Tele-Tuesday – Down Memory Lane: 1996

The 1990s – A Decade known for the massive growth and popularity of the Internet, gaming, and cell phones, also saw tumultuous times including The Gulf War and the Oklahoma City bombing, which created two of the most hated men in U.S. history – Saddam Hussein and Timothy McVeigh.

In the ’90s, the world also experienced perhaps one of the most popular scandals involving United States President Bill Clinton and White House intern, Monica Lewinsky.

The ‘90s generation watched as music and television took over the fashion world with women flocking to the salons for the “Rachel” cut, while the men raced to the barber asking for the sideburns of Jason Priestly and Luke Perry.  One of our favorite must-have items of the decade were the plaid and flannel shirts we all purchased by the dozen.

Top entertainers in the ‘90s included: the television ensemble casts of Friends, Seinfeld, Beverly Hills, 90210, ER; the popular grunge bands such as Nirvana and Pearl Jam; the pop-rock acts such as the Spice Girls; and other musicians like The Offspring, Green Day, and No Doubt.

Movie theaters saw great blockbuster success with the films Titanic, Dances with Wolves, The Silence of the Lambs (an upcoming Boo Factor installment), Home Alone, Pulp Fiction, The Matrix, Independence Day, The Lion King, and Pretty Woman.

Now, let’s shift specifically to 1996. What do I remember about that year?

The city of Atlanta hosted the Summer Olympics, and amidst all of the swimming, gymnastics, and track and field, Eric Robert Rudolph killed two people and injured over a hundred more when he attacked Centennial Olympic Park with homemade pipe bombs filled with shrapnel.

Despite the tragedy in Atlanta, the United States won 44 gold medals, with a grand total of 101 medals – more than any other country.

What else?  Television programs, of course!

Today, let’s take a look back at some of the great crime dramas of 1996.

Nash Bridges (1996-2001)

Nash Bridges follows two of San Francisco’s elite investigators:  Nash Bridges (Don Johnson) and Joe Dominguez (Cheech Marin).   Bridges has a photographic memory, and battles the difficulties of living with his aging father (James Gammon) and daughter (Jodi Lyn O’Keefe).   As far as the police work, Nash and Dominguez team with Harvey Leek, a Grateful Dead fan (known as a “Dead-Head), and  Evan Cortez, Nash’s daughter’s eventual fiancé.

A Don Johnson television show wouldn’t be complete without his character driving a super-charged sports car, and of course, Nash drove a 1971 Barracuda convertible.

Fun Fact: Johnson’s Miami Vice co-star, Philip Michael Thomas, and Marin’s cinematic co-star, Tommy Chong, guest-starred in a 1997 episode, “Wild Card.”

NYPD Blue (1993-2005)

NYPD Blue aired over a decade on television, a feat that’s rarely accomplished anymore.  Perhaps the series lasted because of the story-telling, or perhaps it was because of the fabulous characters.  I’m going with characters.

Who will ever forget New York City Detective Andy Sipowicz, played by the great Dennis Franz?  Sipowicz may have been plagued by the interchanging partners throughout the seasons (John Kelly played by David Caruso, Bobby Simone played by Jimmy Smits, Danny Sorenson played by Rick Schroder, and John Clark, Jr. played by Mark-Paul Gosselaar), but audiences still tuned in on a weekly basis because they loved Andy and his relationships, something that was very difficult for him.

Sipowicz managed to be one of the most intense detectives on the squad, maybe even in television history, while also raising his young son alone following his wife’s death.

Over the years, the precinct consisted of other fine detectives and district attorneys played by Gordon Clapp, Amy Brenneman, Nicholas Turturro, Garcelle Beauvais, Henry Simmons, Charlotte Ross, James McDaniel, Currie Graham, Esai Morales, and Dana Delaney to name a few.  Undoubtedly, after more than ten years on the tele, NYPD Blue survived because of its spectacular ensemble cast with Dennis Franz taking the lead.

Law & Order (1990-2010)

“In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories.”

Sound familiar? Television viewers heard this narration by Steven Zirnkilton for twenty years on NBC during the opening credits of Law & Order.

Reigning as television royalty for two decades, Law & Order ranks as one of the best police procedural and legal dramas in television history.  The series, now turned into a franchise, has spawned four spinoffs: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order: Trial by Jury, and Law & Order: LA.

The format of Law & Order focused the first thirty minutes of the hour-long program on the detectives solving the crime, and the final thirty minutes on the district attorneys taking their case to court.  Many television and big screen greats have called Law & Order their home at one time or another, including Chris Noth, Richard Brooks, Jerry Orbach, S. Epatha Merkerson, Benjamin Bratt, Jill Hennessy, Sam Waterston, Jesse L. Martin, Angie Harmon, Dianne Wiest, Fred Thompson, Jeremy Sisto, Dennis Farina, and Anthony Anderson.

Abruptly cancelled in 2010, the Law & Order fans can only hope that some network out there in the television universe will one day grant the closure the dedicated fans deserve, with maybe a two-hour made for television movie?

Profiler (1996-2000)

Perhaps the success of Profiler was due to the fact that Dr. Samantha Waters (Ally Walker) was one of the first forensic psychologists on network television.  Up to this point, viewers met a ton of cops, detectives, and private investigators on their favorite TV shows, but Profiler introduced a team of FBI agents that focused on criminal behaviors to find their suspects.

Samantha is haunted throughout the series by “Jack of all Trades”, the serial killer who took the life of her husband.  Her team consists of a detective (Julian McMahon), a computer hacker (Peter Frechette), and a forensic pathologist (Roma Maffia), and is led by Sam’s longtime friend and mentor (played by the great, Robert Davi).

Ally Walker’s character eventually retired, and Jamie Luner joined the cast as a new forensic psychologist in the fourth and final season of the show.

Fun Fact Trivia – What television hit did Julian McMahon and Roma Maffia star in, together again, from 2003-2010?

What do you remember from the 1990s – the politics, the entertainment, or the technology?  What are some of your favorite crime shows from the ‘90s? Did you enjoy any of these 1996 television series? I’d love to hear from you!

Stop by #teletuesday in Twitter so we can chat about these shows and many more!

Tele-Tuesday – Down Memory Lane: 1986

The 1980s – the decade known for punk rock, heavy metal bands, the Rubik’s cube, the “perm” and “mullet” hair styles, shoulder pads, jean jackets, and leg-warmers.

Top entertainers in the ’80s included Michael J. Fox, Eddie Murphy, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Patrick Swayze, and David Hasselhoff to just to name a few.  Some of the highest grossing films during the ’80s are considered classics now such as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Back to the Future, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Beverly Hills Cop.

The “Brat Pack” also formed in the ’80s, and movie greats The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, and St. Elmo’s Fire launched the careers of Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, and Demi Moore – but I’ll save this for a future Friday FabOoolousness post.

Very important to the ’80s generation, MTV was born and music videos swept the nation.  Michael Jackson led the music industry, joined by Aerosmith, Billy Idol, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Metallica, Motley Crue, and many more.

Now shift specifically to 1986 – What do I remember about that year?

The Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrated after take-off, televised live in classrooms across the United States, including mine.

What else?

Racing home on Friday nights after our high school football games to watch Miami Vice and Crime Story with my family.

Television crime dramas filled the networks with popular detective and private investigator shows in 1986, which is why I’ve marked this year as the beginning of my television addiction.

Magnum P.I. 1980-1988

Tom Selleck plays Thomas Sullivan Magnum living on the Robin’s Nest estate in Hawaii, the alleged home of author, Robin Masters.  “The Nest” is managed by Jonathan Higgins (John Hillerman) and protected by two Doberman Pinschers: Zeus and Apollo.  A former SEAL, Magnum works as a private investigator, drives a Ferrari (just one of the many perks of living on the Masters’ estate), and enjoys a cold beer with his former Marine buddies: Rick and T.C.

There have always been rumors of a Magnum P.I. reunion movie, but where is it?

Cagney and Lacey 1981-1988

Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly star as New York City detectives Christine Cagney and Mary Beth Lacey.  Despite their differing backgrounds (Cagney hailed from a wealthy family and Lacey was a hard working mother and wife), the two solved crime and built a lasting friendship in a man’s world.

Due to the series popularity, the ‘90s saw four Cagney and Lacey television movies which sometimes air today on Encore.

Remington Steele 1982-1987

Stephanie Zimbalist stars as Laura Holt, a private investigator, who after struggling to find enough clients for her agency hires a con man (Pierce Brosnan as Remington Steele) to play the role of her boss.  The farce leads to many laughs and to an eventual romance between Laura and Remi.

After announcing cancellation, NBC aired six television movies in 1987 to wrap up the series, but who wouldn’t love to see a reunion show today?

Scarecrow and Mrs. King 1983-1987

Kate Jackson stars as Amanda King, a divorced housewife who goes to work for Lee Stetson (Bruce Boxleitner), a top agency operative with the codename, “Scarecrow.” Despite not having any professional training as an operative, Amanda travels the world with Scarecrow assisting him on cases and going undercover with her boss.  The relationship leads to a romance, but after Jackson battled breast cancer in real-life, the series reduced her role and eventually cancelled the show after the fourth season.

Hunter 1984-1991

Fred Dryer and Stepfanie Kramer star as Sergeant Rick Hunter and Sergeant Dee Dee McCall, partners in the Los Angeles Police Department.  A popular theme on ‘80s television, the two partners dabble with a potential love story, but after six seasons Stepfanie Kramer left the show to pursue other career opportunities.  Hunter was partnered with a few other female detectives, but the series lost its flare and ended after season seven.

NBC aired a few reunion television movies in the ‘90s, and in 2002, Stepfanie Kramer returned for a special two-hour movie. With good ratings, the networks attempted to revive the series in 2003 with three one-hour episodes before cancelling again.

Miami Vice 1984-1990

Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas star as Miami police detectives Sonny Crockett and Rico Tubbs. Crockett lives a luxurious lifestyle driving fast and expensive cars while he sleeps on his sailboat with his pet alligator, Elvis.  Visiting from New York searching for the man who murdered his brother, Tubbs works alongside Crockett and eventually transfers to Miami were the two partner up permanently.

And, who can think Miami Vice without picturing Crockett’s pastel pant suits, and hearing the fabulous music of Phil Collins or Jan Hammer?

Moonlighting 1985-1989

One of the first successful television dramedies, Moonlighting stars Bruce Willis as David Addison, a private detective, and Cybill Shepherd as Maddie Hayes, a former model.  After David convinces Maddie to not sell the agency during tumultuous times, Maddie moves in to the office and forms a partnership with David and renames the business Blue Moon Investigations after one of her most famous modeling jobs and endorsements for Blue Moon shampoo.

The two form a lasting partnership, argue constantly, and eventually fall in love.  I have David and Maddie listed on my all-time great television duo list.

Crime Story 1986-1988

Dennis Farina stars as Lieutenant Mike Torello on the hunt for mobster Ray Luca (Anthony Denison).  Wanting to destroy Luca, Torello follows Luca from Chicago to Las Vegas.  Season one ended with one of the most talked about cliff hangers in television history – an A-Bomb explosion in the Nevada desert.

After the network moved the show to a different night, Crime Story lasted only two short seasons.  This began my frustrations with networks moving a series around from night to night and with writers ending a television season on a cliffhanger. We’ll never know if Luca or Torello survived the plane crash.

Are you a child of the ‘80s? What are some of the earliest shows your remember watching? Did you enjoy any of these 1986 greats? I’d love to hear from you!

Tiffany’s Tele-Tuesday #2 – This one? Or that one?

This one? Or that one?

Do you ask yourself these very questions if and when you have a free hour to watch television? 

I realize that most people don’t watch (or DVR in my case) four to ten hours of television a night — so, I am here to help you! 

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation versus CSI: Miami versus CSI:NY

My #1 – CSI: NY.  The addition of Sela Ward this season really helps make up for losing Melina Kanakaredes, and Gary Sinise is always great.  I feel the ensemble cast of NY wins against the other two CSI shows, and New York City is a wonderful supporting cast member.  I also like the NY storylines a bit more than the others CSI shows — the crimes appear to be a bit more believable.  I do hope the remainder of the 2011 season brings more of David James Elliott’s guest appearances as a FBI agent.  Plus, I’d be remiss if I didn’t add that I have a small crush on Carmine Giovinazzo (Danny Messer). 

 

My #2 – CSI: Miami.  I love the bright colors and shots of Miami throughout the episodes; however, Horatio Caine, his sunglasses, and his one-liners drive me nuts!  Honestly, if it wasn’t for Horatio, Miami may rank above NY.  I must admit though, Horatio and his sunglasses have become a staple for the show.  I love Calleigh Duquesne, and I applaud the show’s attempts at covering Emily Procter’s pregnancy since they chose not to write it into the storyline.  I can’t wait for next season when Calleigh has more scenes, and hopefully the show re-explores the Calleigh/Eric Delko relationship.  Major kudos to Miami for bringing back Adam Rodriquez’s character, Delko.  I liked Eddie Cibrian, but it just wasn’t the same. 

My #3 – the original, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.  The Vegas edition has been through a lot in its 11 years on the air.  The original cast has dwindled: Grissom is off the screen even though William Peterson is still involved with the production; they killed Gary Dourdan, aka Warrick Brown, and he was probably my favorite.  The show has tried to redeem itself with the addition of Lawrence Fishburne, and that did help.  The show also brought Jorja Fox back after a brief hiatus.  But, unfortunately, the storylines too often reach far beyond the norm making it last on my list — but then again, it’s Vegas, baby!  You may now think I’m stranger than you once thought, but a part of me watches to support my fellow Red Raider: Guns’ Up – George Eads, aka Nick Stokes. 

The Law & Order franchise – Law and Order: SVU versus Law and Order: Criminal Intent versus Law and Order: LA

My #1 – Law and Order: Criminal Intent.  NBC dropped CI a few years ago, but the USA network picked it right up.  They’ve waffled a bit with characters: Chris Noth, Jeff Goldblum, Annabella Sciorra, Saffron Burrows, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, and Alicia Witt — all big names, but still not the originals – Vincent D’Onofrio (Goren) and Kathryn Erbe (Eames).  CI returns this May for its final season on USA.  Goren and Eames may be on my top all-time partner list along with Booth & Bones (Bones), Crockett & Tubbs (Miami Vice), and Maddie Hayes & David Addison (Moonlighting).  Goren & Eames’ partnership works, and I’m glad they’re back to close out a solid show. 

My #2 – Law and Order: SVU.  SVU has another great ensemble cast, but showcases gut-wrenching storylines.  The Special Victims Unit works assault and rape cases led by Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay), and her partner, Elliott Stabler (Christopher Meloni).  Benson, the product of her mother’s rape, and Stabler, the father of five children, take the cases personally and sometimes they take actions that we as viewers wish we could see more of on television (in other words, they’re not always by the book).  The main characters are joined by Tutuola (Ice-T), also not by-the-book, and Munch (Richard Belzer), who adds a small comedic touch to the otherwise dark story.  SVU loads the guest stars into each season.  So far in the 2010-2011 season, the show has featured Jeremy Irons, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Marcia Gay Harden, Debra Messing, Rose McGowen, and many more.  Warning – the writers don’t sugar-coat things.  If you don’t like watching bad things happen to children, don’t watch! 

My #3 – Law and Order: LA.  NBC rushed LA to make up for the fact they cancelled the original Law & Order without much warning after 20 years.  I shelved my frustrations, and I looked forward to the new cast led by Skeet Ulrich.  NBC aired a few episodes this fall, and then bam, it was gone.  After more than a 4 month hiatus, LA returned last night with a BANG.  Yea, they really did kill off Skeet Ulrich.  I don’t mean to ruin it for anyone, but it aired last night.  A small redemption: former Law & Order cast member Alana de la Garza (also formerly of CSI: Miami) has joined the LA cast.  Now the show is led by Terrence Howard and Alfred Molina, and I’m quite sure they can hold their own.  I’m not giving up yet, but as it stands now, LA is the low-Law and Order on my totem pole.   

Do you battle with This One or That One?  If so, who do you choose?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Tune in to Tele-Tuesday these upcoming weeks for more: Criminal Minds versus Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior; NCIS versus NCIS: Las Angeles; Archer versus Family Guy; Hawaii Five-O versus Blue Bloods; Rizzoli & Isles versus Body of Proof

My First Post

For as long as I can remember, I’ve nearly centered my social life around the nightly television schedule.  As a small girl, I vividly remember rushing home from Friday night high school football games to watch Miami Vice.  Not the normal play-date for an eight-year old.    In high school, I looked forward to Thursday night when my parents were out and I had the TV to myself.  To this day, Thursday is still my favorite day of the week because of the television lineup in the 90s.  Plus, Thursday means only one more day until the weekend.  In college, I made my friends wait until the series finale of 90210 wrapped before I’d join them at our favorite bar, and then asked them to wait longer so I could repaint my face from all the crying.  I have the best girl friends a woman could ask for – love you, you know who you are. 

The past decade, I worked in a very crazy environment serving as a multi-business owner’s Executive Assistant.  He was always out of the office leaving me behind to handle all the b-s.  Don’t get me wrong, I adored working for him but I wasn’t really a fan of all my co-workers.  Come six o’clock, I used television as my outlet to relieve my stress.  Maybe it’s not the healthiest habit but definitely enjoyable.

Today, I stay home and write fiction not leaving much time for my beloved pastime.  My minor case of OCD (well, I say minor but my friends and family insist I have more of a problem than I recognize) nags at me because I have over 130 recordings on my DVR, but I’m battling those demons one day at a time.  For the first time in my life, I’ve found something I enjoy more that curling up on the couch with my blanket and remote control: writing. 

Last month, I attended DFWCon and I can honestly say it’s the best investment that I’ve made in a long time.  At the conference, I signed up for a Social Media Workshop led by the great Kristen Lamb.  Until then I didn’t Facebook, Tweet, or Blog.  I’ve enjoyed reconnecting with long-lost friends via FB and this week, I successfully launched my new twitter account: @Tiffany_A_White.  I’ve met some wonderful writers’ online suffering through the same struggles I battle daily and it helps to know that I’m not alone.    

I dedicate my inaugural blog to Kristen and my fellow classmates.  Thank you for the inspiration!

Kristen Lamb – http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/

Damian Trasler – http://dtrasler.com/

Amy Shojai – http://amyshojai.com/

Danielle Meitiv – http://daniellemeitiv.com/

Pamela Mason – http://www.writermason.blogspot.com/

Jen Greyson – http://www.thesurvivalmama.com/

Shellie Sakai – http://shelliesakai.wordpress.com/

Jenny Hansen – http://jennyhansenauthor.wordpress.com/

PJ Kaiser – http://pjkaiser.com/

Grace H. Lewis – http://sweetdreamsflyingmachines.wordpress.com/

Michele Blaker – http://micheleblaker.wordpress.com/

Tune in Tuesday for my first edition of Tiffany’s Tele-Tuesday!  Please feel free to leave comments.  I would love to hear from you!

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