May 15, 2013 – With “The Office” saying goodbye to its viewing audience tomorrow night, I am a little sad to think about these characters disappearing from my life. I realize it seems silly, and there is no doubt the show needs to end now. The last several seasons have not lived up to anyone’s standards, yet I am one of those people who hung in until the end.
Thinking about the end makes me remember other shows I miss, ten of which I listed below. The good news is that I survived the disappointment of losing favorite shows before, and I will again now and in the future, when “Mad Men” or “Parenthood” leaves the airwaves.
10. As the World Turns (1956-2010)
How sad is it that the soap opera is a dying genre? This classic aired for more than 50 years on the radio and television. I have watched other soaps through the years, but this one I stuck because I shared it with my mother. I began watching it when I was a little girl, and cherish those summer afternoons and days off sick when we would watch together. I also shared it with my son; it became our bonding time at the end of each day.
9. Eastwick (2009)
This short-lived series based on John Updike’s novel “The Witches of Eastwick” about a coven of three witches only lasted one season, but it made me smile. The television show was lighter and much more enchanting than the movie with Cher, Susan Sarandon, and Michelle Pfeiffer based on the same novel, and I still want to know what happened to the characters brought to life by Jaime Ray Newman, Lindsay Price, and Rebecca Romijn.
8. Bewitched (1964-1972)
Speaking of a coven, who could forget everyone’s favorite TV witch, Samantha Stevens. She was the only reason her husband Darren kept his job at the advertising firm of McMahon and Tate. Sam always came up with those catchy slogans thanks to her meddling and very magical family.
7. Big Love (2006-2011)
The first HBO show that makes the list told the story of a modern fundamentalist Mormon family living in polygamy and in the same housing development. It fed my curiosity about that lifestyle, and it taught me a lot about it because it was reportedly accurate. The best thing about the main character, his three wives and their crazy families, was the mix of the old (from the old compound where people still dressed in pioneer style clothing) to the new (a modern housing development in Salt Lake City). Sometimes I wanted to scream obscenities at the TV screen, but the show always entertained.
6. Family Ties (1982-1989)
Once upon a time, NBC ruled the airwaves with its lineup of comedies, “The Cosby Show”, “Family Ties”, and “Cheers”. They did not get much better than that, and all three were enough to keep this young working girl home on a Thursday night. “Family Ties”, about former hippies Elyse and Steven Keaton raising three kids, Alex P. Keaton, Mallory, and Jennifer, was the best of the bunch.
5. My So Called Life (1994)
Another short-lived series, and one that I did not catch the first time around, but later on MTV reruns, was “My So Called Life”. The trials and tribulations of Pittsburgh high school student Angela Chase and the boy she loved Jordan Catalano seemed like the most honestly written show about teenagers at the time, and each compelling episode brought me to tears by the end.
4. Six Feet Under (2001-2005)
The second HBO installment on the list told the story of a family who owned and operated the local funeral home. Each episode began with a death, and the body’s funeral intertwined with the story of the family itself. The writers came up with the most creative ways to kill people, and the final episode remains one of the cleverest of any television show in history.
3. Northern Exposure (1990-1995)
Here is another quirky classic about a New York doctor who decides to pay off some of his student loan debt by working for a few years in the wilds of Alaska. Watching Dr. Joel Fleishman adjust to life in the wilderness was about as interesting as visiting the state of Alaska itself. The television show was one of the main reasons I wanted to vacation in Alaska.
2. Magnum PI (1980-1988)
The beach. The estate. The red Ferrari. The Hawaiian shirt. The moustache and those short shorts. There is no mistaking you could easily pick Tom Selleck out of a line of Magnum wannabes. This show about a Navy Intelligence Officer who becomes a PI in Hawaii came with action, solid writing, a bit of clever comedy, and an All-American hunk. What else did a girl need?
1. Thirtysomething – (1987-1991)
I may not have been thirty something when this program started its run, but I still related to its fine storylines and characters. The drama that centered on a group yuppie baby boomers in their mid to late thirties had characters that most people could relate to and focused more on the drama of everyday life (character driven) than actual dramatic events (plot driven). This was a unique change for television programming at the time and I consumed every bit of it.
What are some of the shows you miss most?