Throughout my life, quality lineups of TV programming seem to take an interesting hold on my day-to-day activities. Here’s the progression as I remember it in what I like to call my own Television Revolution: The programs that ran my life.
1991: The Disney Afternoon
3:00 – Duck Tales
3:30 – Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers
4:00 – Tale Spin
4:30 – Darkwing Duck
In 1992, Duck Tales was moved to weekday mornings and was replaced with Goof Troop (more quality Disney programming). Although I missed Duck Tales, I liked Goof Troop so much that when my family went to Disney world in 1994 I remember crying when Goofy’s autograph smeared because I thought it was that valuable.
Reason I Didn’t Miss it: At this phase of my life I really had nothing else going on from 3:00 until 5:00 (especially in the winter). Plus, these shows were easy to have on in the background while I played with Legos.
8:00 – Family Matters
8:30 – Boy Meets World
9:00 – Step by Step
9:30 – Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper
Although TGIF started in 1988 and included three shows that I barely remember, it became a staple of my elementary school Friday nights. The 1990-91 lineup of Full House, Family Matters, Dinosaurs (think “not the momma”), and Step by Step was stellar in its own right, but I believe that the real TGIF glory days came from 1993-95. Boy Meets World is such quality programming that I made it my routine to catch it at 1:00 AM on the Disney Channel when I got home from the library during my junior year of college. Some nights I felt like I was learning more from Mr. Feeny than I was from my Physics book. Then the Disney Channel began playing Hannah Montana reruns in the 1:00 AM timeslot and, despite an angry e-mail to the Disney channel, hasn’t been on since.
Reason I Didn’t Miss it: I didn’t want to be left out of the conversation during Monday morning recess. Plus, watching TGIF was a great excuse to have someone sleep over on a Friday night (we literally couldn’t come up with anything better to do on Fridays back then).
90s: Before School
Bobby’s World and eventually Rugrats (once I was mature enough) comprised my before school TV lineup. There was no real “lineup” of programming in the mornings – I guess because they wanted kids to actually go to school. As a side note, I now own Bobby’s World on DVD and it makes for great A-Bar entertainment.
1995-96: Must See TV
8:00 – Friends
8:30 – The Single Guy
9:00 – Seinfeld
9:30 – Caroline in the City (I guess)
10:00 – ER (I guess)
Another longstanding TV lineup, “Must See TV,” actually had its start in 1993. Seinfeld easily dominated this lineup (unless you’re a woman and then you’d say Friends) and the second timeslot perennially sucked. Actually, for about five years, I’m pretty sure that NBC planned to put whatever crappy shows they had lying around before and after Friends and Seinfeld. I would give an honorable mention to Frasier, which made the lineup a few seasons, and a dishonorable mention to ER, which ran approximately 15 years too long.
Reason I Didn’t Miss it: I would still consider Seinfeld to be the best show ever created and, although girly, Friends did have its moments. By this time in my life I had regular homework and Thursday night television was the best form of procrastination I knew of since I still largely thought the internet was comprised of those channels that came with AOL.
Today: Television à la carte
Gone are the days when a lineup is of such quality that I actually schedule my whole day around it. Today, if I want to catch one of my favorite shows (like The Office), I just tell my computer to record it. The chances of there being two shows in a row that I want to watch are very unlikely. Re-runs are plentiful and streaming video sites like Hulu and YouTube make watching Seinfeld extremely easy. Today, when I want to watch shows like Dexter, Entourage, or The New Yankee Workshop (I’m probably the only viewer under 50 years old), I download them on torrents and am watching them a minute later. Interesting that in 1992 I watched The Disney Afternoon because I had too much free time and today, there are too many shows available and the days are never long enough.