Monday, August 11, 2014

Forgotten TV: 101 TV Shows You Probably Don't Remember

So, on and off, for the past eighteen months or so, I have been working on a book about my watching of the so-called 1000 greatest films of all-time. This was a quest I took up about five years ago, based on the greatest film compilation list found at the wonderful website, They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?. I completed watching said list in December of 2012, and began my attempts at chronicling said quest in the form of a half criticism, half memoir kind of book, shortly after this. Well, cut to the Summer of 2014, and guess what? Still no book in sight. Sure, I have a rag tag collection of bits and pieces, anecdotes and critiques, and what have you, but nothing that would resemble a book in any way whatsoever. Now I have confidence that I will one day finish this book. It is inside me and just has to work its way out somehow. And it will someday make it out of my head and onto the proverbial paper, but for right now, I am going to have to set this baby on the equally proverbial back burner, and move on to something else. Something that I can write extensively about at the moment. And to do that, I have decided to jump from the big screen to the small one. 

There are three forms of entertainment that have, at one time or another, been my so-called bread and butter, go to bag. They are cinema, comic books, and television. I could squeeze a fourth, literature, into that fold, especially considering I went to school as an English Lit major, but thanks to what may be some sort of late-blooming ADD on my part (or some other such nonsense), that world seems rather closed to me these days, even though I am getting set to re-read all of J.D. Salinger, in preparation for the release of his long-awaited new novel early next year. But, I digress. I was talking about movies, comics, and TV. These are the three main mediums over which this blog is concerned. I have always loved the movies. I have published numerous film reviews over the years, and have even run an arthouse cinema for a bit. From waaay back, I have always been into comic books. I have read and collected. There have been times I wandered away from the comic book world, but I always come back. It's like a siren song of sorts. But my oldest love is TV. When I was a kid, I kind of grew up on what many have called the boob tube. From shows like Sesame Street, Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, and Romper Room, to H.R. Pufnstuf and Land of the Lost, onto all the great comedies and dramas and actioners of the 1970's and 1980's. This was my education. Everything I learned, I learned from watching television. So, with that in mind, I have decided to write a book about television. Give my film quest book a rest, and instead, take on the history of the small screen. And you know what, the words are just flowing out of me. Flowing I tell you. flowing!

So, the book is tentatively titled, "Forgotten TV: 101 TV Shows You Probably Don't Remember." The premise of the book is to take a look at 101 TV shows (duh!) that you probably don't even remember (duh, again!), or maybe never even heard of in the first place. These are shows that. for better or for worse, have been forgotten by the general public. Shows such as the animal-morphing crimefighter show, Manimal and the Garment District sitcom, Needles and Pins. This book will not include shows like I Love Lucy or The Cosby Show, but instead will include the bizarre 1970's variety show, Pink Lady and Jeff, combining a Japanese pop duo and a straight-laced American stand-up comic. This book will not have Friends, but will have Herman's Head. This book will not have Gunsmoke or Bonanza, but will have the short-lived 1982 comedy-fantasy, Wizards & Warriors. This book will not have the beloved Murder, She Wrote, but will have it's mostly forgotten spin-off, The Law & Harry McGraw, starring Jerry Orbach. So, basically this book will have 101 TV shows that time, and most audiences, have forgotten - or possibly have never even seen, or even heard of, in the first place.

This must be the book I am meant to write. After just eight days of writing, I already have much much more written than I did in the eighteen months or so of writing my film quest book. So, it must be, right? Right!  But even with the out of the gate thing, I suppose I should give myself a year to put it all together. This means finishing by the Summer of 2015...and that sounds pretty darn do-able to me. Like I said, I will, at some point, go back to my film quest book (perhaps as a follow-up to this one) but for right now, it's Forgotten TV all the way. It has been fun this past week or so, researching some of these forgotten TV gems I am gathering up forgotten shows from the dawn of TV, all the way up to more recent days. Sure, some of these shows are bound to be remembered by some, but overall, these are all mostly forgotten shows. Some of these shows are probably better left forgotten. Shows like Homeboys in Outer Space or the aforementioned Manimal. But then many of these shows are ones that were unfairly maligned or canceled too early. One of these shows was a wonderful forgotten show from the earliest days of television, a show called Life With Elizabeth. But hey, I don't want to give too much away. Gotta leave something for the book, huh?

So, as I said earlier, I hope to be finished with the book by Summer of next year, and then hope to have it published sometime in late 2015 or early 2016. Yeah, I could always self-publish, but I'd rather have a more legit publication, so I will shop it around. I do have a few inroads, so hopefully it will all work out. But right now, I better get back to writing the damn thing. That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.


  1. I loved Herman's Head! I remember Manimal. Will Hawkins be on there-I remember watching that and I just bought the DVD's(Jimmy Stewart fan). Love the Jerry Orbach show and was bummed when they cancelled it but couldn't remember the name. A great Canadian show that only my brother and I seemed to have watched was "This is the Law" . It was a panel show where there were silent re-enactments of a crime being committed in a some town and the panel had to guess what the crime was. It was an actual crime that was still on the books. We loved it...Wonder who else ever watched it

  2. I'll enjoy this series, and the book! I recall plenty of the obscure titles listed above.

  3. Good to hear people liking my idea. It looks like I will probably have enough material for at least two books, maybe even three, so it might just become a three volume deal.

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