Episode 174: A Youngster Looks at More Retro TV Shows


Last week, I talked about some of my favorite new shows for the year. Now that most of them are showing, I am watching them and just hoping they’re as good as they seemed in the ads and stuff. While I do get to watch the new network television lineup, I’m not exactly ignoring the old TV shows of the past.

I’ve actually taken a liking to watching Hits TV. It’s a channel that shows retro television programs exclusively. I’ve already written about their former lineup of action/drama shows and sitcoms, both the ones that I thought that are bad as well as the ones that thought held up well.

But, before I begin, there was one show I forgot to talk about: Cheers. I would say Cheers is kinda like a predecessor to Friends but set in a bar. I like a lot of the characters and they do feel rather fleshed out. It’s also a hoot to watch actors like Ted Danson, Kelsey Grammer and especially Woody Harrelson before they made it big. I will say that, while the show was okay with the Shelly Long character, Cheers became a much better show with the addition of Kirstie Alley as Cheers’ new manager.

While we’re in the vein of good retro sitcoms, I’ll go segue into The Nanny. Look, I can see why the character of Fran Fine can be annoying. She has a irritating high pitch voice and really gaudy accent. She walks like she’s on stilts and her fashion sense is just weird. But, God help me, I really love the character! She’s the one that makes the show work! She’s like a breath of fresh air in that stuffy old house and the butler Niles knows it. The Nanny can be pretty hilarious as well, which is what makes a sitcom memorable. Oh, and that theme song is incredibly catchy as well! They don’t make theme songs like this anymore!

Another “new” sitcom they started showing is a show called Home Improvement. This one is a rather hit-or-miss kind of comedy program… mostly miss, however. I can see why this show was popular during its time. The show appears to have a childish nature to it which does kind of make it enjoyable at times. But a lot of the jokes just don’t really stand the test of time and it can get incredibly predictable.

The two sitcom I mentioned seem incredibly old to me but they were still out when I was born. Three’s Company, however, was a sitcom that ended an entire decade before I was even born. Oddly enough, I think it’s actually a lot better than The Nanny and Home Improvement. I actually think it being stuck in that late 70’s and early 80’s vibe helps it a lot as a lot of the humor in Three’s Company may be considered misogynistic.

Sure, the guys always get their comeuppance at the end but there’s still a lot of objectifying women here as sexual objects of conquest but, hey, that was how things were, I guess. In all honestly, I’m not offended by the sexist jokes here; I actually find them rather refreshing in this rather PC world. I could do without the overabundance on physical comedy. All the pratfalls and making silly faces at the camera feels really lowbrow and pandering to the lowest common denominator.

Now, from all the sitcoms I’ve mentioned so far, I can see their merits as to why they’re considered classics. Family Ties, however, I can’t see why it was so popular. I tried watching the mega-replay of Family Ties where they play all the episodes they aired during the week back-to-back and I can’t remember laughing once! Not a single time! And, for a sitcom, they do love tackling really unfunny topics like alcoholism and being grumpy on Christmas. At least throw in some funny stories once in a while! I guess it can be fun watching Michael J. Fox when he was a hearttrob but that’s just more for curiosity rather than a compelling reason to watch a boring sitcom like Family Ties each and every week.

Moving on from the “new” retro sitcoms, let’s move on to the “new” action/dramas Hits TV recently started airing: Airwolf and MacGyver. Just to be straight to the point, the former is just weird and boring while the latter is just weird but actually pretty cool… but let’s talk about Airwolf first.

I do kinda get the appeal of a show like Airwolf. A young kid would definitely like an action program about a super high-tech helicopter who flies into wars and stuff. The premise is really cool but the execution in Airwolf is horrendous. Nothing really screams all out action in the show. It’s usually just a lot of talking followed by some lame fight scene between guys with very little fight choreography then we get to the scene where Airwolf flies in and shoots a few missiles. Oh, and then a really boring denouement that doesn’t add anything to the proceedings. I’ll pass.

MacGyver is also another show with a great premise. Essentially, MacGyver’s a guy who manages to put together effective tools out of day-to-day items to overcome obstacles. This is a really great concept but may be kind of out of date thanks to the Internet. There’s a lot of things that may have been rather fun factoids but have become fairly known now thanks to the Internet. I mean, anyone who’s looked on YouTube or a page with some life hacks may know some of the things MacGyver has assembled.

However, I will give credit where credit is due because it is still rather fun to watch. I mean, MacGyver is able to assemble all of these rather mundane things on the spot which is pretty amazing. There is a shortage of action for the most part but that fact works to the show’s favor as MacGyver is using his brains to beat sheer brawn.

Well, that’s all the “new” retro shows that Hits is currently airing. I do have to admit that some of them have become some television programs in my current viewing rotation. But it’s not eating into my time into playing video games, thankfully. And speaking of video games, I’d like to talk about one of my favorite video games I’m currently playing now, Valkyria Chronicles, and why you should be thinking of playing it as well.


What’s your favorite retro television show? Let me know in the comments section below!

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