' lasted from 1978 to 1982, although only the first year was any good. For a while the show was huge - the 'Friends
'. It was cool to sit upside-down in car seats, it was cool to wear lots of badges, and it was cool to be extremely hairy. And then it was not.
Viewed today, the first series is still fresh and amusing - particularly so for Robin Williams' manic improvisations (the scripts supposed had large gaps with 'Mork can go off here' written instead of dialogue). Williams was essentially a newcomer to television, plucked from obscurity for a brief role as an alien in 'Happy Days'; althogh manic energy was not in short supply in 1978, Williams stood out from the Andy Kaufmans, Steve Martins and John Belushis of the world by being likeable, too. If the show had consisted of Robin Williams improvising for half an hour, it would still be remembered fondly nowadays. Pam Dawber, as Mindy, was the object of many of a childhood crush, and the series worked best when Williams' Mork was contrasted against the normality surrounding him - Mindy and her family, who worked in a music shop. Dawber was called upon to do nothing other than look good in tight jeans, something at which she was superb. The only other supporting character of note was Exidor, a homeless person with delusions of alien-ness. Exidor was funny beacuse he stood out from the normality surrounding him, something which the series' producers did not realise.
After the first series it all went a bit pear-shaped, the format was tweaked to remove Mindy's parents in favour of a young, hip couple who ran a diner. The aforementioned Exidor was joined by a cast of odd people and misfits, such as Mork's son, Merth. The storylines concentrated more on science fiction than comedy, and Mork became just another clown in a giant field of clowns. The show headed in a more overt, surreal sci-fi direction, being neither funny nor interesting. It was cancelled in 1982, although the basic format has been revived periodacally (first as 'Alf', later as 'Third Rock From the Sun').
After a shaky start Robin Williams eventually became and remains a huge film star, whilst Pam Dawber - who, despite her name, was not a painter - did not.