This was a great series starring Pam Dawber ("Mork & Mindy") as a San Francisco photographer whose life was turned upside down when her teenage sister Patti (Rebecca Schaeffer) came to live with her. Samantha (Dawber) never really knew whether to treat Patti as a friend, sister, or child, and sometimes, she treated her as all three.
The series premiered in 1986, and after mild success on Monday nights, CBS tampered with its schedule and moved it to Saturday nights opposite NBC's successful comedy lineup. Unable to find the show, its audience dwindled to one of the lowest on network TV, and CBS canceled it in mid-1988, after only half of the second season had aired.
A little over a year later (July 1989 to be exact) Schaeffer, then a promising movie star ("Scenes from the Class Struggle In Beverly Hills") was shot and killed in her Los Angeles home by a deranged fan who had idolized her as the young, energetic character she played on "My Sister Sam." Contrary to popular belief, "My Sister Sam" left the air 15 months BEFORE Schaeffer was murdered. Not long thereafter, USA Network picked up syndication rights to the series, eventually running all 44 episodes (including those never shown on CBS).
The show's writing was crisp, sharp and witty, and the acting, especially that of the young, never-before-seen Schaeffer, was top notch. Years later, the WB sitcom "What I Like About You" (2002-2006) re-introduced the premise with some success, but did not match the promise of its earlier sitcom cousin.
It would be a joy to see this show again on DVD.
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