Landmark, Emmy-winning satire from an ever-changing company of 'Not Ready for Prime Time Players' who rode the variety show to fame, including (to name just a few of its celebrated grads) Eddie Murphy, Dana Carvey, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Al Franken and Mike Myers.
Hey, hey, they're the Prefab Four, a rock band trying to make it big. People say they monkey around, but that was the point in this surreal, slapstick and altogether silly sitcom, which also had plenty of pop tunes. Several numbers became chart-toppers thanks to crack songwriters and studio musicians, though the cast would later record successfully as a self-contained combo. Both the group and the show were enormously popular, and some of the members continue to tour to this day as the Monkees.
Set in Philadelphia during the early '60s, the NBC drama series American Dreams concentrated on the Pryors, an Irish-Catholic family struggling to make sense of the great sociological changes being wrought upon the world -- and themselves. The first episode, ostensibly built around the determination of 15-year-old Meg Pryor (Brittany Snow) to appear on the locally produced TV dance show American Bandstand (whose host, Dick Clark, was one of American Dreams' executive producers), veered sharply into an entirely different direction with the announcement that President Kennedy had been assassinated in Dallas, an event that would inexorably shape the future of the entire family. Other characters included family patriarch Jack Pryor (Tom Verica), the traditionalist owner of a TV sales shop; Jack's wife Helen (Gail O'Grady), an incipient feminist who had begun to realize that a whole new world existed outside of her home and family; son J.J. (Will Estes), whose plans to attend Notre Dame on a football scholarship were sidetracked by his blossoming radicalism; the two younger Pryor children, Will (Ethan Dampf) and Patty (Sarah Ramos); Meg's best friend Roxanne (Vanessa Lengies); and the family's African-American friends, Henry and Sam Walker (Jonathan Adams, Arlen Escarpeta).