NBC used to be the leader among television’s “Big Four.” This statement was made in no uncertain terms this past Monday by NBC entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt. Greenblatt made the statement at a conference hosted by Israel’s Keshet Media Group. Greenblatt cited a small handful of shows aired by the network during the 1980s and 1990s as examples of what made NBC the leader of the “Big 4” during those two decades. One of the shows not mentioned by Greenblatt—completely unintentionally—was a little sitcom called Wings. Wings was one of a trio of sitcoms that helped maintain the network’s place at the top of the broadcast networks throughout those twenty years. The other two series in that trio were The Golden Girls and Wings’ “twin” series, Cheers. Wings succeeded primarily for the same reason that the aforementioned sitcoms succeeded. That primary reason was its simplicity. It was simple in its writing, its sets, and its characters. The simplicity of the show’s writing was just one of the reasons for its success over the course of eight seasons. The writing behind Wings was not only simplistic, but it was also largely tame in terms of its content. And to a lesser extent, something else that makes the show so interesting is its theme song. That sounds odd. But the use of classical music for the show’s theme song makes it stand out even more. And now thanks to Mill Creek Entertainment, audiences of all ages will get to see all of this form themselves. That’s because Mill Creek Entertainment has re-issued the first two seasons of the classic sitcom in a three-disc set that is available now.
This new three-disc, two-season set is a blast from the past both for those that are seeing it for the first time and for the first time again. That is first and foremost because of its simplicity. Much like NBC’s other hit sitcoms of the time—Golden Girls and Cheers, which actually overlapped with Wings in terms of their broadcast years—Wings worked because of its simplicity. It was simple in its writing, its sets, and even its characters. The scripts center on the relationships between a small group of friends/co-workers at a small Nantucket airport. Because of their relationships, the stories always intertwine, but never overpower one another. Again, they are simplistic. What’s more, each episode stood solidly on its own two feet so to speak. This is something that is extremely rare with today’s TV shows. Whether it be dramas or even sitcoms, serials seem to be the way of things in this era of television. That the episodes in both of Wings’ first two seasons stand so well by themselves and that they are so simplistic is a double whammy for the show. It means that viewers don’t have to be completely wrapped up in the show to appreciate it.
The writing behind each episode of Wings’ first two seasons is the primary reason for the show’s success. It doesn’t require audiences to be completely involved in the show. Believe it or not, the sets are another part of the show’s success. Because the writing was so solid throughout each episode, it didn’t necessitate the need for lots of different sets for the scripts. The airport set consisted of maybe four different “rooms” at best. There were other sets used sparsely throughout the show’s run. But the majority of the show’s episodes took place inside the airport’s terminal. Again, that goes back to the show’s writing. It was so simple that there was no need for multiple sets, or even large scale sets. Those simple sets alongside the simple writing made the show easier to keep up with and thus enjoy. It’s one more positive that audiences will see here in the series’ first two seasons.
The writing and sets worked in tandem in every episode of Wings to make the show a success, even early on in its run. Just as simple were the characters. While Joe, his brother Brian, and Helen, Joe’s love interest may not have been entirely relatable, what was relatable was the sibling rivalry between Joe and Brian. Their rivalry was one to which both male and female viewers could and still can relate. It’s because of that, that viewers will enjoy watching what they would get into every episode. And along with the equally simple writing and sets, this is just one more simple aspect of the show that makes it so fun even today.
The use of the show’s characters, its writing, and its sets together makes Wings another welcome blast from the past. This is especially the case considering television’s current climate. The world needs classic shows such as this brought back. It doesn’t need them rebooted. It just needs them resurrected. There is one more aspect of Wings that proves this argument that most people likely would not consider. That aspect is the show’s opening theme music. How many television shows past or present have ever used actual classical music for their opening and closing credits? The answer to that question is very few if any. To that extent, this is quite the bonus. It is an original move by the show’s heads. And it’s honestly nice to hear versus some of the cheesy theme songs that have been crafted for shows through the years. Keeping this in mind, along with everything else noted here, viewers will see that Wings has so much to offer, even in its first two seasons. It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct from Mill Creek Entertainment at http://www.millcreekdirect.com/wings-seasons-1-2.html. More information on this and other releases from Mill Creek Entertainment is available online at http://www.millcreekent.com and http://www.facebook.com/MillCreekEnt. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.