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 very often 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 believed looked “edgy” and “flashy” (but that the network suits couldn’t or wouldn’t actually understand) got stuck in what became known as the “Friday Night Death Slot”.  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 as well.  I’ll not limit it to shows that SOLELY aired in the specific Friday 8/7 slot either, but reminisce about some 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!

7 comments
  1. Here are couple of suggestions of shows I really liked and definitely wanted more of:

    Crime Traveller
    It was so clever and fun and different. Only eight(!) episodes, now that’s a crime.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_Traveller

    War of the Worlds
    Don’t know if a show with two season counts, but the two seasons are so different… I watched this when I was seven (I actually got to see this one on its orig run), and I’m just now rediscovering it.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_the_Worlds_(TV_series)

    Probe
    Very interesting and science-y. Can’t go wrong with Asimov 🙂
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Probe_(1988_TV_series)

    Now & Again
    So funny and so well acted! I’ve been quite influenced by the way this show’s comedy and cinematography was done.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Now_and_Again

    Thanks!
    ThirdBass

  2. Tim… Now that the series is out on DVD… if you want to take a quick polish through your excellent piece here (to put it in present tense – post DVD land) and send it to me, we would be happy to feature it on the A.D. AFTER DISCLOSURE site, along with links to this site.

    By the way, we just put it up on the Dark Skies Facebook page, too. https://www.facebook.com/darkskiesufo

    If you’re up for the re-print, send me the essay to the email attached to this message, along with a headshot photo we can use of you, and a couple of sentences you’d want as your bio.

  3. Michelle Parsneau said:

    Have you checked out Journeyman? I think it was on NBC. It was a great show, and I think it fits the criteria you seem to have here, regarding intelligent show that respects its viewers and expects an engaged, thoughtful audience.

    Anyway, I just found your blog today, and am hooked. I’m really enjoying the care with which you write about these shows.

  4. Jennifer Kunz said:

    I love your blog. The pieces are always well-written (the guest authors’ ones as well) and very informative, even for shows I think I know a lot about. Keep up the good work!

  5. Gordon N. said:

    Dear Sir: Much as I enjoy this site (THE MIDDLEMAN!) I was surprised to see a glaring omission that ought to fit right in here: “Battlestar Galactica” (1978). If I remember correctly it DID air on Friday nights, and suffered the weirdest face-palm, hair-tearing pilot-episode glitch in TV history – it was pre-empted in mid-action scene (characters running across a bridge with bad guys in hot pursuit!) for live coverage of the Camp David Accord, starring Menachem Begin of Israel and Anwar Sadat of Egypt!

    • Tim Rose said:

      absolutely correct about the premiere pre-emption. I was a freshman at a predominately Jewish college, watching the pilot ep in the common room on a large projection TV when it was interrupted. Half the crowd there was angry at the disruption of the show they’d been waiting for, and the other half was in arms over the settlement terms of the Peace Accord. Being from a small town in Iowa (with nil for a Jewish population), I had no true idea of what the real life ramifications of the event were, let alone how it would affect people who highly identified with the state of Israel. The whole event was an eye-opener. Nowadays, it would be surprising for a network to cut in for even that scale event, given the proliferation of 24-hour news networks and such…. plus, you’d get to see what you missed the next day online somewhere. It’s hard to believe for younger viewers that things like this took place, or had meaning to those watching, both for the real life events and the fictional shared event of the interruption. Thanks for the comment! (oh, and by the way, the show’s regular slot was Sundays at 7, prime real estate for ABC at the time given the amount of money they were spending on the series!)

  6. Scott said:

    I enjoyed the posts on the Sunshine TV series–by far the richest source of information about the show and TV movies I’ve found–and the TV series Salvage 1. Both fond memories. I have my own website that is funny and speaks to older TV shows. Of course I wrote I, so I would think it’s funny. My site is also wordpress, so it was interesting to see what you’d done here.

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