When you consider the fact that I’m evaluating 29 years of programming options on one night and one network, it’s kind of surprising to hit a complete wall. Granted a lot of that has to do with my unfamiliarity with some older shows, but you have to figure that I’ve been up on this stuff for at least 15 years. NBC only started sucking recently, right?
The flip side, of course, is that while some time slots are barren, others are so overburdened that I imagine I will be forced to not pick some shows that I’d like to, simply for lack of available hours. You’ll see what I mean from 9:00 to 10:00.
8:00-8:30 Right off the bat I have no idea. Actually, most years this time slot belonged to one hour programming, so the 8:30 slot is a ghost town. But as much as I know that some of these shows are classics, I just have no frame of reference for even what they were really about. Michael Landon starred in Highway to Heaven, but does that mean I want to watch it? Unsolved Mysteries gives me nightmares, while The Cosby Mysteries was just sad. Wings is a thought, but I’m not so familiar with it, while I’m not familiar with The Tony Danza Show, but it’s not a thought. People liked Ed, and it’s got a great cast, but I’ve never seen it. My wife watched LAX, and we both sat through The Apprentice: Martha Stewart (I’m sorry). I did enjoy Thank God You’re Here, and to be honest, I was going to go with it until recently. What happened? 30 Rock started getting better. And since in 2006 it spent part of the season at this hour and on this night, my choice is going to be 30 Rock.
8:30-9:00 Which leaves me with exactly three things to choose from now. In 1997 it was Built to Last (no idea). 2006 gave us 13 episodes of Twenty Good Years, which was very false advertising. And in 1996, The John Larroquette Show filled this slot. Now I don’t remember much from this series, but I remember enough, and I like John Larroquette enough, to grant it life, instead of giving myself free play. The John Larroquette Show it is.
9:00-9:30 Instead of a healthy balance all night, the 9PM hour got slammed with quality, and I don’t know what to do. And if I schedule an hour-long here, I’ll lose out on all of the good stuff at 9:30…. I might enjoy The Facts of Life once in a while, but I don’t think I’d make it with a permanent viewing. Same for Gimme a Break!, although I don’t know if I really would ever catch that in reruns. And I’m not sure how much I ever really loved NewsRadio, in the moment. Maybe this is easier than I thought. 3rd Rock from the Sun and Night Court are always funny. E-Ring was good until it decided to send Benjamin Bratt into the field, and then it lost its way. And Law and Order: SVU belongs at 10PM. Which leaves a must include: The West Wing. With only one other opportunity for The West Wing (Sundays at 8PM), and what with that being wrong and all for the show, I’m going to have to let 3rd Rock from the Sun and Night Court take their chances, and go with The West Wing. How awesome would it be to have that back on the air?
10:00-10:30 Some great stuff to choose from here. Shows I’ve never seen but know enough to respect include Quincy, M.E., and St. Elsewhere. Law & Order the original isn’t my cup of tea, but you’ve got to hand it to the franchise. Kidnapped was fun, and I still contend that my wife and I thought we were watching reality TV when we caught unaired episodes of this during a vacation in Puerto Vallarta. And a lot of you loved Life, but I never got into it. But this battle comes down to Fred Dryer and Scott Bakula. I loved both Hunter and Quantum Leap growing up, and while I haven’t seen a Hunter rerun in many years, I’ve caught some of the Leap recently. This one is going to be decided by availability, I think. Both shows aired on other nights, some conflicting with other choices, some not. All I can say is, thank God Saturday was long a regular programming night for NBC. 10PM on Wednesday goes to Quantum Leap.
Looks like I managed to scrape together a pretty enjoyable evening. What does your perfect Wednesday night on NBC look like?