Thirtysomething
Main cast
GenreDrama
Created byEdward Zwick
Marshall Herskovitz
StarringKen Olin
Mel Harris
Melanie Mayron
Timothy Busfield
Patricia Wettig
Peter Horton
Polly Draper
ComposersW. G. Snuffy Walden
Stewart Levin
Jay Gruska
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes85 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producersEdward Zwick
Marshall Herskovitz
ProducersAnn Lewis Hamilton
Joseph Dougherty
Richard Kramer
Running time60 minutes
Production companiesThe Bedford Falls Company
MGM/UA Television Productions
DistributorMGM Television
Release
Original networkABC
Original releaseSeptember 29, 1987 (1987-09-29) –
May 28, 1991 (1991-05-28)
Chronology
Related showsOnce and Again

Thirtysomething is an American drama television series created by Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz for United Artists Television (under MGM/UA Television) and aired on ABC from 1987 to 1991.[1] It is about a group of baby boomers in their thirties who live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and how they handle the lifestyle that dominated American culture during the 1980s given their involvement in the early 1970s counterculture as young adults.[2] It premiered in the United States on September 29, 1987, and ran for four seasons until it was cancelled in May 1991 because the ratings had dropped and Zwick and Herskovitz moved on to other projects.[3][4][5] The series won 13 Primetime Emmy Awards, out of 41 nominations, and two Golden Globe Awards.

On January 8, 2020, ABC confirmed a television pilot that would serve as a sequel to the series had been ordered. The pilot was never filmed, but was set to be directed by Zwick, written by Zwick and Herskovitz, and have four members of the original cast (Olin, Harris, Busfield and Wettig) reprising their roles.[6] In June, ABC passed on the series.[7]

General plot and characters

Although seen as an ensemble drama, the series revolves around husband and wife Michael Steadman (Ken Olin) and Hope Murdoch (Mel Harris) and their baby Janie. Michael's cousin is photographer Melissa Steadman (Melanie Mayron), who used to date his college friend Gary Shepherd (Peter Horton). Gary eventually marries Susannah (Patricia Kalember). Michael's business partner is Elliot Weston (Timothy Busfield), who has a troubled marriage with his wife Nancy (Patricia Wettig), a painter. Hope's childhood friend is local politician Ellyn Warren (Polly Draper).

Character descriptions

History

Episodes

Main article: List of Thirtysomething episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
121September 29, 1987 (1987-09-29)May 10, 1988 (1988-05-10)
217December 6, 1988 (1988-12-06)May 16, 1989 (1989-05-16)
324September 19, 1989 (1989-09-19)May 22, 1990 (1990-05-22)
423September 25, 1990 (1990-09-25)May 28, 1991 (1991-05-28)

Nielsen Ratings

Nielsen ratings/broadcast history

Season Timeslot Rank Rating
1) 1987–1988 Tuesday night at 10:00 pm #49 12.1
2) 1988–1989 #41 13.9
3) 1989–1990 #43 12.4
4) 1990–1991 #54 [11] 11.2

Home media

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] Seasons 3 was briefly released in 2014, but was almost immediately withdrawn from sale for unspecified "contractual reasons" and has, to date, not been re-released, as has Season 4.

In Region 4, Shock Entertainment has released all 4 seasons on DVD in Australia.[16][17][18][19]

DVD Name Ep# Release Dates
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
The Complete First Season 21 August 25, 2009 November 26, 2012 September 18, 2013
The Complete Second Season 17 January 19, 2010 March 18, 2013 September 18, 2013
The Complete Third Season 24 May 11, 2010 - September 18, 2013
The Complete Fourth Season 23 November 9, 2010 - September 18, 2013

Influences and cultural impact

Thirtysomething was influenced by the films Return of the Secaucus 7 (1980) and The Big Chill (1983).[20] The show reflected the angst felt by baby boomers and yuppies in the United States during the 1980s,[21] such as the changing expectations related to masculinity and femininity introduced during the era of second-wave feminism.[22] 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."[20] 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."[20] 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)."[20] 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.[23]

Susan Faludi, in her bestseller Backlash (1991), argues that Thirtysomething often reinforced, rather than dismantled, gender stereotypes. She suggests that it exhibited a disdainful attitude toward single, working, and feminist women (Melissa, Ellyn, and Susannah) while at the same time "exalting homemakers" (Hope and Nancy).[24][25] In this manner, the series was seen as "seemingly progressive but substantially conservative in its construction of reality."[26]

Oxford English Dictionary

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:

Draft additions 1993 - n. [popularized as a catch-phrase by the U.S. television programme thirtysomething, first broadcast in 1987] colloq. (orig. U.S.) an undetermined age between thirty and forty; spec. applied to members of the ‘baby boom’ generation entering their thirties in the mid-1980s; also attrib. or as adj. phr. (hence, characteristic of the tastes and lifestyle of this group).[27]

Honors and awards

While it aired, Thirtysomething was nominated for 41 Primetime Emmy Awards, winning 13. It also won two Golden Globe awards. Later, by 1997, "The Go Between" and "Samurai Ad Man" were listed as number 22 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.[28] Thirtysomething then placed the number 19 spot on TV Guide′s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time in 2002,[29] and in 2013, TV Guide placed it as No. 10 in its list of The 60 Greatest Dramas of All Time.[30]

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")

Sequel

A sequel to the series was announced in September 2019. The pilot was a co-production between MGM Television and Bedford Falls Productions, which was behind the original series, and ABC Studios, and producers were casting its four original main roles at the time of the announcement.[6]

In February 2020, Chris Wood was cast as Leo Steadman, the show's male lead.[31] Over the next few weeks, Odette Annable was cast as Janey Steadman and Patrick Fugit and Auden Thornton as Ethan Weston and Brittany Weston.[32][33][34] Melanie Mayron and Polly Draper agreed to appear as Melissa Steadman and Ellyn Warren.[35] On June 29, ABC decided not to move forward with the sequel.[36]

References

  1. ^ "The 'don't trust anyone over thirty' slogan of the Sixties gave way to a show called Thirtysomething in the Eighties, showing boomers grappling with having children or having left it too late." In Adams, Paul (2012). Power Trap: How fear and loathing between New Democrats and Liberals keep Stephen Harper in power--and what can be done about it. Lorimer. p. 234. ISBN 978-1459402706.
  2. ^ Roberts, Soraya (March 8, 2015). "The Big Thaw: "Togetherness" and What Thirty-Something Means Now". Los Angeles Review of Books. Retrieved May 22, 2016.
  3. ^ Papajohn, George (May 29, 1991). "For 'Thirtysomething' Fans, An End To The Angst". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved June 22, 2016.
  4. ^ Hill, Michael (May 22, 1991). "They're Moving On to Somethingelse". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 22, 2016.
  5. ^ Heller, Karen (May 28, 1991). "A Farewell To 'Thirtysomething' A Loyal Viewer Bemoans The Demise Of Abc's Phila.-centered Hour Of Angst". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved June 22, 2016.
  6. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie (January 8, 2020). "'Thirtysomething': ABC Picks Up Sequel Series Pilot With Original Cast From Marshall Herskovitz & Ed Zwick". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 12, 2020.
  7. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (June 29, 2020). "ABC Passes on 'Thirtysomething' Update as Pilot Fates Revealed". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 29, 2020.
  8. ^ "Ethnic Groups > Jewish - "S-Z"". TV ACRES. Archived from the original on September 17, 2012. Retrieved August 9, 2015.
  9. ^ Becker, Ron (2006). Gay TV and Straight America. Rutgers University Press. p. 138.
  10. ^ Becker, Ron (2006). Gay TV and Straight America. Rutgers University Press. p. 179.
  11. ^ ((cite web| url=https://web.archive.org/web/20180322035257/http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/08/1990-91-ratings-history-abc-reclaims.html | title=The TV Ratings Guide | accessdate=October 21, 2020
  12. ^ "Amazon.com: Thirtysomething -Season 1 Volume 1: Timothy Busfield, Polly Draper, Mel Harris, Peter Horton, Melanie Mayron, Ken Olin, Various: Movies & TV". Retrieved August 9, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ "Amazon.com: thirtysomething - Season 1, Volume 2 - 11 Episode Set: Patricia Wettig, Timothy Bustfield, Ken Olin, Polly Draper, Peter Horton, Melanie Mayron, Mel Harris, Various: Movies & TV". Retrieved August 9, 2015.
  14. ^ "Thirtysomething - The Complete Season One [DVD]". Retrieved August 9, 2015.
  15. ^ "Thirtysomething: Season 2 [DVD] [1988]". Retrieved August 9, 2015.
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^ http://www.screenpop.com.au/dvd/thirty-something-season-two/4636.html
  18. ^ http://www.screenpop.com.au/dvd/thirty-something-season-three/4601.html
  19. ^ http://www.screenpop.com.au/dvd/thirty-something-season-four/4637.html
  20. ^ a b c d "Thirtysomething". Museum of Broadcast Communications. Retrieved May 7, 2008.
  21. ^ "Why we're still watching and arguing about thirtysomething". EW. May 4, 1990.
  22. ^ Hanke, Robert (September 1990). "Hegemonic Masculinity in thirtysomething". Critical Studies in Mass Communication. 7 (3): 231–248. doi:10.1080/15295039009360176.
  23. ^ Smith, Rupert (2003). Cold Feet: The Complete Companion. London: Granada Media. p. 6. ISBN 0-233-00999-X.
  24. ^ Heide, Margaret J. (April 1, 1992). "Mothering Ambivalence: The Treatment of Women's Gender Role Conflicts Over Work and Family on "thirtysomething"". Women's Studies. 21 (1): 103–117. doi:10.1080/00497878.1992.9978929. ISSN 0049-7878.
  25. ^ Susan Faludi. "Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women - EW.com". Entertainment Weekly's EW.com. Retrieved August 9, 2015.
  26. ^ Loeb, Jane Connelly (September 1, 1990). "Rhetorical and Ideological Conservatism in thirtysomething". Critical Studies in Mass Communication. 7 (3): 249–260. doi:10.1080/15295039009360177. ISSN 0739-3180.
  27. ^ "thirtysomething". Oxford English Dictionary.
  28. ^ "Special Collector's Issue: 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time". TV Guide (June 28–July 4). 1997.
  29. ^ "TV Guide Names Top 50 Shows". CBS News/Associated Press. February 11, 2009.
  30. ^ Roush, Matt (February 25, 2013). "Showstoppers: The 60 Greatest Dramas of All Time". TV Guide. pp. 16-17.
  31. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 7, 2020). "'Thirtysomething(else)': Chris Wood To Star In ABC Pilot, Sequel To 'Thirtysomething'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 18, 2020.
  32. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 11, 2020). "Odette Annable To Star In ABC's 'Thirtysomething' Sequel Pilot". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 18, 2020.
  33. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 14, 2020). "Patrick Fugit To Star In ABC's 'Thirtysomething' Sequel Pilot". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 18, 2020.
  34. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 18, 2020). "Thirtysomething(else): Auden Thornton To Star In ABC's 'Thirtysomething' Sequel Pilot". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 18, 2020.
  35. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 20, 2020). "'Thirtysomething' Co-Stars Melanie Mayron and Polly Draper To Return For Sequel On ABC". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 20, 2020.
  36. ^ Iannucci, Rebecca (June 29, 2020). "thirtysomething Sequel, Brides Pilot Not Moving Forward at ABC". TVLine. Retrieved June 29, 2020.

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