12 Popular TV Shows Everyone Forgot About

For people fond of television nostalgia, the 1970s and 1980s produced a lot of great television shows with huge followings. Despite their popularity at the time, these programs still need to be remembered. How many of these hit shows do you recall?

1. Too Close for Comfort (1980 – 87)

Too Close for Comfort
Image Credit: ABC.
A sitcom about cartoonist Henry Rush (remember Cosmic Cow?), his wife Muriel, and their two adult daughters Jackie and Sara, who live in the apartment below them, was a big hit for ABC before being syndicated in 1984. Ted Knight’s character was known for wearing sweatshirts from different colleges and universities in the U.S. The show was canceled in 1987 after Knight’s death the previous year.

2. Nurse (1981 – 82)

Image Credit: CBS.
After she left her long-running role as Olivia Walton on The Waltons television show, actress Michael Learned starred in the critically acclaimed drama Nurse, which landed her an Emmy Award for her portrayal of Mary Benjamin, a recently widowed supervising nurse at a hospital.

3. The Rockford Files (1974 – 80)

The Rockford Files Kathryn Harrold
Image Credit: NBC.
Following his performance as Bret Maverick in the Western television series Maverick, James Garner went on to star as Jim Rockford, a wrongfully convicted ex-con who became a private eye taking on cases that other private detectives wouldn’t handle, allowing him to avoid conflict with law enforcement. A series of made for TV movies aired in the 1990s that continued the adventures of the hardscrabble sleuth.

4. That’s Incredible! (1980 – 84)

That's Incredible! John Davidson
Image Credit: ABC.
Anyone with an unusual or unique talent was destined to be on this weekly reality show. Co-hosted by Cathy Lee Crosby, John Davidson, and Fran Tarkenton, the show featured people performing amusing and sometimes dangerous stunts. One episode featured a five-year-old golf prodigy named Eldrick “Tiger” Woods. I wonder what ever became of him?

5. Small Wonder (1985 – 89)

Small Wonder Tiffany Brissette, Emily Schulman, Jerry Supiran
Image Credit: First-run syndication.
The unlikely premise of this show – a husband builds a humanlike robot, and he and his wife try to pass the android off as their adopted daughter with comical results – proved to be popular among fans of the syndicated show, even though critics roundly panned it as a low-budget sitcom.

6. China Beach (1988 – 91)

China Beach Dana Delany, Marg Helgenberger, Ricki Lake, Concetta Tomei, Nancy Giles
Image Credit: ABC and Warner TV.
The devastation of the Vietnam War was viewed through the lenses of the civilian workers, volunteers, and service members – primarily women. Lead actress Dana Delaney won two Emmy Awards for her depiction of Colleen McMurphy, a first lieutenant who eventually earned the rank of captain.

7. Soap (1977 – 81)

Soap Roscoe Lee Browne, Robert Mandan
Image Credit: ABC.
Soap was created as a parody of daytime soap operas and their fantastical storylines that go far beyond anything remotely resembling reality. Featuring a diverse cast of characters and featuring controversial topics, Soap was a groundbreaking series on many fronts.

8. TJ Hooker (1982 – 86)

T.J. Hooker William Shatner
Image Credit: CBS.
William Shatner played the title role of the tough but protective trainer and uniformed patrol officer. The show’s realism combined with comic relief elements helped make the show a hit with viewers. Adding incredibly attractive actors Heather Locklear and Adrian Zmed didn’t hurt, either.

9. Dance Fever (1979 – 87)

Dance Fever
Image Credit: Syndication.
Long before Dancing With the Stars came on the scene, there was Dance Fever, first hosted by Deney Terrio, then later hosted by Adrian Zmed. Each week, four amateur dancing couples competed against each other for a cash prize, advancing to the next level of competition until the Grand Prix Finals. It had incredible longevity for a show inspired by the disco craze.

10. Beauty and The Beast (1987 – 1990)

Beauty and the Beast Linda Hamilton, Ron Perlman
Image Credit: CBS.
Beauty and the Beast was created as a modern retelling of the fairy tale but set in New York City with the Beast (Vincent) living in an underground world of social outcasts. The beauty, Catherine, is an assistant district attorney. They have a psychic connection with each other. The love story between Vincent and Catherine made viewers swoon for years.

11. The White Shadow (1978 – 81)

The White Shadow
Image Credit: CBS.
Ken Howard played the role of Ken Reeves, who coached a multiethnic inner-city basketball team of primarily Black and Hispanic players while clashing with the school’s vice-principal. This gritty drama didn’t have the highest ratings, but it developed a cult following and was praised by critics.

12. St Elsewhere (1982 – 88)

St. Elsewhere Ed Flanders, Michael Learned
Image Credit: NBC.
St. Elsewhere, the pejorative term of the hospital’s proper name of St. Eligius, boasted an ensemble that included a young Denzel Washington and Mark Harmon. While the series was a favorite of fans and critics alike, the controversial finale infuriated viewers because it strongly implied that all the happenings of St. Elsewhere were nothing more than a child’s imagination.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.