Manimal centered around Dr Jonathan Chase and his ability to turn into any animal that he wished. This special skill was put to good use to help the police solve crimes. Obviously, this show could only happen in the 80s. The story lines were deisnged to get us to as many animal transformations as we could accomplish inside a budget. The transformations were, as far as I was concerned, amazing and the fact that this was all happening on my TV was the best thing ever.
Dr Jonathan Chase… wealthy, young, handsome. A man with the brightest of futures. A man with the darkest of pasts. From Africa’s deepest recesses, to the rarefied peaks of Tibet, heir to his father’s legacy and the world’s darkest mysteries. Jonathan Chase, master of the secrets that divide man from animal, animal from man… Manimal!
Now, I was 7 or 8 when this came out. My sister had a 13″ inch color TV in her room. I conned her into letting me watch Manimal in her room because no one else in the house was interested in the escapades of Dr Chase and his shape-changing ways. I was there for all 8 episodes before the horrible people at the network canceled potentially the best show that has ever been on TV.
Of course, I also loved BJ and Bear, the Dukes of Hazard and CHiPs. I will not be going and finding Manimal to watch again. I realize that it is horrible and it was a horrible show when it came out the first time. But my memories of Manimal will stay with me forever. In my head this is an amazing show and it always will be.
Just like ALF or Dinosaurs or BJ and the Bear – I loved BJ and the Bear.
I love The Walking Dead. It is one of the few shows that I actually watch when it comes on. I would be glad to watch almost anything else when it happens to roll on to a streaming service. TWD has to be watched as soon as it comes out, that night no exceptions. I will say that this is something new, though. I was watching TWD after the fact, the next day, a few days later and then binge-watching as soon as it dropped on Netflix. Most of this was due to the fact that my wife was not into the show. I hated to either go watch it in the other room or worse make her go somewhere else when it was on.
This all changed when she became a fan. A fan that does not miss The Dead. A fan that Binge watched six seasons of The Walking Dead to get caught up.
Here is how I helped with that transitions – maybe it will help some of you out there that would love to share this bit of pop culture with the one you love.,
Persistence – Never Give Up – I have been talking about this show with my wife on and off since I started watching it. I will bring up something that happened, mention that I saw something on TV or online and of course, the fact that I kept bringing it up from time to time got her interested.
Not Just About the Dead/Undead – Now, Laura is not a big horror movie person. In fact, her idea of a horror movie is anything thsat might make her jump – this could include Gremlins… So getting her to get into a horror series was no easy feat. I kept pressing home the fact that the show is not really about zombies. It is about relationships and people and the zombies are merely an ongoing problem that they have to contend with.
Three Episode Challenge – I put her through a very reluctant three episode challenge – thank you 7 Days a Geek and The Angry Ginger. She was ok with finally just being in the room while I was watching it. I started talking about it with her and getting her more and more involved. Then she started asking about the characters. Then she started caring about the characters. Then she was hooked.
Did I Mention Persistence? – Really it all comes down to keeping at it. Even those folks that think they will hate the show will find something they will like. Laura hated the opening to Season 7. Watching two folks die like that at the hands of Negan and Lucille was rough and she has said that she will never watch that episode again but it did not keep her from watching.
In the end, it was all about getting her involved in something I was geeking out about. It was about setting the stage for something that I knew she would like in such a way as to make her interested.
She looked at me during the Super Bowl and said: “you know that Walking Dead comes back next week, right?” I love her even mor enow than I did.
I was flipping through the Netflix the other day and ran across Video Games: The Movie. It was a really good documentary on the history, purpose, and culture of gaming. While I was watching it the Atari issue of E.T. The Extraterrestrial The Game was brought up. If you don’t know what I’m referring to Google it. There were games being buried remotely in the desert, cover-ups. It was madness. While they were discussing that game they showed the commercial that Atari ran for the game which was debuting at Christmas in 1982. This was a classic style teaser commercial for a video game. A structure that was used for many games to get kids attention. And that’s when I realized that those commercials were gone and I had no idea when it happened and why.
In the 80’s and 90’s even though technology was changing the way that most commercials, aimed at kids, were presented was pretty basic. A fun jingle related to the product, scenes involving the characters the commercial revolved around, and then the fun announcer guy would say when the product would be and / or is available and where. Pretty straightforward, right? I know. Why did it change? When did it change? Why is time travel not a thing yet? Those commercials could sell us everything from a SuperSoaker to a video game that our parents *technically* had to buy for us named Mortal Kombat – #Badass. I remember watching and succumbing to everything from Masters of the Universe toys, Bubble Tape Gum, My Little Buddy, Batman The Movie toys, freakin’ LiteBrite, the list goes on and on. Needless to say the people marketing to me did their job well. Really, really, ultra-efficiently well. I go back and watch some of those commercials on Youtube now and it’s still the same, take all my money.
Ahhh memories. Also I would like some of my money back . Those ads suckered me right in and ruined my vision for life. Thanks Nintendo.
So what happened? When did commercials start to suck? When did I become uninterested? The fact that I’m a 34 year old geek has nothing to do with me not having any interest in the things those commercials are selling. When I was a kid, I had no interest in the girl’s toys that my sister played with but I remember the commercials for Skip-It, Polly Pocket, and My Little Pony. The commercials now don’t mean anything. The kids don’t seem to pay attention and they aren’t catchy. Maybe it’s the fact that there aren’t devoted segments of the television day that belong to the kids on the main networks, ex. Fox Kids Network everyday from 3 to 5 and every saturday morning from 6 freakin AM until noon. Kids today haven’t lived because they don’t have this joy. Some of the toy brands still have the commercials down like Lego and Crayola but nothing else aside form that d@mn Chuckie Cheese seems to stick with my kid or me. Also could be that kids toys now just suck. A lot of the toys don’t look fun. They look like current, rehashed, AKA bad versions of the things we played with but with less playability and less interest-keeping ability.
Another issue is that toy stores aren’t really a thing anymore aside from Toys R Us. In the 80’s and 90’s toy stores were the amazing, never-ending aisles of hopes, dreams, and choking hazards. Everything we saw advertised in the best commercials ever were available at our fingertips in our local toy stores. Mine was K.B. Toys. Oh the hours spent browsing looking for the things I saw in those amazing commercials while I hummed the theme from the X-Men or GI Joe ( the real American hero!!). Sing it. You know you want to. So as the toy stores disappeared and just became part of Wal-Mart and Target so went the good commercials put out by the actual toy stores to draw you in and take your money. I just realized they were toy pimps. Wow.
Am I looking through rose-colored lenses or did we (20’s – 40’s age range) live in a massively awesome time for cool stuff and awesome television including commercials? Yes to both. I’m sure the stuff put out for kids today is fine and I’m just being partial to my own childhood but screw it. I don’t care. It was awesome and I’d do it again right now. K.B Toy Store here I come and bring on the brain-melting fun of the Nintendo Virtual Boy because, to steal a line from the commercial for Back to the Future, I GOTTA GET BACK IN TIME!! Yo Joe, fools.
Do you remember, back in the idea, the idea of Must See TV? This was a slogan created by NBC to convince viewers that the hour prior to Seinfeld in the 90s was comedy gold and that you had to watch it. Great advertising slogan and with the lineup of shows that they had at the time, it probably was Must See TV. Looking back, this idea seems so archaic. We actually had to watch TV when it was on. We had to watch TV when the broadcasting companies said we had to watch.
Just for reference, for those of you that were not alive then or those of you that have forgotten. NBC ruled the radio airwaves on Thursday night in the 90s for a long time. They had flagship shows. Seinfeld, Cheers, Friends, ER. Those were the biggies. Others came after. Some were good, some were… not as good. The timeslots around Seindfeld, in particular, were supposed to be the ground where a new show got the Midas Touch. That did not always happen but you know there were shows that slid into those slots that would have never been made otherwise. But, I am off topic.
I don’t think that Must See TV can happen anymore. Now, there are exceptions for certain shows. Certainly, The Walking Dead comes to mind but as far as a channel convincing the better part of America to stop what they are doing and watch TV for all of primetime? I just don’t think that is the case. People still watch TV. People still watch live TV. There are events that happen like the Super Bowl or… the Super Bowl. That you have to watch when it comes on but anything else can probably be DVRed and watched a later date or you can wait until it hits Netflix and binge watch the whole thing or catch it on Hulu or better yet watch original programming on a “network” that doesn’t care when you watch it.
Netflix, Prime, Seeso, YouTube and all the rest of the streaming services are putting out programming that is just as good and in most cases better than the stuff on traditional TV. Just to name a few: Stranger Things, The Grand Tour and Jessica Jones have all been watched and/or binge watched from the streaming services that they were created by. Stranger Things, in particular, was so good that we watched the whole thing in the span of a weekend – really more like a day and a half. The Grand Tour was released y Amazon weekly but the fact that it dropped didn’t necessarily mean that we were going to watch it right then.
I really enjoy being able to watch something when it comes out. To watch the whole thing or pieces of it. If this means that I am a little behind in my pop-culture viewing that is ok. More and more people are caring little for what comes out on the large networks. These streaming services are producing high quality, better-told stories. They are focusing on the stories that the want to tell instead of just trying to make a buck and focus on what their advertiser might dig.
Anyway, my wife and I are working through Cheers right now and I just got done with the book Seinfeldia so this idea of Must See TV was stuck in my head. Go watch somerhing on your favorite screen when you want to and where you want to. Don’t be tied down to primetime.