Thursday, September 08, 2005

Let TV Guide help you decide

With the knowledge that the TV Guide I grew up with will be no more come next month, I thought it might be kind of fitting to pick up the last Fall Preview issue.

Alas, my trip to the grocery store was fruitless -- aside from a box of Waffle Crisp, the latest Readymade magazine and some cumin (which should've been ground, not seed, I later discovered).

When I bought TV Guide every week, it hit the racks every Tuesday. But here it was Wednesday, and only empty racks. I mentioned this to my brother and he said that they come out later now.

Hopefully I'll remember to get one before the next one comes out.

I have many fond memories of the mystery and wonder that each new fall season brought. Keep in mind that you didn't have full-blown summer seasons back then. I don't remember that happening until Beverly Hills, 90210.

You knew that it was coming, because school had just started and you were getting used to everyone's new haircuts and finding new ways to make yourself look stupid with school supplies.

At the end of most daytime program summaries was a note to the effect of "Last show in series. Next week, The Superfriends will air in this time slot." That's how you knew that next week would be the week.

After an eternal wait, the mighty Fall Preview issue, with its extra color pages, hit the stands. And I had to study it to make sure I knew of all the lineup changes as well as promising new shows.

"Dude, check it out! Did you read about Manimal? That's going to be rad!"

OK, I probably didn't say "rad," but it sounds much better than "dudical," which is something I distinctly remember saying back then.

Each new show had a page devoted to it, with requisite cheesy cast photo and brief synopsis. Occasionally, there would be a show that didn't have information because no episodes were available for review.

Even at age 8, I knew that was bad news.

A book I got from the library the other day, "What Were They Thinking?: The 100 Dumbest Events in Television History," has an entry on NBC's 1983 fall lineup. That's number 55: "NBC pitches a no-hitter."

The shows: Manimal, Mr. Smith, Boone, The Bay City Blues, For Love and Honor, We Got It Made, The Rousters, The Yellow Rose and Jennifer Slept Here.

Out of those nine, I remember three: the aforementioned Manimal, We Got It Made and Jennifer Slept Here. Manimal lasted two months, Made went for six, and Jennifer appears to have made a whole season.

I remember these as being pretty lame, so what does that say about the others?

The book, by the way, is tres cool, and you should pick it up.

I'm curious to see what the new TV Guide will be like -- I have a bad feeling it's going to look a lot like US Weekly, People, etc.

I noticed something at the drugstore the other day, too. It struck me a little odd. It was a protective plastic cover to keep your TV Guide nice and safe. I didn't scrutinize it, but it appeared to be a TV Guide-licensed product, with the logo and everything.

So did they have a bunch of these laying around a warehouse or are they hoping people aren't paying attention?