Dream On (1990–1996)


Dream On (TV Series 1990–1996)

Martin Tupper's life is full of colourful characters. He is divorced and living with his growing teenage son, still friends with his ex-wife and constantly looking for dates but without a clue how to relate to women. He works as a book editor, with a ditsy, headstrong secretary, who cramps his style as often as helping him.
IMDb   7.5 /10
TheMovieDb    7.1 /10
FilmAffinity   6.2 /10
Creator David Crane
Creator Marta Kauffman
Release Date1990-07-07
Content Rating
AwardsWon 2 Primetime Emmys17 wins & 49 nominations total
CompanyKevin Bright Productions, MCA Television Entertainment (MTE), St. Clare Entertainment
Martin Tupperas Martin Tupper
Toby Pedalbeeas Toby Pedalbee
Judith Tupper Stoneas Judith Tupper Stone…
Jeremy Tupperas Jeremy Tupper
Eddie Charlesas Eddie Charles
Gibby Fiskeas Gibby Fiske
Eddie Charlesas Eddie Charles
Carteras Carter
Kerrie Klark
Kerrie Klark
Kristy Springeras Kristy Springer…
Irwin Baderas Irwin Bader…
Gina Pedalbeeas Gina Pedalbee
June Gable
June Gable
Libby Friedmanas Libby Friedman
Angie Pedalbeeas Angie Pedalbee
Fred Hoblitas Fred Hoblit
Doris Tupperas Doris Tupper
Mickey Tupperas Mickey Tupper
Kate Goweras Kate Gower
Vernon Pactoras Vernon Pactor

Dream On (TV series)

Dream On is an American adult-themed situation comedy about the family life, romantic life, and career of Martin Tupper, a divorced New York City book editor played by Brian Benben. The show distinctively interjected clips from older black-and-white television series to punctuate Tupper's feelings or thoughts. It was created by Marta Kauffman and David Crane, the team who would create the show Friends. It ran for six seasons on HBO between 1990 and 1996.


The show centered on Martin Tupper's (Brian Benben) life in an apartment in New York City with his teenaged son, and relating to his ex-wife, while trying to date other women and succeed as an editor for a small book publisher with Toby, his brassy secretary. Judith, his ex-wife, went on to marry Dr. Richard Stone – the never-seen (until the end of the series), most impossibly successful man on the planet (astronaut, brain surgeon, the fifth Beatle and consultant to the Pope); despite Martin's undying love for Judith, he could never compete with the legendary Dr. Stone.

The opening indicates Martin's mother parked him in front of the TV and he then grew up engrossed in it. It briefly shows a babysitter making out with a boyfriend behind young Martin, hence the association of sex with his memories. The show was notable for its frequent use of clips from old movies and TV shows to express Martin's inner life and feelings, which lent it much of its quirky appeal, reminding viewers about the impact of TV on their consciousness. The show was also significant for being one of the first American sitcoms to use uncensored profanity and nudity.

Dream On first aired July 1990 on HBO, and was cancelled by HBO in March 1996. One season of the show, with language and nudity edited for broadcast, aired in prime time on the Fox Network in 1995: Sunday at 9:30-10:00 p.m. from January to April and Monday at 9:00-10:00 p.m. from June to July. This bowdlerized version was later made available in syndication.


  • Brian Benben, as Martin Tupper, a book editor for a smaller publishing house that usually specializes in romance novels and other less prestigious literary fare. Having practically been raised by television in the 1950's, his thoughts are shown to the viewer through clips of classic black and white programming. He struggles to find love (or something like it) while sorting out the feelings he still has for his ex-wife, Judith.
  • Wendie Malick, as Judith Tupper Stone, Martin's ex-wife who has since remarried the literal perfect man, Dr. Richard Stone.
  • Chris Demetral, as Jeremy Tupper, Martin's teenaged son.
  • Dorien Wilson, as Eddie Charles, a talk show host and Martin's best friend. (seasons 2–6) Jeff Joseph (season 1)
  • Denny Dillon as Toby Pedalbee, Martin's secretary/assistant
  • Michael McKean, as Gibby Fiske, Martin's boss (recurring during seasons 2–6)
  • Renée Taylor, as Martin's mother, Doris Tupper (occasional during seasons 3–5)

Critical reception

Time magazine called the show "engaging", noting that its use of old clips was "a clever gimmick perks up familiar material" and later called the second season of the "decidedly adult sitcom...better than ever."

The New York Times had mixed opinions about the show. In their first-season review, John J. O'Connor said Dream On was not "different from ordinary network fare...except for, as might be expected, the more freewheeling language and treatments of sex"; by the season's third episode, the show's protagonist is "already becoming just another nice bachelor father, not all that different from the one John Forsythe played on television several decades ago." About a year later, O'Connor said, while the show "has its weak spots, most notably in a pointless tendency to be smarmy" with "clips... that are sometimes less witty than painfully obvious. But Dream On takes unusual chances and has a habit of turning out to be refreshingly original."


The show was created by Marta Kauffman and David Crane, who also served as producers. Dream On was executive produced by Kevin Bright and John Landis. Landis also directed several episodes of the series.

To this day, the static shown on the TV towards the end of the opening credits forms part of the opening credits or introduction for every show made by HBO.

Awards and nominations

1991CableACE AwardEditing a Comedy Special or Series/Music SpecialJohn Axness
For episode "The First Episode"
1991Comedy SeriesKevin Bright, David Crane, Robb Idels, Marta Kauffman, John Landis, Bill Sanders, and Ron Wolotzky
Actress in a Comedy SeriesWendie Malick
1993Actress in a Comedy SeriesWendie Malick
1994Editing in a Comedy/Music Special or SeriesDavid Helfand
For episode "The Son Also Rises"
Actress in a Comedy SeriesWendie Malick
1995Actress in a Comedy SeriesWendie Malick
1993Emmy AwardOutstanding Individual Achievement in Directing in a Comedy SeriesBetty Thomas
For episode "For Peter's Sake"
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy SeriesDavid Clennon
For episode "For Peter's Sake"
1994GLAAD Media AwardsOutstanding Comedy Series
1993Young Artist AwardBest Young Actor Starring in a Cable SeriesChris Demetral


The edited version of the series aired in syndication on Comedy Central in the United States.

International airings

In Canada, Dream On aired on the cable movie station Superchannel, in late-night timeslots on CBC Television, and later on SexTV: The Channel, The Comedy Network, and with French subtitles on Télé-Québec.

In New Zealand, the edited version screened on TV2, while the unedited version appeared on SKY 1.

The show aired on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom (for the first two series, before the remainder was shown on Sky1 – the majority of the Sky episodes were later shown on ITV4 in a late-night slot around 2006–07), in France, the show aired on Canal Jimmy, in Switzerland on TSR, in Sweden on Canal +, in Germany on RTL2, in Norway on TV3, in Greece on ANT1 (only the first season in 1994 on Saturday afternoons) and on Raisat Cinema, Canale 5, and Rai 4 in Italy. It was also broadcast by Canal + (as one of its first shows) and Polsat in Poland. Also Canal + in Spain had it and was one their main titles.

In Israel, the entire show aired on Bip; it is still aired on a regular basis, usually at night as it managed to retain its popularity.

Home media

Seasons one and two were released on DVD for both regions 1 and 2; seasons three through six have not been released.