Wings Information

Wings is an American sitcom that ran on NBC from April 19, 1990, to May 21, 1997. Starring Tim Daly and Steven Weber as brothers Joe and Brian Hackett, the show is set at the fictional "Tom Nevers Field" airport, a small two-airline airport in Nantucket, Massachusetts, where the Hackett brothers operate Sandpiper Air. Exteriors of Nantucket Memorial Airport were used for the show. Interior scenes were filmed on a sound stage at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, California, before a live studio audience.

Other regulars include Crystal Bernard, David Schramm, Rebecca Schull, Thomas Haden Church, and Tony Shalhoub. Farrah Forke later joined the cast for two seasons. When Forke left, Amy Yasbeck joined the cast for the remainder of the show's run from 1994"1997. Thomas Haden Church left the show in spring 1995 to star in the Fox sitcom Ned and Stacey, and Brian Haley joined the cast as the new mechanic.

Wings was created and produced by Cheers veterans David Angell, Peter Casey, and David Lee. The trio would later create the sitcom Frasier, which was a spinoff of Cheers. Characters from Cheers occasionally made special guest appearances on Wings. All three series were produced by Paramount Television.

In the United Kingdom, the series aired on Sky One and Paramount Comedy Channel from 1991 to 1997.

Reruns of this show aired regularly on the USA Network from September 13, 1993 to June 16, 2000 and then sporadically after that, and again on Nick at Nite from January 2004 to June 2006. It can currently be seen on ReelzChannel.

Main characters


Actor Role Years Seasons Episodes
Tim Daly Joe Hackett 1990"1997 1"8 172
Steven Weber Brian Hackett
Crystal Bernard Helen Chappel-Hackett
David Schramm Roy Biggins
Rebecca Schull Fay Cochran 172 Episodes (Approx. 5 Are Credit Only)
Thomas Haden Church Lowell Mather 1990"1995 1"6 (Starring), 7 (1 Episode) 123
Tony Shalhoub Antonio Scarpacci 1991"1997 2 (1 Episode), 3"8 (Starring) 154 (1 Credit Only)
Amy Yasbeck Casey Chappel-Davenport 1994"1997 6"8 75
Farrah Forke Alex Lambert 1992"1994 4 (Recurring) 5 (Starring) 6 (1 Episode) 36 (+1 Archive Footage)

Joseph Montgomery Hackett

Joe is a highly responsible, compulsively neat pilot who owns the one-plane airline Sandpiper Air on Nantucket Island. He dreamed of becoming a pilot as a child, and became the de facto head of his family after his and his brother's mother disappeared and their father went insane. He had initially intended to launch Sandpiper Air with his fiancee Carol behind the ticket counter, but his brother Brian ran off with her, causing a falling out between the brothers. He was played by Timothy Daly.

Brian Michael Hackett

Brian is the more carefree of the Hackett brothers. His irresponsibility is often a source of consternation to older brother Joe; he had a "free ride" to Princeton and dropped out, was accepted into the astronaut training program at NASA and was soon expelled because he was too unreliable, saying that he would have become an astronaut if they let him take his dates into the simulator, and has lost other lucrative opportunities due to his chronic irresponsibility. He moved to the island of Mustique in the Caribbean and ran charter flights there after he eloped with Joe's fiancee, Carol, which caused a rift between the brothers. When Carol left Brian for another man and the Hacketts' father died, Brian returned to Nantucket, and Joe was eventually persuaded not only to allow him to move into his house, but to give Brian a job at Sandpiper Air. Brian is a shameless womanizer for most of the series, but has 2 significant relationships: the first with helicopter pilot Alex Lambert, and then with Casey Chappel Davenport, Helen's older sister (see below). He was played by Steven Weber.

While Wings was on the air, Weber reprised the role of Brian on an episode of Duckman titled "Role with It".

Helen Chappel Hackett

Helen is a petite blonde who, despite having lived on Nantucket for most of her life, speaks with a Texas drawl. In the series, it is explained that Helen's family moved to the island from Texas when she was a child. Though Helen dreams of playing the cello in a large symphony orchestra, she runs the lunch counter in the airport terminal and never really manages to get a music career off the ground until the final episode. Occasionally Helen would also earn money teaching children the cello. A running gag in regards to her music is that bad luck would always seem to follow her in her playing. Examples of this bad luck included her having to join a string quartet of neurotic individuals as that was the only group at the time who would accept her. Other instances were: Helen getting accepted to a state-run symphony, only to soon learn the state legislature eliminated the funding; the Boston Symphony Orchestra appreciated a cassette of her cello playing, but they lost the label and had no way to contact her; when she finally got a chance to play for the BSO, the plane crashed en route. Helen also constantly battles a compulsive eating habit that caused her to be obese in her youth. Though successful at losing the weight sometime after Brian eloped with Carol, it is still a specter in her life and a blight on her self-image. She has been a lifelong friend of both Hackett brothers and dreamed of marrying Joe from a young age. She married Antonio to prevent him from being deported and although they intended to divorce after he won the Green Card Lottery, they mistakenly remained married for three years because Helen forgot to mail out the divorce papers. She finally married Joe at the end of the sixth season. She was played by Crystal Bernard.

Lowell Mather

(Season 1"6) Lowell is a dim, eccentric mechanic/handyman who works at the airport and is available to everyone when repairs are needed. He claims that, while he is not an orphan, his brother is. He was married to a woman named Bunny with whom he had several children, but they divorced when Lowell learned that Bunny was sleeping around. After Brian sank the houseboat Lowell lived on, Lowell lived with Joe and Brian for a time, where he revealed a surprising talent for cooking. After about a year, however, his eccentricities became unbearable to the Hacketts, and they kicked him out to find his own place. Eventually, Lowell is forced to leave Nantucket and enter the Witness Protection Program after witnessing a mob hit. Although it was hard for him to leave Nantucket and the people he knew all his life, Lowell decided he would prefer to go into hiding rather than let a guilty man go free and possibly kill again. He was played by Thomas Haden Church.

Fay Evelyn Schlob Dumbly DeVay Cochran

Fay, Joe's only employee besides Brian, is a flight attendant who handles the ticket counter, baggage check, and flight announcements for Sandpiper Air. Fay has buried three husbands, all with the first name George, and half-jokes of a curse in which, if she marries a man named George, he dies. In one episode she almost marries another man, until she finds out his real first name is George (he went by his middle name Lyle) and she couldn't make herself marry another George. She is a generally sweet and motherly, though slightly batty woman who looks after the younger members of their circle as her own children. She can, however, be sweetly manipulative. Fay also has a streak in which she has touched every First Lady of the United States since Eleanor Roosevelt. She was played by Rebecca Schull.

Roy Peterman Biggins

Roy is the owner of Aeromass, the only other airline on Nantucket and, with seven planes, a larger business than Sandpiper, although Roy had been unable to break into the lucrative business of charter flights. Generally competitive, arrogant and unpleasant, and morbidly obese, Roy often belittles Joe for having a small-time operation and mocks Joe's business skills. Despite this, Roy feels threatened by Joe's presence as a competitor, and makes numerous attempts to either buy Sandpiper or put it out of business. Roy was married to a woman named Sylvia; for several years he claimed that she died, but it was later revealed that actually she had left him and is now living in Boston and married to a wealthy plastic surgeon. Sylvia was played by Concetta Tomei. The couple had one son, R.J. (Roy Junior), who is a homosexual. Roy is also dishonest. Examples included his forcing onto a plane a customer who has just ordered a large meal from Helen; the customer leaves his meal and the money for Helen, but Roy promptly steals both. He also established false charities to include one for his "late wife" and using the proceeds for fly-fishing trips or to subscribe to the Playboy Channel. He has an autographed picture of Richard Nixon in his office and was once arrested for trying to force his way aboard Air Force One to have a picture taken of himself shaking hands with President George H. W. Bush. Also, in his office he has a poster of a woman wearing a thong bikini riding on a unicycle. His comment was, "If that was Paris and she was holding a loaf of bread, they'd call it art." While normally conniving and arrogant, Roy does have a sense of fun: since his birthday was on February 29, 1948, a leap year, he celebrates it only once every four years as if he were only a quarter of his real age. He drives a purple El Camino, on which he claims he can disconnect the brake lights in order to engage in insurance fraud by being unintentionally rear-ended by people in luxury cars. He was played by David Schramm.

Antonio V. Scarpacci

(Season 3"8) An Italian immigrant from Alekio, who owns and operates a taxi service to and from the airport. Antonio is mild-mannered, deferential, and hopelessly romantic; he falls head-over-heels for Helen's older sister Casey when she returns to Nantucket, though his feelings are not reciprocated. Antonio was originally a waiter, and made a guest appearance in the second season in this role before becoming an official cast member in the third season (by which time he had changed professions). He married Helen in order to avoid deportation but planned to divorce soon after. The marriage mistakenly lasted for three years (unbeknownst to either one of them) thanks to an error on Helen's part. He is a big fan of the Mary Pat Lee Show. Antonio once took over for Fay at the Sandpiper ticket counter, but he caused a bit of an uproar when he bumped Boston Bruins' star goaltender Danny "Dead End" Connolly in favor of a standby passenger. Connolly berated him by calling him "Antwerpio Scarpukey" or "Antwerpio Sockpuppet". He was played by Tony Shalhoub.

Alex Lambert

(Season 4"5) Alex is a helicopter pilot who moves to Nantucket to start her own helicopter tour business. She had previously flown U.S. Army Apache helicopters in Desert Storm. It was also discovered that she had posed for Playboy. Though she initially rebuffs the amorous attentions of both Hackett brothers, she eventually falls for Brian's boyish charms. She and Brian live together briefly, but after Brian spends a wild night in New York with Joe and an old friend, Alex throws him out of the apartment and leaves Nantucket for good. She returns a season later to resolve some of the bitterness in their breakup; she and Brian briefly get back together before they both finally decide it best to go their separate ways. Alex was played by Farrah Forke.

Cassandra "Casey" (Davenport) Chappel

(Season 6"8) Casey is Helen's older sister. She returns to Nantucket after being abandoned by her husband, Stuart Davenport (played by John Ritter), but despite having grown up there she has difficulty adjusting her upper crust tastes and sensibilities to a working class life on the small island. Though Antonio falls madly in love with her, Casey takes little notice of him. After she and Brian spend the better part of a season sniping at each other, they end up having sex the night before Joe and Helen's wedding. Afterward they find themselves unable to stay away from each other, having a passionate affair; while Joe and Helen are on their honeymoon, Casey's bra lands on the hearth of the lit fireplace and leads to Helen's house burning down. Her relationship with Brian cools after that, but they maintain a friendship. When she first appears in the show, Casey goes by her married name of Davenport, but after she and Stuart divorce at the end of season seven, she reverts to Chappel. She was played by Amy Yasbeck.

Budd Bronski

(Season 7) Budd is a retired US Marine who is hired to replace Lowell. He is extremely jumpy and insecure, and haunted by an incident in his past in which an aircraft he worked on crashed, resulting in his facing a court martial. Though the military cleared him of charges, Budd continues to blame himself for the incident until Brian convinces him to let it go. Occasionally Budd would astonish everyone with magic tricks, but otherwise had difficulty adjusting to the social scene. After being introduced early in the seventh season, Budd disappears toward the end of the season and is never mentioned again. He was played by Brian Haley.

Recurring characters

Carlton Blanchard: He is an old man with a high-pitched nasal voice whose outwardly meek yet privately demanding behavior causes everyone who meets him to shudder at his coming. He is also known for asking bizarre questions such as "If you were to carpet Florida, how long would it take to vacuum it?" and "If a monkey were to bite you, what kind of drugs do you suppose they'd give you?". He annoyed Joe, Brian, Lowell and Antonio when he won a charity contest sponsored by Sandpiper and demanded he be flown to Las Cruces, New Mexico, way beyond the scope of Sandpiper's routes. In another episode, he tricked Helen into throwing him a birthday party and then fell down her stairs in order to force her to take care of him for a week. Though none of the regulars care for Carlton, he is especially disliked by Antonio, a situation made worse by the fact that Carlton repeatedly calls him "Angelo". Carlton was played by William Hickey.

Mr. Hackett: Joe and Brian's deceased father who had taken it hard when his wife, and the boys' mother, walked out on the family. He was committed to a mental institution and had died just prior to the beginning of the series. He had a good sense of humor, and in the series premiere had his will required to be read to both Brian and Joe together, which required them to reunite after their six year estrangement. He willed them a key which opened up the lockbox to another key, then another, which had Joe and Brian go to Boston then back to Nantucket airport where they ended up finding a suitcase full of spring snakes and a photograph of them as children, encouraging them to always value their kinship. After Brian and Casey burn down Joe's house, Joe, fed up with Brian's string of irresponsible behavior, fires him from Sandpiper and orders him never to speak to him again. The ghost of his father appears and uses reverse psychology to convince Joe to make peace with Brian. Mr. Hackett was played by Don Murray.

Lou: Lou is a feisty old man who is introduced in Season Seven's "The Lyin' King". In that episode, Joe, in order to assuage his guilt over going to a strip club later, volunteers at the senior citizens' home, where he is assigned to spend time with Lou. After spending a moment complaining about how lousy nursing home life is, Lou manages to guilt trip Joe into taking him to the strip club with him. Though Joe is somewhat tolerant of Lou, Brian is decidedly less so, referring to him derisively as "Yoda" (due to Lou's shrivelled physical appearance). Lou, in return, makes it clear he does not care for Brian either. Lou is also prone to talking about a rift he had in the past with his brother Harry, prompting his catchphrase, "He screwed me blue!" Lou was originally intended as a one-shot appearance, but proved so popular that he was brought back in the show's final season, where we are also introduced to his brother Harry, played by Abe Vigoda. Lou was played by Phil Leeds.

Davis Lynch: Davis is a businessman whom Joe flies to Nantucket to invest in the airline. Though he rejects Joe's offer (and ends up investing the money in Roy's airline), he ends up dating Helen, and eventually proposes to her. Helen accepts, but ends up leaving him for Joe. Toward the end of the series, Helen reveals she never broke off the engagement. She had figured he was gone after he was skirted off to Burma in the wake of a coup d'etat to salvage major investments he had in the company. He was then placed under house arrest by the military junta. Upon his release, Davis returns to see Helen, but while she is trying to work up the courage to tell him she has married someone else, Davis announces that he will be unable to marry her, having fallen in love with a woman who worked for the State Department and had risked her life to secure his release. Davis was played by Mark Harelik.

Roy Biggins, Jr. (a.k.a. R.J.): Roy's only son, who is secretly gay. Roy had trained R.J how to do "guy stuff" such as playing football. The first time he is shown is when he is a high school student taking cello lessons from Helen as an extracurricular activity. R.J. reveals to everyone he is a homosexual. Roy does not take this news well and challenges him to a game of one-on-one basketball on the condition that if R.J. wins he is "allowed" to be gay, but if Roy wins R.J. is not. R.J. wins game after game against Roy, but Roy refuses to give up. R.J. would return much later in the series after being estranged from Roy for a long time. He had since graduated from law school and was looking to take the Massachusetts Bar Exam. Roy is proud of R.J and his accomplishments, but only so long as R.J.'s homosexuality isn't discussed. R.J. was played by Abraham Benrubi.

Gail Scott: Joe's girlfriend during the first part of Season Three. They began dating while Helen was in New York. When Joe persuaded Helen to move back to Nantucket when she was unhappy in New York, he did not tell her about his relationship with Gail because of his worry that it would prevent Helen from moving back to Nantucket. Helen, convinced that she and Joe would pick up right where they left off, did come back, but soon discovered the truth about Joe and Gail. Believing that Joe intended to hurt her by not disclosing his relationship with Gail, Helen drove her jeep through Joe and Brian's office. Gail is in three episodes, but is mentioned in several others, including phone conversations. She is a journalist who constantly travels. She and Helen eventually become friends briefly, but Gail leaves Joe when she catches Joe and Helen kissing in his kitchen. Gail was played by Gretchen German.

Sandy Cooper: Sandy is a friend of Joe's, Brian's, and Helen's from high school. She has an insane, obsessive crush on Joe, but he is unable to convince anyone else of this because she acts completely normal except when she is alone with Joe, who gives her the nickname "Psycho Sandy". She would appear on Nantucket periodically and carefully plan her fantasy life with "Joey Bear" at moments when the two of them were alone. Such fantasies included a re-enacted high school prom in the basement of Sandy's old house, the couple's wedding and honeymoon in Helen's living room, and the birth of their first child in Joe's therapist's office. In one episode, Sandy is shown to be dating Brian, but the relationship was ultimately never pursued by the show's writers. Sandy was played by Valerie Mahaffey.

Kenny McElvey: Kenny is an 18-year-old who becomes Sandpiper's backup pilot during a second season story arc where Joe is grounded for hypertension. The comedic focus of the character was his youth and relative inexperience, but he was the most qualified out of the applicants for Joe's replacement (which did not consist of a very large pool). When Joe began flying again in the third season, Kenny disappeared from the series without explanation and was never mentioned again. One episode showed Kenny also working at a fast food joint to supplement his meager income from Sandpiper. Kenny was played by Michael Manasseri.

Bunny Mather: Lowell's wife at the beginning of the series, from whom he separates and eventually divorces when he learns she sleeps with other men. Bunny's promiscuity is her primary gag; she flirts with nearly every man she encounters (including, at one point, Joe and Brian [her fantasy is to sleep with two co-workers]), and ends up sleeping with many of them. Not even the divorce was enough to convince Bunny to stay away, as the episode that showed the divorce had Lowell and Bunny sleeping together that very same night. Bunny was played by Laura Innes.

Sylvia: Roy's ex-wife who divorced Roy and married a plastic surgeon. Roy initially tells people that she was dead, but after being caught in his lie, he decides to go see her, only to find out that she has a new husband and a new life. She returns to the island again in season 5 to sleep with Roy in an attempt to get back at her current husband for having an affair. Roy finds out and decides to not go through with it.

Mary Pat Lee: A Boston talk show host who tricks Brian onto her show in season 6 to meet up with his ex-girlfriend Alex. She returns the next season as Roy's new girlfriend, only to use the relationship to get a show topic using Joe and Helen. Played by Caroline Aaron. One of her biggest fans is Antonio. Her budding relationship with Roy causes him to mutter, "But.....she's Mary Pat Lee....and he's.....Roy."

Edgar Clayton: Wealthy industrialist who buys Sandpiper from Joe and Brian to keep it from going under. He installs his son Cord as the new president only to see Cord fail miserably. He also fired his uncle Mike in front of his whole board of directors and has been known to give terminated employees "The Big Ugly". He was part of a three-part story arc, "Wingless", during the show's final season. Played by Mitchell Ryan.

Eleanor "Bluto" Biggins: Roy's eccentric mother who lives in a nursing home. She is a meddlesome, domineering nag and Roy feels threatened by her. Joe, however, stood up to her and called her a "Miserable Old Gargoyle". Eleanor was also a heavy drinker and Roy once said she had to be "cut off after six boilermakers." She was frequently mentioned, but was not seen until the final season. Played by Rose Marie.

Lewis Blanchard: Carlton's equally irritating nephew. He is very rude and abrasive, and makes only the slightest of attempts to hide his wish for Carlton to die so he can inherit his money. He seems to have crushes on Casey, Helen, and Alex, who are all completely repulsed by his lewd remarks. Lewis was played by Gilbert Gottfried.

Mark: He is the waiter at the Crab Restaurant. He becomes infatuated with Helen, who later pushes him toward Alex. Mark was played by John Hawkes.


The series takes place primarily at the fictional Nantucket airport Tom Nevers Field. Until 1976, the real-life island was the site of the United States Navy's Tom Nevers Naval Facility, later the home of the Nantucket Hunting Association. The Club Car (a real restaurant on Nantucket) is also often featured on the show.

The airplane for the show was a 1981 Cessna 402C one of which was C/N 402C0507 #N121PB, still flying with Cape Air.; in the pilot episode (as well as a few other episodes) the airplane was C/N 4110069 #N121PP (which was destroyed). Other Cessna 402Cs with various serials were used periodically.

Cheers tie-ins

Although not a spin-off, Wings takes place in the same universe as Cheers, and by extension, its spin-off Frasier. Several episodes had tie-ins with Cheers; Kelsey Grammer (who was nominated for an Emmy for his guest appearance), Bebe Neuwirth, George Wendt, John Ratzenberger, and Kirstie Alley all appeared on Wings playing their Cheers characters.

  • Cliff Clavin and Norm Peterson visit Nantucket in the season two episode "The Story of Joe". Their goal is ostensibly to go fishing, but the two never seem to get any farther than the island's drinking establishments.
  • Frasier and Lilith Crane were the focus of the season three episode, "Planes, Trains, & Visiting Cranes." In the episode, Frasier and a skeptical Lilith come to Nantucket to put on a motivational seminar, but run into opposition from Helen Chappel, a dissatisfied former customer of Frasier's program. In the Cheers episode "License to Hill", which aired the same night as that particular Wings episode, Frasier even mentions that he and Lilith are going to Nantucket, foreshadowing their crossover appearance. (An additional note: Nine years later, at the beginning of the Frasier episode "Bla-Z Boy," Niles plays the Wings theme on the piano.)
  • Rebecca Howe has a cameo appearance in the season four episode "I Love Brian", whose plot revolves around Brian's attempt to infiltrate a post-concert party in Clint Black's hotel room. As Rebecca is seen being asked to leave by Black's bouncer, she begs Black to come to the bar in Boston where she works so she can prove to the others there that she knows him. Black responds, "Maybe next year", causing Rebecca to exclaim right before she is kicked out of the party, "But none of you know where we're going to be next year!", a reference to how Cheers was in its final season on television.


Main article: List of Wings episodes

Broadcast History

NOTE: The most frequent time slot for the series is in bold text.

  • Thursday at 9:30-10:00 PM on NBC: April 19, 1990"?May 24, 1990; January 3, 1991"?January 28, 1993
  • Friday at 9:30-10:00 PM on NBC: September 28, 1990"?December 21, 1990
  • Thursday at 8:30-9:00 PM on NBC: February 4, 1993"?May 12, 1994
  • Tuesday at 8:00-8:30 PM on NBC: September 20, 1994"?April 9, 1996
  • Tuesday at 8:30-9:00 PM on NBC: April 23, 1996"?May 21, 1996
  • Wednesday at 8:00-8:30 PM on NBC: September 18, 1996"?February 19, 1997
  • Wednesday at 9:00-9:30 PM on NBC: March 5, 1997"?May 21, 1997

Nielsen Ratings

NOTE: The highest average rating for the series is in bold text.

Season Rank Rating
1989-1990 Not in the Top 30
1991-1992 #19 14.6
1992-1993 #30 13.0 (Tied with The Simpsons)
1993-1994 #18 13.9 (Tied with NYPD Blue)
1994-1995 #26 12.3
1995-1996 Not in the Top 30


The list of awards and nominations for Wings

Year Award Category Recipient Result
1992 Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Tyne Daly
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series Kelsey Grammer
BMI Film & TV Awards BMI TV Music Award Bruce Miller
1994 BMI Film & TV Awards BMI TV Music Award Bruce Miller
1995 American Cinema Editors Best Edited Half-Hour Series for Television Darryl Bates
1996 Emmy Award Outstanding Makeup for a Series Tommy Cole, Ken Wensevic
1997 GLAAD Media Award Outstanding TV " Individual Episode
2005 TV Land Award Favorite Airborne Character(s) Tim Daly, Steven Weber

DVD releases

Paramount Home Entertainment and CBS DVD have released the entire series on DVD in Region 1.

DVD NameEp #Release Date
The Complete First and Second Seasons 28 May 23, 2006
The Complete Third Season 22 October 24, 2006
The Fourth Season 22 May 15, 2007
The Fifth Season 24 November 6, 2007
The Sixth Season 26 March 25, 2008
The Seventh Season 26 September 9, 2008
The Eighth Season 24 April 14, 2009


The theme was a short version of a Franz Schubert piece, Piano sonata No. 20 in A Major, D. 959, IV. Rondo. Allegretto. Schubert received screen credit as the theme composer in every episode.

The opening theme heard during the first two and a half seasons was a fairly straightforward arrangement with piano and strings; a jazzed-up version of the theme was heard during the closing credits. The slow opening theme was dropped in January 1992 as episodes began using a cold open, though it returned for the series finale in 1997.

See also

  • Nantucket Airlines
  • Cape Air

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Wings_%28NBC_TV_series%29" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



Page generated in 0.28688883781433 seconds