A few days ago I mentioned that Kate (from The Suddenly Kate Show and my online BFF), and I were discussing TV shows and she reminded me about a review I've been meaning to do for a long time...so here we go!
First, I should give you a bit of background about my viewing habits - I don't typically watch shows while they are on, except for a very few notable exceptions, but instead wait until they come out on DVD and then watch the entire season or series all in one marathon running. Not only does this help me to satiate my very large and extremely voracious appetite for British television, but it also solves my major dislike of cliffhangers (or at least the episode to episode ones for the shows that are still currently airing).
But, like I said, there are notable exceptions...shows that are so important, I can actually "tolerate" the cliffhangers because I can barely wait the week out to see them. Once Upon A Time is my only exception at the moment (and trust me, it's not from a lack of trying...they just don't make TV like they used to!). What little American television I do watch, I typically just let them build up in my cue for several episodes before watching...True Blood, Haven, Warehouse 13, South Park, and Drop Dead Diva (when each is in season) are my current American shows (and probably the largest the list has ever been). And then there are the shows that I wait for the DVD's to come out: Supernatural, House, and The Vampire Diaries. But, throughout the years, there have been others on my "exceptions" list: ER and Kids In The Hall, just for a start, and the show I'm about to review, my favorite show of all time...Wings! One I never missed from week to week, for pretty much it's entire run.
Yes, you read that correctly, of all the British shows and the very few American shows I'm about to watch, am currently watching, or have already watched, the little spin-off from Cheers (which was a show I couldn't stand, BTW) has my undying loyalty! The only show that even today if I'm flipping through channels and it's on, I'll watch it everytime (and yes, it does still air). It's completely timeless, the humor and relationships being as funny and fresh now as it was then (even if the clothes and hair are a bit dated).
For those of you that don't know (or can't remember), Wings was a half-hour show that ran from the start of the 90's to almost the end of them (there were eight seasons in total). It stared Tim Daly (currently on Private Practice and still as gorgeous as ever), Steven Weber (who has done about as much Broadway as television and that list is pretty long), and Crystal Bernard (who hasn't been able to find success outside the show (which is a real shame because I absolutely loved her!) - unless you count the Single Santa Seeking Mrs. Claus series on the Hallmark channel). But even the supporting cast was a pretty strong who's-who list: Thomas Haden Church (Sandman from Spiderman, just for a start), Tony Shaloub (Monk anyone?), and Amy Yasbeck (who most people either know as Maid Marian from Robin Hood: Men In Tights, or the wife of the late John Ritter-who also played her run-away husband on Wings).
In a nutshell, Wings was the story of two brothers, Joe (Daly) and Brian (Weber) Hackett, who ran an airline on the tiny island of Nantucket along with their childhood friend Helen (Bernard), their ditzy mechanic Lowell (Haden-Church), and their retired airline stewardness now counter person Fay (played by Rebecca Schull). Throw in the down on his luck cabbie, Antonio (Shaloub), the Hackett brothers' business rival, Roy Biggins (played by David Schramm), Helen's annoyingly seemingly perfect sister Casey (Yasbeck), and a various cast of supporting characters, and it was definitely addictive television!
There were guest stars galore, like Tyne Daly (Tim's sister and one half of Cagney and Lacey) as Mimzy, the super-rich sugar momma who almost captured Brian, I've already mentioned John Ritter, who played Casey's husband, Laura Inness (Dr. Kerry Weaver on ER) as Bunny, Lowell's forever cheating wife, Craig Berko - who played an actor that Joe and Brian hired to horribly woo Helen to teach her a lesson, Abraham Benrubi (another ER vet) who was Roy's gay son (one of the first times I remember seeing a gay recurring character on television), David Ogden Stiers (MASH, and Dr. Jumba from Lilo and Stitch) as a horribly hateful conductor that isn't too impressed with Helen's cello playing, Debbie Reynolds (no CV needed) as Helen and Casey's mother, and who could ever forget William Hickey as the eternally annoying Carlton Blanchard and his equally annoying nephew Lewis (of course which could be none other than Gilbert Gotfried-Iago himself!).
Like (sorry Miriam Margolyes) any of you are surprised, the romance aspect of the show takes precedence and Joe and Helen are my favorite TV couple ever (as well as the definite best on-screen proposal ever)! Joe Hackett is my model for the perfect guy, and I still call my "Mr. Perfect" Joe (and he's about as fictional as Joe as well...yet another thing they have in common - but I'm always on the lookout for my "Joe"). So, for my review clips, the best example of pretty much the entire series in a nutshell (at least up to series 6), and better than any review I could ever give anyway, is the episode called "The Love Life and Times of Joe and Helen".
Series 7 and 8 deals with life as married Joe and Helen Hackett and, just to give you a clue, it's definitely not the end of the show just because Joe and Helen get married...they come back from their honeymoon to find that Brian and Casey accidentally burned down Helen's house while having sex and that's only the beginning! They try to make "couple friends" (with the wife being played by Tim Daly's real-life wife at the time, Amy Van Nostrand), buy a new house and become "beach people", deal with the return of Davis as well as Casey's missing husband, and lots of other highjinxs!
Wings is also one of the few shows that had a proper ending, and that I won't give away, but it definitely doesn't leave things unfinished and the finale ends where the series began...and that's all I'm gonna say about that!
Joe and Helen, Brian, Lowell, Antonio, Fay and even Roy are as much a part of me and my history as Disney are, and that's saying a lot! No show to this day consistently kept me entertained from start to finish every single viewing, made me laugh, made me cry, but most of all, made me forget about the crappy day-to-day...and isn't that the purpose of a good show in the first place?
If you've never seen it or maybe even haven't seen it in years, then give it a go! You can now buy the entire series boxed from Amazon HERE, or you can get them individually (and yes, geeky me bought them as they were being released...but up until that point I had every episode recorded on VHS, commercials edited out, of course).
Just as an added bonus, for anyone who is fans of Tim Daly, he and his son did a series of webisodes called The Daly Show, and they are definitely worth a look-see (especially the last two episodes with Steven Weber...a mini Wings reunion of sorts!).
And that's it! My Wing's review/tribute...my favorite show of all time!