Every One Season TGIF Show RANKED

#8 On Our Own (1994) – 20 Episodes

On Our Own was another Miller-Boyett production, starring comedian Ralph Harris and real life siblings Jazz, Jocqui, Jake, Jojo, Jurnee, and Jussie Smollett, and a skateboarding bulldog possibly in an attempt to create the next Jackson family.

The eldest brother Josh (Harris) is raising his six siblings alone, but Social Services is attempting to split the family apart. This leads Josh to don the guise of Aunt Jelcinda AKA Mama J in drag to fool the authorities. After only a few episodes the show was put on hiatus and retooled to shave off any edge it may have had. Josh gained full custody of his siblings, stops dressing in drag, and was given a love interest. It was yet another show moved to the 9:30 PM TGIF death slot until its cancellation.

Canceled too soon? Nah!

#7 New Attitude (1990) – 8 Episodes (2 unaired)

New Attitude is about two sisters — the sensible Vicki and the outrageous Yvonne, who open a beauty salon in a 50-50 partnership. Sounds like a 90’s sitcom, right? But it’s one of a way too small list of African American-led TGIF shows and featured Morris Day in a regular role. As in Morris Day and the Time. As an actor he’s pretty much in this, Purple Rain, and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. He’s an over-the-top hairdresser named Lamarr and is nicknamed the “prince of perms”. Come ON.

Other than that it’s a fine show from a perspective that wasn’t seen much on the block. TGIF could really have used more shows like this. I actually think there are more non-white cast driven shows on this list than ever got a second season on TGIF.

Canceled too soon? Maybe?

#6 Aliens in the Family (1996) – 8 Episodes

Try and guess the last name of the two people who created The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Did it even get close to rhyming with “Borowitz”? After then-married couple Andy and Susan Borowitz created the massively successful Fresh Prince, they could have walked any pitch into any executive’s office and sold it in the room. Even “Alf, but worse.”

And the thieving from established sitcom tropes doesn’t end there. Much like the idiotic pun in the title implies, the aliens are part of the family after a single father is abducted and falls in love with a single mother alien. They get married and the whole thing becomes a horrific scifi Brady Bunch plus a little Dinosaurs. That last bit thanks to the work of Brian Henson who was still riding that bullet train to the end of his dead father’s goodwill left in the industry.

It also featured a 5-year-old Hayden Panettiere who was surely traumatized by the experience.

Canceled too soon? NAH!

#5 You Wish (1997) – 13 Episodes

After Sabrina the Teenage Witch updated the classic formula of Bewitched, ABC decided I Dream Of Jeannie was the next retro TV corpse to dig up and dump out in the open to rot on Friday nights. Only now it’s yet another show about a single mother of two boys who discover a genie in an antique rug sold to them by “Madman Mustafa” played by John Rhys-Davies. And none of it is offensive. Wait, no, all of it is.

What was up with TGIF’s obsession with supernatural family comedies around this time? Was it the success of Sabrina? Men In Black? Had it been too long since wartime, but still before Bill Clinton was impeached so we had no real social issues to tackle on television and had to fill the void with goofy magical make-em-ups? This is also one of two TGIF shows airing at the same time that premiered on the same day to feature Coach‘s Jerry Van Dyke in a recurring role. I love the guy, but that’s just too much Van Dyke for one block!

Canceled too soon? NAH!

#4 Teen Angel (1997) – 17 Episodes

After being instrumental in the enormous success of The Simpsons, Al Jean and Mike Reiss created a little show called The Critic. Unfortunately it was a bit too high brow for network primetime and was swiftly canceled (twice (by two separate networks)) so they set their creative sights a bit… lower.

Their next project was an ABC sitcom about a teenager, Marty, who dies after eating a six-month-old hamburger from underneath his friend Steve’s bed. Marty is chosen by God’s cousin Rod (Ron Glass) to be Steve’s guardian angel and hijinks ensue. Boring, poorly acted hijinks. Also featuring Coach‘s Jerry Van Dyke!

After this bomb both Jean and Reiss returned to The Simpsons to varying extents just in time for that show to tank in quality as well.

Canceled too soon? NAH!

#3 The Big House (2004) – 6 Episodes

On a list of shows about genies, aliens, and teen angels, this fairly innocuous sitcom somehow ends up having the weirdest history. First of all, it aired in 2004 during TGIF’s failed return to TV from 2003 to 2005. They also made several other half-hearted attempts under different names, including TGIT on Thursday nights.

The first starring role for comedian Kevin Hart is a reverse Fresh Prince. Rather than moving from Philadelphia to a big house in Bel-Air, Kevin is a wealthy student in Malibu who is sent TO Philadelphia with his auntie and uncle after his father is arrested for embezzlement where he enrolls at Drexel University. The cast included Faizon Love, Yvette Nicole Brown, and the silky voiced Keith David. After Hart’s fame skyrocketed over the next few years, the 6 episode show finally saw a DVD release in 2015.

Outside of the borderline theft of the premise and ridiculous release history, it’s a pretty boiler plate sitcom — though it does tackle some heavy themes like religion. It must have had some fans to get a DVD release eleven years later.

Canceled too soon? Maybe?

#2 Going Places (1990) – 19 Episodes

The third Miller-Boyett produced show for TGIF following Full House and Family Matters had to be a hit after their last two basically printed money, right? Wrong.

Alan Ruck, Jerry Levine, Hallie Todd, and Heather Locklear play TV writers living in a huge mansion and working for a Candid Camera-esque show called Here’s Looking At You, in the most navel gazing TV premise ever.

TV Writer: What if we made a show about how hot and cool and rich TV writers are

Other TV Writer: But… none of that is tru-

Miller-Boyett: SOLD!

One of them is even an improv comic.

The show lasted one season and was still retooled halfway through. At mid-season the show-within-a-show Here’s Looking At You gets canceled and their boss played by Holland Taylor leaves show business to become a prison counselor. The four main characters get new jobs on a talk show called The Dick Roberts Show and pull stunts to desperately try and be promoted to onscreen talent (which no TV writer does in real life *wiiiiink*). The show also added a nerdy teenager, which was probably trying to replicate the success of another TGIF character, but I can’t imagine who. And speaking of aping their past work, watch that intro. The title appears over a helicopter shot of the stars driving a fancy sports car before the cast’s names appear in yellow font over shots of them visiting local landmarks. Not to mention what they owe to The Dick Van Dyke Show.

Jerry Levine doesn’t even call anyone dicknose!

Canceled too soon? Nah!

#1 Two of a Kind (1998) – 22 Episodes

After building an empire on VHS tapes, paperbacks, and TV movies it was time for the Olsen twins to make their triumphant return to sitcoms. Well, “triumphant” is a big word.

In the last show produced by Miller-Boyett before their first shut down, Broadway star Christopher Sieber plays Kevin, single dad to two twin 12-year-old daughters. He’s a college professor (jeez, how many of these shows star professors?) who knows the answer to everything except how to raise two adolescent girls. Enter Carrie, played by Sally Wheeler, a student in his class, who becomes a love interest and mentor to the girls. In a complete reversal to their role on Full House, the Olsens are playing complete opposites. One’s a sports loving tomboy and one is a girly girl straight-A student.

I was surprised to find that this show only lasted 22 episodes because it was rerun to death on ABC Family for the next few years and even spawned a book series of 40 volumes. It was a pretty basic sitcom with a basic premise, but was a decent show that dealt with real issues an adolescent girl might face. Nothing about it was offensive or awful and probably only ended because of the closure of Miller-Boyett tied with TGIF tanking at the time.

Canceled too soon? Maybe?

By the time of most of these shows long gone were the halcyon days of sending your entire cast to Walt Disney World or having the Beach Boys drop by for a jam sesh. Despite this massive wasteland we’ve placed before you today, you must remember that TGIF led to so many huge shows and careers for a reason. It was a breeding ground for classic, albeit formulaic television.

Do you miss appointment TV? Do you even remember any of these shows? Let us know in the comments! And check out our Laser Time episode about retro TV blocks including TGIF or Thirty Twenty Ten which recently covered some of these shows!

More TGIF-related Laser Time-y goodness:

3 thoughts on “Every One Season TGIF Show RANKED

  1. Teen Angel will forever be tied to a specific, pivotal moment in my development as a media consumer. It aired when I was 10. At the time, I devoured any story featuring teens with powers — your Sabrinas, your Alex Macks, your Animorphs, and so on. So naturally, I was SUPER excited for Teen Angel and watched it religiously (har har).

    One Friday evening, my mom wanted to watch something else, or maybe she just didn’t want me glued to the TV, but either way, I insisted on watching Teen Angel. She let me put the channel to ABC and sat there while the show started. She watched a bit of it, but then said something like “Ugh, what is this canned laughter? You *like* this? It’s not even funny.” I remember being shocked that she didn’t find it as good as I did. I think it was the first time I realized that a piece of entertainment I really enjoyed could be objectively mediocre. Humbled, I surrendered the remote at the next commercial break, and ever since then, any mention of Teen Angel makes me nostalgic for that lost innocence.

    Anyway, I watched the clip you posted above, and while you’re right that it features bad acting and dullness — along with that cringeworthy couch gag, and the unnecessary Hollywood-based jokes that have nothing to do with the show’s setting –, there are some cute moments. It’s kind of amusing that Rod is defensive about the appearance of nepotism (why would he care?), and hey, a Batman-esque scene transition thingy! Looking back, I think it would have been a MUCH better show if it had been a cartoon and could have pushed the weirdness and dark comedy further. Like… there had to be a conversation where they discussed the times of day when Marty definitely shouldn’t pop into Steve’s room unannounced, right?… I mean… come on.

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