7 obscure TV series that share a name with far more famous shows and movies
Friends, The Sixth Sense and The Ghost Busters were all… Seventies shows!
With the countless number of TV shows and movies that have been produced over the past century, some repetition is bound to happen. But while many derivative works are direct remakes or offshoots of the original, sometimes two completely unrelated projects have the exact same title.
Here are seven different television shows with names that are far more well-known than they are. In fact, these shows are downright obscure — some only lasted a handful of episodes! Read on to discover the original versions of Friends, The Sixth Sense and more.
Not to be confused with the '90s sitcom, this 1979 series followed three 11-year-olds as they dealt with the highs and lows of middle school life. It starred Jill Whelan (before she became famous as Vicki Stubing on The Love Boat) and was produced by Aaron Spelling but still only lasted five episodes.
2. The Sixth Sense
Not to be confused with the 1999 thriller, this early Seventies series was wildly successful compared to other shows on this list. It lasted two whole seasons (though only 25 episodes total) and featured many famous guest stars like William Shatner, Will Geer and Joan Crawford. The stories about a college professor who investigates supernatural phenomena were even re-edited to air as episodes of Night Gallery in syndication.
3. The Ghost Busters
Not to be confused with the Dan Aykroyd-Bill Murray comedy — and its cartoon spin-off, The Real Ghostbusters — this fifteen-episode series was produced in 1975. It was a children's show about two paranormal detectives and their gorilla. The characters' names — Spencer, Tracy and Kong — were an homage to classic cinema, although Tracy was the gorilla and Kong one of the human detectives. It returned in the '80s as a cartoon, Ghostbusters, which is why the other one was called the Real Ghostbusters. But who was first, huh?!
Not to be confused with the long-running medical drama, this Eighties sitcom lasted just 22 episodes. Although different in tone, it shared many similarities with its more famous counterpart. Both took place in emergency rooms in Chicago — and both featured the acting talents of Mary McDonnell and a young George Clooney! Weird! The 1984 sitcom also starred Elliott Gould, Conchata Ferrell, Lynne Moody and Shuko Akune.
Not to be confused with the hit Taraji P. Henson series, the 1984 sitcom version starred Dennis Dugan as a young man who joins the corporate ranks and tries to navigate a tyrannical boss and scheming co-workers. Unfortunately, this satire of Eighties corporate America only lasted six episodes. Empire was also an early Sixties drama starring Richard Egan and Charles Bronson that was renamed Redigo for its second season before being canceled.
6. The Pursuit of Happiness
Not to be confused with the Will Smith movie spelled with a "y," there were two one-season sitcoms that used this famous phrase as a title. The first, which aired ten episodes in 1987 and '88, followed a young college professor in Philadelphia who clashes with older members of the faculty. Not even a guest appearance by basketball star Magic Johnson could save this series. The Pursuit of Happiness was also a short-lived sitcom that aired for just a few months in the fall of 1995. It starred Tom Amandes, Melinda McGraw and pre-Everybody Loves Raymond Brad Garrett.
7. The Practice
Not to be confused with the Dylan McDermott legal drama, this 1976 sitcom starred Danny Thomas as a cantankerous doctor who often clashes with his fellow doctor son. A guest appearance by Lucille Ball couldn't help this series from getting canceled after one season.