The only time I watch network television is for sports. I see ads for the latest “dramas”—which play over and over to promote upcoming premieres, or shows the network desperately wants to work—and they seem so melodramatic and ludicrous, I wonder, who watches this crap?
The answer, of course, is way more people than watch my favorite artsy-fartsy shows.
Recently, our family has been watching early seasons of The Great British Baking Show, which we found on Tubi—along side a potpourri of 1970s and ’80s action-adventure favorites. So, the kids and I watched a few of them.
Oh my God.
I don’t want to say which shows we checked out. I used a picture from Charlie’s Angels, above, but that wasn’t one of them. I don’t need to explain to the kids why the Angels were going undercover at the Hot Tub Testing Factory.
I used to watch these shows, as a kid, and I loved them. The A-Team, The Dukes of Hazzard, Knight Rider—appointment television!
But watching them today, after the Golden Age of TV, and having not seem them for decades...I can’t believe the garbage we took for granted.
The Amnesia Episode. The Space Aliens Episode. The Bigfoot Episode. The Evil Twin Episode. The Mind Control Episode.
These shows would do all of them. Sometimes several at the same time!
The stern-faced authority figures. The rampant sexism. The bad VFX. The stock footage.
I do still like the awesome music, though.
I don’t need 14 people to post comments on here about what I dick I am. Or that I’m “punching down.” I appreciate that people have a tremendous fondness for these shows, and this era. I do, too.
But really, watching them, and they weren’t all that long ago, it’s like, how did mankind survive?
I understand, now, the occasional interviews I would read with writers and creators from this era, and they utter contempt they had for the networks: the censorship, the mandates, the stupidity. And, really, the audience. If you’re forced to write this drivel, how can you not hate the audience for wanting things this simple and idiotic?
It must have been a hideous time to try to create anything meaningful.
The great cantankerous legend, David Chase, warns us it’s getting this bad again.
Something to look forward to. Sigh.