The Test Pattern (introduction)

Back when I was young (which was many, many years ago), I fell in love with TV.  No shame in that, really.  There have been a number of tremendous shows over the years, each of which captured my imagination in different ways.  Each fall season brought a new crop of possibilities, new friends, and new worlds to explore….

…for a while…

You see, here’s the problem.  I had a distinct tendency to be attracted to certain types of shows.  Unfortunately, many of those shows were quirky, strange, and much too smart “for the room”, you might say.  And, with a few exceptions, most of then ran for, usually, only one season.

Thirteen episodes.  Maybe twenty-some, if they snuck under the radar for a bit, or had someone in the network hierarchy who thought they might be more than just a throwaway concept.  But here’s the funny thing.  Every summer, I’d start seeing ads for the next “NEW FALL SEASON”.  And, every year it seemed, there was always another quirky, strange, and too smart show to catch my fancy.  And the networks, in their infinite wisdom (and I use the word “wisdom” loosely), would almost always slot these shows in the same place:  “Coming this fall on (insert network here), FRIDAYS at 8, 7 CENTRAL!!”

Which explains the name of this blog….

Back in the late ’70’s and early ’80’s, the promos would actually tell you the time the show was airing.  And it seemed that all of the shows that the networks couldn’t actually understand, but that looked “edgy” and “flashy” got stuck in what became known as the “Friday Night Death Slot” (look it up — the term is on Wikipedia).  Oh, and once the Fall season actually STARTED, there wasn’t a promo to be found… almost as if the networks had already decided that the shows were going to die anyway, so why waste promotional dollars?

Of course, that’s not quite what happened.  A few (VERY few, unfortunately) actually survived being ignored by the suits, and became moderately successful.  Of course, that was when they got moved OUT of that slot, and a new sacrificial lamb…er…quirky show would take its place, at least for half a season or so.

Which means more fodder for this blog, fortunately!!

So, the idea here will be to cover one of these shows every week or so, remembering what was so good (or bad, as the case may be) about each, what some of the poor souls who were involved with gems ended up being successful with later, and occasionally talking about some of the successful shows and general television trends as well.  I’ll not limit it to shows that SOLELY aired in the specific Friday 8/7 slot either, but reminisce about many of those shows that may have avoided the time slot, but still brought the fun, quirk, and oddness that seemed to characterize so many of these types of shows.  And you might just discover, or re-discover, a forgotten gem or two along the way.

So, tune in here, every week or so, for another jog of the memory, another exploration of silly, or strange, or fun.  And if there’s any particular show that you’d like to see specifically covered, feel free to comment accordingly.   And thanks for joining me on the ride.  Get your remotes and those VCR’s ready, because it’s almost FRIDAY, at 8/7 CENTRAL!

–Tim R.

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