In 1986, a sitcom premiered about a class of gifted, high IQ students, and their inquisitive teacher: Head of the Class. The show lasted from '86 to 1991.
I've heard this show referred to as Welcome Back Kotter with nerds, making reference and comparison to a similar '70s era show about students and teachers. Kotter, by contrast, was about under-performing students.
Howard Hessman played the teacher Charlie Moore at the beginning of the series, and through most of the show's run.
To be honest, I have a bit of a selective memory about the students. There were so many of them that I seem to recall only the ones that made the strongest impression on me. I do remember how each student was a unique personality, creating a class where each one's quirks and oddness was brought out. I recall there was a sensitive, an artsy girl, and a leather jacket wearing rebel guy.
Dennis Blunden, played by Dan Schneider, was probably most memorable to me. He was a heavyset and somewhat sloppy kid, kind of like myself at that age. He was also a computer whiz, which I was not.
It turns out that in the years after Head of the Class, Schneider has become quite successful as a producer of family oriented shows on Nickelodeon.
Arvid Engen, played by Dan Frischman, was also memorable as the stereo-typically skinny and bespectacled science nerd of the group.
I've had friends who resembled Arvid (who, I suppose, would play nerdy teen versions of Laurel in contrast to my Hardy).
Robin Givens played the rich girl Darlene Merriman.
Tony O'Dell portrayed Alan Pinkard, a politically conservative student who dressed in yuppie attire.
I remember an episode where the class visited the Moscow, which back in the '80s was still in the Soviet Union during the waning days of the Cold War. I recall that they had a scene where the staunchly pro-American Alan got into a debate with an equally adamant pro-Commie Soviet student. I remember thinking it was a pretty unfair comparison, as if the less conservative students wouldn't have reason to oppose Soviet totalitarianism. In any case, just a few years later Communism would fall, which I guess showed you who really won that debate.
In 1990, toward the end of the show's run, Billy Connolly replaced Hessman, playing teacher Billy MacGregor.