ABC 1985 Fall TV Preview - You'll Love it!

Fall TV Preview Madness! (ABC, 1985)

ABC 1985 Fall TV Preview - You'll Love it!

In Fall TV Preview Madness, I present a network television schedule preview special from the distant past. We see the good, bad, and ugly for a network’s entire upcoming fall slate.

I’m counting down the days until the Fall 2012 television season gets underway the only way I know how — by bringing you network promos for TV seasons long gone. Today’s preview is for ABC’s 1985 Fall TV season. ABC only returned 11 scripted series in 1985-86, compared to 15 for CBS and 18 for NBC. They also had the most shows from the previous season not returning, with 16.

By season’s end, ABC had two just shows in the ratings Top 10 (Dynasty and Who’s the Boss?), and six in the Top 30.

Here’s the 1985 ABC Fall preview (in two parts), complete with an appropriation of Randy Newman’s “I Love L.A.” You’ll love it!  (* denotes new series.)


ABC 1985 Fall TV Preview - MacGyver

7pmRipley’s Believe It or Not! (1982 – 1986)
8pm*MacGyver (1985 – 1992)
9pm — The ABC Sunday Night Movie (1965 – 1998)

Although Murder, She Wrote owned the 8pm timeslot, MacGyver held his own. The Richard Dean Anderson show was moved to Mondays in 1986 and stayed there for six seasons.


8pmHardcastle and McCormick (1983 – 1986)
9pm — Monday Night Football (1970 – 2005)

After football season ended, ABC ran a movie in MNF’s timeslot.


ABC 1985 Fall TV Preview - Growing Pains

8pmWho’s the Boss? (1984 – 1992)
8:30pm*Growing Pains (1985 – 1992)
9pm — Moonlighting (1985 – 1989)
10pm*Our Family Honor (Starring Eli Wallach; ended after 13 episodes.)

I have very fond memories of ABC’s Tuesday night lineup of this era, although I don’t remember Our Family Honor at all. For at least a few years, Who’s the Boss?, Growing Pains, and Moonlighting were appointment viewing in my house. Oh and hey, notice anything off about that Growing Pains preview? Those scenes were from the pilot, which had Chrissy Seaver played by Elizabeth Ward. Tracey Gold took over for the start of the first year.


ABC 1985 Fall TV Preview - The Insiders

8pm*The Insiders (Starring Nicholas Campbell and Stoney Jackson; ended after 13 episodes.)
9pmDynasty (1981 – 1989)
10pmHotel (1983 – 1988)

Meh. I don’t remember The Insiders at all — despite its awesome use of Genesis’ “Just a Job to Do” — and I had absolutely no interest in either of the two soap operas (although I did dig Linda Evans).


ABC 1985 Fall TV Preview - Lady Blue

8pmThe Fall Guy (1981 – 1986)
9pm*Lady Blue (Starring Jamie Rose; ended after 13 episodes.)
10pm*Dynasty II: The Colbys of California (1985 – 1987) and 20/20 (1978 – present)

Man, that Lady Blue promo looked like every cop show parody I’ve ever seen. I’m surprised her sergeant didn’t tell her, “You’re out of line! I”m gonna get yer bade one day woman cop!”

I don’t remember watching The Fall Guy, but I know I had this brown pickup from the show, and it was one of my favorite toys.


ABC 1985 Fall TV Preview - Spenser: For Hire

8pmWebster (1983 – 1987)
8:30pmMr. Belvedere (1985 – 1990)
9pmDiff’rent Strokes (Ran from 1978 – 1985 on NBC; ended after 19 episodes on ABC.)
9:30pmBenson (1979 – 1986)
10pm* —  Spenser: For Hire (1985 – 1988)

I remember watching Webster, but remember very little about the show itself. I loved Mr. Belvedere, but Diff’rent Strokes needed to be put out of its misery by this time. I only got into Benson thanks to countless reruns on WPIX Channel 11 in New York. Never did get into Spenser: For Hire, although I suspect I’d appreciate it now.


ABC 1985 Fall TV Preview - Hollywood Beat

8pm*Hollywood Beat (Starring Jack Scalia and Jay Acovone; ended after 14 episodes.)
9pm*Lime Street (Starring Robert Wagner; ended after 5 episodes.)
10pmThe Love Boat (1977 – 1986)

I had never heard of those first two shows until today. The Love Boat, aka Hollywood Squares on Water, is the kind of kitschy show that could never be made today. Unless it starred a bunch of reality show burnouts.

Robert Plant, The Principle of Moments

My favorite music: 1983

If there’s one thing the internet lacks, it’s pointless music lists. So to fill that void, here’s a sampling of my favorite albums from some random year. Let’s say, 1983.

(Spotify users, check out the accompanying playlist and subscribe!)

Robert Plant, The Principle of Moments Robert Plant, The Principle of Moments — While I would in no way claim that Robert Plant’s solo output bests Led Zeppelin’s music, a lot of times I simply prefer to listen to Plant. In fact I’d say that Plant has enjoyed one of the most artistically rewarding solo careers of any artist who was part of a popular band that I can think of. The Principle of Moments is probably my favorite Plant solo effort (next to Fate of Nations) — he sounds freed from the constraints of creating larger-than-life rock and the music just crackles with energy. “In the Mood” and “Big Log” are all-time classics.

Iron Maiden, Piece of Mind — Four albums into their career, Iron Maiden had gone through just as many lineup changes. But when drummer Nicko McBrain replaced Clive Burr (trading Burr’s pocket groove for McBrain’s heavy metal thunder), the classic Maiden lineup was complete. With McBrain behind the kit the band released Piece of Mind, their most ferocious LP yet. While not the top-to-bottom classic that The Number of the Beast was, this album boasts some of the best songs in Maiden’s catalog — “Where Eagles Dare,” “Flight of Icarus,” and “To Tame a Land” just to name some. Even so-called filler songs like “Sun and Steel” or “Quest for Fire” are raucous fun.

“Weird Al” Yankovic, “Weird Al” Yankovic — It feels like Weird Al has been making fun of popular music forever, but in fact it all started with his modest self-titled debut in ’83. I can’t imagine this being of interest to someone just getting into his music, but I love all of it. The parodies are strong — “I Love Rocky Road” and “My Bologna” being the best — but the originals carry this disc. “Gotta Boogie” and “The Check’s in the Mail” are absolutely products of their time, but are musically strong. Capping the whole thing off is the absolutely twisted and hilarious “Mr. Frump in the Iron Lung,” a touching tale of the friendship between a young man and his terminally ill pal.

Yes, 90125 — I would have been perfectly happy with another album from the Drama lineup of Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Alan White, Trevor Horn, and Geoff Downes. I loved that album so much. But it’s hard to deny the greatness of 90125, even as slick and thoroughly ’80s as tracks like “Changes” and “Leave It” sound now (or perhaps because of that). This album (thanks in no small part to “Owner of a Lonely Heart”) achieved something most probably thought was impossible — it made one of the champions of ’70s progressive rock artistically and commercially relevant for a whole new generation of music listeners.

R.E.M., Murmur — There’s a small but vocal legion of R.E.M. fans who hold that nothing the band did after Murmur measured up to the group’s debut LP. I don’t buy that, but I can see where they’re coming from. There are just so many strong songs here — especially “Perfect Circle” and “9-9” — and they’re all delivered in such stark, simple fashion. And as I wrote in the second part of my ongoing R.E.M. exploration series, Murmur seems to get stronger as it goes on.

AC/DC, Flick of the SwitchAC/DC, Flick of the Switch — This is the last album AC/DC released in the ’80s that’s worth hearing, although admittedly it doesn’t stack up to Back in Black or For Those About to Rock We Salute You. Still, Angus Young’s thunderous riffing is mostly on the money on this record, and Brian Johnson still sounds energized behind the mic. Overall the tried-and-true hard rock-meets-blues formula feels fresh here, and songs like “Rising Power” and the thundering title track are the best examples of that.

Journey, Frontiers — I knew nothing of the older, more rock and fusion-oriented sounds of Journey before I bought this on cassette in ’83 and I didn’t care. Hell, I still don’t. I love everything about Frontiers — from the arena-ready rockers (“Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)”) to the tender ballads (“Send Her My Love”, “After the Fall”) to the obscure, off-kilter cuts (“Back Talk”). In my mind’s eye, Journey will be forever rocking out on the pier with invisible instruments.

Frank Zappa, The Man From Utopia — One of the most-asked and most difficult questions in music fandom is, “Which Zappa album is the best for a non-fan to start a collection with?” There are a handful of outstanding options, one of them being The Man From Utopia. Zappa plays it relatively straight here — well for him anyway, although the music is unmistakably his. If the crude humor of tracks like “SEX” or “The Jazz Discharge Party Hats” isn’t your style, there’s always the excellent instrumentals “Tink Walks Amok,” “We Are Not Alone,” and “Mōggio.”

Genesis, Genesis — I’m not one of those Genesis fans who gnashes his teeth over any album that isn’t 100% prog rock. They have plenty of really good songs that are relatively straightforward and poppy. And this album (aka Mama) has very good pop songs (“That’s All”, “It’s Gonna Get Better,” and “Silver Rainbow”) as well as very good art rock (“Mama”, “Second Home By the Sea”). Yeah, “Illegal Alien” is a but much to take, but it’s the only really dodgy song here. It’s also a more consistent record than Abacab.

Paul Simon, Hearts and Bones — I’ve never been a huge Paul Simon fan but this album has resonated with me for some time. The title track alone is worth the price of admission, and ranks among Simon’s greatest compositions. The up-tempo tracks are uniformly good, but I go for the more melancholy numbers like “Train in the Distance” or the excellent “The Late Great Johnny Ace,” the latter of which was as much a eulogy to John Lennon as to the titular rock and roller.

Metallica, Kill ’em All — Raw, powerful, visceral. From the fade-in of “Hit the Lights” to the fade-out of “Metal Militia,” Kill ’em All is 50-plus minutes of some of the finest thrash metal ever recorded. Metallica wanted to release this with the title Metal Up Your Ass but was convinced by Megaforce Records to ease up a bit. But musically, there is no compromise on this album. And although guitarist Dave Mustaine was booted from the band just prior to the recording sessions, his fingerprints are all over it in the form of four co-writing credits and numerous uncredited guitar parts. (I’d include a song sample here but, you know, Lars.)

Randy Newman, Trouble in ParadiseRandy Newman, Trouble in Paradise — The sound is sleeker, and the arrangements are a little slicker, but this is Newman near the top of his game. This is worth the price of admission just for the timeless pop paean “I Love L.A.,” but the one-two punch of the melancholy “Same Girl” — his best ballad since “Marie” — and the acerbic yet mechanical “Mikey’s” is stunning.

Kiss, Lick It Up — A lot of people attribute Kiss’s resurgence in the ’80s to them taking off the makeup and getting out of the 1970s. That’s probably true, but I think it was also a case of them finally producing kick-ass rock for the first time in years. With short-timer Vinnie Vincent in the fold, the band effectively straddled the squiggly line between hard rock and heavy metal. Dismissing Lick It Up as mere hair metal is lazy and misses the point — groups like Poison and Cinderella never put out music with as much power or ferocity as songs like “Exciter,” Fits Like a Glove,” or “Young and Wasted.”

XTC, MummerMummer seems to take a bit of a beating from fans and critics who didn’t care for the more pastoral and introspective bent XTC took after Andy Partridge retired from public performing. As it turns out, this is the one album of theirs I never get enough of, and it’s by and large because of the pastoral and introspective moments (“Love on a Farmboy’s Wages” and “Ladybird” are simply divine). Of course if you like your XTC angular and nervous, there’s still the outstanding “Beating of Hearts” or “Deliver Us From the Elements” to satisfy.

Queensrÿche, Queensrÿche — While Queensrÿche’s debut EP did little to distinguish them as a metal act, it was a surprisingly mature and accomplished effort all the same. The entire band is ferocious, but it’s Geoff Tate’s soaring and Halford-esque vocals that push songs like “Queen of the Reich” into the stratosphere. The band’s full-length debut (The Warning) showcased their ambition much better, but the 18 or so minutes of this release are much more aggressive and laser-focused, setting the stage for things to come.

Pink Floyd, The Final Cut — Yeah it’s basically a Roger Waters solo album, so what? While more David Gilmour would have been welcome, it’s clear that the band was done by this point. Even so, this is a powerful album that is made all the more so because it largely bypasses the excesses of The Wall. Waters’ sense of weariness and betrayal is evident throughout the entire record on songs such as “The Hero’s Return” and it makes for riveting listening.

Mötley Crüe, Shout at the Devil — The amount of really good music Mötley Crüe released relative to their stature is not all that much. But this is one of the defining metal albums of the ’80s, and nothing can change that. This is the sound of a hungry and creative band, before drugs and glam metal excess took their toll. Side B runs out of steam just a bit, but there are so many killer songs on here — the title song, “Looks That Kill” and “Too Young to Fall in Love” just for starters — that you won’t even notice. And I still maintain that Tommy Lee’s name deserves to be included in the list of great metal drummers of all-time.

The Police, SynchronicityThe Police, Synchronicity — The transformation from the Police’s first album to Synchronicity is astounding. While some of the punkish aggression heard on Outlandos d’Amour is still present here (especially on the Andy Summers-penned “Mother”), there is a high level of gloss now. Sting is very clearly in the driver’s seat from a creative standpoint, although in retrospect it’s clear that Summers and Stewart Copeland kept him somewhat in check. How else to explain numbers like “Every Breath You Take” and “King of Pain”, which are still essential listening today rather than forgettable soft rock dreck Sting was to become known for?

Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, Texas Flood — I can count the number of blues or blues rock artists I like on one hand and still have fingers left over. And yet there’s something so positively mesmerizing about Stevie Ray Vaughan and his debut album. I guess the only way I can put it is that Vaughan just oozed authenticity. Oh yeah, and there’s that instantly recognizable playing style and guitar tone. How can a song like “Pride and Joy” not make you want to boogie? The best thing about this album is that as popular music was becoming buried in synthesizers and other artifice, this album took three musicians (Vaughan, bassist Tommy Shannon, and drummer Chris Layton) a total of three days to record.

Def Leppard, Pyromania — In retrospect it’s easy to see how Pyromania was just another step on Def Leppard’s road to blandness (under the guiding hand of producer Mutt Lange). But at this point, they still delivered the best pop metal in town. There’s enough crunch to please all but the most hardcore metal fans, and of course there are hooks and melodies to spare. You’d have to have a cold, cold heart not to love songs like “Photograph” or “Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop).” And of course there’s my absolute favorite, “Foolin’.”

Billy Joel, "Tell Her About It"Misc. 1983 songs that I love:

  • U2, “Sunday Bloody Sunday”
  • Black Sabbath, “Zero the Hero”
  • Frank Stallone, “Far From Over”
  • Tears for Fears, “Pale Shelter”
  • Culture Club, “Karma Chameleon”
  • Elton John, “I’m Still Standing”
  • David Bowie, “Let’s Dance” and “China Girl”
  • The Beepers, “History Lesson” (WarGames soundtrack)
  • Ozzy Osbourne, “Bark at the Moon”
  • Madonna, “Borderline”
  • Asia, “Eye to Eye”
  • Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson, “Say Say Say”
  • The Fixx, “One Thing Leads to Another”
  • Duran Duran, “Union of the Snake”
  • John Cougar Mellencamp, “Crumblin’ Down”
  • Dio, “Rainbow in the Dark”
  • Billy Joel, “Tell Her About It” & “Easy Money”
  • The Tubes, “She’s a Beauty”
  • Men at Work, “Overkill”
  • Talking Heads, “Burning Down the House”
  • Herbie Hancock, “Rockit”
  • Steve Hackett, “Bay of Kings”
  • Tangerine Dream, “The Dream Is Always the Same”
  • The Human League, “(Keep Feeling) Fascination”
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Album cover of the week: Born Again

Inspired by a very informative interview over on Popdose, this ACotW entry features Randy Newman’s 1979 release Born Again.  It’s a typical bit of Newman satire that shouldn’t be too hard to miss.

The most obvious target here seems to be Kiss, based on the makeup.  And don’t think Gene Simmons wouldn’t have used this design if he had to do it all over again.  Graphic designer Michael Salisbury explained that they wanted to limit the satire to just the makeup, so as not to lose the subtlety.  As it turns out, Kiss makeup and cheap suits was not a new concept.

Listening Booth – Randy Newman, “Marie”

That’s right, Randy Newman.  The guy from that Family Guy episode singing about apples.  Trust me on this one people – put that out of your mind for a few minutes, and forget about how weird Newman looks when he sings.  Just clear your head and enjoy one of the most beautiful ballads ever written — “Marie”.  This is a live performance from 1979, although the song first appeared on Newman’s classic 1974 album, Good Old Boys.

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2008 – The Year in Recorded Musical Performances

A few months into this year I couldn’t shake the feeling that 2008 just wasn’t going to be the great year for new music that 2007 was.  And so here I am, about a week away from 2009, and I still feel the same way.  It wasn’t a total wash mind you, as there was definitely some quality to be enjoyed.  So here’s my take on the 2008 music year – good, bad, and ugly.

The Best of the Best (Albums)

Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes (Sub Pop)

Yeah, this seems like an obvious choice, but it’s also a damn good one.  I’m always up for listening to good vocal harmonies, and this band has them in spades.  The music is gorgeous to boot, and is a highly engaging blend of folk titans like CSNY, America, and early ’70s Fleetwood Mac.  The vocal round of “White Winter Hymnal” is worth the price of admission by itself.  And as a bonus, I’ve seen enough live clips of material from this album to witness that its beauty is not just the result of studio trickery.

Metallica – Death Magnetic (Warner Bros.)

You can accuse me of falling for the hype if you want, but this is an excellent album.  While it’s not enough to make me throw away my copy of Master of Puppets, it’s certainly strong enough to make me forget the group’s creatively dry Load era.  There’s a touch of filler present, but tracks like “All Nightmare Long” and “My Apocalypse” stack up against the best material Metallica has ever produced.  And most importantly of all, the group is once again relevant to the world of metal.

The only bummer regarding Death Magnetic is the craptastic mixing/mastering job, which like far too many modern albums is compressed to the point of being physically uncomfortable to listen to.  Fortunately there is relief in the form of an alternate mix produced for the Guitar Hero video game, which was widely distributed over torrent sites.  I’m not advocating that sort of downloading of course, but let’s just say it’s far superior to the officially released version.

School of Language – Sea From Shore (Thrill Jockey)

Whether or not Field Music ever reconvenes under that name is sort of irrelevant since Peter and David Brewis, the creative energy behind Field Music, seem to be carrying the torch of top-notch English pop/rock as if nothing had changed.  Witness David’s first release as School of Language, a slightly more understated but still masterfully executed piece of pop bliss.

The Week That Was – The Week That Was (Memphis Industries)

Speaking of the brothers Brewis, August was Peter’s turn to knock one out of the park and he did with the self-titled debut from The Week That Was.  It’s a denser and darker journey than Sea From Shore, but no less rewarding.  Taking musical cues from early ’80s Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush, Brewis has delivered one of the most satisfying and sadly overlooked releases of the year.

Russian Circles – Station (Suicide Squeeze)

You’d think that an album of metal instrumentals, averaging seven minutes in length, would not be particularly interesting or rewarding.  You would be wrong.  There is a craftsmanhip evident on Station that belies the fact that it’s only the band’s second album.  It sounds like thoroughly modern metal, but it feels vintage.

Randy Newman – Harps and Angels (Nonesuch)

2008 was the year I finally hopped on the Randy Newman bandwagon, and Harps and Angels played a large part in that change.  No longer is he just the guy from those Family Guy bits or the man I blame for a bunch of schlocky Pixar music.  Well, he still is a little.  But I’ve connected with his top-notch lyricism and easy-going, modernized New Orleans-style blues piano, which are in full flower on this record.  Newman thrives when he has nice, big targets for his cynicism, and he has plenty of material to work with here (from the Supreme Court to the Bush administration to their hypocritical pop music critics).  But the tender moments are just as effective, and songs like “Losing You” and “Feels LIke Home” will undoubtedly stand the test of time.

Dengue Fever – Venus on Earth (M80)

I predicted back in April that this would make my year-end list, and I called it (funny how that works).  This off-kilter blend of Cambodian lounge pop and psychedelia is one of the oddest albums to win my heart.  It was also good enough to get the attention of Peter Gabriel, who decided to distribute it on his Real World imprint.  It would be easy to focus your attention on the spellbinding vocals of Cambodia’s own Chhom Nimol, but the catchy musical arrangements are the real star of this effort.  Venus on Earth swings, it grooves, and it captivates.

Danilo Pérez – Across the Crystal Sea (Verve)

I was turned on to this release by the JazzPortraits blog (not updated nearly enough for my liking), and it’s a winner.  Pérez ‘s piano is backed this time by a string section led by the renowned arranger and conductor Claus Ogerman, known to many jazz fans for his work with Bill Evans, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and Diana Krall among others.  It’s a subtle and gossamer work that never slides into the dreaded “easy listening” realm.  Guest vocalist Cassandra Wilson shines on a pair of tracks, “Lazy Afternoon” and “(All of a Sudden) My Heart Sings”.

Goldfrapp – Seventh Tree (Mute)

Seventh Tree is one of those albums that I suspect will only get better with age.  Everything is slightly muted here, from Alison Goldfrapp’s vocals to the arrangements themselves.  But in trading sex appeal and danceability for nuance and delicacy, Goldfrapp has produced their most rewarding album since Felt Mountain.

Build (2008)
Build – Build (New Amsterdam)

Recalling at times both the structured and subdued approach of Philip Glass and the sheer musical joy of Penguin Cafe Orchestra, the self-titled debut from Brooklyn’s Build can best be described as classical music for people who hate classical music.  It’s exuberant and poppy but never gimmicky, and I highly recommend it.

Jim Noir – Jim Noir (Barsuk)

The eponymous followup to Noir’s 2006 debut, Tower of Love, finds him mining the same sound as the first time – namely the ’60s salad days of ’60s British pop, Mod, and psychedelia.  The formula worked for Noir (real name Alan Roberts) the first go-around and it certainly works now.  The melodies are not awe-inspiring but the DIY charm still holds; don’t be surprised if you find yourself humming parts of “Don’t You Worry” and “Happy Day Today.”

Next: The best of the rest…