A fun look back on TV events and shows from yesteryear 🙂
TV changes so much and so quickly, while so much of it stays the same. A bit of a contradiction I know, but that’s the US TV landscape for you. It’s fickle, star making, breakdown inducing, loyal and still the countries favourite entertainment medium. Every now and then things happen which cause people to scream and shout about the death of TV. More recently it’s been the surge of streaming services which have had people sounding the death knell for TV, but then Cable TV grows and grows and proves people will still watch “regular” TV if the show is good, and in recent years, Cable TV has seen TV quality shoot up with broadcast shows following. Then we have time delay TV watching, added to streaming services which caused more people to shout about the death of live TV, “peoples watching habits change”, “everyone watches on catchup or their tablets” etc etc. Then a show like Empire comes along and proves that if people love a show, they will still put time aside to make sure they watch live.
True, network TV has seen a dip in ratings, but there are so many factors involved. Apart from the above, entertainment is changing monthly, more and more people get their fun from so many mediums now, and yes portability is a huge part of it. And TV is noticing, it’s adapting and moving with the times, while sometimes you look at the new fall schedule and wonder how some of these shows get passed the pilot stage. So we thought we’d start looking back at some TV history, some notable events, and some series debuts and finales which will undoubtedly make some of you (myself included) feel pretty old 😉
Firstly, we thought we’d take a look back at the month of May in previous years.
An eventful month back in 2005, plenty of shows ended and some notable TV events happened. Three years after it’s premature cancellation, Family Guy returned to FOX for a new run, and is still airing today. Following impressive DVD sales following it’s cancellations, the show gained many new fans around the world and FOX could no longer ignore the mistake it made, and with its tail between its legs, it gave Family Guy another chance, the show came back stronger than ever, and spawned a spin off, and Seth MacFarlane continues to create new shows for FOX, from American Dad, The Cleveland Show, Dads, and Bordertown.
Tom Cruise made his infamous appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show, leaping on sofas and professing his love for Katie Holmes. This was the first time people really saw the more “manic” Tom Cruise since he joined Scientology, and what followed was a crazy ride during his life, including some leaked videos from the Church, and alas the marriage didn’t last as many predicted. But Toms career never suffered, he continues to star in hit movie after movie, which some say is unsurprising considering how much of Hollywood are members of said Church. Katie Holmes still has a level of success, but never was the star Tom was, and some think being out of that marriage is all the luck and success she needs.
American Idol saw Carrie Underwood take the title, before going on to be the most successful Idol alumni in the history of the show, earning more than $31 million since she won the show.
No big show debuts this month, but that’s not unusual in the modern TV climate, with May traditionally kept for show finales and sweeps episodes. Short-lived VH1 reality show ‘Kept’, saw Jerry Halls hunt for a kept man! The show was a train wreck and lasted only one season. ‘The Life and Times of Juniper Lee’ debuted on Cartoon Network. Inspired by ‘Buffy’ and ‘The Simpsons’, the show was a cartoon about a young girl named Juniper who battles all manner of supernatural forces in her hometown of Orchid Bay City. The show was high concept, with good humour, great plots and back story. The show lasted for three seasons, and gained a devoted following.
Two popular miniseries aired this month in 2005. Jonathan Rhys Meyers (The Tudors, Dracula) starred in the multiple Emmy and Golden Globe nominated CBS biopic ‘Elvis’, based on the life, of, you guess it, Elvis J Meyers won the Golden Globe for his portrayal of Elvis, and some see his portrayal as one of the best. HBO aired ‘Empire Falls’, a mini-series based on the novel of the same name about a once prosperous small town in Maine, now a shadow of its former self, and the battle between the shows blue collar workers and it’s wealthiest citizen and her desire to control the town and its inhabitants. The mini-series was a critical smash, with Paul Newman picking up an Emmy and a golden Globe for his role, and another Golden Globes, one for best mini-series.
2005 also saw the ending of a number of TV shows. NBC favourite ‘Third Watch’, the gritty firefighter drama lasted 6 seasons and 132 episodes, but a decline in viewership saw it’s cancellation in 2005. The show was notable for it’s fearless storytelling and notable episodes, including ‘In their own words’ which aired a month after the 9/11 attacks and included interviews with real NYPD firefighters and police officers. The following episodes went back to the shows fictional storytelling with a focus on the crew before and after the 9/11 attacks.
CBS courtroom drama ‘Judging Amy’ bowed out after 6 seasons and 138 episodes. And controversial Star Trek series ‘Enterprise’ was cancelled after 4 seasons and 98 episodes with an episode which split fans, with the majority hating it, seeing a frame story with Star Trek – The Next Generation episode ‘The Pegasus’. Despite this, the show saw reviews get better and better for it’s final season, and a devoted group of fans developed, myself included, who thought the show deserved another chance. The series end saw the first time since the 80s that a Star Trek series wasn’t on air. Another Gene Roddenberry series, ‘Andromeda’ also ended this month in 2005 after 5 seasons and 110 episodes. Never hitting the heights of Star Trek, the series still garnered a devoted cult following which continues to this day.
Comedies ‘My Wife and Kids’ and ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ ended this month as well. ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ was a huge show, with big viewing figures and a raft of awards, even being remade in a number of foreign countries. The show lasted 9 seasons and 210 episodes and re-runs continue to do big business around the world. The show saw Ray Romano playing Ray Barone, a laid back sportswriter living in Long Island with his family, including his wife, Debra (Patricia Heaton) and kids. His brother and parents live across the street and visit Ray and his family regularly, much to the frustration of Ray and Debra. Doris Roberts, Brad Garrett and Peter Boyle played Rays parents and brother and played them to perfection, with so much of the shows comedy involving the cast as a whole.
The Wayans brothers show, ‘My Wife and Kids’ 5 seasons and 123 episodes; it took a traditional sitcom approach with some more of the Wayans “out there” comedy which set it apart from a number of sitcoms, and like “Raymond” continues to do well in US syndication and around the world.
Back in May 1995 was a huge year for TV. The OJ Simpson trial and Oklahoma city bombing saw the surge in 24/7 news channels and the OJ trial was also notable for its blame in the start of the decline in Soap Operas, however this didn’t impact ‘As the World Turns’ airing its milestone 10,000th episode. Also, as the internet began to gain ground, the way we watched TV, read news about TV and followed our favourite shows was about to change forever.
Only show debut in May this year was ‘Dr Katz’, the Comedy Central show was pretty groundbreaking at the time, with Jonathan Katz playing a therapist whose patients were real life comedians, and their time on Dr Katz’ couch were their real life stand up routines rerecorded for the show while Dr Katz personal life also played a part in the show. The show went on for 6 seasons and 81 episodes.
A number of shows ended this year, and some may make you feel pretty old when you realise its 20 years since their conclusion. ‘Matlock’, ‘2 Stupid Dogs’, ‘Blossom’, ‘Full House’ and ‘Star Search’ all ended this month.
‘Blossom’ was a favourite of mine, starring Mayin Bialik as Blossom, a clever, independent girl navigating her way through life after her mother leaves home, and she’s left to continue her life with her dad (played by Ted Wass), two brothers (played by Joey Lawrence and Michael Stoyanov) and best mate Six played by the fantastic Jenna von Oy. The show followed Blossom as she went through high school, recording frank and honest video diaries as part of the show. The show was wildly funny, but could also be so touching and sad with flawless transition. The show lasted five years, and I recommend, if you’ve not seen it, check it out.
Full House aired on ABC for eight years and was hugely popular. Starring Bob Saget as Danny Tanner, a man left to raise his family after his wife is killed, the show set the standard for so many family comedies which followed, while taking inspiration from so many who came before. With a huge cast including John Stamos, the Olsen twins, Lori Loughlin and Jodie Sweetin, it truly was an ensemble show, and like Blossom, mixed the comedy with drama seamlessly. The show continues to air around the world and has been in US syndication since it ended, and recent news saw Netflix resurrecting the show, now titled “Fuller House”, with many of the cast returning to revisit the Tanner household as it is now.
Want to add your own TV memories? let us know in the comments J