Poster: Mr. Television
(see this users gallery)
Wings aired from April 1990 until September 1997 on NBC.
This easygoing character comedy might have been called Cheers ll. It
was produced by the same people, structured somewhat like Cheers, set
near Cheers hometown of Boston and scheduled immediately following
Cheers on the NBC Thursday night lineup.
Instead of a bar , the location was the waiting room and lunch counter
of a small airfield on the resort island of Nantucket, off the
Massachusetts coast. The regular "gang" included brothers Joe and
Brian Hackett ( Tim Daly, Steven Weber), both pilots, who ran a one
plane commuter service called Sandpiper Air from the airport. they had
little else in common. Joe was buttoned-down, organized and serious (
like Cheers Rebecca), and Brian a hang-loose free spirit (rather like
Sam Malone). Their mutual best friend since childhood was Helen
(Crystal Bernard), a once chubby but now beautiful aspiring concert
cellist who ran the lunch counter. These 3 lifelong friends were "the
three musketeers." By the end of the first season, Helen and Joe were
having a serious affair, while Brian played the field. Other denizens
of Nantucket Airport were Roy ( David Schramm), the heavyset blustery
owner of a rival air service; Faye ( Rebecca Schull), the perky
sixtyish ex-stewardess who ran the ticket counter; and Lowell (Thomas
Haden Church), the eccentric maintenance man and cosmic philosopher.
Not exactly Norm or Cliff (of Cheers) but close. They all sat around,
traded friendly jibes , and generally got involved in each other's
lives. Sound familiar?
Joining the cast in later seasons were Antonio (Tony Shaloub), the
hopelessly romantic Italian cabbie; Alex ( Farrah Forke), a brassy
lady helicopter pilot; and Casey ( Amy Yasbeck), Helen's divorced
older sister from San Francisco who's perfect marriage didn't work
out. Helen and Joe continued their on-again,off-again affair (
interrupted by her brief marriage of convenience to Antonio), and in
the spring of 1995 they were married. With Helen and Joe married, the
dating action shifted to Brian and Casey whose romance became so hot
and heavy they accidentally burned Joe's house down in 1996. The
following season, Brian's house burned down and the brothers were so
strapped for cash they lost control of Sandpiper Air for a time.
The last original episode, on May 21, 1997 brought the series full
circle. In the 1990 premiere, the long-separated brothers had been
brought together via a "treasure hunt" resulting from a trail of notes
left by their deceased father. Now 8 years later, they found another
of his notes, which after a long chase eventually led them to a
$250,000 inheritance hidden in an airport locker. After some
squabbling, they decided to use it to help Helen realize her dream to
study the cello under the world's leading cellist, in Vienna.
An Article from Entertainment Weekly
May 13, 1994 at 04:00 AM EDT
Wrapping up its fourth season this week, Wings (NBC) proves once again why it’s a hit sitcom that gets little respect: This show set in a small Nantucket commuter-airline terminal is so consistently uneven, it’s impossible to get a handle on it. The episode starts off with a notably unfunny cameo appearance by Ray Charles, and then moves on to its beautifully written primary plot: Crystal Bernard’s Helen thinks her boyfriend, Davis (Mark Harelik), wants to dump her, but he’s actually planning to propose marriage. It’s an amusing, emotionally intricate story line as written by Mark Reisman and Ian Gurvitz, and Bernard does a wonderful job of moving from bitter anger to giddy joy. The episode ends with a twist that’s truly surprising; if you’re a Wings watcher, you certainly won’t want to miss this.
But are you a regular Wings viewer? To be sure, it’s one of the top 20 shows in the Nielsen ratings, and it’s well acted, too, with such skillful performers as Tim Daly and Steven Weber as the Hackett brothers, Joe and Brian. Over the past couple of seasons, Wings has developed a few good supporting characters, such as the tough helicopter pilot played by Farrah Forke and the wry cabdriver, Antonio (Tony Shalhoub). Bernard has moved well beyond the original limits of her role, that of standard-issue blond bombshell, to make Helen smart and ambitious. Best of all is Thomas Haden Church as dimwit mechanic Lowell; Church does TV’s best deadpan idiocy since Woody Harrelson on Cheers.
Still, there’s something too soft at the center of Wing that keeps it from inspiring enthusiasm. Because Daly and Weber share the lead roles, the series doesn’t have one primary hero; the characters of Joe and Brian are always supposed to be appealing and attractive, but beyond that, they’re pretty vague-it’s like a Cheers with two Sam Malones. As if to acknowledge this, the show’s producers have steadily added more and more supporting actors over the years, and by now, Wings is a series ruled by its minor players. This is an offbeat strategy that has kept Wings alive, if not always very lively.
An Article from the New York Daily News
'WINGS' FLIES INTO CRYSTAL BLUE AFTER 8 YEARS, SITCOM FLIES AWAY, WITH BERNARD EYEING A NEW LAUNCH PAD
BY Richard Huff
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Tuesday, May 20, 1997, 12:00 AM
THOUGH she knew it was coming for a year, saying farewell to "Wings" was not easy for series star Crystal Bernard. "It didn't hit me until the last episode," Bernard told The News about tonight's series finale (NBC, 8 p.m.). "I was extremely emotional, especially the last day.
" Bernard has been to a few wrap parties before, including those for her two previous series, "Happy Days" and "It's a Living.
" But "Wings" meant more. For the thirtysomethingBernard, the eight-season run on the sitcom represents a majority of her adult life. "It has given me a career," she said. "It's enabled me to do the things that I've always wanted to do. It's given me validation as a person, as an actress.
" It's also helped her launch her career as a country singer. Ironically, when casting the role of Helen Chappel, one of the core-group characters in the small-airport set sitcom, producers thought Bernard too naive because of her past roles and wouldn't audition her for the part. But a call from NBC entertainment president Brandon Tartikoff opened the door. "Wings" launched amid a minor controversy in April 1990. The hubbub stemmed from the fact that it was produced by Paramount and therefore was given the primo spot behind Paramount's monster hit "Cheers" on Thursday nights. Critics thought the show didn't deserve the time period, although viewers proved them wrong. The decision to end the show now was mutually agreed to by the cast and NBC, Bernard said. NBC had its eye on the bottom line in terms of ratings and production costs, which always escalate as the stars get yearly raises after yearly raises. As for the cast (led by Tim Daly and Steven Weber), Bernard said, "We felt that we had told every story there was to tell about these characters. We just didn't want to keep doing the show until nobody wanted to see it. I don't think anybody was begging to do the show for one more year.
" Bernard attributes the show's long run to "characters that are lovable" who were also "not the hippest or the coolest.
" Don't get her wrong, though, she quickly added: "I've always thought it's been a smart show, an emotionally driven show.
" As for what's ahead, besides her current 60-show concert tour promoting her latest album, Bernard is pondering that unknown, with a bit of trepidation. "It's always going to be scary being thrown into the world not knowing if you're going to work, or be good, or pay for your house," she said.
To watch clips of Wings go to https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=wings+tv+show+full+episodes
For more on Wings go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wings_(1990_TV_series)
For a Website dedicated to Wings go to https://web.archive.org/web/20090829031217/http://geocities.com/peterjmay/index.html
For Jen's Wings Page go to https://web.archive.org/web/20040214233510/http://cbfan1.tripod.com/wings/wings.html
For Tim's TV Showcase go to https://web.archive.org/web/20020210021842/http://www.timstvshowcase.com/wings.html
To read about a crossover between Cheers and Wings go to http://www.poobala.com/cheersandwings.html
For an interview with Steven Weber go to https://tv.avclub.com/steven-weber-on-wings-party-down-and-why-studio-60-on-1798255313
For some Wings-related interview videos at the Archive of American Television go to https://interviews.televisionacademy.com/shows/wings
To watch the opening credits go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdWMNe_B3ak
***Almost all of my 1990's sitcom links pages have been updated. That means all the pages from the 1950's to the 1990's have now been updated and fixed.
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Keywords: The Cast of Wings (Links Updated 8/5/18)