The Eighties Club
The Politics and Pop Culture of the 1980s
The A-Z of Television in the '80s (B)
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B.A.D. Cats
(ABC) 1.4.80-2.8.80
Nick and Ocee were race car drivers recruited by the LAPD for its B.A.D.C.A.T. (Burglary Auto Detail, Commercial Auto Thefts) squad. Starring Asher Brauner and Steve Hanks, it also featured Michelle Pfeiffer as Officer Samantha Jensen. The one-hour drama lasted for five episodes.
B.J. and the Bear
(NBC) 2.10.79-8.1.81
Greg Evigan starred as B.J. McCay, a young trucker with a pet chimp named Bear. B.J. often tangled with corrupt sherriff Elroy Lobo (Claude Akins) in its first season. In the second season, B.J. was running a trucking business out of L.A. and tangling with corrupt politician Rutherford Grant (Murray Hamilton.)
B.L. Stryker
(ABC) 2.13.89-8.4.90
Burt Reynolds returned to TV as a private eye in Palm Beach. He lived on a houseboat and was aided by his friend, ex-boxer Oz (Ossie Davis) and his secretary Lynda (Dana Kaminski). This was one of three elements included in the ABC Mystery Movie.
Baby Boom
(NBC) 9.10.88-1.4.89
Based on the hit film, with Kate Jackson (of Scarecrow & Mrs. King fame) playing the role of a Harvard-educated lawyer trying to balance career and motherhood. Also featured Sam Wanamaker, who had appeared in the Diane Keaton film. (Half-hour sitcom.)
Baby Makes Five
(ABC) 4.1.83-4.29.83
Peter Scolari starred as a young accountant with a big family that was suddenly about to get wa whole lot bigger -- his wife Jennie (Louise Williams) was going to have twins. This short-lived series was a half-hour sitcom.
Baker's Dozen
(CBS) 3.17.82-4.21.82
An offbeat police comedy in the vein of Barney Miller, featuring the activities of an undercover anti-crime unit in New York City. Ron Silver and Cindy Weintraub were two of the undercover cops, and  were romantically involved.
Barbara Mandrell & The Mandrell Sisters
(NBC) 11.18.80-6.26.82
Variety sister hosted by Barbara, Louise and Irlene Mandrell, aided by life-size Krofft puppets called Truck Shackley & the Texas Critters. Guests included Dolly Parton, Marty Robbins, Kenny Rogers and other country & western stars of the day.
Bare Essence
(NBC) 2.15.83-4.29.83
Genie Francis, Jennifer O'Neill and Jessica Walter starred in this drama about the perfume business. Based on a popular CBS TV movie first aired in October 1982, it was one of the least successful of the decade's primetime soaps.
Bay City Blues
(NBC) 10.25.83-11.15.83
The focus of this one-hour drama were the public and private lives of the members of a minor-league baseball team. The cast includes Michael Nouri, Kelly Harmon, Ken Olin and even Sharon Stone. Produced by the people who brought us Hill Street Blues, this series lasted only four episodes.
Beauty and the Beast
(CBS) 9.25.87-8.4.90
The TV version of this well-known romantic fantasy starred Linda Hamilton as Catherine, an assistant district attorney who falls in love with Vincent (Ron Perlman), a denizen of the Tunnel World. In the third season, Catherine wass killed by the evil Gabriel (Stephen McHattie) after giving Vincent a son. (Hour-long drama; 56 episodes.)
Behind the Screen
(CBS) 10.9.81-1.8.82
This primetime soap opera starring Mel Ferrer, Joanne Linville and a host of others portrayed the behind-the-scenes lives and loves of the people involved in a daytime soap opera. (Hour-long drama.)
(ABC) 9.13.79-8.30.86
Robert Guillaume had the starring role of the butler in the mansion of Gov. James Gatling (James Noble). He later became state budget director and in the final episode even ran for governor against Gatling. A spinoff of the hit sitcom Soap. (Half-hour sitcom.)
Best of the West
(ABC) 9.10.81-8.23.82
A spoof of TV westerns, this one had Joel Higgins as Sam Best, a Civil War veteran who headed west with his new bride, southern belle Elvira (Carlene Watkins) and son Daniel (Meeno Peluce) to become sheriff of a small town. (22 episodes)
Better Days
(CBS) 10.1.86-10.29.86
This half-hour sitcom was about a Beverly Hills teen who ended up living with his grandfather in Brooklyn, and the adjustments he had to make to the new environment. (11 episodes)
Beyond Tomorrow
(Fox) 9.10.88-12.16.89
This hour-long program's correspondents brought viewers news of scientific and technological advances as well as environmental news. A version of the Australian program Beyond 2000.
The Big Show
(NBC) 3.4.80-6.3.80
A big-budget variety show that usually lasted 90 minutes and had among its regulars Graham Chapman and Mimi Kennedy, as well as special guest hosts like Dean Martin, Victor Borge and Flip Wilson.
The Billy Crystal Comedy Hour
(NBC) 1.30.82-2.27.82
Fresh from Soap, Crystal hosted this comedy-musical variety hour that featured guest appearances by Robert Urich and Smokey Robinson, among others.
Blacke's Magic
(NBC) 1.5.85-9.9.88
Hal Linden starred as debonair detective -- and magician -- Alexander Blacke, who solved crimes with the help of his crafty dad, played by Harry Morgan. (Hour-long detective drama.)
Blue Skies
(CBS) 6.13.88-8.1.88
Tom Wopat starred as a widower with two children, who remarried and quit the rat race to start a new life in a small Oregon town, where he took over a sawmill founded by his father. (8 one-hour episodes.)
The Book of Lists
(CBS) 4.4.82-5.25.82
This hour-long variety show had Bill Bixby and a guest host bringing odd and intriguing facts to the audience's attention. Only problem: there wasn't much of an audience, and the show folded after four weeks.
(NBC) 9.26.83-8.11.84
Tom Byrd played Boone Sawyer, a young man in Tennessee, circa 1953, who wanted to become a rockabilly star, even though he got little encouragement from his family.
Born to the Wind
(NBC) 8.19.82-9.5.82
Will Sampson and A Martinez starred in this hour-long summer adventure series about a tribe of Indians, circa 1800.
Bosom Buddies
(ABC) 11.27.80-11.15.84
This half-hour sitcom featured Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari as two young men who had to dress in drag in order to find living quarters in an all-girl residence after their New York apartment building is torn down. The show's theme, "My Life," was written by Billy Joel.
The Brady Brides
(ABC) 2.6.81-4.17.81
A spinoff from the '70s hit The Brady Bunch, this one had Marcia and Jan married and setting up house in the same L.A. residence. The original show's housekeeper, Alice (Ann B. Davis), was around to help out. (Half-hour sitcom.)
Breaking Away
(ABC) 11.29.80-7.6.81
TV version of the film by the same name; the adventures of four high school buddies who played pranks on frat boys at the University of Indiana. Starring Shaun Cassidy and Vincent Gardenia. (Hour-long comedy)
Bret Maverick
(NBC)  12.1.81-5.4.82
James Garner reprises his role from the classic Maverick series. These days, Bret is a rancher and part-owner of a saloon in Sweetwater, Arizona Territory. Also starred Stuart Margolin and Darleen Carr. (Hour-long western; 18 episodes.)
Bridges to Cross
(CBS) 4.24.86-6.12.86
Suzanne Pleshette starred as a reporter for a weekly news magazine headquartered in the nation's capital. One of her fellow reporters was her ex-husband (Nicolas Surovy).
Bring 'Em Back Alive
(CBS) 9.24.82-6.21.83
Bruce Boxleitner was Frank Buck, a legendary guide and hunter living in pre-World War II Malaya. His base of operations was the famous Raffles Hotel in Singapore, and each week he ventured forth for adventures reminiscent of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
The Bronx Zoo
(NBC) 3.19.87-6.29.88
This hour-long drama had Ed Asner playing the principal of an inner-city high school where violence is a way of life. Kathryn Harrold starred as an upper-class English teacher while Kathleen Beller played a free-spirited drama teacher. (21 episodes)
Buck James
(ABC) 9.27.87-5.5.88
An hour-long medical drama with Dennis Weaver playing the title role, a trauma surgeon at a Texas hospital. Divorced, he had a son and daughter who lived with him on his ranch, operated by the foreman, Vittorio (Dehl Berti).
Buffalo Bill
(NBC) 5.31.83-4.5.84
Dabney Coleman played the insufferably arrogant Bill  Bittinger,
host of a popular local TV talk show in Buffalo, NY. The cast also included Joanne Cassidy, Geena Davis and Meschach Taylor. After 26 episodes, TV viewers had apparently had enough. (Half-hour sitcom)
Bustin' Loose
(Syndicated) 1987-88
Jimmy Walker starred as Sonny Barnes, a small-time con man in Philadelphia sentenced to five years of community service, which turned out to be helping a social worker (Vonetta McGee) take care of four orphaned children. There were 26 episodes of this half-hour sitcom.