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Family (ABC 1976-1980, Mary Grace Canfield, Season Hubley)

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Prime time soap operas are a dime a dozen, but Family stood out from the pack thanks to a combination of quality writing and excellent acting. Created by Jay Presson Allen, a writer who credits include such films as Cabaret and Prince of the City, the show got its start as a six-part miniseries that was telecast on ABC in March of 1976. But when it became clear that no mini-series could possibly tell the wide-ranging story of this family (especially a story with these high ratings), ABC commissioned a series.

The weekly version of Family followed the lives of the Lawrence family: Doug, the father, worked as a lawyer while his quiet-but-strong wife Kate tended to their home. They had three children: Nancy, Willie, and Letitia, who went by the nickname of Buddy. The children were later joined by Andrea, an orphan adopted by the Lawrences.

The story’s plotlines revolved around the family’s various crises. Nancy, the grown-up daughter, moved home to live in the guest house after discovering her husband Jeff was cheating on her. She had a baby, Timmy, and decided to attend law school. Willie, a headstrong teen, decided to quit school and dreamed of becoming a writer while looking for true love. Buddy, dealing with the pain of her oncoming adolescence, often felt lost in the shuffle and even ran away from home at one point. The parents had their own problems to cope with during the show’s run: Kate was diagnosed with breast cancer at one point, and Doug was temporarily blinded in an automobile accident.

Family ABC 1976

Though there was plenty of melodrama to be found in the stories, this element was never allowed to overwhelm the strong sense of moral values that show conveyed to its viewers. Sensationalism was kept to a minimum, and the various plots and subplots were used to explore how social problems like alcoholism, divorce, and teenage pregnancy could be coped with by the average family.

The mixture of relevant social issues and well-crafted drama made the show a success with both viewers and critics during its run. Kristy McNichol won two Emmys for her performance as Buddy, and the show also managed to win various awards from the Directors Guild of America, the Young Artist Awards, and the Human Family Educational and Cultural Institute. You make fun of prime time soaps as much as you want, but how many awards has your family won?

production details
USA / ABC / Spelling – Goldberg / x50 minute episodes / Broadcast 9 March 1976 – 25 June 1980

Creator: Jay Presson Allen / Music: John Rubinstein / Producer: Mike Nichols

cast
Mary Grace Canfield as Mrs. Hanley (1976-78)
Elayne Heilveil as Nancy Lawrence Maitland (1976)
Meredith Baxter as Nancy Lawrence Maitland (1976-80)
James Broderick as Doug Lawrence
Quinn Cummings as Annie Cooper (1978-80)
Gary Frank as Willie Lawrence
Season Hubley as Salina Magee (1976-77)
Kristy McNichol as Letitia “Buddy” Lawrence
John Rubinstein as Jeff Maitland
Sada Thompson as Kate Lawrence

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TV

Christmas Princess (UP 2017, Nicole Munoz, Zak Santiago)

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Christmas Princess Nicole Munoz

Christmas Princess is the true story of Donaly Marquez who, through a childhood of neglect and abuse, achieved her dream of becoming a rose bowl princess. An inspirational story of resilience, strength and finding a family to call your own.

cast
Nicole Muñoz as Donaly Marquez
Rosa Blasi as Sara
Zak Santiago as Ignacio Marquez
Olivia Steele Falconer as Emily Marquez
Jaedon Siewert as Abraham Marquez
Lina Renna as Young Donaly
Paloma Kwiatkowski as Chloe
Ty Wood as Trent
Pendo Muema as Monique
Kalyn Miles as Maria
Kaaren de Zilva as Roberta
Garfield Wilson as Dr. Miller
Clay St. Thomas as Judge #1
Patti Allan as Judge #2
Natalie von Rotsburg as Judge #3

crew details
Director: Allan Harmon
Writer: Tracy Andreen

production details
Country: Canada
Network and Production Companies: UP
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From: Sunday 10 December 2017

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TV

Christmas Reunion, A (Lifetime 2015, Catherine Hicks, Denise Richards)

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A Christmas Reunion Lifetime

In A Christmas Reunion a Madison Avenue executive, Amy, discovers an unusual Christmas surprise when she inherits her Aunt’s hometown bakery. The real surprise comes when she learns the other half of the bakery was left to her long-ago boyfriend, Jack.

Unresolved personal issues resurface between them, as the exes return home to co-manage the store, along with its traditional holiday cookie bake-off.

cast
Denise Richards as Amy Stone
Patrick Muldoon as Jack Evans
Jake Busey as Dylan Carruthers
Catherine Hicks as Aunt Linda
Parker Stevenson as Don Dupree
Patricia De Leon as Janette Crowder
Jon Briddell as Luke Crowder
Robert R. Shafer as Frank O’Brien
Anna Barnholtz as Chloe
John Colton as Steve Evans
Sandra Evans as Shari
Brody Fitzgerald as Young Jack Evans
Michael Gaglio as Earl Pratt, Sr.
Gib Gerard as Earl Pratt, Jr.
Joyce Greenleaf as Helen

crew details
Director: Sean Olson
Writers: Margaret Base, Mary Glenn, Sam Irvin, Sean Olson, Peter Sullivan, Michael Varrat

production details
Country: USA
Network and Production Companies: Lifetime – Hybrid
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From: 13 December 2015

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TV

Final Vision (ID 2017, Scott Foley, Dave Annable)

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Final Vision ID

Final Vision is a twisted psychological thriller and a true-crime drama based on the longest running criminal case in U.S. history. It’s the story of Jeffrey MacDonald (Foley), a handsome, Ivy League-educated U.S. Army Green Beret doctor, who was convicted of brutally murdering his pregnant wife and two young daughters in the middle of the night.

Told through the eyes of best-selling author Joe McGinniss (Annable), who was approached by MacDonald to write a book about his personal nightmare as he was about to go to trial.

cast
Scott Foley as Jeffrey MacDonald
Dave Annable as Joe McGinniss
John Doman as Bernie Segal
Lochlyn Munro as Wade Smith
Jessica Harmon as Colette MacDonald
Caroline Aaron as Leslie Sterling
Primo Allon as MP Sergeant
Julia Maren Baker as Kimberly MacDonald
Julia Benson as Nancy McGinniss
Baylee Breen-Wood as Kristen MacDonald
April Cameron as Nurse at St. Mary’s
Aaron Craven as James Blackburn
Bruce Dawson as Doctor
Parveen Dosanjh as Woman at Party
Lane Edwards as Brian Murtagh

crew details
Writer: Denis O’Neill
Director:  Nicholas McCarthy
Executive Producers: Angela Bromstad, Christine Connor, Linda Berman S

production details
Country:  USA
Network and Production Companies: ID – Lincoln Square Productions
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From:  Sunday 10 December 2017

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