Thirty years ago today — at 8PM on Monday, September 26th, 1983 — AfterMASH debuted on CBS with a special hour-long episode premiere consisting of the first two episodes of the series. The spin-off of M*A*S*H saw Harry Morgan, William Christopher and Jamie Farr return to their roles of Sherman Potter, Father Mulcahy and Maxwell Klinger as they returned to the United States after the end of the Korean War.
The premiere was a huge hit, drawing a massive 31.0/47 Nielsen rating, making it the highest-rated premiere for a new sitcom since ABC’s Laverne & Shirley in 1976. Although ratings fell somewhat after the first few weeks, AfterMASH ended the 1983-1984 season as the 15th most-watched show on television. In its second season, however, the series faced stronger competition from The A-Team as well as a number of changes instituted by CBS. Only nine episodes were produced and only eight aired. The final episode has never been broadcast in the United States.
For most M*A*S*H fans, AfterMASH remains little more than a curiosity. Based on a poll I ran in March 2012, 60% of visitors to this site have seen at least one episode of AfterMASH. Full episodes have been posted on YouTube in the past, making parts of the series available to a new audience.
Will the series ever make it to DVD (or a streaming service like Netflix or Amazon Instant Video)? Only time will tell but the odds seem low.
If you’ve never seen AfterMASH, or if you haven’t seen it in 30 years, I’ve written an in-depth article about the series which fan be found here. I’ve also compiled a complete broadcast history of the series and you can take a look at the ratings as well.