April 3, 2019

FredFlix: An open letter to MeTV

From our friend FredFlix, "An Open Letter to MeTV." It's not, as is the case with so many "open letters," full of threats and criticisms. Well, maybe there are a few critiques, but the point is that it's a sensible suggestion for how to make television's finest retro channel even better, while at the same time cautioning against some of the moves that have been the downfall of similar channels in the past. Fred readily admits that it's probably impossible to get all, or even most, of the shows he suggests; but I still think it's the kind of suggestion that MeTV ought to take seriously.

As Fred says, we can all dream, can't we? What are your thoughts on his fantasy schedule? TV  


  1. Nice work by FredFlix!

    Having some fun and throwing in my two cents for shows that I'd like to see again are: Ironside, Barnaby Jones, Quincy, M.E., McMillan & Wife, The Defenders, Love American Style, F Troop, McCloud, Here's Lucy, The Waltons, Cagney & Lacey, House Calls, Police Woman, Harry O, Switch, Rhoda, Fish and Lou Grant.

    MeTV is the best of the retro programming networks out there, with Antenna TV, next. There are so many other retro networks that Comcast doesn't carry: Laff, Cozi, RTN and Decades.

  2. Agree that an MeTV animation block is long overdue, but I'd forego any illusions of obtaining any Looney Tunes cartoons or Hanna-Barbera programming. Ditto "Spider-Man".

  3. Some great ideas there. I'd love to see some of these shows (and more movies). MeTV is great but it also has some obvious flaws.

    I'm baffled as to why no one shows The Dick Van Dyke Show. I think one of the channels (can't remember which one) ran it recently around 3 or 4am, but they don't anymore. Of all of the classic sitcoms it's the one that should get a prime spot. (The annual Christmas specials on CBS still get great ratings.)

    1. I would've sworn that MeTV did show The Dick Van Dyke Show, up until the end of last year? I watch it now on Netflix.

    2. Me-TV hasn't rerun DVD SHOW in a few years. I remember it went over to COZI-TV for awhile, but COZI often has an annoying habit of cutting out the closing credits to its shows entirely (It blatantly did this w/ DVD SHOW, skipping from the director/writer credits to the Brownstein label at the end of each episode on DVD.), so I don't watch it much. I still have all the episodes of DVD SHOW on DVD, but I haven't watched them in awhile.

  4. After reading this post, I spent much of the rest of the day at the Old DVD Wall.
    I put that together for several reasons, not least of which was that there were lots of series that did not become "cults" or "icons" or "classix" or whatever term you want to hang on them.
    MeTV has fallen into the NickAtNite trap: over-reliance on the same small group of shows, as well as the traps that I'll detail below.

    Were I running things, these are the changes I'd make:
    (1) No More Stripping.
    No series runs more than once in any given week (at least in prime time).
    That's how it was, back when I was a kid in the '50s and '60s.
    On my wall, I've got lots of shows that aren't running at all these days: many of these shows didn't have very long first-runs, but there are some that had reasonably long runs even by the standards of today, and they deserve a look-in here as well (Scott's comment above has a number of such shows; I can add more than a few myself).

    (2) No More Bingeing/Marathons.
    Only one episode at a time (exception would be two-part episodes, which were once a rarity).
    Since nearly all series were "standalones" (the modern term, but you know what I mean), this would reduce the factor of constant repetition that doesn't really help in audience building.

    (3) Retiring Series:M*A*S*H and Columbo deserve some time off.
    But so does Twilight Zone.
    When you reach the point of being able to say the dialogue along with the actors, I think we're at saturation level.

    (4) Short-lived series should get far more airtime than the current practice -
    - and not only the ones with cult interest.
    Just because a show was dropped after only a half-season should not cause its disappearance from the Ken Of Mortal Man.
    Back In The Day, this wasn't the case; I've got the TV Guides to prove that.
    Similarly, the old syndicated shows (Ziv, Screen Gems, Revue and such) should be shown, regularly.
    Nobody would watch?
    TCM seems to be doing all right …

    (5) An exception to "No Stripping" above:
    If a series was supposed to run every day -
    - say, Dark Shadows for instance -
    - by all means show that.
    And any other daily dramas that still have enough of an inventory to make a go of it (you'd be surprised how many do).
    Getting back to one of my old hobbyhorses, The Edge Of Night, much if not all of that shows end run, spanning the years 1979 to 1984, is intact enough to run in continuity - and the stories (by Henry Slesar, and later by Lee Sheldon) are pretty darn good mysteries.
    At the very least, the old prime-time Peyton Place ought to get another look in this fashion.

    (6) Svengoolie might consider bringing back some of the really bad movies he used to show before MeTV made him go legit (he'd have a reason to bring back SvenSurround).
    Better still, Rich Koz could bring back Stoogeapalooza, the Three Stooges showcase he did locally before he fell ill a few years back.
    On Stoogeapalooza, Rich would show several shorts, grouped together by subject matter; between shorts, he'd provide fun facts about the performers, and also provide helpful explanations of the topical references in the older pictures - Rich Koz was sort of the Robert Osborne of slapstick.
    I really miss Stoogeapalooza, and maybe now is the time to take it national.

    All I've got for now; more later if needed …


  5. Good thoughts from Fred Flix. Folk TV is the best retro TV network IMO. They offer a lot of shows that are rarely aired. I'm not sure how much exposure Folk TV has, but I'm blessed that it's available via Dish Network.

  6. The problem with this idea is the availability of some of the series you suggest they pick up - some shows are not being offered for syndication and others are simply not available.

  7. Logo bugs AND cropping for widescreen- yeah, that's "television's finest retro channel" alright. Antenna TV at least started out good, our local station now puts its own bug on it though so don't watch that anymore.

  8. No Three Stooges, Id like to see sitcoms Hazel, Nanny and the Professor,Gidget, and Family Affair. Also, insomniacs like to see something on in the midnight hours! I love your ideas otherwise!

  9. I'm with you with the first part of your letter but I'm not with your suggested schedule because almost all of the live TV shows you're suggesting are already on DVD. TV shows that should be available should be TV shows like: Bachelor Father, Our Miss Brooks, Adventures in Paradise, Waterfront, Hong Kong, China Smith, New adventures of Charlie Chan, People's Choice, Tightrope, Markham, San Francisco Beat, Richard Diamond, Robert Taylor's the Detectives, Love That Bob, The Bill Dana Show, Adventures of Hiram Holliday, Sheriff of Cochise, Colonel March of Scotland Yard, Boston Blackie, Whirlybirds, well you see what I mean but I guess I'm just dreaming since most of these shows are almost completely forgotten.


Thanks for writing! Drive safely!