Emmy-winning 1990s sitcom returns with new Spectrum episodes
It’s taken quite a while, but finally, Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt are “Mad About You” again.
After several false starts, the 1992-99 comedy series about spouses Paul and Jamie Buchman returns with new episodes as the Spectrum cable system — which has been offering the original show to subscribers — debuts the first of two batches of six fresh stories Wednesday, Nov. 20. Empty-nest syndrome is a major theme as the Buchmans see daughter Mabel (played by Abby Quinn) start college, leaving the couple facing their next chapter.
“Any number of times when we were ready to go, it was like, ‘Let’s just forget it, this seems too complicated,” reflects Reiser, who created the show with Danny Jacobson. “There were all the logistics and legalities, but the one cookie was, ‘Yeah, but when we get to play, it’s gonna be fun.’ And I was happy to see that was what happened.”
A four-time Emmy winner for “Mad About You,” Hunt also directed the revival’s premiere. (Despite her car accident last month, Spectrum still plans to release the other six new stories — which were in production then — on Wednesday, Dec. 18.) “We just wanted to be sure there were stories that we would be excited about,” Hunt says. “They should be what our show was, which was that life is happening and these people are trying to continue to love each other through it.”
After the first series’ last episode flashed forward 20-plus years, “Helen and I both were very averse to ever coming back,” Reiser notes. “To me, reunion shows were just an excuse for people at home to go, ‘Gee, he let himself go. And look at her. She looks bad.’ Why do that? We also were very proud of how we ended the show; we literally checked every box, covered all the ground we wanted to, and landed the plane successfully. But all these reboots were in the air, and people started asking us about it.”
Back for the revival as well are John Pankow (as Paul’s cousin Ira), Richard Kind (Buchman friend Mark) and Anne Ramsay (Jamie’s sister Lisa). The theme song — “Final Frontier,” composed by Reiser and Don Was – has been retained, too, now as a duet by Lyle Lovett and Kecia Lewis.
Also an Oscar winner for “As Good As It Gets,” Hunt gives special credit to veteran writer-producer Peter Tolan (“The Larry Sanders Show”) for bringing “Mad About You’s” new round to fruition. An executive producer along with Reiser and Hunt, he’s been “the captain of the ship,” Hunt maintains. “He knows we have the show in our DNA, but he’s also brought his super-smart sense to it.”