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.