Saturday, January 31, 2009

how do I watch thee, let me count the ways

Soaked to the bone in a cathode sea where the furthest waters include reruns of Hawaiian Eye and Car 54, Where Are You?, I'm still swimming in anything broadcast or online hosting can slosh about.

In the Homerically Simpsonian way of a rosy-fingered dawn being found in some old test pattern, I see in digital TV's birth some fringe enjoyment.

Much like UHF channels that seemed constantly up for grabs (like the early nineties' incarnations of the Boston area channel 68--first as a flagship station for the Christian Science Monitor and then as a part of Boston University [WABU]), the spare lo-res digital channels seems another bit of culture in the margins.

The .2 SD channel of WJAR Channel 10, the NBC affiliate in Providence/New Bedford, was for a while just a weather channel with occasional feeds of local and national forecasts.

Now it's started running cool old reruns on what it calls the Retro Television Network (RTN).

Love the '80s? There's the A-Team & Magnum P.I.

Crave something older? There's The Rockford Files and Emergency!

Get back even further to Ironside, It Takes a Thief, Adam-12 and Dragnet. And awaiting in the still & distant waters of TV syndication are Wagon Train, Bachelor Father and Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

One can float in this for quite some time (esp. when trying to recover from a bad cold).

Being older shows they allow less ad time. And it's funky if oft repeated ads for Elvis and Johnny Cash gospel CDs or cheap hearing amplifiers. Or PSAs with Suze Orman speaking for the FDIC or Howie Mandel for Adult ADHD awareness.

In this time of HD/Surround saturation, who can resist all that?

Join the truly TV addicted, the Luddite and the shut-in.

Swim in that from whence all pixels flow.

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