The good news is that many of the these hidden gems have been released to DVD and some even at a reasonable price. After surfing through my recommendations on Amazon recently, I decided to put together a list of TV shows that should be on your wish list.
Easily my favorite short-lived show of the '80s. It featured some great guest stars like George Clooney and Dennis Franz. But in a time of Knight Rider and Airwolf, this vehicle-based show somehow got lost in the mix. I have vivid memories of watching it with my dad which I guess is why I revere it so much. I went back and watched it in the last couple years and holds up as well as the other shows in its genre.
25 Total Episodes Add To Amazon Wishlist
If you would have told me that a Stephen J. Cannell crime drama series featuring action-packed car chases in a Corvette would have last just 25 episodes in the '80s, I would've called you nuts. That's exactly what happened to Stingray though, lasting just two seasons. With the current price of about 50 cents an episode, that a steal even for Ford enthusiasts.
Blue Thunder (1983)
11 Total Episodes Add To Amazon Wishlist
I don't remember ever watching the entire Blue Thunder series, but it has received favorable reviews on Amazon. I did enjoy the movie starring Roy Schneider, but even though he didn't return for the series, Dana Carvey and Bubba "Hightower" Smith would make it well worth my money to own the series.
20 Total Episodes Add To Amazon Wishlist
Square Pegs (1982-83)
20 Total Episodes Add To Amazon Wishlist
In one of the earliest roles for Sarah Jessica Parker, the high school comedy series Square Pegs never held the ratings to last more than one season. One possible reason for its short life was being broadcast in prime time rather than other successful kid-targeted shows like Saved By The Bell which was shown on Saturday. Still, a fun show that's priced to own.
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979-81)
32 Total Episodes + Film Add Season 1 To Amazon Wishlist
Most Buck Rogers fans would probably agree that it's difficult to watch this campy slab of '80s science fiction cheese. But whether you have fond childhood memories of the show, collect all things sci-fi, or just like watching spandex-clad space vixens, the price of about $1 per episode is worth adding to your wishlist.
19 Total Episodes Add To Amazon Wishlist
I remember the V "lizards" scaring me to death as a kid and wondering if some of the adults I knew were actually green on the inside. I have yet to revisit it but at about $1 per episode, I might have to overcome my childhood fears!
Police Squad (1982)
6 Total Episodes Add To Amazon Wishlist
The forerunner to The Naked Gun films, the very short-lived series Police Squad is a must own for parody comedy fans. Though it only lasted 6 episodes, it was still nominated for two Emmys in 1982. The current price of about $10 is still a great deal for the entire series and bonus features.
Max Headroom (1987-88)
14 Total Episodes Add To Amazon Wishlist
If you are an '80s lover, Max Headroom is your president. Although I don't remember much about his TV show, the futuristic sci-fi series was based on the 1985 TV movie Max Headroom: 20 Minutes into the Future (not included in the boxset.) There are some great special features and at about $30, it's still reasonably priced for '80s TV culture junkies.
22 Total Episodes Add To Amazon Wishlist
My memories of Starman are mainly based on the TV series rather than the Jeff Bridges movie. I remember watching the episodes and being similar to The Incredible Hulk TV series with the father/son moving from place to place, helping people and avoiding the US government. With a current price of about $30 for the entire series, I'll be collecting it someday.
While we wait for others like Highwayman, Manimal, O'Hara, T and T, and Automan to be released to Region 1, let me know what short-lived show you'd like to see on DVD.
[BONUS!! Since I originally posted this article Manimal and Automan have finally been released!! Check them out below plus a few more short-lived gems]