Thirtysomething

Last updated

Thirtysomething
Thirtysomethingcast.jpg
Main cast
Genre Drama
Created by Edward Zwick
Marshall Herskovitz
Starring Ken Olin
Mel Harris
Melanie Mayron
Timothy Busfield
Patricia Wettig
Peter Horton
Polly Draper
Composers W. G. Snuffy Walden
Stewart Levin
Jay Gruska
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes85 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers Edward Zwick
Marshall Herskovitz
Producers Ann Lewis Hamilton
Joseph Dougherty
Richard Kramer
Running time60 minutes
Production companies The Bedford Falls Company
MGM/UA Television Productions
Distributor MGM Television
Release
Original network ABC
Original releaseSeptember 29, 1987 (1987-09-29) 
May 28, 1991 (1991-05-28)
Chronology
Related shows Once 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.

Contents

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

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
1 21September 29, 1987 (1987-09-29)May 10, 1988 (1988-05-10)
2 17December 6, 1988 (1988-12-06)May 16, 1989 (1989-05-16)
3 24September 19, 1989 (1989-09-19)May 22, 1990 (1990-05-22)
4 23September 25, 1990 (1990-09-25)May 28, 1991 (1991-05-28)

Nielsen Ratings

Nielsen ratings/broadcast history

SeasonTimeslotRankRating
1) 1987–1988Tuesday night at 10:00 pm#4912.1
2) 1988–1989#4113.9
3) 1989–1990#4312.4
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 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, 2010-September 18, 2013
The Complete Fourth Season23November 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]

YearAssociationCategoryRecipientResultsRef
1988 Casting Society of America Best Casting for a TV, Dramatic Episodic (casting director) Judith Holstra
(casting director) Marcia Ross
Won
Directors Guild of America Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series – Night for episode "Pilot"
(director) Marshall Herskovitz
(unit production manager) Stephen McEveety
(first assistant director) Peter Gries
(second assistant director) Dawn Easterling
Won
Creative Arts Emmy Awards Outstanding Achievement in Costuming for a Series for episode "Whose Forest is This?"
(men's costume supervisor) Patrick R. Norris
(women's costume supervisor) Marjorie K. Chan
(men's costumer) Anne Hartley
(women's costumer) Julie Glick
Nominated [31]
Outstanding Achievement in Costuming for a Series for episode "Pilot"
(costume supervisor) Marilyn Matthews
(costumer) Patrick R. Norris
Nominated
Outstanding Achievement in Main Title Theme Music Stewart Levin
W.G. Snuffy Walden
Nominated
Outstanding Editing for a Series – Single Camera Production for episode "Therapy"
(editor) Victor Du Bois
(editor) Richard Freeman
Nominated
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for episode "The Parents Are Coming"
Shirley Knight
Won
Golden Globes Best Television Series — Drama thirtysomethingNominated [32]
Humanitas Prize Awards 60 Minute Category Paul Haggis
Marshall Kerskovitz
Won
People's Choice Awards Favorite New Television Program — DramaticthirtysomethingWon
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Drama Series (producer) Scott Winant
(supervising producer) Paul Haggis
(executive producer) Marshall Herskovitz
(executive producer) Edward Zwick
Won [31]
Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series for episode "Business as Usual (aka Michael's Father's Death"
(writer) Paul Haggis
(writer) Marshall Herskovitz
Won
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Timothy Busfield Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Polly Draper Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Patricia Wettig Won
TCA Awards Outstanding Achievement in Drama thirtysomethingNominated
1989 American Cinema Editors Awards Best Edited Episode from a Television Seriesfor episode "Accounts Receivable"
(editor) Victor Du Bois
(editor) Steven Rosenblum
Won
Creative Arts Emmy Awards Outstanding Achievement in Costuming for a Series for episode "We'll Meet Again"
(men's costumer) Patrick R. Norris
(women's costumer) Julie Glick
Won [31]
Outstanding Editing for a Series – Single Camera Production for episode "First Day/Last Day"
(editor) Steven Rosebaum
Won
Outstanding Achievement in Hairstyling for a Series for episode "We'll Meet Again"
(hairstylist) Carol Pershing
Nominated
Outstanding Achievement in Special Visual Effects for episode "Michael Writes A Story"
(associate producer) Jeanne Byrd
(supervising editor) Victor Du Bois
(visual effects artist) Simon Holden
(visual effects supervisor) Steve Wyskocil
Nominated
Outstanding Art Direction for a Series for episode "Michael Writes A Story"
(art director) Brandy Alexander
(set director) Mary Ann Biddle
Nominated
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Drama Series for episode "Michael Writes A Story"
(music re-recording mixer) Tim Philben
(music re-recording mixer) Scott Millan
(effects re-recording mixer) Clark Conrad
(production mixer) Will Yardbrough
Nominated
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for episode "The Mike Van Dyke Show"
Jack Gilford
Nominated
Directors Guild of America Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Drama Series – Nightfor episode "Michael's Brother"
(director) Edward Zwick
Nominated
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Drama Series – Night for episode "Therapy"
(director) Marshall Herskovitz
(unit production manager) Lindsley Parsons III
(first assistant director) Craig Beaudine
(second assistant director) Roger E. Mills
Won
Golden Globes Best Television Series — Drama thirysomethingWon [32]
Humanitas Prize Awards 60 Minute Categoryfor episode "In Re: The Marriage Of Weston"
Susan Shiliday
Nominated
60 Minute Categoryfor episode "Elliot's Dad"
Joseph Dougherty
Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Drama Series (executive producer) Marshall Herskovitz
(executive producer) Edward Zwick
(supervising producer) Scott Winant
(producer) Richard Kramer
(co-producer) Ellen S. Pressman
(coordinating producer) Lindsley Parsons III
Nominated [31]
Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series for episode "We'll Meet Again"
(director) Scott Winant
Nominated
Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series for episode "First Day/Last Day"
(writer) Joseph Dougherty
Won
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Timothy Busfield Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Melanie Mayron Won
TCA Awards Outstanding Achievement in Drama thirtysomethingNominated
Viewers for Quality Television Awards Best Quality Drama Series thirtysomethingNominated
Writers Guild of America Episodic Dramafor episode "Nice Work If You Can Get It"
(teleplay) Paul Haggis
(story) Jean Vallely
Nominated
Episodic Dramafor episode "Therapy"
(writer) Susan Shilliday
Won
Episodic Dramafor episode "Thirtysomething"
(writer) Marshall Herskovitz
(writer) Edward Zwick
Won
Young Artist Awards Best Young Actor Under Nine Years of Age Luke Rossi Nominated
1990 Creative Arts Emmy Awards Outstanding Costuming for a Series for episode "Strangers"
(supervising costumer) Patrick R. Norris
(women's costumer) Julie Glick
Nominated [31]
Outstanding Hairstyling for a Series for episode "Strangers"
(hairstylist) Carol Pershing
Nominated
Outstanding Art Direction for a Series for episode "Michael's Campaign"
(production designer) Brandy Alexander
(set decorator) Mary Ann Biddle
Nominated
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for episode "Strangers"
Peter Frechette
Nominated
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for episode "Arizona"
Shirley Knight
Nominated
Directors Guild of America Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series – Night for episode "Love & Sex"
(director) Michael Herskovitz
Nominated
GLAAD Media Awards Outstanding Drama EpisodethirtysomethingWon
Golden Globes Best Television Series — Drama thirtysomethingNominated [32]
Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series — Drama Ken Olin Nominated
Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series — Drama Mel Harris Nominated
Humanitas Prize Awards 60 Minute Category Joseph Dougherty Won
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Drama Series (executive producer) Edward Zwick
(executive producer) Marshall Herskovitz
(supervising producer) Scott Winant
(producer) Richard Kramer
(co-producer) Ellen S. Pressman
(coordinating producer) Lindsley Parsons III
Nominated [31]
Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series for episode "The Go-Between"
(director) Scott Winant
Won
Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series for episode "The Go-Between"
(writer) Joseph Dougherty
Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Patricia Wettig Won
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Timothy Busfield Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Melanie Mayron Nominated
TCA Awards Outstanding Achievement in Drama thirtysomethingNominated
Viewers for Quality Television Awards Best Quality Drama Series thirtysomethingNominated
Best Actress in a Quality Drama Series Mel Harris Nominated
Best Supporting Actor in a Quality Drama Series Timothy Busfield Nominated
Best Supporting Actress in a Quality Drama Series Patricia Wettig Nominated
Young Artists Awards Best Young Actor Supporting Role in a Television Series Luke Rossi Nominated
1991 American Society of Cinematographers Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Regular Seriesfor episode "The Go-Between"
(cinematographer) Kenneth Zunder
Nominated
Creative Arts Emmy Awards Outstanding Achievement in Costuming for a Series for episode "A Wedding"
(costume supervisor) Patrick R. Norris
(women's costume supervisor) Linda Serijan
Won [31]
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for episode "Sifting The Ashes"
Eileen Brennan
Nominated
Directors Guild of America Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series – Night for episode "The Go-Between"
(director) Scott Winant
Nominated
Golden Globes Best Television Series — Drama thirtysomethingNominated [32]
Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series — Drama Patricia Wettig Won
Humanitas Prize Awards 60 Minute Catgegory for episode "Fighting The Cold"
Joseph Doughterty
Nominated
60 Minute Category Ann Lewis Hamilton Won
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Drama Series (executive producer) Edward Zwick
(executive producer) Marshall Herskovitz
(supervising producer) Scott Winant
(producer) Ellen S. Pressman
(producer) Richard Kramer
(producer) Ann Lewis Hamilton
(producer) Joseph Dougherty
(co-producer) Lindsley Parsons III
Nominated [31]
Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series for episode "Second Look"
(writer) Ann Lewis Hamilton
Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Patricia Wettig Won
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Timothy Busfield Won
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series David Clennon Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Melanie Mayron Nominated
TCA Awards Outstanding Achievement in Drama thirtysomethingWon
Viewers for Quality Television Awards Best Quality Drama Series thirtysomethingNominated
Best Writing in a Quality Drama Series writersNominated
Best Actor in a Quality Drama Series Ken Olin Nominated
Best Actress in a Quality Drama Series Patricia Wettig Nominated
Best Supporting Actor in a Quality Drama Series Timothy Busfield Nominated
Best Supporting Actress in a Quality Drama Series Melanie Mayron Nominated
Specialty Player David Clennon Nominated
Writers Guild of America Episodic Dramafor episode "I'm Nobody, Who Are You?"
(writer) Winnie Holzman
Nominated
Episodic Dramafor episode "Strangers"
(writer) Richard Kramer
Nominated
Young Artists Awards Best Young Actor Starring in a Television Series Luke Rossi Nominated
1992 Writers Guild of America Episodic Dramafor episode "Photo Opportunity"
(writer) Racelle Rosett Schaefer
Won
Episodic Dramafor episode "Guns and Roses"
(writer) Liberty Godshall
Nominated

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. [33] Over the next few weeks, Odette Annable was cast as Janey Steadman and Patrick Fugit and Auden Thornton as Ethan Weston and Brittany Weston. [34] [35] [36] Melanie Mayron and Polly Draper agreed to appear as Melissa Steadman and Ellyn Warren. [37] On June 29, ABC decided not to move forward with the sequel. [38]

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