(Editor's Note: Yesterday, we here at TV Rage brought you the site's first ever list article, written by yours truly. Today, one of our other writers contacted me and asked if he could put his own spin on the top five list. So, without further ado, I present to you the first edition of Ted Blanchard's fave five.)
Though it seems quaint now, back in the 80s and early 90s there were not a million cable channels to choose from, and people still watched a lot if not most of their shows on their local channels. UHF channels, especially those not attached to a network, used a lot of syndicated programming. Some of it was reruns, but others were first-run dramas, comedies and what we’d now call reality TV. Today I’m going to share my five favorite syndicated shows from that era, which was also my childhood.
Small Wonder- now, I’ve seen this one end up on many Worst Of.. lists, and probably with just cause. The idea of a family living with a little girl robot seems really hokey. But as a young ‘80s child with a limited selection of TV to choose from, I chose this goofy show. Fun fact: I had major flashbacks to this show while recently watching the whole run of "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles," with Summer Glau’s deadpan, expressionless acting.
Out Of This World- also should probably be a guilty pleasure, but I had a serious crush on the lead Evie (Maureen Flannigan), who found out her father was an alien. I also just found out today that Burt Reynolds did his voice, and that Scott Baio created this show. I seem to remember some sort of crossover using Nicole Eggert, which leads me to…
Charles in Charge- which started on CBS for one season, but built its audience in syndication. Baio was the star of the show, in which he was a live-in babysitter while working his way through college. He also directed many of the episodes.
The show also featured Willie Aames as Buddy Lembeck, Charles’ dim-witted friend, and Nicole Eggert as one of the children Charles watched, who got hotter and hotter as the show went on. And John Travolta’s sister Ellen was Charles’ mother! What more can you ask for?
RollerGames- shifting away from the sitcom fare, I somehow got hooked on a roller derby show that ran for one season from 1989-1990. The “sport” was big in the 60’s and 70’s, but an attempted resurgence was not successful. I remember they also had guest musical acts of the day like Warrant perform. I remember following the show and the progress of the teams.
Baywatch- I know I’m not alone in this. This was literally the biggest show on the planet in the 90s after it moved to syndication. Why? Was it shirtless David Hasselhoff? Pamela Anderson in a swimsuit about eight sizes too small for her massive frame? The amazing drama? I leave that question up to the reader.
As I look at this list I realize these are not the greatest shows that ever aired, but it was the best of what was around. Honorable mentions also go out to Renegade, Punky Brewster and Webster, and I didn’t even touch cartoon series.