Punky Brewster: Season One

Squeaky clean television is a pretty gut-wrenching thing to experience when you're an adult. Back in 1984 when it premiered, Punky Brewster was just following the rules of other shows like The Cosby Show or Family Ties, mixing comedy adults could stomach with a message that kids could understand. It's a little orphan Annie tale about an eight-year-old girl (Soleil Moon Frye) who is left homeless in the streets after her mom ditches her to go shopping. While sneaking into an abandoned apartment one night, she meets the manager, Henry (George Gaynes of Police Academy), a crusty, old lonely man that, yes, changes his ways when he's charmed by the spunky little girl. Instantly they become father and daughter, and with a few hitches and many runaway attempts by Punky (she just won't learn), they live happily ever after. Though it might be considered quite dated by many, Punky still has a retro charm that is wonderfully nostalgic. Amidst the cheap graphics and wimpy theme music is a fantastic display of fashion (Punky is always sporting the girl-punk, stripy fashion that was big in 2003) and culture (a joke is made about two geriatrics going break-dancing on a date). With over 11 hours of material, it isn't ideal consumption for a weekend, but if you spread it out, the little vagrant's fairy tale is an endearing one that will have you smiling in your PJs on a Saturday morning all over again. Most importantly, Season One paves the way for the crucial second season, when Cherie locks herself in an old, discarded fridge. Now that is a lesson every kid should learn. Plus: cartoons, interviews. (Shout!/Sony)