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  • Good television does not just entertain but make you wonder. This show makes me wonder several things...

    * Why did it take another 20 years for executives to find another good series for Ken Howard?

    * Why did this show survive only three years while CBS allowed "Alice", "One Day At A Time", "The Jeffersons" and "All In The Family" to die pathetically three years after they stopped being entertaining?

    * Who makes these decisions, anyhow?

    This was by far one of the best shows ever. Set in an inner city, the directors worked hard to make it realistic. And they did. Jackson got killed. Thorpe and Coolidge got herpes from the same woman. Reese fell victim to an unscrupulous high school coach. Salami had an affair with a teacher. Hayward's cousin died of a drug overdose. Goldstein struggled with his faith. Coach Reeves struggled with the death of a player during practice. Gomez joined a gang. The show's honesty and wonderful direction and script was so good it was even played on public television in some areas.

    Coach Reeves mentored the kids, but never patronized them or tried to be "down" with them. His attitude was "Believe it or not, I've been where you are. So I'll offer you my advice. You can take it or not, but you will have to live with the results either way, so choose carefully." And Reeves also learned from the kids and they learned from each other.

    It was a show with limitless potential, but was on a network with limited vision. Pity.
  • "The White Shadow" was my favourite TV-series when I was a ten-year old. As a member of a soccer-crazy nation, it had hit me and a generation of Turks like no other show had. That, I may easily claim, has been the TV show that turned basketball in Turkey from a fringe sport no-one cared about to a sport everyone wanted to participate in. Many who didn't know there was such a sport had become addicts to basketball league games, and the relationship between the team-members at Carver High has become an inspiration to high-school pupils. Now, since the recent Euro'Basket 2001, the TRT TV has began to run the series again. I am very glad to see my wee nephews watch it with the same enthusiasm as I did when I was their age. That's due to the fact that the characters were well-written, the subjects very-well chosen, and the acting was pure brilliant. I don't know if any other high-school drama can match it years later in terms of its density, strength, and meaningfulness. I'm glad it was on years ago, I'm glad they show it again in 2001. Pity Ken Howard and the rest of the cast couldn't make it as big as they deserved later on. One thing is for sure, though, they'll always be remembered as Coach Reeves, Coolidge, Salami, Thorpe and so...
  • I wish The White Shadow would have lasted as long as Saturday Night Live, with a revolving cast of new students every three years. The world needed this show then and needs it even more now.

    It boggles my mind why shows like The White Shadow, which addressed the real-life concerns of inner city kids in an intelligent, sensitive, poignant way get canceled while idiotic shows like Married With Children last forever. Kids may pretend they don't need help and guidance, act tough and independent, etc., but they do. This show provided it. It was full of wisdom and insight but was fun and entertaining at the same time. All of the actors were brilliant. It was one of the best ensembles ever put together. I watched a lot of the episodes on TV Land a few years ago and was just as moved and entertained then as I was when I was in high school 20 years ago.

    I suppose the reason intelligent shows like this get canceled is because TV is a flawed medium. People surf the channels with their eyes, not their minds, and since the eyes are the most shallow of our receptors, they stop when they see a pair of boobs or graphic violence. This is why the Jerry Springer show keeps on going while intelligent documentaries that redeem and educate us all struggle in obscurity. It's a sad statement about humanity in general. In the final analysis, we get the TV shows we deserve.

    If any of the cast or crew of The White Shadow ever read this, THANK YOU for helping me through high school at a time when I had very few sensible role models (like Coach Reeves) or instruction on how to make the tough decisions. Your show provided both without being condescending or preachy. I wish there were more shows like it today.
  • This had to be one of the most accurate portrayals of inner city life ever made. This show dealt with it all, drugs, gangs, sex and even death. The second season was to me its peak. You got to see the losers become winners, but not without paying a price. Thorpe infecting Coolige's girlfriend with syphilis (predating the AIDS crisis), a player dying of a brain hemorrhage during practice and the most heartbreaking moment, Jackson getting murdered on the eve of the team winning the city championship. But, the most amazing thing is that this would be the breeding ground for two of the finest directors around, Thomas Carter and Kevin Hooks. Bruce Paltrow not only was a genius director, but he was also a professor and his charges learned well and became great on their own.
  • Count me among the many others who loved this show. As an 11 year old kid who ate, drank and slept sports, this show was one of the best things going. As a young adult, I viewed it with the same love but with a much different perspective. The White Shadow featured a racially mixed inner city basketball team coached by a caucasian former pro player named Ken Reeves. At first viewed as an outsider unable to relate to a group of city kids, he gradually wins their trust. The show tackled sensitive issues in an honest, believable manner and dealt with the often grim realities facing both kids and teachers in an inner city setting. The basketball action was also very well done- impressive considering many feature films depicting athletics show actors trying unconvincingly to play or compete.

    It is hard to believe this show is nearly 30 years old. The subject matter on The White Shadow could easily be depicted today- things change and yet they stay the same. Sadly, this is yet another show that didn't last long that nonetheless was both entertaining and worthwhile on so many levels.

    Today, I am a high school teacher and coach partly because of the influence this show had on me personally. I really wish we could turn back the clock and get shows of this quality and long term impact again.
  • snakeplis14 October 2003
    White Shadow series appeared on Turkish tv in the begining of 80's. There were hard days in Turkey in economics and politics areas so this series made the youth happy and provided them different point of view. During this period Turkish basketball life jumped to upper level.This improving in basketball has still carried on in these days. White Shadow had a big influence on basketball and Turkish teen life. Therefore this series has an important place in Turkish social life.
  • The White Shadow was not just one of the best sports shows ever, but it was one of the best shows overall. When you tuned in to The White Shadow, you didn't just see some high school kids on a basketball team with an ex-pro as their coach, you saw them deal with real-life problems and situations. Addictions (Jackson). Gangs (Gomez). STDs (Coolidge, Thorpe). Death (Jackson). I will admit, it wasn't the same when the players "graduated", but the new cast wasn't as bad as some think they were. They were just never given the same opportunities. When Goldstein, Hayward, Jackson, Reese, and Gomez were replaced, the storylines then mainly revolved around the returning players, namely, Coolidge, Thorpe, Salami, and Vitaglia. Stone wasn't too bad. Neither was Mitchell. I would love to see this series on DVD some day. Also, does anyone remember Phil ever saying anything?
  • dhyan10 December 1999
    This ranks as one of the best tv shows I've ever seen. Timely, even today, and very well-acted. I watched this while it was on TV Land and very much enjoyed it. Not at all cheesy and very honest. The title character was not always nice or good, but believable, and there was always a lesson to be learned.
  • Some might say the greatest television series of all-time is I Love Lucy, or The Honeymooners but for this recliner critic it has to be The White Shadow. The White Shadow focused on urban problems of high school kids while at the same time teaching the viewer ethics and morals and how to shoot a jump shot. It's sad to see that The White Shadow has fallen out of television's limelight, it is almost impossible to find an episode anymore. I believe if The White Shadow was seen by the kids of today it would be more popular than ever before. The NBA has probably taken over football and baseball as the most popular sport in America so why not let The White Shadow in on some of the exposure. It's a really great show and it will live in this viewer's mind all the way to the boneyard. I also want to answer the lifelong question that this show has posed, Tim Van-Patten(Salami) is actually Dick Van-Patten's brother and not son.
  • "The White Shadow",was without a doubt one of the most accurate portrayals of life in the inner city ever produced and it was one of the most intense dramatic shows that ran for three seasons on CBS-TV. The show dealt with some of the most relevant issues of its day and still at the time very controversial as well. The show dealt with drugs,gangs,sex, not to mention pieces of subjects dealing with diseases,family issues, homosexuality,and even death. Ken Howard stars as Coach Reeves,a former NBA professional basketball player who takes over as the new high school basketball coach at fictional Carver High School where he takes over a bunch of kids who needs guidance and understanding under the watchable eyes of the school principal,Mrs. Buchanan,played by Joan Pringle. The shows' first two seasons to me was at the peak of perfection and from there it was here that the show garnerned back-to-back Emmys for his breathtaking direction,courtesy of the show's producer and creator Bruce Paltrow.

    In this series,you get to see these losers become winners, and also you get to see the kids go through the motions in there times of crisis,and it comes with a terrible price. The most heartbreaking moment of the series came when Jackson gets killed on the eve of the team winning the city championship. The saddest moment of the series is when Gomez joins a gang and is killed on the eve of his graduation from the school. It's amazing that this series is nowhere to be seen these days,since the last time it was shown was on ESPN's classic sports channel.
  • As you can tell from reviews, this show made a huge impact in Turkey in 80s. Weird enough almost nobody remembers this show where it was first aired and shot in U.S. I wish Netflix, Amazon Video had this show in their offerings. It was a great show for a young kid, teenager and for adults, too.
  • Elewis119511 March 2017
    The answer to your question is on Mr. Howard's wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Howard#Early_life "Howard turned down several offers of basketball scholarships in favor of a more focused academic education." It goes on to say "He was a graduate of Amherst College, where he served as captain of the basketball team".

    Not sure what "served as captain" means, when he turned down a scholarship means. That's a bit vague and the footnote is no help. My guess would be that he did not, focusing on his studies and acting instead.

    • - - I remember liking this show growing up. It feels dated now, mostly from memory, but it was a good show at the time.
  • Does anyone know if Ken Howard played beyond high school? He looks like he could play a little. Coolidge had good height too, but he didn't look like he was all that skilled, and the other guys on the team looked like they had no skills at all. But I really loved this show, I have it on DVD, anyone who has played high school ball can relate to the WhiteShadow, and it always seemed like Ken Howard got all the chicks in the show too. This was an old school gym with no glass backboards and no 3-point line, high school adopted the line in 1987. When season 2 comes out I will definitely buy it also. This is a show I highly recommend for all to see.
  • Love this show because it depicts teens and adults as humans with problems and what steps it takes to take care of the problems. I also love basketball and get to see lots of action in most shows. Ken Michelman ("Abner Goldstein") is a super actor, as shown in the show "Little Orphan Abner".
  • Starting today, I will do an "Episode Spotlight". I will pick a random episode, 1 to 54, based off a random number generator. Today is the 38th episode filmed, "Coolidge Goes Hollywood": It's the off-season and Coolidge's talents are discovered, but not in basketball. First, Frank Leonard, the drama teacher (last year he was the music teacher and his name was Art) wants Cool for the drama club after he sees him reciting one line from a TV show. Then, the director from a show called "Downtown High" hears him say "smack you upside yo head" and immediately thinks he's a natural actor.

    What follows is quite possibly the silliest (not funniest) episode of the series. Sure, it has its funny moments. But, my question is, why didn't Season 2 end with the city championship? Why was it necessary to add two more episodes? Sure, "A Few Good Men" dealt with the guys who were graduating (hey, it's a show about high schoolers. Somebody HAD to graduate after two seasons, right?) and was somewhat plausible to occur after the championship. Why was this episode needed? Maybe the producers wanted to give Byron Stewart a shot at expanding his horizons as an actor. I do have to say Stewart was born to play the role of Warren Coolidge. It's kind of unfortunate he didn't go on to more roles and I'm glad Bruce Paltrow saw fit to reprise his character in St. Elsewhere. Maybe it's better he didn't; he probably would have spent his career being typecast in "big person" roles mainly in comedies.

    My favorite parts are definitely (1) when Coolidge wants Coach Reeves to be his agent. Reeves' response at the possibility of being subservient to Coolidge is hilarious, (2) the team members crash his party and he ends up in the swimming pool.

    It's too bad Curtis Jackson was killed off before this one. I think he potentially could have had some hilarious moments.

    Note: Harry Danner (Mr. Leonard) was Bruce Paltrow's brother-in-law, Blythe Danner's brother