Back in 1977, the writers of the TV series Happy Days got an assignment to include an alien from outer space. They were sure the episode would be a disaster, but when Robin Williams took the part, everything changed. The script fell into place around William’s treatment of the character. And everyone wanted more.
Robin Williams took a one-off joke character on Happy Days, the alien Mork from Ork, and created something unforgettable. His insane routines spawned a spinoff, which became one of the most popular science fiction shows of all time. But in season two, network execs at ABC and the show’s producers made a series of famously terrible decisions that squandered Mork and Mindy’s popularity. Every attempt to restore the sitcom to its former glory only made its fatal flaw more obvious: You can’t build an entire show around one virtuoso performance.
The show shone so brightly that it burned out quickly. For the story of Mork and Mindy, io9 talked to six writers and producers and the show’s director Howard Storm. Read about the lengths the network went to in order to prolong the phenomenon that was Mork and Mindy. -via Metafilter