Thursday, June 30, 2011

Rant #537: Slow Day

Yes, it's another slow day as far as news is concerned.

The heat is picking up in the Northeast, and I am sure that no matter where you are in the U.S., you are looking forward to July 4 and the long weekend that accompanies that holiday.

I know that I am.

And on Sunday, as I have for the past few months, I will be recording--and watching later--the morning fare on something called Antenna TV.

Antenna TV was created by WGN, and it is parceled out to its Tribune Broadcast Company affiliates, including WPIX in New York. It is one of those stations that exists near where you get your regular channels, in that area in between the regular channels in our HDTV universe.

For me, I get it because I have Verizon FiOS.

The idea for such a channel--one that shows only reruns of classic and many forgotten TV shows and movies--began when a few years ago on Saturday nights, WGN showed a block of oldies programming, mainly former CBS shows like "The Bob Newhart Show." The two-hour broadcast of these shows received good ratings, so the thought was, why not create an entire network around these shows?

And with the burgeoning HDTV boom, there was finally room for such a niche station.

It took some time, but Antenna TV sprung up a few months ago. Sure, it shows the same stuff you can get on TV Land like "All in the Family" and "Sanford and Son," but on Sunday mornings into early afternoon, it really shines.

This is the time when it dredges from TV heaven a number of shows that haven't been seen on TV in years. Such shows as "Circus Boy" (with the adolescent future Monkee Micky Dolenz, known then as Micky Braddock); "Rin Tin Tin," "Here Comes the Brides" (with Bobby Sherman and David Soul), "Gidget" and the "Flying Nun" (Sally Field's stepping stones to stardom) are shown.

Later in the day, "The Monkees" and the horrid "The Partridge Family" are shown.

Yes, the shows are heavily edited, and often roughly cut. "Rin Tin Tin," a guilty pleasure from my childhood, is really ripped to shreds, with obvious editing, dubbed-in speech at times, and new, tacked on background music and end credits, but at least it is being shown again.

And the Sunday programming doesn't trump the weekly and Saturday programming, where they show many classic favorites like the aforementioned "All in the Family" and "Sanford and Son," as well as "Good Times" and "Maude" (with the ever luscious Adrienne Barbeau).

And on Saturday, they have major blocks of cartoons, many of which haven't been shown on TV in decades.

You can't get Antenna TV everywhere; check your local cable and satellite listings to see if it is running in your area.

If you are not attached to satellite or cable, you should be able to get it if it runs in your area just after its affiliate. In other words, in New York, Antenna TV can be found at 11.4, or just right after WPIX at Channel 11.

I hope you can get it, because it makes Sunday--and during the week and Saturday--much more fun, especially during the summer months.

Visit its homepage at to find out more about this channel.

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