Fringe students cope with life at a Michigan high school in 1980 in this critical favorite. Stories focused on sophomore Lindsay, who discards her straight-A image to hang with the burnout crowd; and her freshman brother Sam, who's tormented by bullies but gets moral support from his nerdy pals. The series may have been too painfully realistic, as it failed to find anything beyond a cult audience. In fall 2000, Fox Family aired several first-run episodes that NBC had shelved.
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One of four dramatic miniseries carried by NBC under the blanket title Best Sellers, Captains and the Kings was adapted from a novel by Taylor Caldwell. Covering a time span from 1857 to 1912, this was the saga of the Irish-immigrant Armagh clan, with emphasis on the rags-to-riches career of Joseph Armagh (Richard Jordan). Achieving fame and prominence (if not full-fledged social acceptance) through a Byzantine series of investments in the oil industry, the elder Armagh was obsessed with the notion of having one of his sons become the first Irish-Catholic President of the United States (does this story sound vaguely familiar?). Along the way, Joseph and his offspring indulged in innumerable romantic liaisons, extramarital and otherwise. Featured in the all-star cast is Patty Duke Astin, who won an Emmy award for her portrayal of Bernadette Hennessey Armagh. Captains and the Kings was broadcast from September 30 to November 18, 1976 in seven installments, two of which ran 120 minutes, and the other six lasting 60 minutes -- a total of nine hours' air time in all.
Noirish series set in 1930s L.A. about roguish PI Miles C. Banyon, who tackles a wide range of cases. The show had a short run, but Robert Forster's gritty, charismatic performance as Banyon impressed such fans as Quentin Tarantino, who directed him 25 years later in 'Jackie Brown.'
Based on the best-selling memoirs of Lillian Rogers Parks, the NBC miniseries Backstairs at the White House traces over five decades of American political history as witnessed from the vantage point of the servants' quarters. Played by Tania Johnson as a teenager and by Leslie Uggams as an adult, Lillian Rogers Parks served for 52 years as a maidservant at the White House. Though crippled early on with polio, Lillian diligently and loyally stuck to her duties -- and her own rock-solid set of principles and ideals -- through eight highly different Presidential administrations, often (and occasionally reluctantly) acting as friend and confidante to the First Lady of the moment. The large and stellar cast included a number of top-rank film and TV actors, obviously having the time of their lives impersonating such presidents as William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, and Dwight D. Eisenhower, and their respective wives. Also in the cast were several African-American veterans from the landmark TV miniseries Roots. Earning 11 Emmy Award nominations, the nine-hour Backstairs at the White House was seen in five installments from January 29 to February 19, 1979.