As of last week every television station in Australia has rolled out its digital TV channels. What was once five television stations has now blossomed into 16 channel MEGA TV. All good and well, but you still need programs to actually fill all that airtime. And not just prime-time when you can sell ads for lots of money. Something has to be screening at 1pm when all the students, unemployed and ‘freelancers’ roll out of bed and switch on the TV.
The TV networks have overcome this by purchasing the cheapest shows from the '80s and '90s that they could get their hands on. Classics like MacGyver, and A-Team and, ah, Airwolf. Thing is, some of these shows are not quite as classic as perhaps we remember. Let’s take a look.
Magnum PI (1980-88)
Man with provocatively tight shorts and robust moustache is a live-in ‘security expert’ for a wealthy elderly gentlemen. Conveniently, there’s some new drama every episode which requires Tom Selleck and his moustache to solve mysteries and hit on chicks, lest anyone thinks he’s some sort of queer.
A rich recluse (who also happens to be a former military pilot) has his art collection confiscated by the CIA as a way of ‘encouraging’ him to steal the Airwolf helicopter from a foreign power. He gets it back, decides to hide it in a volcano and ends up fighting convert cold war battles with it. No shit, that’s the actual plot for Airwolf.
Here’s the thing about A*Team, they basically troop around the country helping random people with their idiotic problems, shoot a bunch of shit up, and spend a whole lot of money, without ever invoicing for any of this stuff. How does that work?
Charlie's Angels (1976-81)
Attitudes towards women have changed considerably since 1976.
The things MacGyver could construct with some plastic putty, an old newspaper and a can of Mt Dew really made you think.
Slow motion running in bikinis + jiggling breasts + crime drama on the beach + Pamela Anderson (repeat x infinity). Not featured in the intro: Yasmine Bleeth’s collapsed nasal passage.
Two Guys and a Girl (1998-2001)
Before he was Van Wilder and voted Sexiest Man in the World, Ryan Reynolds starred in this pizza shop sitcom. It’s 'OK' in a ‘smoking cones in the middle of the day’ sort of way.
Sabrina the Teenage Witch (1995-2003)
This came out around the same time as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and for a while the two shows had a weird supernatural rivalry thing going on. And then Buffy stomped all over Sabrina. FYI, you can see Britney in ‘happier days’ in the video below. Such an innocent time…
Just Shoot Me (1997-2003)
I actually watched this A LOT when it was originally on TV. Not sure why. Maybe I subconsciously wanted to work at Conde Nast before I knew that it even existed.
I Dream of Jennie (1965-70) / Bewitched (1964-72)
These two are basically the same show. Uptight white guy stumbles across a genie/witch, moves in with her, subjugates their powers and makes them do housework the crappy old fashioned way. Germaine Greer would have a field day.