For four decades, Aaron Spelling and television went hand in hand.
For four decades, the name Aaron Spelling and television went hand in hand.
Spelling produced so many TV favorites — out of more than 200 series and specials in total — that we couldn’t even begin to list them here. Even harder than listing them all would be choosing one favorite. How could we ever pick just one great Spelling show?
To celebrate Spelling on his birthday, we decided to make it a little easier on ourselves and pick one classic Spelling show from each decade, beginning with the 1960s and ending with the 2000s. And you know what? It was still hard. But we’ve done it, and here they are: the decade-defining shows of Aaron Spelling.
Though Spelling began his production career in the late 1950s, he really hit his stride in the ’60s, bringing us favorites like “Burke’s Law” with Gene Barry, “Honey West” starring Anne Francis, and “The Lloyd Bridges Show.” But our pick for the quintessential Spelling show of the 1960s: “The Mod Squad” that groovy cop drama starring Michael Cole, Peggy Lipton, and Clarence Williams III.
This decade presented a nearly impossible decision. Spelling was behind two of the absolute greatest cop shows of the ’70s, including “Starsky & Hutch.” But in the end, we had to go with “Charlie’s Angels” starring Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson, Jaclyn Smith, John Forsythe, and David Doyle.
And we thought the ’70s were hard… The 1980s proved even tougher. How to pick a best Aaron Spelling show from the ’80s when the choices include “Dynasty” with John Forsythe, “T.J. Hooker” with William Shatner, and “Hart to Hart” with Stefanie Powers, Robert Wagner, and Doris Roberts? And how about the incomparable Ricardo Montalban and Herve Villechaize on “Fantasy Island“? In the end, though, we had to go with the Queen Mary of them all, “The Love Boat.”
This decade brought us some fantastic Spelling shows, like “Melrose Place” and “Sunset Beach.” But there is one obvious choice: the show that spanned the entire decade and absolutely represents the ’90s for a generation … “Beverly Hills, 90210.”
Though Aaron Spelling died in 2006, he still produced some beloved shows in his last decade. We loved “Charmed” and “Summerland” … but we’ll say a final goodbye to Spelling with a clip from “7th Heaven,” Spelling’s longest-running series.