ABC Afterschool Specials June 9, 2011 10:53 AMSubscribe
Anyone who grew up in the pre-Internet age is bound to remember the 4 p.m. showings of After School Specials on ABC. The melodramatic teen cautionary tales always contained an awesomely literal title—"She Drinks a Little" (alcoholic mom), "My Other Mother" (foster parents), and "Schoolboy Father" (teen pregnancy)—and a Life Lesson by the 44-minute mark. ... there are ample theories about why After School Specials didn't last. Some surmise that Oprah Winfrey's success changed the afternoon TV landscape; she was always crying, anyway, and her real-life stories had more dramatic fizz. Some figure the amoral culture of ''Beverly Hills, 90210" -- where actions lacked real consequences and everything was pretty -- ended the teenage capacity to take serious lessons to heart.