A Look Back at a Few TV Classics

Herbie J Pilato


In the history of television, there are many terrific shows that are considered classics.

Here is a look at a few of them.

1] Bewitched (ABC, 1964-1974): The most magical supernatural situation comedy of all time. Elizabeth Montgomery as Samantha, the witch-with-a-twitch, is nothing less than adorable.

2] Kung Fu (ABC, 1972-1975): This unique Eastern Western helped to introduce Asian thought to the American mainstream, just as President Nixon was holding historic talks with China's Chairman Mao. And no - Bruce Lee did not create Kung Fu. Ed Spielman and Howard Friedlander created Kung Fu in the 1960s, long before Lee brought an idea for his series to Warner Bros. in 1971. anything like it, ever.

3] The Six Million Dollar Man (ABC, 1973-1978): It's because of this show that I used to run in slow motion in the second aisle of my front-row desk in Ms. Ganzini's 8th grade at St. Anthony of Padua elementary school in Rochester, New York. Lee Majors was THEE male star of the 1970s.

4] The Bionic Woman (ABC/NBC 1976-1978): The best line ever? When Jaime, played by Lindsay Wagner, says, regarding her love for Steve (played by Lee Majors, star of The Six Million Dollar Man, from which this show was a spin-off): "I just don't know where my heart is," which she states following major surgery to replace various body super-parts.

5] Life Goes On (ABC, 1989-1993): The best realistic family drama of any decade, which aired long before This is Us. Groundbreaking for several reasons, none the least of which because it featured regular weekly characters with Down syndrome and AIDS.

6] The Dick Van Dyke Show (CBS, 1961-1966): Superior in every way, shape, or form to any sitcom that ever aired in any decade.

7] Star Trek (NBC, 1966-1969): They keep trying to remake, reboot, and create sequels for this original, benchmark Gene Roddenberry sci-fi series. But it's impossible to improve upon perfection.

8] Dark Shadows (ABC, 1966-1971): This gothic daytime soap opera with Jonathan Frid as lovelorn vampire Barnabas Collins kept me happy for years, every day, after school at 4:00 PM.

9] Wonder Woman (1976-1979): The first 1940s campy, World War II season of this Lynda Carter was pristine. After that, not so much.

10] Seinfeld (NBC, 1989-1998): The first five seasons were brilliant. After that, I don't know what it was. But it wasn't Seinfeld.

11] The Wonder Years (ABC, 1988-1983). This was my life.

12] The Mary Tyler Moore Show (CBS, 1970-1977): Moore as Mary Richards was America's sweetheart, and ignited female empowerment like no other series in the history of television.

13] I Love Lucy (CBS, 1951-1957)/Here's Lucy (CBS, 1968-1974): Both starring Lucille Ball - The Queen.

14] The Golden Girls (NBC, 1985-1993): This series set the pace for the 55+ set, proving there is life for seniors.

15] The Twilight Zone (CBS, 1959-1964): From the genius mind of Rod Serling, who hosted this compelling sci-fi/fantasy anthology series with utter distinction.

16] Batman (ABC, 1966-1969): I turned my childhood basement into the Bat Cave because of this series which features the great Adam West as the only true Batman.

17] Room 222 (ABC, 1969-1974): This cross between Mr. Novak and Welcome Back, Kotter was the world's first dramedy.

18] The Brady Bunch (ABC, 1969-1973): What's not to love about this iconic sitcom which has an orange kitchen counter?

19] That Girl (ABC, 1966-1969): This show stars Marlo Thomas and Ted Bessell: the most likable couple in TV history.

20] The Partridge Family (ABC, 1969-1974): One of the funniest, most underrated and unappreciated sitcoms of all time; and one that introduced the world to David Cassidy (and vice versa).

21] The Odd Couple (ABC, 1969-1974): Starring Jack Klugman and Tony Randall: pure magic.

22] Love, American Style (ABC, 1969-1974): Did it right, long before The Love Boat, and with its own awesome theme song to boot!

23] Happy Days (ABC, 1974 to 1984): But only the first season and a half; when it was a charming half-hour, filmed like a movie; before it began filming in front of a live audience.

24] Charlie's Angels: (ABC, 1976-1981): And yes, the first season with Farrah Fawcett is the best.

25] The Mod Squad: (ABC, 1968-1973): This hippie-police detective show was producer Aaron Spelling's favorite of all his shows.

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Herbie J Pilato is the author of several books about pop culture including THE 12 BEST SECRETS OF CHRISTMAS: A TREASURE HOUSE OF DECEMBER MEMORIES REVEALED, MARY: THE MARY TYLER MOORE STORY, TWITCH UPON A STAR, GLAMOUR, GIDGETS AND THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, DASHING, DARING AND DEBONAIR, and NBC & ME: MY LIFE AS A PAGE IN A BOOK, among others. He's also a TV writer/producer, writes for the Television Academy and Emmys.com, and is the host of THEN AGAIN WITH HERBIE J PILATO, the hit classic TV talk show (which premiered on Amazon Prime in 2019).

Los Angeles, CA

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