Writer’s Workshop: And For Your Viewing Entertainment…

So, one of the prompts for the Writer’s Workshop this week is

What are you watching? Share your favorite summer programming so far.

We don’t put much variety into our nightly TV watching. Up until this week, we watched Wheel of Fortune (with the sound off, because the sound of the wheel drives Mary crazy), Jeopardy!, Alaska State Troopers on The Justice Network, Happy Days and Gilligan’s Island (again, with the sound off), then two episodes of Hogan’s Heroes, Carol Burnett and Friends, and Perry Mason until we either go to bed or fall asleep in front of the TV. I say until this week, because a local TV station (literally: both their studio (a storefront in a strip mall) and transmitter (on Sweat Mountain, about a mile from the house) are close by) has managed to get its hands on some of the original episodes of the nighttime Password, You Bet Your Life, and What’s My Line? that they’re now showing at the same time as Alaska State Troopers, so we’ve altered the lineup some. I’m especially enjoying the old episodes of Password. I watched them when I was in kindergarten, and fell in love with Betty White around the same time Allen Ludden did.

I know you want to ask, “why aren’t you watching [insert name of show here] and watching all that old TV?”

For one thing, we got rid of cable about two years ago, so we basically get what we can get with an antenna, meaning most of the local channels and subchannels. (Unfortunately, this excludes both of Atlanta’s PBS stations and their subchannels.) We’re using an indoor antenna; it’s not the best solution, but neither of us wants to climb on the roof to mount a good outdoor antenna, and besides, it’s not that important to us. That was why we got rid of cable: the TV is there to make noise while we read or play Two Dots (me) or Candy Crush (Mary), and we weren’t watching most of the cable channels but paying for them.

The other reason is simple: we no longer belong to the 18-45 demographic that the network programmers bend over backward to accommodate. As a result, none of the shows are all that interesting. We like NCIS and NCIS: New Orleans, but that’s about it. None of the sitcoms are that funny, even The Big Bang Theory, which seems to use Sheldon’s autism as its chief source of humor, and the dramas… enh.

I get it: we’re at the age where the only advertisers interested in us are AARP, law firms doing some ambulance chasing, companies selling life insurance to pay for our funerals, and companies selling various medical products, including prescription drugs, scooters, knee braces, diabetes testing supplies, and my personal favorites, incontinence products and catheters, “shipped discreetly.” (I always have the image of a UPS man walking up the stairs with a bright yellow box, stamped “OPEN IMMEDIATELY – INCONTINENCE SUPPLIES” in two-inch-high letters on all four sides.) Fine, they don’t need us, we don’t need them. We’ll watch TV shows from when they did care, although most of these aired before we were eighteen.

In fact, some of them aired before we were born, specifically the shows on WATC TOO (that local channel) on Sunday night: The Avengers, with Patrick MacNee and Honor Blackmon (these are kinescopes of the original show), Sherlock Holmes, starring Ronald Howard as Holmes, H. Marion Crawford as Watson, and Archie Duncan as Inspector Lestrade, and The Adventures of Robin Hood, with Richard Greene as Robin and the aforementioned Archie Duncan as Little John. They also carry the original Dragnet series with Jack Webb and Hal Gibney.

When we quit cable, I was amazed how many channels were dedicated to vintage TV shows. Obviously there’s still demand out there for them, or maybe it’s just these channels have 168 hours to fill. Whatever the case, we appreciate it.

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Author: John Holton

I'm a writer and blogger who writes and blogs about things that interest me.

17 thoughts on “Writer’s Workshop: And For Your Viewing Entertainment…”

  1. How could anyone not love Betty White, especially back then? Now, I”m not one to correct folks (!) but I’m pretty sure those eps of the Avengers featured Diana Rigg as Mrs. Peel. And she was wonderful, all the guys I went to school with loved Mrs. Peel.

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    1. These are the really early episodes of “The Avengers.” I was surprised myself. The show is almost nothing like the ones with Diana Rigg. The first time I watched one, I turned it on halfway through and wasn’t sure it was “The Avengers” until they showed an end-of-act bumper. Very strange.

      Betty White is practically the history of TV. She was active right at the beginning and still active now. I remember the early “Password” and when she first made an appearance. I was only five, but I could tell she and Allen had something going…

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  2. I’m pretty much off television, too. It’s an expensive waste of time. I still watch a few things on the internet, and I’m getting into TED talks. But I don’t really have space for must-watch anything.

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    1. There’s no more “Must See TV” now, no block of shows you arrange your schedule around. Anything you miss will be on again, or on Netflix or Hulu, or DVR’ed for watching later. I think most people have their shows, but it’s no big deal if they aren’t sitting in front of the TV when they’re on.

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  3. We watch “American Pickers”, “Mom”, “Antiques Roadshow” and old movies on TCM. Currently watching West Wing on Netflix when we can’t find anything else. Boring, huh?

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    1. Not at all. You get to a point where nothing looks all that good, and you find a couple of things and just watch them. Mary had Netflix for a while and watched all the “Midsomer Mysteries” they had, then we got rid of it; there wasn’t anything else worth watching. Such is life…

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  4. I don’t watch much tv and I’m not saying that as some sort of elitist, lol! I’d love to watch more tv! ๐Ÿ™‚ I like plenty of it, but I just don’t make time to sit and watch. We are cutting the cable cord soon. On my agenda next week is to make the call and find out when the end of our billing cycle is and tell them we’re done. We’ve enjoyed it, especially since dvr became a thing, but we watch more and more on Amazon and Netflix and less and less on DirecTV, so…it doesn’t make sense to spend all that money.
    This week, I have watched part of two movies my kids were watching and last night I watched Rachel Maddow. That’s all I got. I’m hoping the weekend brings lots more tv time ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. If you’re thinking of cutrting the cord, you might want to consider getting a good outside antenna. A lot of outdoor antennas can be put in the attic, too, in case you don’t want to climb on the roof. The indoor ones work all right, but don’t pick up all the channels. Definitely get an antenna that has an amplifier on it, regardless; it’s worth the money. With an indoor one, experiment with where it’s placed. You’d be surprised how much moving it couple of inches can make.

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      1. Thanks for the tip!

        I’ve actually been waiting for The Mister to yank down the antenna that was attached to our house when we bought it. I think it’s older than I am. Honestly, we’re just planning on an indoor one and when needed, our weather radio. We seldom watch local channels beyond PBS.
        But without you saying that, I wouldn’t have thought of moving the indoor one around, so thanks again!

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  5. Oh, I love classic t.v. and I am 46 so some of the stuff I like was showed before I was born like the classic game shows. We do have cable because the lineup includes ME tv, Antenna tv and COZI tv which all play classic shows. Those are basically the only channels we watch! I also love The Odd Couple, Maude and The Twilight Zone. Stopping by via Mama Kat’s.

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    1. We watch a lot of MeTV and occasionally Antenna TV and Cozi. Do you watch Decades on the weekends? They’ve been doing as many episodes of classic TV shows as they can. They did The Donna Reed Show a few weeks ago, and I almost forgot to go to bed, I was having so much fun. I hadn’t seen them in almost fifty years, and yet I could remember when I first saw each episode. Great stuff!

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  6. When our basic cable lineup cable went digital, we were delighted to discover we also now get a number of Vintage channels, like MEtv, Cozi. So we also now enjoy watching Carol Brunette & Friends, sometimes Perry Mason, Murder She Wrote and an occasional A-Team.

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  7. I think it was my dad’s fault that I was too into TV when I was younger. But maybe it kept me off the street. It was my dad who introduced me to NCIS which is the only show I watch regularly now. The characters are like extended family.

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    1. That and its relative, “NCIS New Orleans,” are the only current shows I’m all that crazy about. We watch the reboot of “Hawaii Five-O,” and I’m really not impressed by it. It’s nothing like the original, where the guys were detectives and wore suits and ties and acted like cops rather than commandos.

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  8. The commercials that are aimed at my Mom’s generation always make me giggle. I watch trash television, but I don’t watch a ton of it…that’s how I justify it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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