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Something that mz_bstone posted recently made me thoughtful, so I wanted to post this and get a variety of views. (Slight delay while, grumbling, I go find an updating client for use on Mac OS9, since the new LJ update page has gone from "looking screwed up" to "makes IE crash every time".)

Right, so, here's the question: name a TV show from the 80s or 90s that you actually watched, that even at the time you knew was pretty terrible, but you watched anyway (because you thought somebody on it was cute, or some other shallow, frankly fannish reason). And let's confine this to shows that were on in prime-time and that purported to be for an "adult" audience (because yeah, I know all of us can name really awful kids shows that we watched, but that's not what I'm asking about).

This is probably a show that you're now embarassed to admit that you watched for more than one episode. It may even be a show that you were embarassed to admit you watched at the time. But you did -- you tuned in every week anyway, until it got cancelled, of course. And even today, sometimes a memory of it still crawls across your brain.

Would you watch it, if somebody was rebroadcasting it on TV today? Or would you think that maybe it's best left to your dim and misty memories, where you can regard it with fond nostalgia?

I was thinking about this because Brighid made a post about "MacGyver" being cheesy but fun to watch anyway, and all kinds of people of course were posting about "oh, I loved that!" and "oh, he was my secret tv boyfriend" and all. And I was like, well, I never actually caught the show when it was originally on, but it's not like I can talk, because I was devoted to "The A-Team". And that made me think -- is "The A-Team" the worst I can admit to?

NO! So I'll lead this off. I had to think about whether the most embarassing program I can admit to having followed might in fact be "Riptide" (another fine, FINE Stephen J. Cannell production); or else perhaps "Tales of the Gold Monkey" (waaah! Young Stephen Collins! But honestly, I was more in love with the plane; I am *STILL* in love with the plane). But no.

No, if I'm going to be really, really honest, I have to admit to a real dog. And that dog would be: "Hawaiian Heat". 1984 -- a great year for really, really bad shows, apparently. Two Chicago cops decide that winters in the Chicago are for the birds, and they relocate themselves to Hawaii, where they get actual jobs as, again, cops, plus a fabulous, babe-filled beach house. Yeah, right. If this show lasted more than 6 episodes, I would be shocked. GOD, was it a bad "Magnum P.I." wannabe.

And why did I watch it? Because for some odd reason, I think I liked Robert Ginty. Even I admit that this makes no sense, although the IMDB describes him as "a rugged, good-looking action star" -- and I'm thinking, did Robert Ginty himself, or else his agent, write that? Because looking back on it, frankly, what he looked like was a sort of corn-fed Irish-American nerdy guy. Man, the things that passed for "action star" in the early 80s!

Would I watch "Hawaiian Heat" if I found it on anywhere? Honestly, I don't know if my brain could take it. No, no, I don't think even my curiosity could make me do it. (Neither would I watch "Riptide"; but I might indeed watch "Tales of the Gold Monkey".)

Later, in college, I would discover that before "Hawaiian Heat" came along to kill poor Robert Ginty's obviously blooming career as an action star, he came to Hollywood notice as one of the ensemble in "Baa Baa Black Sheep" (aka "Black Sheep Squadron"), an action show based loosely on real events and set during WWII, which was a Robert Conrad vehicle. Now *THAT*, I would watch again ("again", I say, because I've only ever caught a few eps of it). Because, *dude* -- Robert Conrad, Robert Ginty, John Larroquette, Jeff McKay, Larry Mannetti, Dana Elcar? PLUS a whole bunch of WWII planes? I'm there.


( 36 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 5th, 2004 03:20 pm (UTC)
Dude; I don't think "Seinfeld" counts, cause that was a GOOD show. And it was all zeitgeisty. And it didn't get cancelled after 12 episodes, or one season, or anything.

Hmm. I'll let others reading this weigh in on whether "Miami Vice" counts. You know, I haven't actually seen an ep of it in years, though certainly, I watched it at the time. And it was immensely popular, and I don't think people considered it cheesy back then. Although I guess, from our perspective now, it looks dated and cheesy, and since you're admitting to watching it *now* even from a modern perspective, maybe it counts. :)

Question is: do you watch it with *irony*? Because that forgives a lot of sins. I've been watching "MacGyver" in the past few years, too, but I cannot watch it without irony. Whereas, all those shows I actually followed in the 80s, when I was a teen? Totally sincere devotion.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - eregyrn - Oct. 5th, 2004 03:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 5th, 2004 03:14 pm (UTC)
Hee! "Riptide". I watched that. Joe Penny! Nick Ryder! So cute. I can't remember if the show was particularly terrible. Just that they were so cute.

But my number one shameful TV passion was "Hardcastle and McCormick". Oh god I loved that show, and it was godawful. But come on, Daniel Hugh Kelly, could he have been any cuter? Not big on the talent, but cute and funny and all that curly hair, woo! Plus Brian Keith, who is actually talented and fun to watch. The show definitely had its charming moments.

And I can hear that theme song. *g* Thank you, I'm going to be giggling all day about this.
Oct. 5th, 2004 03:39 pm (UTC)
I can tell that a *lot* of Stephen J. Cannell productions are going to show up on this list! :)

For some reason, I never got into H&C. I think it's because the curly-haired 80s boys never did anything for me. Not Daniel Hugh Kelly, not David Hasselhof. I was not even that big a fan of Tom Selleck. Hmm.

"Riptide" sure as hell wasn't *good*, I can tell you that. Even at the time, I felt like it was pretty clearly trying to be, like, a cross between elements of "Magnum" and elements of, like, "Simon & Simon" (well, or any buddy-formula type show, I guess, which was big at the time). Oddly enough, though, while I really liked Joe Penny, I felt no need to check out "Jake and the Fatman". But like "MacGyver", that was a series that was mostly on when I was in college and not watching TV at all.
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 5th, 2004 03:27 pm (UTC)
Oh my god, I *LOVED* Harry Anderson! LOVED HIM! That said, I did not watch "Night Court" as much as you'd think. Was it actually that bad? I guess it probably was.

Oh, and "Sliders"! raqs and I *totally* watched the first season of that. Hell, we were taping it! And yeah, at the time, it didn't seem so bad; it seemed like an interesting premise and like some of the eps from that first year were kind of cool concepts. I think I still fondly remember the ep where they wound up in the world that was like a Western, except all the gunslingers were lawyers and gunfights were how they settled cases. Remember that?
Oct. 5th, 2004 03:24 pm (UTC)
*geek alert*

I have three nominations:

First, Miami Vice. Not because it was a bad show per se...but I only watched it twoards the end when Sheena Easton was on. Why? I am perhaps the biggest Sheena Easton fan alive (well I was then) and would watch anything that had...or could have her on. They killed her off in the show, and I never watched it again.

Second, Airwolf. I would watch that to this day. Granted it had a 'Voltron' formula (run around, run around, get it trouble then during the last 10 minutes FORM BLAZING SWORD er, AIRWOLF) and I so wanted to have that helicopter...but the kicker was I was so into that show that I named my first Lacrosse stick 'Airwolf'. I need therapy.

In the Top Spot however, I have to say 'Misfits of Science'. Was it good? No. Plot? Ca'mon. Character development? Elmo please. It was bad and I knew it but I watched it anyway.


That was the closest I could get to watching the X-Men on TV.

You had the TK/Rachel Summers person (Courney Cox folks!) Johnny B. the lightning guy (Sort of a Quicksilver w/ Storms bolts), you had the big tall professor/ant-man (so that was an Avenger but give me some slack, ok?)...ah you get the picture.

I'd watch a reunion show just to laugh...and maybe if they re-ran it on Sci-Fi I'd catch it.
Oct. 5th, 2004 03:26 pm (UTC)
Honorable Mention...
Stingray. Because I'm a Corvette nut, and the '63-'66 Corvette Sting Ray is my all time favorite car (just ahead of the 1984 Ferarri GTO)

*disable geek mode*
(no subject) - eregyrn - Oct. 5th, 2004 03:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - revengel - Oct. 5th, 2004 04:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 5th, 2004 03:26 pm (UTC)
My dad was a huge fan of "Tales of the Gold Monkey." AND of "Baa Baa Black Sheep." Go figure.
Oct. 5th, 2004 03:31 pm (UTC)
This doesn't actually surprise me, given that both were overtly nostalgia-oriented shows set in the 1930s or 1940s. I'm betting, though, that your Dad didn't watch them because he had crushes on Stephen Collins or Robert Conrad... unless "Wild Wild West" made a heretofore unexpectedly different impression on your Dad than one might have expected.
(no subject) - maxineofarc - Oct. 5th, 2004 03:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - eregyrn - Oct. 5th, 2004 05:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 5th, 2004 03:43 pm (UTC)
What didn't I watch that I knew was cheezy at the time but had some fannish feature that overwhelmed my good taste?

Dude, I watched Knight Rider. And that's not the admission. I watched Airwolf. And that's not the admission either. Because Knight Rider and Airwolf were the caviar of 80's supervehicle shows.

No, the admission is, I watched total second and third string supervehicle shows like The Highwayman (supertrucks!, co-starring that Australian Energizer yelling guy). And I watched StreetHawk (supermotorcyle!, starring Rex Smith of Solid Gold fame).

I mean, all the crappy sci-fi stuff? Superforce? (super cops in armor) Time Trax? Manimal. Automan. Mann and Machine. Misfits of Science. Something is Out There (with Maryam D'Abo as a hot alien who thought human clothing was pointless).

Plus soap operas with my grandmother. General Hospital, All My Children, and Santa Barbara (can Eden ever love Cruz again?). And TJ Hooker. And the Fall Guy.

Sigh. The good old days.

Edited to admit that about half those shows, I actually thought were pretty cool at the time. But the other half I knew even then were cheezy. But I won't specify which were which.
Oct. 5th, 2004 04:05 pm (UTC)
Highway man...OMG...I am SO embarrased to remember that one. Right up there with BJ & The Bear.

You are totally right, tho...Airwolf & Knight Rider were awesome. Hell, if I could find one I'd buy a Tras Am and put that little Cylon light in the hood right this minit!!

Streethawk...the show that made me fall in love with a BMW K1 Motorcycle.

All classics. Manimal (who could only turn ito two animals?) & Automan were what I wanted to be if I got powers.

So did you watch Voyagers w/ John Erik Hexum or was I in fact the only one?
Re: YOU HAD MY TIVO!!! - telepresence - Oct. 5th, 2004 04:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: YOU HAD MY TIVO!!! - barkley - Oct. 5th, 2004 05:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: YOU HAD MY TIVO!!! - revengel - Oct. 5th, 2004 05:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
CHEEEEEEEEEEZE! - raqs - Oct. 5th, 2004 06:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 5th, 2004 04:25 pm (UTC)
I watched almost all of the bad TV shows including Black Sheep Squadron (because of Robert Ginty and Robert Conrad). As a matter of fact, just toss more Robert Conrad shame on my list, I watched Charlie Hannah (RC fights crime in Florida with real life sons) and High Mountain Rangers (RC fights crime on a mountain with real life sons.)

TJ Hooker. The A-Team. MacGyver. Hardcastle and McCormick. Rip Tide. (Miami Vice which sucked after the first year. I rewatched it all a couple of years ago.) 21 Jump Street. Tour of Duty (though that wasn't that bad of a show.) The Equalizer. One West Waikiki. Pacific Blue. Silk Stalkings. Uhm, I'll just stop now before I run out of space. I watched a lot of generic cop tv because I have a big honking weakness for it.
Oct. 5th, 2004 04:46 pm (UTC)
Barkley is me, except she has a higher tolerance for the truly mediocre. But I adored Tales of the Gold Monkey and Baa Baa Black Sheep: cocky little Robert Conrad with his 5'5" height and tall-man attitude! And... really? John Laroquette? I'll be damned. I loved it that they used the real planes, though.

I was a big fan of Remington Steele for a few years, but college interfered and I heard the last few seasons sucked anyway.

My biggest fannish crush of the 80s was Robin of Sherwood, though, and I even wrote fic for it. And it's aged so very badly indeed. Red filters, clunky editing, feathered hair, sigh. But they still look very pretty, so there's that.
(no subject) - revengel - Oct. 5th, 2004 05:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cofax7 - Oct. 5th, 2004 05:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - revengel - Oct. 5th, 2004 05:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - eregyrn - Oct. 5th, 2004 05:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - eregyrn - Oct. 5th, 2004 05:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - eregyrn - Oct. 5th, 2004 05:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - revengel - Oct. 5th, 2004 05:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 5th, 2004 05:52 pm (UTC)
Airwolf, CHiPs, The Man From Atlantis (tho I think that actually was late 70's), Black Sheep Squadron (which really wasn't that bad!), Fame, Fantasy Island (loved it!!), Wonder Woman, and Scarecrow and Mrs. King. And I'm not embarassed about a damn thing. I own my fan-love. *g*
Oct. 5th, 2004 06:06 pm (UTC)
Oh my god! Young Patrick Duffy!

I was more embarassed by my fan-love back then. Even up to a few years ago. I've gotten much better about it. Hanging out in fan communities will do that. I feel like I can speak openly of my fan-love these days. :) I can do things like have six different Jack O'Neill icons, and use them, and explain why I *need* six such icons. And I can have a friend make a comment that makes me feel uncool and hideously self-conscious about it for, oh, only a few seconds (when it used to be that such a thing would drive me back into my shell, determined not to reveal to anybody any of my hidden passions, lest they mock me for them or otherwise use them against me).

I want to thank... you all... for making that possible. :D
Oct. 5th, 2004 06:58 pm (UTC)
I should have loved Scarecrow and Mrs. King, because it starred Sabrina and Tron. But there were too problems. One, Sabrina didn't have the proper straight bowl/shag haircut, she has some curly frizzy 80's thing, which made her 75 percent less sexy. Second, my mom had a huge crush on Tron.

When my grandmother had a huge crush on Robert Scorpio/Tristan Rogers, it was just cute. But during that period of my life, "mom" and "lust" were too creepy a combination to consider. And Sabrina had the wrong hair, dangit.
Oct. 5th, 2004 06:59 pm (UTC)
Er..two problems, rather.
(no subject) - revengel - Oct. 5th, 2004 08:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 6th, 2004 01:36 am (UTC)
Oh my God. Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Remington Steele, Silk Stalkings, MacGyver - dude, I watched Pacific Blue, aka That Crappy Show About Bike Cops That David Kemper Did Before Farscape.

But the winner has to be the first two seasons of SeaQuest. Oh my God. Roy Scheider facing off against Poseidon, god of the sea - and no, that's not even remotely a metaphor.

Poseidon. God of the sea.

Why isn't this on DVD again?
Oct. 6th, 2004 01:58 am (UTC)
Oh, man! See, I adore Roy Scheider. THIS is how much I adore Roy Scheider: I fell in love with him because of "2010" (I know! of all things!), and *because* of that, I watched "Jaws", which scared the pants off me but which was worth it because Roy was there.

Hmm. Okay, wait. There was "Jaws", right. And then in "2010" there was this thing where his wife was a marine biologist or something and they had this house that had an underlit pool in the middle of the living room that was connected to the open lagoon outside or something, and dolphins could come up and visit with them in their living room. Suddenly, you know, "SeaQuest" is looking kind of like another step on a continuum, isn't it? Odd.

Anyway. I remember when SeaQuest came out and I was TOTALLY THERE for the idea of it starring Roy Scheider. I would have given it my heart, except as I look back on it, I think there was some weird scheduling conflict. Or else I watched it and there wasn't enough Roy, or something. I dunno. (Come to think of it, same thing can be said of Clancy Brown and "Earth 2", which I would have been happier watching had it [a] not sucked, and [b] actually made Clancy the lead, and stopped mucking around with other stupid characters whom I didn't care about.)

Man. Now I really want to watch "2010" again. It's got to be, like, 15 years since I last saw that, at least.
Oct. 6th, 2004 05:08 am (UTC)
My dirty, dirty secret was that I had a massive crush on K.I.T.T, the car in Knight Rider. I didn't care at all about David Hasselhoff, I liked Bonnie, the female mechanic, and Devon, the old guy, but I watched the show for the car. I watched it faithfully until they did something weird and outfitted Kitt with all these turbo jets and stuff, then I stopped.

Would I watch it today? I probably would watch one show and would squirm with embarassment the whole time.

Other than that, I watched Automan, and Manimal, but I really don't remember much about those shows.
( 36 comments — Leave a comment )