August 1, 2013

Around the dial

Time to take a quick spin through the classic TV blogosphere and see what we can come up with. Something good, no question.

At Comfort TV, David talks about the real way to watch retro TV: by duplicating a network's lineup for an entire evening. I must admit to being prone to this nerdish behavior myself, although I'm more likely to mix and match networks and eras instead of trying to duplicate a single point in time, ala David. For example, our Saturday night lineup features Perry Mason. Mannix and Mission: Impossible from CBS, though they didn't all air at the same time. My real goal, however, has been to duplicate the programming from a specific day's programming, as listed in TV Guide. Good luck with that, right? But you'd be surprised at how close you can get.

The Onion's AV Club has become one of my favorite classic TV sites; it's got a great lineup of features, from episode-by-episode rundowns of programs like The Twilight Zone and classic Doctor Who to articles that analyze the appeal of a given series. One of the best is the feature called 100 Episodes, which focuses on those series that reached the landmark number of 100 episodes - the generally considered minimum number of episodes for a series to go into syndication, and future immortality.

Bill Simmons' Grantland website may seem like it's sportscentric, but it really embrases all of pop culture, and in "Murder, Inc.," Andy Greenwald explores a question that I've written about several times, one that is as relevant to today's culture as it was in the 60s: how much violence on television is "too much"? One can't help but wonder - isn't this an example of something that never gets beyond the talk stage?

At Awful Announcing, the gang flashes back to a time which we might consider remarkable today: when 24/7 sports programming seemed on the way out. I vividly remembere how much sports USA used to have (although a lot of it came before we got cable in Minneapolis), but I'd completely forgotten the days when ESPN carried Nation's Business Today for two hours on weekday mornings. Now that you mention it, I actually watched that show each morning before heading off to work. It was a hell of a lot better than what ESPN has on nowadays.

And the reason for that can be found in this fascinating and depressing Deadspin article that breaks down the content of ESPN's flagship SportsCenter broadcast for an entire year. Among other things, we learn that a team's economic value is even more important than its won-loss record when it comes to getting coverage on SportsCenter. Blech.

In fact, that left such a bad taste in my mouth that I had to find another article to sign off on, and here it is: Joanna Wilson's recap of Christmas TV History's Christmas in July. If that thought doesn't bring a smile and warm memory to you, I don't know what will.

That's it for today - see you on Saturday for This Week in TV Guide. Not-so-fun fact: I had to rebuild this one from the ground up after a technical malfunction ate my homework. You'll have to let me know if it still comes out alright!

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