As a kid I didn’t watch all that much television, at least not by today’s standards. My Mom was vigilant about keeping us from becoming video zombies. She trained us to look at the paper TV guide every week and mark what shows looked good to us, what shows were worth the expense of time and daylight. Remember when you had to watch shows pretty much right when they were aired? No DVR in the 1980s, man. And taping shows to VHS rarely happened. It required great electronics skill, a massive coordination of hours and minutes, and relatively expensive tapes.
I cannot remember exactly, but it seems like we were allowed an hour or so per week. We might have been allotted more time in front of the tube when school was out; I can’t remember.
The funny thing is, even though I sometimes complained, that really seemed like more than enough time. I was way busier playing outside, learning how to do penny drops from the metal swing set frame, perfecting round offs and attempting handsprings, riding banana-seat bikes, and of course having those all-important crushes on boys who were too old for me…
Television was more of a family affair in our home than an isolating activity, something that with time and distance I see was unique. For this and so many other reasons, I am grateful to my parents. They trained me to use TV as a respite at the end of a full week, not the backdrop of my life and certainly not the focus of any day.
Having said all of that, I did grow up having some fave shows that would be ever so great to see again! Beyond syndication, beyond rebooting, just more of the good stuff.
I Dream of Jeannie. I wanted a secret room like her plush genie bottle soooo badly… And I liked Major Healey okay, but oh my goodness, why in the world did she have to keep messing things up with Major Nelson??? What a romance! What a fantasy to have that kind of power and beauty.
Fantasy Island. “Boss, de plane! De plane!” Speaking of fantasies, this show sent my preadolescent mind into high gear. What a fascinating thing to glimpse into what people believe will solve their problems versus what truth already lies within their own grasp. And when I first stepped onto the grounds of a Mexico resort on my honeymoon with Handsome, I felt like Mr. Roarke might emerge at any moment. Yes, new episodes of Fantasy Island would be a cool thing.
Dukes of Hazzard. I would love, love, love a comeback TV show of the Duke family and their misadventures, not just a lame movie starring all the wrong people. Gyoog, gyoog, gyoog!
Reading Rainbow. Oh stop it… Don’t judge me. You know this show was impossible to ignore. It was a quiet time standby for my thousands of babysitting victims. Err, clients?
The Cosby Show. What television parents had more wisdom and love to share than the Huxtables? Not even Aunt Bea in Mayberry, I am convinced of it. “Come here. Come here, come here, come here!” And Lisa Bonet’s character was a major style influence on my life, even though it took me years to share that with people.
So there you have it. The top five shows for which I would happily sacrifice all past, present, and future episodes of reality television and extreme making over in order to watch new again. If any of you are fancy-pants enough in the entertainment world to make this happen, I will bake you cookies once a week for the rest of my life. Just don’t tell my Mom how much time I spend watching it all.