Flashback To The ’80s: Favorites In TV

Remington Steele (1982-1987) 

This show was definitely ahead of its time. Laura Holt (Stephanie Zimbalist) is a licensed private investigator and more than qualified to take on any case. Yet, potential clients are reluctant to hire a woman. To remedy the situation, Laura creates a fictional boss, Remington Steele. He’s never intended to be real, of course, but when Pierce Brosnan appears, a face is given to the name.

Pierce Brosnan’s character doesn’t know his real name, but he does become Remington Steele in every way, essentially. I enjoyed watching Laura and Remington working together, and even more significantly, watching them gradually fall for one another. They had a strong chemistry that made for many great episodes, and I personally loved Brosnan’s charm and wit.

Remington smiling and looking ahead, Laura has looped her arm through one of his and is smiling slightly while looking up at him in Remington Steele

Laura’s character stands out because she proved to the world that she could be successful in a male-dominated industry. She didn’t want to undermine anyone; she just wanted to make a name for herself and for clients to be willing to take a chance on her. She is a role model to many, including myself. Her determination to be successful in her chosen field is admirable, and outlines just how passionate she is about her work and how much she truly cares about helping people.

Miami Vice (1984-1990) 

Flashy neon lights, fast cars, adrenaline pumping off the action and adventure, plus the MTV music, fancy clothes and Crockett (Don Johnson) and Tubbs (Philip Michael Thomas) themselves—it’s no mystery why Miami Vice became the hit series that it did practically overnight.

I started watching Miami Vice in my freshman year of college. I would watch several episodes in a row at the end of the week to decompress from school and life; it was part of my routine that I looked forward to each week. I love ’80s music too, so Miami Vice was the perfect platform to listen to new music (new to me, anyway) and add it to my own playlist. I was especially obsessed with Jan Hammer’s music for the show; he composed scores and also provided the show’s theme song. I’d listen to Hammer’s music as I walked to school each morning; it turned out to be a perfect soundtrack at the time. Other than the music, clothes, actors and everything else Miami Vice offered and stood out for, I was always excited to see the guest stars—Bruce Willis, Liam Neeson and Julia Roberts are just some of the actors that made an appearance in the series.

Sonny and Rico in Miami Vice, faces shown, their left profiles pictured as they both stare ahead solemnly in the pilot episode

When I visited with my mom later that year during one of my breaks, she told me about how she never missed an episode of Miami Vice in the ’80s. She watched some episodes with me during that break; giving me even more reason to love the show.

Admittedly the show started to wither and decline in popularity following the conclusion of Season 3. Personally, I thought it was because the show was losing its previously successful vibe and because the storylines were weaker and more generic. However, Seasons 4 and 5 do have a couple good episodes in them. When it comes down to it though, the first season is undoubtedly the best.

My Two Dads (1987-1990)

Paul Reiser and Greg Evigan starred as Michael Taylor and Joey Harris, respectively, alongside Staci Keanan, who played Nicole Bradford. Michael and Joey are polar opposites; Michael is a financial advisor, more practical and logical, whereas Joey is an artist and tends to be all over the place, jumping from one thing to another. The show was really ahead of its time; it was a corny ’80s sitcom, but what I love about it is its premise.

Paul Reiser videotaping his daughter prior to her first date as she opens a present, containing new boots in My Two Dads

Michael and Joey, formerly friends (who become friends again in the series’ pilot episode), that had once been in love with the same woman, Marcy, get the shock of their lives when Marcy dies and leaves them her daughter, Nicole. It’s never determined which of the two men is Nicole’s father, but that’s not important to the show’s three protagonists. Michael and Joey’s different personalities provide an even balance for Nicole, and she considers both men her fathers. Michael and Joey continue living their lives, pursuing career goals and dating different women, though they are living together and raising Nicole as well. The two friends are usually clashing over something when it comes to their lives or Nicole’s upbringing; nevertheless, the two resolve their differences by the end of the episode and reach a compromise, often with Nicole’s input.

It’s a sweet premise and I haven’t seen anything like it done since; I wish this show would see the light of day again as a revival or something.

Magnum, P.I. (1980-1988)

Tom Selleck is one of my favorite actors, and it’s because of this show. I had seen episodes every here and there growing up, but didn’t really get into it until college, when I just so happened to catch a marathon. The first episode I watched was the first half of “Echoes of the Mind”, in which Sharon Stone guest starred. I remember anxiously awaiting for the next night, when the second half of the episode would air.

Magnum smiling at the screen while wearing a red Hawaiian shirt in Magnum PI

Earlier this year, I indulged in a Magnum marathon, watching all eight seasons over the course of a couple months. I love that the show broke the stereotype hanging over returned Vietnam vets, and appreciated Magnum’s insightful observations and thought processes. Plus, all the characters, including the guest stars, were awesome too. Magnum wasn’t short on surprises or engaging storylines. Magnum’s and Higgins’ frequent bickering is one of the show’s best aspects, plus Magnum’s lighthearted nature is usually one of the best comedic sources in each episode.

The show is especially meaningful to me because it’s one of my uncle’s favorites, and I’ve had so many fun conversations with him in which we discussed Magnum, the storylines, our favorite episodes and characters, etc. I hope to meet Tom Selleck someday, but until then, I have Magnum, P.I. 

Written by Kacie Lillejord

Kacie is a freelance writer versed in various forms. She loves pop culture, screenwriting, novels, and poetry. She has previously written for The Daily Wildcat, Harness Magazine, Cultured Vultures, and Screen Rant, with 25YL being her newest writing venture.

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