Free antenna television has been in our home for the last three years or so. We tried cable and dish and mostly we were bored to near death. The expenses were getting higher and higher. The number of movies was always impressive, but we would not have gone to see them in a theater. In the “olden days” we would have titled them “B” rated films. In the 50s such movies were shot on back lots and using lots of “shoot ‘em up” sequences. Whether Westerns or gangsters, the plots were always the same.
Along with the antenna, we now have Roku, which is a box that allows streaming. You can see new movies or programs in real time. Roku also has a library of old television series like “Leave It to Beaver,” the “Brady Bunch,” and all the “Law and Order” series. Roku does not have a fee if you buy the one-time box. The only problem with going back to antenna TV is the weather. When it blows, the picture smears. Makes you think you are back in the 50s. Confused? Watch “Happy Days.”
Recently, channel 4 KOB has added two more channels to the parent 4-1. They are Comet, a Sci-Fi channel with lots of good stuff including “Sliders,” people jumping back and forth in time and “Quantum Leap.” And the next one is called “Decades.” Now here is what is unique about this new channel, it is made up of all the old shows from the 1950s to present day. We already have ME tv, but that is mostly cop shows. Channel 29 is Heros and Icons. All of the “Star Trek” saga except Discovery which is the latest is on each night. Channel 19-2 has every Western ever made. All these are provided with an antenna, no dish or cable. So why did they have this channel “Decades?” Easy, it is everything we liked about television in years past. The shows are family television: “Love Boat,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” the “Mary Tyler Moore Show,” are some of the many. “I Love Lucy” tops the list and has been on reruns since the 1950s. I felt thrilled to see these shows again. Apart from “Sheldon,” a new sitcom based on the life of Sheldon from the “Big Bang Theory,” I never watch current TV shows. Most of new television is based on soap opera reality shows of dating and ….well…. you know.
Why doesn’t Hollywood get the message? We liked and still like the notion that people in a family could like, nay, love one another. Families can stick up for one another and care for each other, through thick and thin. We have just had a pandemic that was not a reality show; it really did kill people, and many suffered. Why wouldn’t we want a few laughs? People used to call TV the Boob Tube. And maybe it was, but in the 70 years I have been watching, it has imprinted on my brain the beauties of the Nile in Africa, the jungles of the Amazon, life under the oceans miles deep to the magnificent whales that blow up to the surface. Like the “Ed Sullivan” show, “American Idol” and “Dancing with the Stars” harken back to real variety entertainment. If you doubt how much you have learned the last 50 years of watching the box, get a copy of “Fifty Years of Television of T.V. Guide.” It is history you will love to study. Like, the 50s had 35 westerns each week. That changed to 35 doctor programs in the 60s. You have forgotten the greatness of the half century that we could view with the turn of a button, or now the flick of a remote.
Since the advance of computer-generated images, acting is almost passe, and the expense of making films for television is still less than those made for theaters. Now what ever was old is new again. Let your mind meld with the new “Decades” channel and chill out in this hot, hot time. Roaring Mouse making popcorn with butter. Out.