TV URBAN LEGEND: “Mork and Mindy” was going to become a time-traveling show in its fifth season.
Few TV series have experienced the fall from grace that was suffered by “Mork and Mindy.”
When it debuted in 1978, the spin-off of the long-running hit TV series “Happy Days” was a genuine sensation. Fans couldn’t get enough of the story of alien Mork (Robin Williams) landing on Earth and becoming the roommate and best friend of Mindy (Paw Dawber).
It was the #3 show on television. It was nominated for Emmys for Best Comedy Series and Best Actor in a Comedy. It was a total phenomenon, with Williams now an overnight superstar and there being “Mork and Mindy” lunch boxes, board games and action figures (and more).
However, the show had a bit of a difficulty dealing with the whole “Mork reacting to life on Earth” for multiple seasons and in Season 2, the show dropped to #27 and it was out of the Top 40 entirely by the third season.
In an attempt to get the ratings back up, they had Mork and Mindy get married in Season 4 and then have a kid, who, due to the alien physiology of Mork’s people, would age backwards, so their son was played by veteran comedic actor (and personal idol of Robin Williams) Jonathan Winters…
The ratings, though, just kept going down. The show then tried a three-part dramatic storyline at the end of Season 4, where Mork and Mindy are hunted down by another alien, Kalnik (a pre-“Murphy Brown” Joe Regalbuto), who planned on taking over Earth and needed Mork out of the way so that he wouldn’t interfere. Mork actually had to go public with his identity in an attempt to stop him. At the end of the series, they traveled through time to the Stone Age, pursued by the evil alien and, well, that was it. It wasn’t even like the show ended on a cliffhanger, as it instead ended on a one-off episode (where Mork gave a report back home about what it was like to be happily married) ignoring the cliffhanger of the previous episode, since the show was canceled and they didn’t want to end with an open-ended storyline.
However, had the show not been canceled, the producer of the show, Brian Levant, told io9’s Charlie Jane Anders (in a great piece), about the fifth season that could have been:
It was going to be a semi-educational show, where Mork and Mindy traveling through time would meet with historical figures. We actually did a photo shoot for that, of [Mork and Mindy] standing with Abe Lincoln and Benjamin Franklin.
Here’s that photo…
It’s amazing that a show starring an in-his-prime Robin Williams couldn’t get a fifth season. It sounds like it would have been a fun idea.
The legend is…
Thanks to Charlie Jane Anders and Brian Levant for the information!
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