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Old 09-22-2017, 07:30 PM   #1
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Default How Bad Was American TV in ’89? Check Out The 1989 Fall Preview

http://flashbak.com/bad-american-tv-...review-385894/

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It’s the Fall of 1989 in America, and, from the looks of things, television has gone to hell. It would be a good while before Netflix and cable would breathe new life into the medium (via Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, True Detective, The Sopranos, etc.). With precious few exceptions, the TV lineup is an undifferentiated heap of garbage. Let’s have a look at the coming attractions for Fall of ’89 and see for yourself…
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Old 09-22-2017, 09:29 PM   #2
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Really cool link! I enjoyed that. Homeroom aired on BET in the late 90s. It was decent but not special enough to stand out and last.
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Old 09-23-2017, 03:37 PM   #3
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Bookmarked that site. Not bad. Although the guy who wrote the article, geez. The guy knocked every show. They all couldn't have been that bad.
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Old 09-23-2017, 09:09 PM   #4
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I wouldn't say that the state of TV in 1989 was necessarily bad as opposed to the networks being adverse to taking risks given new corporate ownership and the strength of their returning programs. Executives in this period relied heavily on testing and mass appeal, and with the possible exception of FOX, didn't feel the need to try unconventional programming. The climate wouldn't change until the early 90s (Twin Peaks, Eerie, Indiana, Cop Rock).
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Old 09-23-2017, 11:33 PM   #5
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Network TV in the mid-to-late 1980s had really stagnated. Fox had just started in 1986, and wasn't a serious threat, yet, to the Big Three networks. And much of cable TV was still imported from overseas, and didn't receive high ratings. The Big Three had a stranglehold on television, and so there just wasn't much innovation.

Still, this author lists Quantum Leap, Life Goes On, and Alien Nation, three highly innovative programs, lumping them in with some real clunkers? That seems weird.

I do remember many of these. "Free Spirit" was pretty bad; a kind of "Bewitched" re-make.

Cool post!
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Old 09-24-2017, 11:17 AM   #6
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Quality is subjective, personally I never got Life Goes On. Seemed dumb to me, but I don't really care for family dramas that much either.

I never watched Free Spirit but I like the concept, a Bewitched-type fantasy for the late-80s.
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Old 09-24-2017, 11:52 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cnnbcbs
Quality is subjective, personally I never got Life Goes On. Seemed dumb to me, but I don't really care for family dramas that much either.

I never watched Free Spirit but I like the concept, a Bewitched-type fantasy for the late-80s.
Well, objectively, Life Goes On won or was nominated for a ton of awards, which is some indication of quality.

Free Spirit had some interesting visual effects, much like Bewitched (or maybe Merry Poppins, considering she was a housekeeper/nanny to the kids) but it only lasted 13 weeks due to very poor ratings, and was voted the "worst show on television" by TV critics. I think its biggest claim to fame is starting the career of Alyson Hannigan, who actually was quite good in her role as the teenage daughter.

I'd say there's definitely justification for including a 13-week half-season-wonder voted the "worst show on TV" in an article about bad 80s TV. But then the author of the article also includes shows which were the subject of critical acclaim, which I think weakens his argument that 1989 was a bad year for TV.
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Old 09-24-2017, 01:47 PM   #8
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Well, you can arguably grab any TV Guide Fall Preview from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and the overall impression is going to be lame. Because each season has its normal abundance of failures, with short-lived series full of flaky premises, and forgotten lead stars who immediately disappeared into the woodwork. I think I have copies of just about all those Fall Previews issues, and they almost always come across this way.

But this reality doesn't reflect that back in those days, I still found (percentage-wise) far more watchable fare than any time in the past decade or more, even with all the hundreds of additional channels. It's been such an avalanche of sick, depraved drek, that I eventually ditched both cable and dish. So, I can hardly find myself pointing back and laughing at the oftentimes corny misfires of long ago.
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Old 09-26-2017, 10:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RetroGuy2000
Well, objectively, Life Goes On won or was nominated for a ton of awards, which is some indication of quality.

Free Spirit had some interesting visual effects, much like Bewitched (or maybe Merry Poppins, considering she was a housekeeper/nanny to the kids) but it only lasted 13 weeks due to very poor ratings, and was voted the "worst show on television" by TV critics. I think its biggest claim to fame is starting the career of Alyson Hannigan, who actually was quite good in her role as the teenage daughter.

I'd say there's definitely justification for including a 13-week half-season-wonder voted the "worst show on TV" in an article about bad 80s TV. But then the author of the article also includes shows which were the subject of critical acclaim, which I think weakens his argument that 1989 was a bad year for TV.
I watched Free Spirit and Life Goes On and i liked both. But yeah, i watched shows that had very poor ratings.
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Old 09-26-2017, 11:00 PM   #10
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I liked Major Dad.
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Old 09-27-2017, 05:44 AM   #11
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Some good shows in the muck. Major Dad was a great show. I never wanted it, but Anything But Love was on for awhile. Cops began or was new then. Another show I didn't watch was "Alien Nation" but that was on for awhile. Teddy Z supposedly was one of those shows that the critics loved but few watched, but I think it made a second season.

TV wasn't bad in 1989, a lot of the 1980's shows were still first run, NBC Must See TV for instance.
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Old 09-27-2017, 12:26 PM   #12
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Oh dear God, another know-it-all critic offending anything that isn't postmodern and represent 'classic' values.

Lol at It would be a good while before Netflix and cable would breathe new life into the medium (via Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, True Detective, The Sopranos, etc.)
In 1989 the were a notable bunch of shows that just started: Seinfeld, Roseanne, Wonder Years, Married with Children, The Simpsons. And let alone what hapened in the 90s. I guess it's not so much compared with the so-edgy today shows with anti-hero, violence and pessimism.
Also, bragging about disliking an actor with down syndrome is a new low for the already low levels set by internet cynics.
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Old 09-27-2017, 08:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by principehomura
Also, bragging about disliking an actor with down syndrome is a new low for the already low levels set by internet cynics.
He referred to the Corky Thatcher character as "Corky Romano." If someone is going to criticize something then they should at least bother to know what they're talking about.
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Old 09-27-2017, 09:29 PM   #14
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That writer is a scumbag.

There's lots of great shows from that time...actually LOTS more than in the past 10 years.
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Old 09-28-2017, 03:39 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJM77
He referred to the Corky Thatcher character as "Corky Romano." If someone is going to criticize something then they should at least bother to know what they're talking about.
Pardon me the confusion, sir.
But character or actor doesn't change much.
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