TV Guide #18: Fall Preview 1989

In this TV Guide post, we'll do something a bit different.  Rather than look at each day's schedule, let's take a glance at the Fall Preview section.  It's 1989 (September 9th - 15th, to be exact), and, from the looks of things, television has gone to shit.  Take a gander at the coming attractions for the Fall of '89 and see for yourself...

Note that I have put all these pages into a PDF for you to download, if that will make reading easier.   Enjoy!

Basically a rip-off of Candid Camera, but without the charm... and without my favorite pervert, Alan Funt.

Yes, this is where COPS began, and it's still kickin' today.  The novelty of seeing dirty crackheads getting chased by out-of-shape officers, just never gets old.

Oh my God, I'd forgotten about this drivel.  Apparently, it was a revamp of an equally awful sitcom, Duet.  Say what you will about the preachy Norman Lear sitcoms of the seventies, they at least had substance.

Yeesh.  I watched this stuff.  What was wrong with me?  Surely there was something better to do than watch Anything but Love?  I had friends, I was in college, I lived in Southern California.... yet, there I sat, watching this garbage.  Go figure.

I completely understand why people like this show; however, I just was never able to get into it.  It wasn't for lack of trying; it just didn't do it for me.

Diane Sawyer the "sexy, savvy former co-editor of 60 Minutes."  Sexy?

Living Dolls - Don't remember there being a spinoff of Who's the Boss?  And it starred Halle Berry.

Life Goes On - Who doesn't love the affable Corky Romany, the Down's Syndrome kid who brings such wisdom and joy to his family and high school classmates?.... Me, that's who.

Grieco was Johnny Depp's replacement on 21 Jump Street as I recall.... and as I also recall, I couldn't stand this SOB.  He was supposed to be tough because had holes in his jeans, but he looked and acted like Zoolander.

So, they hire a witch for a housekeeper.... and the yawnfest begins. Not edgy, not intelligent, not funny, not original, not well acted, and not... renewed for a second season.  But it did have Alyson Hannigan.

Just kill me now.

I have no memories of this show whatsoever.  It could have been underappreciated genius - I'll never know.

Another piece of shit.  I know I sound overly harsh; but, if you look back at other TV posts, I positively gush over programming from the seventies, and even early eighties.  For me, the networks were really laying turds by the end of the eighties.... which is why, I believe, Seinfeld caught on- it was so different from this garbage.

Whoah!  A sitcom directed by Wes Craven?  I had no idea this existed.  Starring pedophile Jeffery Jones as well!

Social commentary disguised as sci-fi.  Sometimes that's a good thing... and, in this case, not so much.

I don't remember this show, but I understand it wasn't so bad.  The pilot is supposed to be hilarious, and it won a few Emmys.  But, unfortunately, no one watched and it was cancelled after 20 episodes.
Jane Sibbett looks hot; might be worth a watch.

Another show I routinely watched.  It wasn't so bad, but pretty standard fare.  Unsolved Mysteries was much better.

A werewolf private eye.... and you dared to doubt that TV had fallen off a cliff in the late 80s?

Lynn Redgrave and Jackie Mason - possibly television's all time worst couple.


Just read this description.  Nothing I can say will do it justice.  This is what the bottom of the barrel looks like, folks.

Hated Doogie.  And the Nut House - how was this not amazing? It's the work of Mel Brooks and the dude behind Sledgehammer, and it stars comic legends Korman and Leachman..... this should have been incredible!

Hey look, it's Josh Brolin!

Two shows that need no introduction: one with the Hoff, the other with the Urkel. Both stupid as the day is long, and both wildly popular.


Well, that's it for what's coming in Fall of '89,  As you can see, the world was in desperate need of Seinfeld and Friends. The big guns of the 80s were over or on their last leg: Rosanne, Cheers and Cosby... and this was their replacement?  When the best in the batch may be Doogie Howser, you know there's a problem.


  1. Oh, I always thought "Quantum Leap" was pretty good....

  2. I loved Quantum Leap and Life Goes On was always a big favorite of my daughter. This season introduced Neil Patrick Harris and Alyson Hannigan to the public so that was good.

  3. That's pretty much a gigantic load of crap. C'mon, Doogie wasn't bad, especially compared to the rest. Alien Nation too. But god, I couldn't stand either main actor in Quantum Leap. Still can't. Bakula is such a smarmy puke.

    Life Goes On. Ugh. So edgy.

    All this shit is why the '90s sucked and produced very little good entertainment.

  4. A lot of these were forgettable. Island Son-Dr. Kildare goes to Hawaii. Hardball (no Chris Matthews) had Taggart from Beverly Hills Cop and Buddy Revell from Three O'Clock High.

  5. WOW! Awesome post, the scans are gorgeous, thanks!

  6. voiceofthe70sJune 08, 2016

    The "Al Floss"" character played by the late Alex Rocco on "The Famous Teddy Z" was a classic. Even the name is great for the smarmy type character he played. There was even some crossover activity where the character appeared on another show, though I don't remember which. CBS had high hopes for this show, but it never really took off.

    1. voiceofthe70sJune 08, 2016

      Just did some research. "Al Floss" actually crossed over to an episode of "Murphy Brown", of all things.

    2. Alien Nation was one of the Fox Networks early hits...so much crap here. I didn't even faintly remember watching so much of this drek. Island Son? Gee you're dumb...

  7. Retro HoundJune 08, 2016

    This is, luckily, during a time when I wasn't watching TV. I was pretty busy running around having fun or studying. I have about 8 years where I didn't watch TV, and most other years I've watched very little.

  8. AnonymousJune 08, 2016

    Quantum Leap was fantastic! But yeah, pretty much everything else at this point was garbage. Good news, though: Twin Peaks was just around the corner.

  9. Like the original poster and Retro Hound, I was in college at this time and was so busy reading and writing the only TV I took time out for were reruns. I looked over this preview and it was a TWILIGHT ZONE experience--almost all of it wholly unfamiliar, but with the occasional familiar faces (except Lindsay Wagner's on Peaceable Kingdom--I would not have recognized it as her unless I read the article). I remember Tim Reid was the black McLean Stevenson--he had so many short-lived series that never achieved escape velocity. It was an unpromising line-up to be sure. I "dropped out" around this time, turning almost exclusively to reruns that I would tape and collect on VHS and never looking back to prime time with rare exceptions, like Chris Elliot's GET A LIFE.

    1. I remember him starring in the "dramedy" Frank's Place, which seemed to have launched at the same time as John Ritter's "dramedy" series Hooperman.

    2. I was trying to find some episodes of Frank's Place on Youtube the other day. I found one. Also - Love & War. Which Youtube has, but you have to pay to watch.

  10. Come on USA Up All Night got us through the hard times.

    1. You are right. Back when USA was not so prepackaged. Loved Friday Nights.

    2. USA Up All Night was great fun. I see Something Weird Video has posted a few episodes of its old USA series REEL WILD CINEMA with Sandra Bernhard hosting censored clips of B-movies and grindhouse flicks.

  11. Sam Donaldson looks like a wax mannequin.

    Penny Johnson looked sooo familiar but couldn't place her. She was Sisko's love interest on Deep Space None.

    By and large, an undifferentiated heap of garbage. If all this was on at the same time I'd probably just watch COPS.

  12. And nobody noticed a shitty little cartoon about a small family from Nothern Kentucky...

  13. I wish that Sledge Hammer would've lasted longer than it did, but it didn't. Loved that show.

  14. The last episode of Quantum Leap is one of the good last episodes of a TV series. I didn't have TV then - but recall seeing some of these shows. Alien Nation - I seem to recall seeing that somewhere.

  15. Wow Gilligan, a little curmudgeony for this time of the morning, don't you think?
    I mean, I agree this was NOT television's "golden age" but you are coming across as old Mr. Chomers yelling for the kids to get off you lawn.

    Out of curiosity did you leave off the networks IDs or did TV Guide? I remember some of these shows but others I do not. I was trying to remember what networks they were on.

    This was when Fox was trying to get going and they had some hits (Living Color, Tracy Ullman) and everything else. It was interesting how long they worked on making "Duet" work, changing the premise three times. What other network could afford to do that? I have to disagree with you on Alien Nation. It was the best written show of that season and Fox started its now infamous habit of canceling their best shows fast with this one. They actually lost their Monday night for a while and had to give it back to the affiliates. Cops was their most successful show until The Simpsons and the first to be syndicated.

    Interesting thing about "Chicken Soup," is that it was the most publicized and pushed new show of the season, yet it only lasted a few episodes. Did nobody look at the rehearsals?

    And had the networks abandon Saturday already? I know they did this century, but did not realize it was written off that far back.

    1. Paul DucaJune 14, 2016

      Saturday was dominated by NBC and THE GOLDEN GIRLS...

  16. TEDDY Z was the next attempt after the failure of the brilliant FRANK'S PLACE and the CBS timeslot slapping down of WKRP from Hugh Wilson. It was OK, if a bit too sitcom. The Daphne and Tim Reid detective series (SNOOPS, not the Gina Gershon item from some years later) was pretty generic, alas.

    ANYTHING BUT LOVE was actually clever in the first season, fell over sideways in season two. FRIENDS was not a savior of much of anything except NBC profits.

    I think you let nostalgia for what you loved as a kid lead you to overrate you childhood favorites. This was a pretty fallow time for commercial broadcast, but ABC did have a good lineup briefly on one night with THE YOUNG RIDERS, CHINA BEACH and TWIN PEAKS...