Thirtysomething (TV series)

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Thirtysomething
Thirtysomethingcast.jpg
Main cast
FormatDrama
Created byMarshall Herskovitz
Edward Zwick
StarringKen Olin
Mel Harris
Melanie Mayron
Timothy Busfield
Patricia Wettig
Peter Horton
Patricia Kalember
Polly Draper
David Clennon
Composer(s)W.G. Snuffy Walden
Stewart Levin
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes85 (List of episodes)
Production
Running time60 minutes
Production company(s)The Bedford Falls Company
MGM/UA Television Productions
DistributorMGM Television
Broadcast
Original channelABC
Original runSeptember 29, 1987 – May 28, 1991
Chronology
Related showsOnce and Again
 
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Thirtysomething
Thirtysomethingcast.jpg
Main cast
FormatDrama
Created byMarshall Herskovitz
Edward Zwick
StarringKen Olin
Mel Harris
Melanie Mayron
Timothy Busfield
Patricia Wettig
Peter Horton
Patricia Kalember
Polly Draper
David Clennon
Composer(s)W.G. Snuffy Walden
Stewart Levin
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes85 (List of episodes)
Production
Running time60 minutes
Production company(s)The Bedford Falls Company
MGM/UA Television Productions
DistributorMGM Television
Broadcast
Original channelABC
Original runSeptember 29, 1987 – May 28, 1991
Chronology
Related showsOnce and Again

Thirtysomething (usually styled thirtysomething) is an American television drama about a group of baby boomers in their late thirties. It was created by Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick for MGM/UA Television Group (through United Artists Television) and The Bedford Falls Company, and aired on ABC. It premiered in the U.S. on September 29, 1987. It lasted four seasons, with the last of its 85 episodes airing on May 28, 1991.

The title of the show was designed as thirtysomething (with a lowercase "t") by Kathie Broyles, who combined the words of the original title, Thirty Something.

In 1997, "The Go Between" and "Samurai Ad Man" were ranked #22 on TV Guide′s 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.[1]

In 2002, Thirtysomething was ranked #19 on TV Guide′s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time,[2] and in 2013 TV Guide ranked it #10 in its list of The 60 Greatest Dramas of All Time.[3]

General plot and characters[edit]

Thirtysomething depicts the lives of a group of baby boomer yuppies during the late 1980s. They are bonded by their involvement with the peace movement and counterculture of the 1960s during their youth, a past that is in marked contrast to their current, middle-class lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Although seen as an ensemble drama, the series tended to revolve around husband and wife Michael Steadman (Ken Olin) and Hope Murdoch (Mel Harris), who provide the focal point for the group. Michael's cousin is photographer Melissa Steadman (Melanie Mayron), and his business partner is Elliot Weston (Timothy Busfield), who has a troubled marriage with his wife Nancy (Patricia Wettig). Michael's best friend is Gary Shepherd (Peter Horton), who eventually marries Susannah (Patricia Kalember). Hope's best friend is Ellyn Warren (Polly Draper).

Character descriptions[edit]

Influences and cultural impact[edit]

Thirtysomething was influenced by the 1980 film Return of the Secaucus 7 and the 1983 film The Big Chill.[5] The show reflected the Angst felt by baby boomers and yuppies in the United States during the 1980s,[6] such as the changing expectations related to masculinity and femininity introduced during the era of second-wave feminism.[7] It also introduced "a new kind of hour-long drama, a series that focused on the domestic and professional lives of a group of young urban professionals, a socio-economic category of increasing interest to the television industry [...] its stylistic and story-line innovations led critics to respect it for being 'as close to the level of an art form as weekly television ever gets,' as the New York Times put it."[5] During its four-year run, Thirtysomething "attracted a cult audience of viewers who strongly identified with one or more of its eight central characters, a circle of friends living in Philadelphia."[5] Even after its cancellation in 1991, it continued to influence television programming, "in everything from the look and sound of certain TV advertisements, to other series with feminine sensibilities and preoccupations with the transition from childhood to maturity (Sisters), to situation comedies about groups of friends who talk all the time (Seinfeld)."[5] The show also influenced the British television series Cold Feet, which featured similar storylines and character types. The creator of Cold Feet wanted his show to be in the mould of successful American TV series like Thirtysomething and Frasier.[8]

Some were particularly critical of the show. Susan Faludi, in her 1991 bestseller Backlash, argues that the show exhibited a disdainful attitude toward single, working, and feminist women (Melissa, Ellyn, and Susannah) while at the same time "exalting homemakers" (Hope and Nancy).[9] The season three episode "Strangers," which showed a male couple in bed in one scene, prompted five regular sponsors to pull out of the episode.

Oxford English Dictionary[edit]

Almost immediately after the introduction of the show, the term "Thirtysomething" became a catchphrase used to designate baby boomers in their thirties. This cultural shift was reinforced by the Oxford English Dictionary, which added Thirtysomething in 1993 (under the word thirty) and defined the term as follows:

[popularized as a catchphrase by the U.S. television program Thirtysomething, first broadcast in 1987], an undetermined age between thirty and forty; specifically applied to members of the ‘baby boom’ generation entering their thirties in the mid-1980s; also attributed as an adjective phrase (hence, characteristic of the tastes and lifestyle of this group).[10]

Thirtysomething was also responsible for the coinage of the word "twentysomething," to describe Generation X. This was reflected in Douglas Coupland's 1991 novel Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture.[11] The Fortysomething Team was used to describe the Clinton-Gore ticket in the US 1992 presidential election, as both members of the ticket were Baby Boomers.

Episodes[edit]

Thirtysomething aired Tuesdays at 10:00 on ABC.

Nielsen ratings[edit]

Note: Ratings data from TVTango.com

DVD releases[edit]

Shout! Factory (under license from MGM) has released all four seasons of Thirtysomething on DVD in Region 1.

Mill Creek Entertainment has re-released the first season on DVD in two volume collections. On January 18, 2011, they released Season One, Volume One, which features the first 10 episodes of the season.[12] Season One, Volume Two, which features the remaining 11 episodes of the season was released on January 10, 2012.[13]

In Region 2, Revelation Films has released the first two seasons on DVD in the UK.[14][15] Season 3 will be released on July 21, 2014,[16] followed by season 4 on October 20, 2014.[17]

In Region 4, Shock Entertainment has released all 4 seasons on DVD in Australia.[18][19][20][21]

DVD NameEp#Release Dates
Region 1Region 2Region 4
The Complete First Season21August 25, 2009November 26, 2012September 18, 2013
The Complete Second Season17January 19, 2010March 18, 2013September 18, 2013
The Complete Third Season24May 11, 2010July 21, 2014September 18, 2013
The Complete Fourth Season23November 9, 2010October 20, 2014September 18, 2013

Emmy Awards[edit]

Thirtysomething won numerous Emmy Awards and nominations for:

1988 Winners:

  1. Drama Series
  2. Supporting Actress in a Drama Series — Patricia Wettig
  3. Writing in a Drama Series — Paul Haggis and Marshall Herskovitz (episode: "Business as Usual")
  4. Guest Performer in a Drama Series — Shirley Knight (episode "The Parents Are Coming")

It also received the following nominations in 1988:

  1. Supporting Actor in a Drama Series — Timothy Busfield
  2. Supporting Actress in a Drama Series — Polly Draper
  3. Editing for a Series — Single Camera Production (Victor Du Bois and Richard Freeman for episode "Therapy")
  4. Main Title Theme Music
  5. Costuming for a Series (Marilyn Matthews and Patrick R. Norris for episode "Pilot") and Marjorie K. Chan, Patrick R. Norris, Anne Hartley and Julie Glick for episode "Whose Forest is This?")

1989 Winners:

  1. Supporting Actress in a Drama Series — Melanie Mayron
  2. Writing in a Drama Series — Joseph Dougherty (episode: "First Day/Last Day")
  3. Editing for a Series — Single Camera Production (episode: "First Day/Last Day")
  4. Costuming for a Series (episode: "We'll Meet Again")

It also received the following nominations in 1989:

  1. Drama Series
  2. Supporting Actor in a Drama Series — Timothy Busfield
  3. Guest Actor in a Drama Series (Jack Gilford for episode "The Mike Van Dyke Show")
  4. Directing in a Drama Series (Scott Winant for episode "We'll Meet Again")
  5. Writing in a Drama Series (Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick for episode "The Mike Van Dyke Show")
  6. Art Direction for a Series (Brandy Alexander and Mary Ann Biddle for episode "Michael Writes A Story")
  7. Sound Mixing for a Drama Series (Clark Conrad, Tim Philben, Scott Millan and Will Yarbroug for episode "Michael Writes A Story")
  8. Special Visual Effects (episode: "Michael Writes a Story")
  9. Outstanding Hairstyling for a Series (Carol Pershing for episode "We'll Meet Again")

1990 Winners:

  1. Lead Actress in a Drama Series — Patricia Wettig
  2. Directing in a Drama Series (episode: "The Go-Between") (tied with Equal Justice).

It also received the following nominations in 1990:

  1. Drama Series
  2. Supporting Actor in a Drama Series — Timothy Busfield
  3. Supporting Actress in a Drama Series — Melanie Mayron
  4. Guest Actor in a Drama Series (Peter Frechette for "Strangers")
  5. Guest Actress in a Drama Series (Shirley Knight for "Arizona")
  6. Writing in a Drama Series (episode: "The Go-Between")
  7. Art Direction for a Series (Brandy Alexander and Mary Ann Biddle for episode "Michael's Campaign")
  8. Hairstyling for a Series (Carol Pershing for episode "Strangers")
  9. Costuming for a Series (Patrick R. Norris and Julie Glick for episode "Strangers")

1991 Winners:

  1. Lead Actress in a Drama Series — Patricia Wettig
  2. Supporting Actor in a Drama Series — Timothy Busfield
  3. Costuming for a Series (episode: "A Wedding")

It also received the following nominations in 1991:

  1. Drama Series
  2. Supporting Actress in a Drama Series — Melanie Mayron
  3. Supporting Actor in a Drama Series — David Clennon
  4. Writing in a Drama Series (episode: "Second Look")
  5. Guest Actress in a Drama Series (Eileen Brennan for "Sifting the Ashes")

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Special Collector's Issue: 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time". TV Guide (June 28–July 4). 1997. 
  2. ^ "TV Guide Names Top 50 Shows". CBS News/Associated Press. February 11, 2009.
  3. ^ Roush, Matt (February 25, 2013). "Showstoppers: The 60 Greatest Dramas of All Time". TV Guide. pp. 16-17.
  4. ^ TV ACRES: Ethnic Groups > Jewish – "S-Z"
  5. ^ a b c d "Thirtysomething". Museum of Broadcast Communications. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  6. ^ 'Thirtysomething' Why We're Still Watching And Arguing About 'Thirtysomething'
  7. ^ R. Hanke, "Hegemonic masculinity in Thirtysomething" and Margaret Heide, Television Culture and Women's Lives: "Thirtysomething" and the Contradictions of Gender
  8. ^ Smith, Rupert (2003). Cold Feet: The Complete Companion. London: Granada Media. p. 6. ISBN 0-233-00999-X.
  9. ^ One Step Back
  10. ^ OED:thirtysomething
  11. ^ Book review
  12. ^ thirtysomething - Season 1 Volume 1
  13. ^ Thirtysomething - Season 1, Volume 2
  14. ^ Thirtysomething - The Complete Season One [DVD]: Amazon.co.uk: Timothy Busfield, Polly Draper, Mel Harris, Peter Horton, Melanie Mayron, Ken Olin, Patricia Wettig: Film & ...
  15. ^ ThirtySomething - Season 2 [DVD]: Amazon.co.uk: Timothy Busfield, Polly Draper, Mel Harris, Peter Horton, Melanie Mayron, Ken Olin, Patricia Wettig: Film & TV
  16. ^ ThirtySomething - Season 3 [DVD]: Amazon.co.uk: Timothy Busfield, Polly Draper, Mel Harris, Peter Horton, Melanie Mayron, Ken Olin, Patricia Wettig: Film & TV
  17. ^ ThirtySomething - Season 4 [DVD]: Amazon.co.uk: Timothy Busfield, Polly Draper, Mel Harris, Peter Horton, Melanie Mayron, Ken Olin, Patricia Wettig: Film & TV
  18. ^ http://www.screenpop.com.au/dvd/thirty-something-season-one/4639.html
  19. ^ http://www.screenpop.com.au/dvd/thirty-something-season-two/4636.html
  20. ^ http://www.screenpop.com.au/dvd/thirty-something-season-three/4601.html
  21. ^ http://www.screenpop.com.au/dvd/thirty-something-season-four/4637.html

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]