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ABC Tuesday night lineup – Clacking the dream


I’ve been thinking back, yet again, to the days of old. So many shows that have joined the annals of television history, some good, most bad. Actually, an overwhelming number of shows that have seen life have been bad. Yet in the totality of things, every network can boast at least one lineup of historical successes per night.

Or so I’m out to prove. Or disprove. Well, really, all I’m out to do is schedule the ultimate in television experiences for a week. If I can ever make it that far. Many months ago, I talked about my ultimate in NBC Thursdays. Then, more recently, I moved on to Sundays on FOX. The goal is to find one perfect week of TV, but that’s many posts away. So for now, let’s deal with the challenge at hand: Tuesday nights on ABC. Ah, the memories.

8:00-8:30 In the early ‘80s, this slot was home to none other than the gang on Happy Days (doesn’t that seem so recent?). As time went by, it aired such successes as Who’s the Boss?, Full House, Roseanne, Home Improvement, and Spin City. Not to mention duds like Cavemen, According to Jim, and the ridiculous stuff that rotated on the channel last season. Personally, I’d much rather play it safe here, since competition from other channels is going to be fierce going forward. But for ABC enjoyment, I’ll take Who’s the Boss? in this half hour. It was fun, fresh, and even today it can still make me laugh.

8:30-9:00 Another crazy collection of classics, like Laverne and Shirley (I hear it’s one), Happy Days, Growing Pains, Roseanne, The Wonder Years, Head of the Class, and Home Improvement. Then there’s the embarrassing admission that I have memories of shows like Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper and Phenom. But it’s actually a recent show that calls to me, partly because its short life on the air means that this is really the only time slot I can schedule it for, a fact not true for the other series that populated this half hour. I know a lot of people panned it (clearly), but I think that Carpoolers was one of the most interesting conceits to see the airwaves in a while. Even if that’s a stretch, no one beats Marmaduke (T.J. Miller).

9:00-9:30 Wow this was a hot night. 9PM saw Three’s Company, Moonlighting (never saw it, but I’ve heard good things), Roseanne (not a fan, but I respect the following), Home Improvement, Spin City, and NYPD Blue. I feel bad ignoring Dharma & Greg because of Thomas Gibson, but, come on. More recently, this slot has seen history made on Commander in Chief, and lots of laughter over on Sons & Daughters. Nowadays some dancing thing is on. I’m actually not sure which way to go on this one.… You know what? I actually think I’m going to go with the underdog and pick Sons & Daughters. First of all, my wife will appreciate that choice (always important). Second, Fred Goss is hilarious, and this allows me to get back-to-back showings of him.

9:30-10:00 Strange how the night historically fell off at this time, after three straight well-stocked time slots, boasting such winners as 9 to 5, Oh, Madeline, Chicken Soup, Grace Under Fire, Hiller and Diller, The Geena Davis Show, Less Than Perfect, Rodney, Hope & Faith, Help Me Help You … you get the idea. But it’s also aired Coach, Spin City, and the greatly revered Sports Night. Now, I’ve admitted before that I’ve never seen the show, and I’m also quite tempted by the 1981 inhabitant of this hour, Too Close for Comfort. But with respect for Ivey, as well as for Aaron Sorkin, I’m going to give the slot to Sports Night. Just because I haven’t seen it doesn’t mean it isn’t the right choice for the perfect night.

10:00-11:00 There are some interesting choices in the 10PM hour. A lot of good dramas, or shows somewhere in that realm, have aired on ABC at ten. Shows like Hart to Hart, thirtysomething, NYPD Blue, Boston Legal, and  Eli Stone. Even The Forgotten is a strong series, although I don’t think it’s ready for the big time just yet. And lest we forget the bums: Jessie, Our Family Honor, Jack and Mike, Once and Again, Blind Justice, Women’s Murder Club, and Cupid. Once again, however, I’m going to have to go with a forced decision. Eli Stone doesn’t really offer many options, and it was too great to be left off of any list of ABC hits. Jonny Lee Miller it is!

Definitely a night that I’d enjoy. What does your perfect Tuesday night on ABC look like?

Photo Credit: ABC

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7 Responses to “ABC Tuesday night lineup – Clacking the dream”

November 18, 2009 at 1:48 PM

I’d have to change the 8pm slot to Spin City and the 10 to Boston Legal, but the Fred Goss double play is irresistible.

November 19, 2009 at 8:13 AM

Not to promise anything, but there are other available slots for Spin City left. My two issues with the show were the Mayor (a little too dopey), and, Alex P. Keaton moving to the left? Really? :)

November 19, 2009 at 10:21 AM

To me, Spin City was all about the supporting players. Paul, Carter and Stuart specifically. One of my all time favorite half hours on television was Miracle Near 34th Street. I dig it out at least once a year – it was beautifully delivered and guaranteed laughs – almost all of which were from the supporters above.

November 18, 2009 at 6:39 PM

Thanks for sticking up for Carpoolers! I thought I was a lone voice out here for that show. Also a big Eli Stone fan. How about this for a night, any night, of viewing on ABC – 8:00 Pushing Daisies, 9:00 Eli Stone, 10:00 Dirty Sexy Money.

November 19, 2009 at 8:15 AM

No way! I loved Carpoolers, and my wife and I were really disappointed when it got cancelled.

Pushing Daisies lost me in the pilot, and, as for Dirty Sexy Money: I really liked it through the first season and a half, but once they knew they were going down, and threw in the whole kidnapping/amnesia/whatever thing? They lost me. Hard. Too bad.

November 19, 2009 at 11:17 AM

If DSM had been allowed to continue, I’m sure the writers could have developed it into a true guilty pleasure. I loved Pushing Daisies from the start, but I guess it was one of those love it or hate it shows. Still, like DSM and Eli Stone, ABC is squarely to blame for their failures by not rerunning the first seasons either in the spring during the writers strike or summer prior to the new season. DSM and PD were off the air too long and the momentum was killed. Eli wasn’t off as long since it debuted in the spring, but maybe ABC just gave it a terrible time slot?

November 20, 2009 at 10:09 AM

No question they didn’t give the shows enough support. On the flip side, I’d see the guilt more clearly were this NBC or FOX, what with their need to lower their standards for a primetime audience. What’s most unfortunate is that on a successful network like ABC, these shows have an even harder mountain to climb.