It’s time again for the Anniversary Edition. This is a series where we highlight the 25th anniversary of some of our favorite things. These include movies, TV shows, video games, comics and music that came out during the year of 1989, the last year of the decade of the 80s. A lot of big things debuted or made a huge impact that year and so we will highlight some of those in this series.
We have previously looked at the year in music, video games and movies in 1989. We now turn to the TV shows of 1989. There were some pretty big TV shows that debuted in 1989. This was still the era of Saturday morning cartoons as well as weekday afternoon cartoons. Along with that, there were some pretty significant prime time TV shows that debuted that are still adored to this day.
One of the first TV shows to debut in 1989 was The Arsenio Hall Show. Debuting on January 3rd, this syndicated late night talk show came during the time when there was little competition. Unlike today where there are many options, there was really only The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson & Late Night with David Letterman which followed The Tonight Show. Arsenio Hall helped bring some competition and diversity to the late night talk show scene. The show lasted 5 seasons but had some memorable moments during its time. Last year it was revived and Hall was back again a late night talk show host, albeit with more competition. However, the updated show was not renewed.
In the realm of cartoons, there were some pretty big ones that debuted in 1989. These included Chip n’ Dale Rescue Rangers (March 4th) which initially debuted on The Disney Channel and would go on to be a part of the syndicated cartoon block “Disney Afternoon”. Another big cartoon that debuted in 1989 was The Super Mario Bros Super Show! (September 4th). The syndicated show featured both cartoons & live action skits which starred Captain Lou Albano as Mario & Danny Wells as Luigi. On Fridays, The Super Mario Bros Super Show! would feature The Legend of Zelda cartoons. Another huge video game cartoon to debut in 1989 was Captain N: The Game Master (September 9th) on NBC. That cartoon featured characters from Mega Man, Castlevania, Kid Icarus, and Metroid among others.
For the tween/teenage group from that era, there was one big show that debuted in 1989. That show? Saved by the Bell (August 20th). NBC debuted the show that was previously retooled from the Disney Channel show Good Morning Miss Bliss. Saved by the Bell was the forerunner for the TNBC shows that would feature blocks of shows featuring high school age students. Due to its initial popularity, it found a home on syndication and continues on to this day.
There were some “reality” shows that made their debut in 1989. One of the big ones is still going to this day. That show is Cops (March 11th). Following cops in different cities on their patrols, it became one of the most successful shows on FOX & was its longest running series before moving to Spike TV last year. Another reality show that debuted in 1989 was Rescue 911 (April 18th). It was hosted by William Shatner and featured recreated events surrounding 911 calls. On the funnier side, the hit TV show America’s Funniest Home Videos also made its debut in 1989 as a special (November 26th) before becoming a regular series the following year. Bob Saget hosted the show which continues on to today now being hosted by Tom Bergeron.
In the realm of comedies, there were several big ones that debuted in 1989. These include Coach (February 28th) featuring Craig T. Nelson and Major Dad (September 17th) featuring Gerald McRaney. The three biggest comedies to debut in 1989 were Seinfeld (July 5th), Family Matters (September 22nd) and The Simpsons (December 17th). Seinfeld featuring comedian Jerry Seinfeld became a mainstay on Thursday nights on NBC for the 90s. Family Matters was a spinoff of Perfect Strangers and became popular in its own right due in large part to the character Steve Urkel. The Simpsons are still going to this day and is an anchor for FOX on Sunday nights.
Rounding out some other popular TV shows that debuted in 1989 included Quantum Leap (March 26th), Tales from the Crypt (June 10th), Life Goes On (September 12th), American Gladiators (September 16th) and Baywatch (September 22nd).
Which of these TV shows listed was your favorite? Is there a TV show not listed that premiered in 1989 that you enjoy? Leave a comment and share them here. Next time, we will look at the year in comics in 1989. Until then, crank up the old VCR and enjoy some classic TV shows.