember a tv show featuring an investigative reporter in Las Vegas, who worked the night beat?
Lindsay on March 05, 2019:
To Faintmemories: it starred Ann Jillian called "Jennifer Slept Here"
Glory Miller (author) from USA on February 01, 2019:
Youtube is a great source for finding lost and forgotten treasures when it comes to vintage TV.
Helper McHelpface on January 27, 2019:
Some of you may find answers if you go to Youtube and search "TV Show Openings" followed by the year you think the show aired.
Barry Wall on January 19, 2019:
I had really enjoyed the series "Phoenix ".
Other shows, some I didn't know about.
Or actually had forgotten. Interesting.
Michael on December 24, 2018:
I liked Jon-Erik Hexum; the actor starred in Voyagers! and Cover Up. I also liked Manimal, Automan, and Misfits of Science.
Glory Miller (author) from USA on December 24, 2018:
Jennifer Slept Here starring Ann Jillian kind of fits your description. She played Jennifer Farrell, a Hollywood sex symbol who died tragically (ran over by an ice cream truck) and decided to haunt her old Beverly Hills home. The Elliot family, George and Susan along with their two children, Joey and Marilyn move into her old home and Jennifer makes herself visible to Joey alone which is what set the tone for the comedy of the show. The series ran for 13 episodes in 1983-84 TV season.
If anyone else has some ideas to share, please feel free to do so.
faintmemories on December 22, 2018:
I have a very faint memory of a tv show I watched in the 80's, but it seems I watched it in the daytime- so maybe it was older??? The main character was an older woman and it seems she had 2 younger girls living in the house. They may have been teens or young adults. The main premise is even fuzzy, but the older woman may have actually been a ghost- or a psychic. Because she was always talking about the 1920's and a man also from the 1920's. She did the Charleston and had a crush on Rudolph Valentino. This was how I first learned about the 1920's era. It may have been a very short lived. I have been trying to remember this for years with no luck so far.
Glory Miller (author) from USA on December 11, 2018:
Hmm, I have no clue. Maybe we can get some input from the good folks out there... anyone have any info about this show? If so, please comment.
Kev on December 10, 2018:
a Show where 2 guys fall asleep while heating something on their gas stove, and wake up in the future...I remember the non-Balki guy from Perfect Strangers.
Kee on November 09, 2018:
This is hard bc I can only remember a big clock when the show begins. Then there is a lady with red hair and a guy, but its some kind of science fiction series
Kathy Lunt on October 26, 2018:
Remember a cop show. Husband and wife were both cops and partners but had to live separately. They had adjoining apts.
Tj on October 08, 2018:
I would like to add the show small wonder to this list.
Jodi on August 22, 2018:
Ok, I think it was a sitcom Western? that had a good looking young sheriff. The bit I can't forget is one character on a horse and the conversation was like "who's on first". If I hang, YOU die?, no I HE hangs YOU die! I HE hangs YOU die? NO, If YOU hang I die! It went on like that for a while...it seemed so funny at the time. I think it was 1980's
LR on August 10, 2018:
One that gets forgotten, never truly shown in syndication much either, is the show It's A Living (also known as Making A Living). Ran from 1980-1982, never a true ratings hit, was cancelled, then revived 3 years later in first-run syndication, airing new episodes from 1985-1989. Was shown on TV Land for about a week back in 2001, but then vanished from public view again never to be seen until being brought back in reruns on Logo this year.
jacquie styles on August 05, 2018:
I actually loved!!!!!!!Automan when it first came out, and recently was able to get the DVD, it was great, such happy memories and a fun series. What would critics know, or ratings, listen to the people, and you will realise that people do like these series, no one asks their opinions, and quite frankly there are a lot of series that got cancelled for no other reason than production, or big wigs making the rules. Go to the com icons guys, and see that these kinds of series still have cult following, and they bring happiness and joy, rather than boring violence and darkness. Automan did that !!!!! your welcome!!!!!
JJ on July 30, 2018:
I think I still have an episode of wizards and warriors on a VHS tape somewhere. I remember the stage sets being very sparse and not really old time medival looking ta all.
faeriedragon3 on July 29, 2018:
A couple of other '80's shows I can think of that didn't last very long were a McLean Stevenson comedy series called "Condo", and a police program called "Houston Knights", which starred Michael Beck and Michael Pare.
Kk on June 30, 2018:
Was it "The Electric Grandmother?"
Tarin on June 17, 2018:
A movie or show about 2 kids being taken care of by an older woman who is actually a robot?
jgull on August 02, 2017:
Ugh. Does anybody but me remember a primetime network tv series that was black & white and was a comedy that was in the style of old silent movies? There was no dialogue in the show. I think it lasted a couple episodes.
Kathy on July 31, 2017:
There was a pilot of a new show that was a take off of the Burns and Allen shows. (Burns) would talk to the audience and (Gracie) had a cat named (X) for her friend, which stayed on the car in the garage and her friend (X) had a doctors appointment that she couldn't keep so (Gracie) went instead. George took the cat to the vet, and when the vet called back to say the cat (X) was pregnant, Gracie thought her friend (X) was pregnant (even though she went in X place). Anyway you get the gist.... it was hilarious. I would love to know the name.... the show was great.
Jinx-to-ennien on June 11, 2017:
JC the show you are thinking of is Jack and Mike.
Ed on April 25, 2017:
Jc. The show was the master
JC on March 27, 2017:
Anyone recall a tv series where the main protagonist is a ninja trying to hide hispast while helping people and being relentlessly hunted by his clansman ninja.??
Mike on March 18, 2017:
Anyone remember an 80s TV show set in a bar in San Bernardino? The show may have even been called San Bernardino. I can't recall anything else about it, I'm afraid. It was quickly cancelled. I saw one episode, so I know it existed -- but no one else seems to know what I'm talking about. :-)
Dominique on February 19, 2017:
I would probably watch all of these shows.
There was a show in the early 80's where a husband and wife solved crimes, they owned a restaurant and one of them was a journalist. Do you know what it was called?
Firebird on November 21, 2016:
Some shows should never have been made or just left on the storyboard or as a fare flung idea
Drew on June 04, 2016:
Eclectic and interesting list of TV shows, a lot of them from my childhood. Equally interesting is that some of them were culy enough to have had a home media release.
The Insiders was a 198x TV series that fits your category, I remember it as UK satellite TV picked it up as a cheap import back in its early days.
Casy S. on June 02, 2016:
What about a show called " The Calicacks"
Glory Miller (author) from USA on July 30, 2015:
Hi Mark. I wish I could include every 80's TV series that would work in this category (and there are a lot) but a page this size can only hold so many. But, I do appreciate it when someone, like yourself, uses the guestbook to mention one that I haven't listed. Thanks for the visit and the comment!
Mark on July 29, 2015:
I'm really surprised you didn't include 1980's "Tenspeed and Brown Shoe" on this list. The series was hyped and promoted a lot, and had many thinking it was the hit of the year. I stopped watching most TV by about 1976 as there were so many new flops and the older series were nearing their end or the quality had become seriously compromised by then, but I would always see the commercials during movies and of course TV Guide listings.
Glory Miller (author) from USA on July 15, 2015:
I have to admit that I never watched much of anything on PBS, so I guess that is why I have never heard of the show. But thanks for the comment and for pointing it out to us! It is appreciated!
brianboone33@yahoo on July 13, 2015:
Why nobody seems to remember pbs series up & coming about a black family from the San Francisco area .
Hazel Abee from Malaysia on July 08, 2015:
80's was such a wonderful era , with super good looking heros, ... Misfits, Manimal, Automan ... and I liked Quantum Leap too
Pat Mills from East Chicago, Indiana on July 08, 2015:
Short lived ones from the decade include Police Squad, All Is Forgiven, The Duck Factory, and The Famous Teddy Z.
Jody VanSickle on July 08, 2015:
What about 'Marbelhead Manor' with Paxton Whitehead and Michael Richards? One episode guest starred Charo. It was one of the funniest show of TV for about 8-10 episodes (if that many).
Glory Miller (author) from USA on November 14, 2014:
The story is that Arnold "Beef"/"Ice Man" Beifneiter (portrayed by Mickey Jones) who had the ability to freeze anything he touched, was written out of the show right after the pilot episode because of a complaint by Marvel Comics who had a similar character in their X Men series of characters. I can't say for sure if this is the real reason (only what I have read on various sites), but I do know that Arnold wasn't seen in the series after his first appearance. Thanks for reminding us that he did exist, though!
dave 63 on November 13, 2014:
i n misfits of science u forgot the neanderthal man
junebug613 on July 30, 2014:
@jackiejormpjomp: Maybe Greatest American Hero? The cartoon was Kidd Video for sure.
jackiejormpjomp on July 23, 2014:
Does anyone recall a show I believe was about a private eye paired with a superhero? I remember the private continually giving the superhero trouble about the cape. I think it was on ABC. There's another i remember from Saturday morning cartoons on NBC about a pop band that gets sucked into another dimension and turned into cartoons. Anyone remember the names of these?
Glory Miller (author) from USA on July 18, 2014:
@roseozhrin: Hi there.. Yep, Otherworld was a 1985 TV series that ran on CBS for 8 episodes. Sam Groom and Gretchen Corbett starred in this science fiction, Lost in Space kind of series.
roseozhrin on July 18, 2014:
This was SO kewl! thanks for this list. :D I remember all but a couple of them. :D
roseozhrin on July 18, 2014:
Charito Maranan-Montecillo from Manila, Philippines on March 27, 2014:
I remember watching "Manimal". I liked how he would transform himself.
joanne-m-wolf on February 25, 2014:
I swear there was a very short lived show called T.L.C. with Jonathan Schmock...might have been a spinoff from 'Double Trouble', in the mid-80s. It was a comedy about 2 doctors or med students or something like that.
mefrank on February 24, 2014:
does anyone remember a tv series about a family that was lost in paralel worlds or time and they had a son named Trace . It was in the 1980s
anonymous on August 19, 2013:
War of the Worlds the series. Nuff said.
Glory Miller (author) from USA on August 01, 2013:
@anonymous: Almost sounds like the plot for a big screen movie from 1999 called Brokedown Palace. I can't think of any US TV series from the 80's that has this plot line, anyone else have a clue?
anonymous on August 01, 2013:
Hi,does anyone remember tv series about two girls going on holiday,I think Thailand,they met a gay on a plane,he spend time with him,and on the way back home they were stopped at the airport,because police found drugs on them,planted by that guy...they end up in jail,was horrible,when finally they got out they tried to find the guy,and they succeeded,got they revenge...Oh,and he gave them scorpion rings,or necklaces..I think the series was called Sorion,or sign of the scorpion...trying to find it for a long time....
anonymous on May 27, 2013:
@anonymous: I thought this was a great show! I remember being crushed when it wasn't renewed.
anonymous on May 18, 2013:
@anonymous: I think you are thinking of a Mc Donalds Commercial
Seach youtube for "big mac tonight"
anonymous on April 25, 2013:
There is probably a comment somewhere on the list, but you also forgot a show called Mr Merlin starring Bernard Hughes as the wizard turned auto mechanic. Ran from 1981-82
anonymous on April 01, 2013:
Hi everyone. Do any of you remember a show on ITV in the late 80's called Squire or The Squire? I think it was on during the week at 9pm. It starts off in every episode with a guy driving his jaguar into his parking space at work and he's usually met by a younger chap called Ginger who is sitting on the wall. The main character was in his 40's and bald I think. Nobody I know can remember this and I was a kid at the time so maybe I've got confused but if anyone recalls it please let me know.
anonymous on March 22, 2013:
Please help! Ive been stumpted on this for some time. There was a tv show (mid to late 80's I think. I also think it was cable) about two guys (maybe brothers) they had real long fake chins. Cresent moon shaped faces. Does anyone remember this at all?
anonymous on March 16, 2013:
Does anyone remember a show about an investigator with one hand, demoted to an office in the basement who continued to do investigations contrary to his bosses directives. boss's name was Greenspan I think ..........the investigator had a female partner.
Allison Whitehead on February 08, 2013:
I remember watching Street Hawk. Surprised it didn't last long. I think that's my kid memory playing tricks on me! Great lens.
anonymous on February 04, 2013:
trying to remember the name of a science fiction show of the 80s about a paranormal investigative team investigating strange occurrences. There was an old bald actor that played a scientist, a woman on the team and two other men. It lasted 3 years or so and was on in the mid 80s.
TeacherSerenia on January 26, 2013:
I remember AUTOMAN - I LOVED Automan!!! I had a huge crush on Chuck Wagner. I also liked the Powers of Matthew Star as has been mentioned in the comments. Most of the others in this lens I never saw or didnt really like.
anonymous on October 17, 2012:
@anonymous: Hey! I think you're thinking of "Probe" starring Parker Stevenson!
anonymous on September 16, 2012:
Anyone remember this? I'm not sure if this was even a series or just a pilot. The male hero was an intellectual type who had built an entire castle in his mind when he was younger. And that's all I remember of it. I'm not sure it's even worth finding out what it is since this is all I know, lol. Still, it's a memory itch I'd like to scratch.
Sorry, I don't recognise any of the other unknown shows in comments.
anonymous on September 07, 2012:
Great! Unfortunately from where I come from, the government never approved the most part of those :-(
Maybe you can help me. At the end of the 70's I saw a TV series "invisible sight" was the poorly translated name we got. I was a child back then so I only have "lagoons" about the plot.
Some criminal band sets a bomb (inside a case ?, inside a cactus ?) in one airport, killing the wife and small son of one man. He then starts a quest of revenge, hunting down the criminals one by one. Parts I remember:
* In the airport, the daughter and the son playing, they are close to the bomb.
* One of the first criminals was close to an elevator, the man just came out shooting with a machine gun.
* In another chapter, the man was in a cave with a woman. In the darkness, the realized are being follow, so the man covers a natural hole in the ground using four stones in every corner, then dust at the center. The bad guy, carrying a lantern falls to his death on the hole.
* On the main theme, the man is shooting down an helicopter with a bazooka.
* In another chapter, they go underwater and someone breaks a knife before, and a man dies drowned as he can't defend himself with the broken blade.
The worst part is that I'm not 100% sure from this series origin; It could be from USA, England or MAYBE German :-O
I would be grateful if you help me please.
Than you in advance.
anonymous on September 06, 2012:
I have been trying to think of a name of a show that was about firemen. I thought it was called rescue 911 with a actor I think his name was anthony scalia. I was just a kid but I had a crush on him and I just can't remeber the show very well. anyone have an idea ?
anonymous on September 05, 2012:
Hey! What about The Powers of Matthew Starr. That is one other short lived show.
anonymous on July 25, 2012:
Oddly enough, I remember lots of these. Happily I got a life latter. ;-) Most cool page here. Thank you for the memories.
justDawn1 on May 27, 2012:
WOW! You are right! I don't remember ANY of these ! :)
burntchestnut on March 04, 2012:
@MrAverageGuy: I loved Ellery Queen. I watched all the episodes before it was cancelled. I liked Jim Hutton as Ellery. By the way, I read all the Ellery Queen books way before the show appeared.
christopherwell on September 16, 2011:
Most of these I remembered (if only vaguely) -- but that Sam Waterston show QED ... I'd never heard of that before, but what a great premise! I would totally love to see that.
MrAverageGuy on September 10, 2011:
I remember Automan and The Highwayman. I think that was the one where the truck turned invisible (it was a long time ago). Does anyone remember a program called Ellery Queen. A detective show of sorts that didn't run for too long.
Staceysk on September 07, 2011:
I loved Gung Ho back then. The culture clash seemed much more real than alot of other comedy series of that time. And Scott Bakula was pretty hot too.
anonymous on August 26, 2011:
Wow, I was only 13 at the time, but I remember The Phoenix so well; especially the theme music - I've not heard since it was on the short-lived-air back in the early 80s, but that tune still plays through my head. Wow, I always imagined it consisted of more than 4-5 episodes. Now I'm on a mission to find it on YouTube or something. Iâm becoming nostalgic in my old age. :)
Glory Miller (author) from USA on July 26, 2011:
@anonymous: I sympathize with you, as I liked a lot of the short lived shows, too, not just ones from the 80's, but from the 70's as well. Thanks for the comment and for listing a few of the shows I haven't covered. :)
anonymous on July 18, 2011:
I remember a few of these, especially The Phoenix and Blacke's Magic. I once thought of myself as either weird or cursed or both, since many of the TV shows of the 80s that I had an interest in only lasted a few episodes. I'd like to add these to the list.
The Powers of Matthew Star - Sept 1982 to April 1983 (22 eps)
Voyagers! - Oct 1982 to July 1983 (20 eps)
Manimal - Sept 1983 to Dec 1983 (8 eps)
The Master - Jan 1984 to Aug 1984 (13 eps)
Automan - Dec 1983 to April 1984 (13 eps)
goldenrulecomics from New Jersey on May 30, 2011:
I only remember a handful of the shows, and I have to say that Gung Ho was just terrible. Amazing it even got on the air. Fun lens, and must be a lot of us with 1970s nostalgia. I'm starting to create lenses about some of the comic books I read back then!
James43302 on May 17, 2011:
I don't remember any of these shows. Well biggest reason being I was born 1979. But I do have some favorite shows from the 80s like Star Trek: The Next Generation, Quantum Leap which didn't actually come out till 1989, Dukes of Hazzard, Knight Rider. Thank you for sharing. :)
waldenpond on January 28, 2011:
Where is MATT LINCOLN starring the late, great Vince Edwards?.This series dealt with a psychiatric social worker who helped emotionally stressed people in need. The theme of the series was "Someone Cares". ABC aired this series at the moronic hour of 7:30 pm. It was never given a chance in another timeslot. Matt Lincoln was cancelled after 16 episodes. There is also the pilot film titled DIAL HOT LINE starring Vince Edwards and Kim Hunter. I have searched forever for it and the individual episodes. Great guest stars such as Martin Sheen, Patty Duke, Peter Deuel, Joan Van Ark, to name a few. It was the first series to deal with mental illness in an adult manner. The series premiered in the fall of 1970, and is considered to be the definitve 1970's show.
anonymous on January 14, 2011:
I remember some of these shows.
surfer1969 lm on January 10, 2011:
I hate It when the canned a good show and replaced It with junked stuff.
anonymous on December 19, 2010:
I have to admit, looking at this website kinda makes me sad and long for those days again. I'm only 43 but remember all of these shows growing up (I watched a lot of tv in a small Iowa town). There are a hundred more channels today and most of it is lifeless mindless crap.
anonymous on December 19, 2010:
And what about "Voyagers" with John Eric Hexum and Mino Pelluci
anonymous on December 19, 2010:
What about "Big Shamus, Little Shamus" with Brian Denehey as a detective with a young son?
anonymous on December 04, 2010:
@anonymous: Loved "Man From Atlantis" was awesome. To bad Bobby's death was a dream.
anonymous on October 25, 2010:
You sure did some work to come up with all of these, I wonder how you remembered them all. I just sort of remember some of them, guess I wasn't watching much TV then or was on another channel. Great job on these almost forgotten shows.
Tempus on October 05, 2010:
Impressive lens, sadly all I can remember is 'The Gemini Man' because Ben Murphy was in Alias Smith and Jones (an all time favourite T.V. series of mine). Also for some unknown reason I remember the 'Snoop Sisters' but I can't for the life of me, figure out why!