I went to see the A-Team this past weekend. It was AWESOME. Go see it. Anyway, I was remembering the fact that the 80s A-Team, although not being a geek-defining show had a few geek-defining actors in it. This led me to think of other 80s shows with the same thing. Then, I decided to challenge myself to a top ten list based on this revelation. My goal was to find ten awesome 80s television shows that were not geeky themselves, but starred (or at least had someone in an important supporting role) people who were previously or would go on to being geek icons of sorts. This is what I found.
10. Growing Pains
Okay, so this one is a bit weak, but it totally counts. We all remember Growing Pains, watching the Seavers, falling in love with Leo DiCaprio as a kid and wondering why he sucked so much later on. Oh, wait. That was only me. I also could never forget the colorful best friend supporting character Boner. Well, Andrew Koenig who played Boner was, yes, the son of “nuclear vessels” Chekov himself: Walter Koenig. Oh, he also had a kick-ass role in Babylon 5!
Now, this may not have been the most awesome show of the 80s, but it did star one of these most awesome guys in at least my science fiction universe: Bruce Boxleitner. Bruce not only holds a geek moment in our hearts for starring in the original TRON, but also for heading up my favorite science fiction series for four years: Babylon 5.
8. Family Ties
Okay, so Family Ties is only slightly awesome, but it was the show that probably gave Michael J. Fox the star power to travel through time to both the past and the future. I mean, without Family Ties, would Chuck Berry ever have written Johnny B Goode? The world may never know.
When we first met the seemingly mild-mannered Benjamin Sisko, he seemed to have very little resemblance to his character Hawk from this show. Although, my dad insisted upon calling him Hawk anyway. However, a few seasons, a head shave, and a seriously awesome goatee later, Sisko really became the most bad ass captain in the (current) fleet on Star Trek: Deep Space 9. Still, he’s not a knight, right?
Back in the day I loved this show. I mean, it was about a kid genius. As one of the local outcasts due to my inability to fail anything in school (remember when people got made fun of for being smart?) I kept dreaming that I could be cool like Doogie one day. Shh. Don’t say oxymoron. Anyway, it turned out that Doogie did get cool and Neil Patrick Harris got awesome with a starring role in the best mini-series-internet-musical ever: Dr. Horrible. If that’s not geek cred, what is?
Just to get this out of the way now, yes, I am in love with Johnny Depp, but to all those kids who like his “dark” and oddly acted roles, I fell in love watching this show. However, other than perhaps Ed Wood, Johnny Depp doesn’t really qualify as a geek actor. However, he wasn’t the only one worth swooning over either, that is, if you like the cute teddy bear types, because this is where I also met Peter DeLuise. If watched SeaQuest DSV (Jonathan Brandis was a little hottie, admit it), you might remember him as the genetically engineered guy with the mixed up coloring from later seasons. He also shows up in various places all over Stargate, mostly as a director.
4. TJ Hooker
The one. The only. William. Shatner. Do I really need to say more? I think not.
3. Miami Vice
Just so you know, I’m on Team Edward. Team Edward James Olmos that it. Adama has stolen a place in my geeky heart, which beats wildly whenever I see him on his baby, the Galactica. Nobody messes with Adama. It’s kind of awesome to see him growing up in Caprica too!
The man who could solve any problem with some paper clips and bubble gum himself went on to become Jack O’Neil, Stargate SG1 commander. They got some great jokes in the show about him not being MacGyver too!
1. The A-Team
This is the show that became a movie that inspired this list. First of all, it has, as some would say, the One True Starbuck. Also, Dwight Schultz the guy who played the original Howling Mad Murdock was also the recurring character Reginald Barclay on Star Trek: TNG and Voyager. He was also crazy on Star Trek. Coincidence? I think not.
If you start playing with IMDB for these shows, you also find lots of other great crossover in guest appearances as random characters from many of our beloved geek actors and actresses. Get bored. Do it. It’s fun!
Did you watch these shows in the 80s? Are there any other great geek connections out there that I missed?