'Good Morning Vietnam,' 'Aladdin' and more
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'Mork & Mindy' (1978-1982)
On the surface, you'd probably guess that "Mork & Mindy" might be one of the silliest, least substantive shows ever conceived of. I mean, it's an entire show based on a dream sequence from "Happy Days." Does it get any more ephemeral than that? But "Mork & Mindy" will endure -- and remains every bit as funny today as when it premiered -- because the unknown Robin Williams was, and this phrase is used too much but is still essential here, a force of nature. Mork wasn't from our planet, he wasn't bound by our Earth conventions, and Williams was similarly unbound by any restrictions at all. Mork was a performance cobbled together seemingly from absolutely anything Robin Williams could do to get laughs and since Mork wasn't human, left Williams unbound. Mork was a whirling dervish of daredevil physicality, wacky voices, motor-mouthed verbosity and, lest you ever thought Williams was genuinely out of control, consummate comic timing.
- Daniel Fienberg