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old TV
Lately, I've become addicted to watching old television shows, in their entirety. Here's what I've been watching over the past year and some thoughts.

Max Headroom

The short lived futuristic drama that attempted to bring cyberpunk to television. Matt Frewer was charming, Amanda Pays was smokin' hot, and Jeffrey Tambor still didn't have any hair, even back in 1987. It began as a BBC Channel 4 TV movie and was expanded to a U.S. series that ran for two, partial seasons with a total of 14 episodes. Even so, it still ranks as one of my all-time favorites.

Miami Vice

A favorite of mine when I was in high school, but I quit watching it at some point. I thought it'd be fun to go back and see the entire 5 season series, but I was wrong. Don't get me wrong, re-watching the first season was great. While the fashions and music are very dated, the first season is still gripping, fun, and highly stylish. Unfortunately, it grows stale really fast midway in season 2 and by season 3 I couldn't bring myself to watch any more of it and gave up. What's interested about watching some of these old shows is seeing actors who were nobodies in supporting roles who are now recognizable on hit TV shows today. A case in point on this show was Terry Quinn (aka John Locke from Lost) playing a weaselly lawyer.

WKRP In Cincinnati

I was really too young to appreciate this sitcom when it aired from 1978-82, but recall it being one of my dad's favorites. In my mind, three of these characters - Les Nesman, Herb Tarlek, and Dr. Johnny Fever - are three of the greatest sitcom characters ever. Gordon Jump had spectacular comedic timing as well. And Loni Anderson... wow. Watching her made me realize just how much notions of what constitutes female beauty has changed in the past 20 years. With notable exception (Mad Men's Chistina Hendricks comes to mind) you just don't see women built like that on TV any more.

Night Court

Another of my all-time favorite shows. Probably in my top 5. Thanks to the power of the internet I managed to watch all 8 seasons. John Larroquette as Dan Fielding is one of the great comedic performances for my money. The blend of writing with him as a lecherous womanizer combined with his knack for physical comedy carried the show the entire way. In the final season, there is a 3-show story arc which includes a young Cristine Rose (aka Angela Petrelli from Heroes) as a "sex surrogate" who employs Dan.


Through the 90s and most of this decade, I began watching less and less television. Having been a fan of Cheers in the 80s, I had seen some of Frasier in the first couple of seasons and knew it to be high quality. In fact, it's safe to say that Frasier raised the bar for quality in sitcoms. The writing was impeccable and it has won more Emmys than any other show in history. That's no small feat. It's the show I'm currently working through, somewhere in the 8th of 11 seasons. I didn't realize all of the "guest callers" on his fictional radio program were actually "guest star" appearances. David Hyde Piece has the ability to send me into hysterical fits of laughter with his dry delivery and physical comedy.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do next. I'm of a mind to delve into The John Larroquette Show and follow it up with Boston Legal. I plan to start and catch-up on some currently airing shows like 30 Rock and Burn Notice. I've also got a couple of short-lived shows lined-up: Herman's Head and Freaks and Geeks. After watching Frasier and having been immersed in Monk for the past couple of years with Welf, I might revisit the sitcom Wings which I saw here and there through the 90s. I also plan to do Seinfeld from start to finish. One I'd really like to do from the 80s is Newhart if I can get my hands on the complete 8 seasons.

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Freaks and Geeks is way up there in my book. It's amazing to see most of the stars going on to super-stardom. Seth Rogen was a nobody when he did that show, and to this day it's some of his best work. The episode with the party when he cleaned up playing "quarters" with a keg of near-beer is hilarious.

And of course Joe Flaherty as the over-protective, misguided, but well-meaning dad. "You know where he is? He's DEAD!"

I've seen a couple of episodes of it and found it to be top notch. I've always wanted to get around to seeing it in its entirety, I just haven't made the time for it yet. I seem to recall an episode centering around someone's bar mitzvah, but I might be confusing it with something else.

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I loved how Les Nesman always had a visible bandage in a different place on his body in every show, but no explanation was ever given for any of them.

If you're going for a new series forget EVERYTHING else and watch the current 2 seasons of Breaking Bad.

Just fucking do it. Seriously.

I just looked it up on Wikipedia and it certainly sounds like something that would interest me. I will definitely be sure to check into it in the near future.

There's just entirely too much shit I wanna see.

In fact forget the rest and go watch it right now.


Ohhh, Max Headroom. Good call! And as for WKRP, I always had a thing for Jan Smithers; WAY hotter than Loni Anderson to me. And Christina Hendricks will always be Saffron to me.

I, too, am working my way through Freaks And Geeks again. It was such a great show, both funny & poignant.

If it was available on DVD (& it really SHOULD be!), I would recommend a little show that had 1 season on CBS called Now And Again. The premise is simple: John Goodman is Michael Wiseman, a typical man, an insurance agent in NYC with a wife & teen daughter. One day he learns that the promotion he wanted was given to the guy who was his protege. He gets drunk with his best friend (who also works there) & on the way home is accidentally pushed in front of an oncoming subway & killed.

Or is he? See, the government--in the form of Dr, Theodore Morris (Dennis Haysbert, pre-24)--has a project, of which he is the head. They're building the perfect man, with "the speed of Michael Jordan, the strength of Superman, & the grace of Fred Astaire." But while they can grow a brain, they can't create a MIND. So they give Michael a choice: agree to have his brain put in this body & work for them--or stay dead, as he legally is. The catch is that he can never have any contact with his wife, his daughter, anyone from his former life...or they'll open him up & pull out the brain..& he will REALLY be dead.

Obviously, he goes for it & Eric Close (who plays Michael in the engineered body) dhas an amazing comdice talent. It co-starred Heather Matarazzo, Margaret Colin, Gerrit Graham...the dialogue was great, the plots were silly at times, but it was so fun. And they ended it on a damned cliffhanger. Fuckers.

Oh I didn't mean to take anything away from Jan Smithers, she is very beautiful... I was just commenting on how the statuesque female figure is no longer desirable. Although to be fair, Smithers had a nice curvy figure, too.

Now and Again does sound interesting. Looks like there are a few poorly seeded episodes on public torrent trackers but nothing complete. It looks like piratebay may have had a complete collection of it at some point but it doesn't appear to be seeded currently.

Guess what? I found a torrent, changed the tracker to something that actually works, & DLed the whole series overnight. Seems to have been taken from its SciFi run; didn't even known it HAD a SciFi run. I'll PM you with the info.

Thanks. I'm getting it now. :)

I always enjoyed Newsradio immensely. Dave Foley can do no wrong in this Canadian's mind!

If you're into British stuff at all you should also check out The Young Ones which has the distinction of being the only comedy show with a guest performance by Motorhead (that I know of)!

I have considered watching New Radio. I've always liked Dave Foley, too - probably my favorite of the Kids In The Hall bunch. Also, Andy Dick never fails to crack me up.

I always found it to be an underrated show. Phil Hartman was amazing on it. It had a great ensemble cast.

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