Savage Family Diggers: We Dig These Families…Savagely

January 25, 2013

Savage Family Diggers premieres on Wednesday, January 30 at 10/9c, which got us to thinking about our favorite television families of all time. Obviously American Savage ranks as #1 in our book (and our hearts), but what others would make our list?

The Keatons from "Family Ties"

It's the show that made Michael J. Fox a star. But the appeal for the show lied in the family as a unit and their interactions with each other, in particular the political conflicts between uber-liberal parents Elyse (Meredith Baxter-Bierney) and Steven (Michael Gross) and their Reaganite pre-neo-con son, Alex (Fox). Yet their differences, more often than not, were played up for laughs. When all was said and done, they were a strong family unit first and foremost in spite of their sharp political divides. America, we should be more like the Keatons. Also, more guys should have Michael Gross's beard, because he kept it neat and tight. I'm just saying, fellas, your beards are starting to get out of control.

The Cunninghams from "Happy Days"

This family was so cool and great that even lone rebel The Fonz wanted to be a part of them. The original unit comprised of parents Howard (Tom Bosley) and Marion (Marion Ross), son Richie (Ron Howard), and daughter Joanie (Erin Moran). It expanded to include The Fonz's scrappy ne'er-do-well cousin Chachi, who loved and later married Joanie, and Richie's own wife and kids. But basically it was the parents that made the unit cool. Especially Marion, who was so cool she was able to refer to The Fonz as "Arthur" and there was nothing he could do about it.

The Bradys from "The Brady Bunch"

When you think of television families, you think of The Bradys first and their disembodied heads in boxes all looking at each other awkwardly as the theme song plays. The show may seem cheesy to us now, but at the time the idea of a television family consisting of two separate units combining into one through a second marriage between the parents was somewhat revolutionary. Even though what happened to their previous spouses wasn't talked about very much, if at all. It's almost as troubling as the seasons-long disappearance of their dog, Tiger.

Benjamin & Jake Sisko from "Deep Space 9"

The folks at All Access Weekly are sure to enjoy this pick. One of the most endearing things about this "Next Generation" spin-off was the relationship between the show's main protagonist, the recently widowed Commander (later Captain) Sisko and his son Jake. Moments between the two became some of the more emotionally powerful moments of the series, in particular the series finale.

The Landry/Campbells from "Sister, Sister"

Is "Sister, Sister" the most underrated sitcom in history? The author of this piece thinks so, and he also thinks Jackee is pure gold in whatever she's in. The show's stars were real-life twins Tia and Tamara Lowry, whose characters kept the first names of the actresses like they were Tony Danza or something. In the show, the two were separated at birth and then reunited by their single parents after the two discovered each other. The foursome became an endearing, and hilarious, unit.

The Gang at "Cheers"

Of course they count as a family, and not just because we saw more of these characters together than we did any of their family members, with the exception of Frasier's wife Lilith. When you go to the same bar night in, night out, you are likely to form bonds there that are more lasting than some bonds with family members. In fact, I'd argue that these people probably knew each other better than their families did. Did it come at the expense of their families? In the real world, it probably would have. But this is television.

So there you have it. Will the Savages become the next family to enter your homes and your hearts? Of course they will.

Tune in to the season premiere of Savage Family Diggers on Jan 30 at 10/9c on SPIKE.

Source: ABC Photo Archives/Michael Ochs Archives/NBCUniversal/Disney ABC Television Group/CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images