Ah, Must-See TV on NBC. You had your Cosby Show, your Family Ties, your Cheers… and then you had the bastard stepchild, the one and only Night Court. A little bit edgy, a little bit dark, and a whole lot funny, Night Court was just about the most perfect way you could imagine to wrap up your night of wholesome family television.
Telling the tale of life in a Manhattan courtroom after dark, the show was often overshadowed by its more popular lead-ins, but we’re here to remind everyone exactly how hilarious this sitcom was.
From hack magician/judge Harry Stone (Harry Anderson) to sex-crazed prosecutor Dan Fielding (John Larroquette) to lovable dope/bailiff Bull Shannon, has there ever been a more wacky conglomeration of characters assembled on a single show? Even the revolving door of public defenders (Gail Strickland, Paula Kelly, Ellen Foley, and Markie Post) only added to the zaniness. And, of course, we can’t forget the late Selma Diamond and Marsha Warfield as the cranky co-bailiffs.
The real genius of the show was how they all worked together to form the ultimate courthouse motley crew. Combine them with the just-as-nuts defendants, including the, er, ‘slow’ Wheelers from West Virginia (including future Star Trek star Brent Spiner as Bob), and you had comedy gold.
All told, Night Court spent nine seasons on the air, two of which (’86-’87 and ’87-’88) found them sitting pretty as the #7 show in the country. It garnered more than 30 Emmy nominations, including four straight wins for Larroquette as Supporting Actor, cementing its status as one of the best and funniest the 80s had to offer.
And, no… we didn’t forget that groovy theme song.
We ♥ Night Court.