There are many popular shows that debuted as midseason replacements (the greatest of which was “Airwolf”). Now, with NBC’s “The Cape” replacing “Heroes,” Warming Glow Listmaker-in-Chief Josh Kurp gives you a rundown of ten notable midseason replacements — and the forgotten shows that they replaced. Put your trivia caps on, people.
In one of my favorite bits from one of my favorite episodes of The Simpsons, “Bart Gets an Elephant,” Marge asks Homer to get rid of the hundreds of old calendars and TV Guides taking up space in their basement. Homer is outraged, and says, “Are you mad, woman? You never know when an old calendar might come in handy. Sure, it’s not 1985 now, but who knows what tomorrow will bring? And these TV Guides, so many memories. ‘Gomer upsets Sergeant Carter’… Oh, I’ll never forget that episode.” He then pictures Carter repeatedly shouting “Pyle!” and Gomer responding, “Shazam!”
I would have loved to been in that basement to make this list. Below are ten memorable shows that were midseason replacements and the generally crappy shows they replaced. The Internet has provided us many a great resource, but outside of the “American Network Television Schedule” pages on Wikipedia, I can’t find a reliable archive of what shows aired when. Because of that, there are certain shows—mainly Hill Street Blues and Seinfeld—that I would have loved to include, but there’s so much conflicting information out there that I’d run the risk of being wrong, getting sued for libel, or – worst of all – causing an indignant blog comment.
1. Savannah—Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Constance M. Burge is the creator of Charmed, and has written for Ally McBeal, Boston Public, Royal Pains, and other successful if not particularly good shows. And speaking of popular, crappy shows: Aaron Spelling is largely responsible for Charlie’s Angels and T.J. Hooker, among other, um, classics that fill up the schedule on TV Land. Together, Burge and Spelling brought us Savannah about three promiscuous girls—Shannon Sturges, Robyn Lively, and Jamie Luner—living in the Georgia city of the same name. It was the kind of show that would be described as “steamy.” The show was a minor hit in its first season, but ratings decreased sharply in its sophomore year—so much so that, according to the book Buffy Goes Dark, “the WB fought hard to save Savannah, even sponsoring a contest offering seven days and nights in a Southern mansion, complete with maids and servants.” Not even the prospect of free slaves could save the show; on March 10, 1997, Savannah was bumped for Buffy. The sluts were slayed, and history was made.
2. Dr. Vegas—Numb3rs
Before we knew of Amy Adams as the Perfect Woman, which she totally is, she played Alice Doherty on Dr. Vegas, alongside Rob Lowe and Joe “I Have Come to Reclaim Rome for My People” Pantoliano. Unlike Doctor Who, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, Doctors, and even Doctor Doctor, Dr. Vegas lasted less than a season. Numb3rs took over its Friday night deathslot, and actually aired for 118 episodes. As for why it’s included in this list: my dad hasn’t watched a TV show in about, oh, 30 years, but he recently discovered Numb3rs, and likes it a lot. He thinks Jay Baruchel (who appeared in two episodes) is charming, and y’know, I don’t disagree.
[Editor’s note: Jay Baruchel is terrible.]