Monday, June 6, 2011

Better living through (Antenna) TV

The day I found out about WSB-TV’s digital channel switch from RTN/RTV to Me-TV, I left a message on the Facebook wall of my esteemed blogging colleague Rick Brooks of Cultureshark fame informing him of my good fortune.  No gloating or end zone dancing, you understand—I just thought I’d keep him in the loop, seeing as that we are both big devotees of getting our classic couch potato on.  He responded shortly after that there were some big changes scheduled for RTN—he mistakenly thought I still had access to the Retro Television Network until I explained to him that it had been banished to the wilds of WYGA…at least in my neck of the woods.

Fortunately for Rick, he’s still getting Retro and in this post, he clues us in that RTN is adding a few programs to its lineup…and the only one that I’ll be sorry not to receive is Route 66, a show that’s also available on Me-TV’s sister outfit, Me-Too on Sunday nights.  Not being able to see Route 66 is disappointing but not too terribly devastating because I do have the entire run of the show on disc—the Seasons 1-3 collections released by Infinity Entertainment and the last year courtesy of my friendly neighborhood rootpegger.  But the quality on the Infinity sets fluctuates wildly (and I won’t go into the Season 4 copies—you can see for yourself in some of these screen caps I used for a piece of William Shatner’s appearance on the show); Mike “Mr. Television” Doran tells me the prints on Me-Too are in much better shape.  Let’s face it, a lot of the material on Me-TV is already on hand in the dusty Thrilling Days of Yesteryear archives…but given the choice of getting up from my comfy chair, walking over to a shelf and hunting for the show I want to watch versus the simple pressing of a remote button…well, I think my position on bone-laziness has been borne out in full here on the blog.

Rick also offers up a link in his post to this online article that mentions a few other RTN supplements; The Saint would certainly be a welcome add-on even though I bought both the black-and-white and color episodes in collections from Network DVD a few years back.  But I have to admit I’m kind of curious about RTN’s acquisition of Movin’ On, a short-lived 1974-76 series about gearjammers that starred Claude Akins and TDOY fave Frank Converse because—and I don’t have an authoritative source for this, it’s purely hearsay—I had read somewhere where the company that owned the rights to the series had been a little sloppy where the show’s masters were concerned…namely, they no longer exist.  So I’m curious as to how the forty-four episodes of the series resurfaced if indeed this information is accurate.  (By the way, I like the comment at the end of that TV News Check blurb that states: “Old sit coms [sic] and syndicated shows never die either—they just go to that TV land in the sky.”  I chuckled at this only because they sure as hell don’t go to the one down here on Earth.)

Rick is one of the lucky people able to check out the offerings on Antenna TV, a cable outfit I mentioned here on the blog sometime back that’s owned by Tribune Broadcasting and, like RTN and Me-TV, showcases a lot of classic TV programs because, as I snarkily stated in the previous paragraph, TV Land is starting to more and more abandon its once noble intention to preserve our historical television heritage and lard their schedule with reality show offal like How’d You Get So Rich? and She’s Got the Look.  I should emphasize “lucky” because according to this map of Antenna TV affiliates, the channel has a long way to go before it’s available in a majority of homes (though in its defense, it launched operations about six months ago)—the only place it’s available in Georgia is the digital channel of WKSY-TV, based in Summerville and Chattanooga, TN.  Rick has another post up at his blog that talks about how Antenna has finally made good on its promise to put the old Burns and Allen TV series on its schedule, though he’s not particularly enthusiastic with the presentation.  Antenna has also got rarities on hand like Circus Boy and The Iron Horse, and according to Rick they’re being treated in the same manner of George and Gracie (sloppy edits, sub-standard prints, etc.).

Antenna TV has made some nice programming choices: Dennis the Menace, Father Knows Best, The Flying Nun, Hazel, Here Come the Brides, The Monkees and The Partridge Family—all shows that caused an irreversible case of brain rot when I watched them as a young spud.  They also showcase movies from the Columbia Pictures library (now Sony) and vintage cartoons and Three Stooges shorts on the weekends.  I’m assuming these are contaminated with commercials, of course, but I suppose that’s a small price to pay to keep a station around that doesn’t mind showing “the old stuff.”

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1 comment:

Cliff Aliperti said...

I've got Antenna here on Long Island, bumped into it one night when I was wondering who was actually airing a marathon of The Benny Hill Show! Actually they do that every weekend, hooray! Lots of classic movie titles in the overnights and mornings as well, though they do have commercials. Since I only watch about 4 of the hundreds of channels offered by my cable provider it sure is nice to have another one worth visiting!