On January 7, 1982, the television adaptation of the 1980 film Fame made its debut on NBC, and it's hard to imagine a show that is any more emblematic of the '80s than this one. It's completely steeped in the musical and wardrobe styles of the era, and even the theme song (originally recorded by Irene Cara for the film, re-recorded here by Erica Gimpel, who took over Cara's role as Coco Hernandez for the series) remains an essential staple of '80s playlists.
Focusing on the lives of students and faculty of the fictional New York City High School for the Performing Arts, Fame starred the legendary Debbie Allen (Grey's Anatomy, Dance Dreams) as teacher Lydia Grant and also featured her as lead choreographer for the regular song and dance numbers that made it the forerunner for musical shows like Glee.
The show was critically acclaimed upon its debut, airing for two seasons on NBC and four more in syndication. They even got an 18-year-old Janet Jackson to play a student named Cleo in Season 4. Here she is performing "If the Lady Wants to Play" with Nia Peeples and Cynthia Gibb and a lot of very '80s guitar.
Andy Hunsaker has a head full of sitcom gags and nerd-genre lore, and can be followed @AndyHunsaker if you're into that sort of thing.