1997 was a busy year for turning sci-fi blends of action and comedy into movies. Based on the 1994 Roland Emmerich spectacle, the series continued to build its universe around the scientists and military personnel who make contact with an extraterrestrial civilization through a wormhole. The show launched a second series, “Stargate: Atlantis,” and made for an exciting second act for post-MacGyver Richard Dean Anderson. Showtime carried “SG-1” for its first five seasons before it jumped to Sci-Fi (now Syfy) for its last five.
Felix Unger and Oscar Madison, the mismatched roommates from Neil Simon’s play-turned-1968-box-office-smash, were too funny to leave on the silver screen. Within two years, the comedy duo was on the air, with Tony Randall replacing Jack Lemmon as the fastidious Felix and Jack Klugman taking over for Walter Matthau in the role of slovenly grouch Oscar. Both of the TV actors had performed in different productions of the play. The show made it 114 episodes over five seasons, earning three nominations for Outstanding Comedy Series from the Primetime Emmy Awards.
Hawkeye, Hot Lips, Trapper John and most of the other favorites from this hit TV series began life first in the novel by Richard Hooker and then in Robert Altman’s Best Picture nominee for 1970. The story of a medical unit during the Korean War provided an unexpected amount of laughter and more than a few tears over its 11 seasons. The final episode remains the most-watched series finale of all time. People loved it so much, it earned two spinoffs: “AfterMASH” and “Trapper John, M.D.”
The 1986 sci-fi fantasy film “Highlander” introduced the line, “There can be only one,” referring to the strange race of immortal people who are drawn to decapitating each other. Ignoring the idea in the second movie that they’re all aliens, “Highlander: The Series” continued the mystery with British hunk Adrian Paul becoming Duncan McCloud, a Highlander who works to help people in need (and to decapitate people).
Apparently, high school football is really important in Texas. Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton led the cast in this drama based on a 2004 movie based on a 1990 book about the residents of a small town and their live-or-die football games. The NBC series won a Peabody Award, an Emmy and an NAACP Image Award among others, but it never enjoyed blockbuster ratings.