More than fifty years ago Newton Minow, the first FCC commissioner, called television a vast wasteland. The prospect of 500 channels available and nothing to watch was forecast back in the 1970s and today it sometimes seems like it’s a truism more often than not. But if you get tired of new programming–and make no mistake plenty of great television shows are airing this year–a few recently added channels to your local line-up may remind fans of classic TV why they jumped onboard in the first place.
Three channels: MeTV, COZI TV and LAFF, are a destination for those who just want to pop in now and then for a dose of the past. Even pay channel Starz has begun broadcasting classic television series. No doubt much of the programming may not hold up to current audiences. Clothes, hairstyles, and stale, formulaic half-hour and hour plots may not keep your 21st century attention. Yet many shows seem to hold up quite well. As time goes on two of my favorites, Simon & Simon and Magnum, P.I., seem to drift farther and farther away, yet the comedy of Night Court and Cybill remains laugh-out-loud funny.
Classic TV gold, like The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman, may be a bit much in big doses. Only a diehard fan would stream these beginning to end. Yet, try popping in once in a while and it’s like visiting an old friend. M*A*S*H and The A-Team hold up quite well. In particular, the formula established by The A-Team, no doubt based on decades of series that came before it, can be found continuing on to this day in series like Leverage and Burn Notice. Even series like Wonder Woman and Charlie’s Angels can be fun, if you don’t take their 1970s approach to TV too seriously. And you may find yourself engrossed in Quantum Leap all over again.
So what’s playing, where, and when?
On COZI TV’s regular line-up you’ll find The A-Team, Quantum Leap, Hart to Hart, Murder, She Wrote, Baywatch, Knight Rider, Miami Vice, The Six Million Dollar Man, Charlie’s Angels, The Bionic Woman, The Munsters, Adam-12, Simon & Simon, Magnum, P.I., Starsky and Hutch, and a whole round-up of classic Western TV including The Lone Ranger and The Roy Rogers Show. Check the COZI TV website here for full listings.
LAFF has The Drew Carey Show, Night Court, Spin City, Ellen, Drew Carey’s Improv-a-Ganza, Cybill, Grace Under Fire, and Grounded for Life. Check out the program schedule here.
MeTV (which stands for memorable entertainment) delves further back in time, with shows like M*A*S*H, Welcome Back, Kotter, The Incredible Hulk, Wonder Woman, Taxi, The Twilight Zone, I Love Lucy, Lost in Space, Land of the Lost, Gunsmoke, Star Trek, Rawhide, Happy Days, Hogan’s Heroes, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, The Abbott and Costello Show, Batman, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Andy Griffith Show, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, The Adventures of Superman, The Big Valley, The Rockford Files, Petticoat Junction, Perry Mason, The Bob Newhart Show, The Brady Bunch, Bonanza, Carol Burnett and Friends, Cheers, CHiPs, Columbo, The Saint, Diagnosis Murder, Emergency!, Get Smart, The Donna Reed Show, Gilligan’s Island, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., Car 54, Where Are You?, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Kojak, Laverne and Shirley, The Love Boat, The Odd Couple, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Patti Duke Show, and The Phil Silvers Show. Check the MeTV website here for full listings.
The Starz family of cable channels, including Starz Classic HD, and StarzEncore, offers Magnum, P.I., Sanford & Son, Gunsmoke, Good Times, The Jeffersons, Diff’rent Strokes, and The A-Team. Check out their online schedule here.
So which show are you looking for? What’s missing? What classic series do you want to watch next?