Episodes: 172 (half-hour)
TV show dates: April 19, 1990 — May 21, 1997
Series status: Cancelled/ended
Performers include: Tim Daly, Steven Weber, Crystal Bernard, David Schramm, Rebecca Schull, Tony Shalhoub, Thomas Haden Church, Amy Yasbeck, and Farrah Forke
TV show description:
The Hackett brothers own and operate Sandpiper Airlines, a charter plane service based on the small island of Nantucket, Massachusetts. Joe (Timothy Daly) is neurotic and compulsively neat while his younger brother Brian (Steven Weber) is much more easy-going and carefree.
Others at the small Tom Nevers Field airport are lunch counter operator Helen Chappel (Crystal Bernard); Helen’s sister Casey (Amy Yasbeck); batty ticket counter Fay Evelyn Schlob Dumbly DeVay Cochran (Rebecca Schull); sleazy charter flight competitor Roy Biggins (David Schramm); dim-witted mechanic (Thomas Haden Church); Italian immigrant and taxi driver Antonio Scarpacci (Tony Shaloub); and helicopter pilot Alex Lambert (Farrah Forke).
Episodes 171 & 172 – Final Approach, parts one and two
To cheer up his wife, Joe restores Helen’s old cello and she revives her old passion for playing. Brian and Joe discover that the old treasure hunt (which they started when their father died) isn’t over yet. The gang is led on a wild goose chase all over New England but eventually discover that the $250,000 treasure is in an old suitcase in one of their own airport lockers.
While Joe wants to use his half of the inheritance to expand the business, Brian wants to give up his job and move to the Caribbean with Casey. Joe is upset about their partnership breaking up. Things get even more complicated when Helen tells him that she’s been invited to study in Vienna with the world’s leading cellist. Joe’s willing to give up the business out of love for his wife, so that she can live her dream.
Knowing what Sandpiper means to Joe, Brian decides to postpone his move for a year. He and Casey agree to stay and run the business while Joe and Helen are in Vienna. The episode ends with tearful goodbyes.
First aired: May 21, 1997.
What happened next?
There’s been no news of any plans to revive the series or characters.
Behind the Scenes
|�||The series finale aired opposite the last episode of Coach on ABC.|
|�||Helen’s lunch counter chalkboard, which usually displays the episode number, reads “Final boarding #172. Today’s special: Cooked Goose.”|
|�||Roy doesn’t have a farewell scene with Joe and Helen in the last episode because the writers still considered him a villain.|
|�||Many of the show’s writers and producers of the series have cameos in the series finale. Thomas Haden Church (who had left the series by this time) was reportedly asked to appear but he declined. He was however in the audience.|
|�||Rebecca Schull’s husband was in an accident on the way to the taping of “Final Approach” and broke a rib.|
|�||Though Wings is not a spin-off of Cheers, several of the Boston barflys have passed through the airport; Dr. Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer), Dr. Lilith Sternin Crane (Bebe Neuwirth), Norm Peterson (George Wendt), Cliff Clavin (John Ratzenberger), and Rebecca Howe (Kirstie Alley). Grammer won an Emmy for his guest appearance and is the only actor to win Emmys for playing the same character on three different series (Cheers and spin-off Frasier being the others).|