But amidst the bad hair-dos, cheesy movies, dubious pop songs and playground bullying (well, that’s what you get if you wear a blazer at a comprehensive), there were a few TV shows that made an indelible – and it’s probably fair to say, life changing – impression on me. Shows that shaped my formative years and transformed me in to the well (or mal) adjusted individual I am today.
And whilst some TV shows have been resurrected for a new generation of viewers, others are quite unfairly left to perish in the Vaults of TV Past.
There are new, improved, updated, reimagined versions of old movies released practically every week, most of them pretty unnecessary, so here are a few shows from my halcyon 80s days that I think should be dusted off and remade for a noughties audience.
The Fall Guy
It all started with the song. Catchy, unforgettable and iconic. Perhaps for some people the song was better than the series, but for me following the adventures of Lee Majors, aka Colt Seavers, was like being a stuntman and bounty hunter myself. I felt part of the action every week. So the scripts were a bit ropey and the acting negligible, but Lee Majors was undisputedly cool, the stunts (for the time, at least) were impressive and Heather Thomas’ entrance through those batwing doors the sole purpose for the invention of the rewind/pause button. My Fall Guy fetish didn’t limit itself to TV either - I bought the annuals and replicas of the famous truck (from matchbox to Tonka size) as well. And when they re-released the first series on DVD recently, I was able to re-live the adventures all over again.
The Incredible Hulk
So they’ve made two average movies, but nobody’s really done justice to the jolly green giant quite like series creator Kenneth Johnson or Dr David Banner himself, Bill Bixby. For me, as well as being great entertainment (and the reason for many ripped shirts at play time), it also tapped in to emotions I very clearly understood even as a youngster – loneliness, alienation, inner anger, the desire to do good. In other words, it was more than just a Jekyll and Hyde story; it had a heart and resonance rarely found in commercial entertainment.
Remember this one? Nah, thought not. They only made one series and it passed with barely a mention when it was broadcast in 1983. Simon MacCorkindale (yes, he of later Casualty fame) played Dr Jonathan Chase who possessed the shape-shifting ability to transform himself in to any animal, which he used to help fight crime. Short lived as it was, I loved it, mainly for the transformation sequences that saw him metamorphose in to a leopard, snake or hawk. Nowadays they’d render it with CGI, but there’s still an old school, cheesy aesthetic charm to it all.
Beauty and the Beast
An update of the age-old fable, this ran from 1987 to 1990 and told the story of the friendship and (never-to-be-fulfilled) romance between lion-faced ‘beast’ Vincent and the district attorney, Catherine, who he saves from being attacked by thugs. To me, Vincent’s subterranean lair beneath the subways of New York, stretching on for miles and miles, was very alluring and comfortable; a place of retreat, respite and sanctity. He was a learned beast, too, and no stranger to reciting classic poetry. But there was also plenty of drama, invariably involving Vincent rescuing Catherine from a sticky situation every week. Tender, poignant, on a big scale but with a big heart.
I’m sure there are plenty of other fans of these old series and it wouldn’t take much promotion or TV advertising to get people tuning in.
What TV shows helped define your childhood that should be in line for a new lick of paint?
Guest Blogger: Gavin Harvey is a self-confessed fitness fanatic whose itchy feet have taken him all over the world. When he does stay in one place for more than five minutes you’ll find him watching classic retro TV shows and blogging for companies like Space City.