« and now for something completely different | Main | obsessive compulsive stats disorder »

180 channels and nothing on

180 channels and nothing on

When I was a kid/, the one thing I looked forward to almost as much as Christmas was the fall preview issue of TV Guide. Hey, you have to find something to interest you when you have no friends.

I would take the over-sized issue and a black pen and sit in my room for hours, circling the shows that looked good. I first went to the Saturday morning line-up, looking for returns of my favorite cartoons and new cartoons to obsess over. Then I hit the Friday and Saturday night shows, the nights I could stay up late, and then the weekday shows and finally the movies. Remember, this is in the days before VCRs, so when a major motion picture was being shown on tv, hit was a big deal.

Somewhere down the line, I developed interests in sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll other things, and my television obsession took second place to my social life (that consisted mostly of sitting in a tiny movie theater all weekend long, watching Rocky Horror and The Song Remains the Same for hours on end).

Of course, like any good addiction, my jones for television came back. I am once again a tv addict. Too bad the fall preview of TV guide does more to make me miss the past then it does to make me look forward to the new season of re-hashed ideas and bad concepts.

We watch very little broadcast tv. Most of the shows we schedule our lives around - Six Feet Under, Adult Swim, Inside the NFL - are on cable channels. With the exception of The Simpsons, there is not one broadcast tv show that I would set my watch by, especially since they cancelled Family Guy.

So the fall preview issue came last week and I decided to relive my youth a little bit. I took the magazine and a black pen and set to work circling the shows that interested me. Let's just say I was in no danger of the pen running out of ink.

Talk about redunant ideas. How many ways can you take ER or NYPD Blue and clone them before you run out of different names for the shows? More medical dramas, more police dramas, more court dramas. More gritty, urban, see the crime from my point of view dramas. Nothing circled there.

Shows about families that play their adversities for comic relief, complete with disgruntled parents, struggling marraiges, resentful teenagers and precocious grade schoolers? You got a whole handful of them coming. One of them stars Randy Quaid as a dad who "makes his living off a fake disability." Now there's a role model for the American masses.

Randy Quaid isn't the only actor that has resorted to doomed-to-fail tv shows. Denis Farina, John Ritter, Bonnie Hunt and Treat Williams all have shows coming to you as soon as next week. And disappearing soon after. Don't blink.

Was there anything that looked even remotely interesting to me? Yes, a WB show called Birds of Prey: "a new generation of wonder women is tackling the forces of evil in the Gothic gloom of New Gotham." What can I say? I have a thing for Harley Quinn.
There are remakes; Twilight Zone and Family Affair both are back with makeovers. Of the two, I would only attempt to watch Twilight Zone. Family Affair stars Tim Curry in another overacting, bloated attempt at stardom. I liked him better as a transvestite.

On the cable front, Shannon Doherty has resorted to staging "spooky pranks" on Scare Tactics and Henry Rollins will be hosting a series that tests extreme driving machines. Ice-T will take you on a tour of death-defying jobs and Donny Osmond hosts a reincarnation of $100,000 Pyramid.

The kids section of the fall preview is one page. ONE PAGE. There used to be a whole pull-out devoted to the glory of Saturday morning cartoons. I can't even find one thing worth mentioning, though we did happen to catch the premiere of Fighting Foodons on Saturday. Yes, you heard right. Fighting Foodons. Think Pokemon with chicken cutlets. I choose you, Asparagus! I won't even bother to explain. It's not worth it. As a matter of fact, the whole damn tv season isn't worth it.

What will we watch instead of the new crop of tired and stale plots being offered this season and Fox's Futurama (which I thought had been cancelled) and Simpsons? Re-runs of Pete and Pete and a whole lot of movies.

I want to make my own tv station that would show just the shows I want, including shows from the past. (Ok, that's your mission for today - tell me what shows your ultimate personal television channel would play).

It doesn't really matter anyhow. If my premonition holds true, the whole season will be pre-empted in October for a constant showing of Iraqi II: This Time It's Personal.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference 180 channels and nothing on:

» texas hold'em from texas hold'em
The Führer alone is the present and future German reality and its law. Learn to know ever more deeply: from now on every single thing demands decison, and every action responsiblity. by The Führer alone is the present and future German reality and its law. Learn to know ever more deeply: from now on every single thing demands decison, and every action responsiblity. by [Read More]


I think Six Feet Under and the cartoon network are the only things I watch on TV now. Since SFU doesnt come back until March, I may have to take up watching the Sopranos to hold me over.

Birds of Prey should be interesting; it's about the only new network show I'm checking out. One show I'm glad DID make the Fall cut was the returning Grounded for Life, on Fox. Now on Tuesdays at 8:30, you get a sense of reality from these parents who married when they were very young.

The Henry Rollins show is created (and co-hosted) by Cathy, of Junkyard Wars fame. This looks interesting.

Futurama is cancelled -- these are shows that are in the can, from what I was told. They apparently still have a season's worth, or so. A shame about Family Guy, too. :/

Oh, and I was just glad to see The Sopranos back, last night. Best show on TV, with SFU not far behind.

Oh, I do like Grounded for Life. Consistently funny and real.

The networks have cut waaaay back on the number of new shows in the last couple of years as the audience for network television has not only declined but is now spread around five or six networks instead of three. As a result, they are even less likely to stray from tried-and-true successes than before.

Oh, and you need a TiVo in the worst way.

Pete and Pete was such a great show. :(

The kids section of the fall preview is one page. ONE PAGE. There used to be a whole pull-out devoted to the glory of Saturday morning cartoons.

There don't seem to be as many Saturday morning cartoons as there used to be, which I guess accounts for the smaller section. It seems like only channels 11 (for those of you in the NYC area) and 5 have cartoons Saturday morning. ABC has some Winnie the Pooh type stuff for young kids, but nothing for older kids (and grups). Other than that, Saturday morning has become almost as much of a wasteland of political shows as Sunday morning.

I would kill... OK, maybe only seriously maim... to see "Frank's Place" again, the little half hour ensemble show that Tim Reid (Venus Flytrap from "WKRP") created which lasted only half a season. Many of my other favorite cancelled shows ("Northern Exposure," "Sports Night") seem to crop up on cable somewhere, and I know BET played it for a while, but these days it's nowhere to be seen. Maybe the fact that there are only about 13 episodes in existence makes it difficult to schedule?

Mmmmm... Futurama... [insert Homer Simpson drooling noise here]

OMG, another Family Guy fan? Geez, my husband and I thought we were the only ones. grin That show would actually make me laugh out loud, which is rare to find.

My favorite moment, from the show where Peter goes to court after committing welfare fraud:

Judge: I sentence you to blah blah blah, whatever; I forget.
Peter: Oh no!
Lois: Oh no!
Kids: Oh no!
Kool-Aid Man: bursts through the courtroom wall Oh yeah!
shocked stares from everyone
Kool-Aid Man: looks around, embarrassed, and slowly steps backward through the broken wall

Sorry for the comment clutter... I just had to get that off my chest. I miss that show so much!!

Word I have on Futurama is that because the net blew off so many episodes last year to make room for football, Fox still has a season's worth of unseen ones. So, while the show hasn't been renewed, we've got a year's worth of viewing left.