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Thanks for Writing, and Even Tweeting, About My Classic TV Network Idea
July 19, 2011  | By David Bianculli

In my previous blog entry, I suggested the creation of a TV equivalent of Turner Classic Movies, but for TV -- a real one, not like what TV Land has morphed into -- and got lots and lots of fabulous responses, and suggestions for shows deserving of inclusion on such a network. You can read that post, and those comments, HERE. But you can also read a lot more on Twitter, where people have chimed in separately on

I should say that our Twitter account @TVWORTHWATCHING, at this point, has 1147 followers. Most of that, though, I suspect, is due to the time I went to Paris recently and, in my absence, my cat tweeted her own recommendations for TV viewing. I can swear I didn't write them, at least -- and when the cat recommended The Deadliest Catch, something indeed smelled fishy...

Regardless, there was such a response to this particular post, with people offering their own tweets about favorite shows to see on such a network, that I thought I'd share them, and respond, here. Thanks, everyone...

@BobbyRiversTV -- from Bobby Rivers (a celebrity tweet!) -- nominates two excellent, early TV dramedies (well, they were called that then): Tony Randall's Love, Sidney and John Ritter's Hooperman. Good taste, Bobby!

@marshillian nominated Joss Whedon's Firefly series, which, even with its Serenity movie sequel, "didn't get to finish story." I agree. And, as you can see if you keep reading, we're not alone.


@Beakybasil wrote multiple tweets, showing taste in quality as well as quantity. Odyssey 5, Dark Sky, Rubicon, Rockford Files ("best PI"), Babylon 5 ("best sci-fi"), Shogun, Roots, Band of Brothers, Pillars of the Earth, Spartacus, I Claudius, Foyle's War, MI-5, Fawlty Towers, Life on Mars ("from UK"), Upstairs Downstairs, Sopranos, Dexter, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Six Feet Under. He also voted to continue Rubicon and Luther.

@Scarlett_Sox nominated The West Wing, "but just the 1st 4 seasons." Funny -- when my son, Mark, introduced himself to Aaron Sorkin, he did so by telling him that the first two seasons of The West Wing were the best TV he'd ever seen. That fervent but partial compliment got a wry smile from Sorkin -- and, eventually, an internship on Sorkin's Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.


@singlepayer votes for Boston Legal, which I just saw this morning on cable... still great, and for The West Wing and The Wire.

@readinggirl1984 is a quality viewinggirl as well: Her choices include Arrested Development, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly.

@annemarie88keys -- I'm guessing she's either a pianist or a night watchman -- writes, "for years I've been joking that there should be an Aaron Spelling channel," and cites Love Boat, Charlie's Angels, 90201, etc. The etc. could include 7th Heaven and Family, arguably, but we can't forget the "quality" part of this equation, right?

@AuroraBugallo has a boatload of great nominations: I Love Lucy, The Honeymooners, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Columbo, Mad Men, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Star Trek and The Twilight Zone.

@GoColts59 votes for Rome from HBO.

@TinoBeano suggests not only Men of a Certain Age, the cancellation of which prompted my column in the first place, but NYPD Blue, EZ Streets, Wiseguy and Gilmore Girls. Ahhh, EZ Streets, a brilliant choice, sir!

@jcind votes for Life on Mars (I'm not sure which version is being nominated, though) and Arrested Development.

@fergaldavey has one vote, for Freaks and Geeks, but follows it with three exclamation marks!!!

And, finally, @joelrchapman types, with a sigh you can almost hear, "I'm not sure what would be on, but somehow Firefly would get cancelled again."

Your thoughts, if not yet voiced? Comment either here or @TVWORTHWATCHING on Twitter. We'll find them...





Frank said:

I agree with many of the shows mentioned but I'm going to throw in some horror / sci-fi nominees that were fun and often canceled too soon.

Fear Itself
Night Stalker (either original or remake)
(and one of my favorites and most jilted cancellation personally, but a show I don't think you cared for much) Carnivale

and for daytime viewing they could always show Dark Shadows for those missing their soaps.

[Some really nice calls -- especially Night Stalker. -- DB]

Comment posted on July 19, 2011 2:45 PM

Joanne said:

I would add Family and My So Called Life to the list. I think this is a great idea.

Comment posted on July 19, 2011 4:01 PM

ED Quigley said:

I already commented on the original post but seeing Frank's horror comment here had me remember one more show that was way too short in its run- American Gothic "someone's at the door.". Gary Cole was genius. And it never had a chance on CBS

[You're exactly right. Cole was magnificent in that. And so was Lucas Black as the young kid. Wow. -- DB]

Comment posted on July 19, 2011 10:12 PM

M. said:

WONDERFALLS! It's so good I make my students watch it.

Sports Night, Cupid (1997 Piven version), Veronica Mars (it declined because it kept trying to work with network execs), Party Down, Dead Like Me, Terriers, and Drive. The first three episodes of The Nine. (After that, they went the melodrama route, probably to humor execs.)

And, of course, Firefly.

[Good calls! Where, and what, do you teach, that Wonderfalls makes the curriculum cut? How Wonderfalls of you. -- DB]

Comment posted on July 19, 2011 10:42 PM

Angela said:

Lonestar needs a home, as does Joan of Arcadia, and Third Watch.
So many others that I'd choose have already been mentioned but I want to add my vote for Men of a Certain Age, Rubicon, Terriers, Deadwood, Boston Legal, and West Wing.
@ BeakyBasil will be happy to know that Luther will be back for another 6 episodes.

About having to keep those evil automated computers away, I love the type that ask you a question like 2+6=?

[Well, what's the answer? Don't leave us hanging. -- DB]

Comment posted on July 19, 2011 10:56 PM

Angela said:

On the aside, does anyone remember a TV series called "I'll Fly Away"? My mother raved about it, and we hunted everywhere but never could find it again.

[Remember? How about revere? Incredibly good period drama about a Southern lawyer (Sam Waterston) and his children's nanny (Regina Taylor). He's white, she's black, it's the dawn of the Civil Rights era, and the stories were both small and large.

What's kept it from DVD release? Probably all the music rights, but that's no excuse. It's a perfect choice for this hypothetical network of ours... -- DB]

Comment posted on July 19, 2011 10:58 PM

ericg said:

Well, no one's put The Prisoner in there, so that has to go on record. I'll second Carnivale. Six Feet Under? Homicide - Life on the Streets? Rocky and Bullwinkle? Buffalo Bill? Then Came Bronson?

[Leave it to one of our own contributors to come up with a mandatory element of the fledgling schedule. Rocky and Bullwinkle! "Aw, that trick NEVER works!"... - DB]

Comment posted on July 20, 2011 5:56 AM

Danny Mizrahi said:

Brooklyn Bridge

Call To Glory

[Call to Glory! What a great show that was! -- DB]

Comment posted on July 20, 2011 9:52 AM

fergal said:

cool! i made on to tv worth watching!!

Comment posted on July 20, 2011 1:01 PM

Mac said:

David- Honest, I'm not kissing up to ME Diane Werts, aka Ms. Christmas on TV, but my channel would pay heavy attention to Christmas themed shows and variety specials from Thanksgiving on.There is so mch material,and I suspect much still exists in vaults, that it could go All Christmas, All the Time, in December.

[I agree -- and I KNOW Diane does... - DB]

Comment posted on July 20, 2011 6:48 PM

Simon Bao said:

David, many of the programs that folks are requesting are already available to them, full episodes and full series. Available to them if they're willing to watch on monitors rather than on TV sets.

At Hulu (and presumably also at IMDB), free users can watch Buffy, Firefly, Rockford Files, both the original and the newer Outer Limits, Alfred Hitchcock, Rocky & Bullwinkle, and lots more. Those willing to be paid subscribers get access to even more of the old programs some folks seem to want.

For some time, die hard fans have been able to watch full episodes and seasons of programs such as Foyle's War and I Claudius over at YouTube - but they're broken up in 10 minute segments, the picture quality is rather poor, the stream often lags and hangs up while buffering. None of that is an issue with Hulu (and presumably also at IMDB).

So, my hunch is that your dreamt-of "TV equivalent of Turner Classic Movies, but for TV" is already being built - but is being built for computer monitors rather than TV screens. It will be Hulu, or some new service that further develops whatever Hulu provides.

Once such TV programs become established and entrenched with an online service such as Hulu, I can't foresee a cable provider spending the money to try to replicate it. So, while it may not be the service you dream of, it may offer many of the programs your readers here hope to see again.

Comment posted on July 21, 2011 2:42 AM
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