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August 31, 2015

The Five: Shows that I don't see in reruns anymore

by Joel Keller, posted Mar 8th 2006 8:05PM
F-Troop: not on anymore!Syndicated reruns have been a part of TV since the days of Lucy and Ricky, but what stations actually buy and air in key time slots always seems to change from year to year. Since I was a kid, another twenty-plus years of series have entered the pipeline, giving syndicators and channels a lot more inventory to chose from. And when those stations spend buckets of money on a Seinfeld or Raymond package, they end up running the show two or three times a day in order to turn a profit.  Pair that with first-run "netlet" shows, and there's little time to run repeats of shows -- all-time favorites as well as recent series -- that used to be on the air all the time. Nick at Nite, TV Land, and TBS have helped in this department, but most other channels are too busy showing Law & Order reruns to bother with anything else.

Here are five series that used to be on in reruns all the time, but I don't  seem to see them anymore:

F Troop: For a show that was only on for two seasons, it sure as hell lasted a long time in syndication. But it was classic '60s TV, with 65 episodes that basically laid out the same plot week after week. Accidental commander Captain Parmenter led an inept army troop in the Old West, with Sargent O'Rourke and his simpering buddy Corporal Agarn (who'd instill discipline in the troops with a quick whack with his hat) always partaking in get-rich-quick schemes. O'Rourke often made deals with the local "enemy" Hakawi tribe. Recurring jokes abounded in the show, like the watchtower that constantly got knocked down for one reason or another. And, of course, Parmenter was always fending off the advances of the young and lovely Wrangler Jane. This show used to be on all the time, but for some reason, it disappeared from view about a decade ago. Could it have been that people just got sick of it? Did the PC police, who I'm sure weren't happy with the Native American stereotypes portrayed on the show (by Borscht Belt comedians, no less!), have the show taken off the air? Hard to say, but I do miss those boring summer afternoons when three o'clock came around and I'd hear the first notes of that memorable theme song...

Late Night with David Letterman: Not Late Show, mind you... I'm talking about Dave's original NBC late night show, one of the few talk shows that reran well. Why? Because the comedy Young Dave was a surreal comedy at its finest, combining the best elements of Ernie Kovacs, Steve Allen, and Johnny Carson into one of the freshest, most original talk shows in the history of television. From the classic bits (Dave in the Velcro and Rice Krispies suits, Larry "Bud" Melman, hallway races, anything Chris Elliott) to the interesting oh-so-'80s guests (the Sonny and Cher reunion, Jerry Lawler, Andy Kaufman) it was a sight to behold. The reruns used be shown on E!, then on the obscure digital network Trio, but since Trio went under, it's been off our radar screens. I'd love to see it back.

Home Improvement: Damn, this show used to be on every damn second of the day. No need to go into details about it; it was just your standard-grade family comedy made funny by Tim Allen's magnetic presence. Sure, every episode was exactly the same: Tim makes fun of Al on Tool Time, hurts himself once or twice with his tools, acts like a boob to his wife Jill, gets help from wise neighbor Wilson, and finally sees the light at the end. But, you know what? It was funny, at least for the first few years. And now, the show that used to be on four times a day is now shown very late at night on most TV channels. I don't know why... it seems to be a timeless, very rerunnable formula (unlike, say, Becker). Maybe the four-times-a-day just burnt everybody out. Looking forward to when TV Land inevitably picks it up. (I was informed by fellow Squadder Bob Sassone that HI is on TBS every day at 5 and 5:30 PM. Still, considering how often it used to be on just a few years ago, 5 PM equals "off the air", as far as I'm concerned.)

Batman: This was an afternoon staple on WPIX for years when I was a kid. The theme song... Adam West's campy Caped Crusader... his "old chum" Robin... the great villans... the "sound effects" (THWACK! BIFF! BAM!)... we all know how classic this show is. Then how come I don't see it on TV anymore? It's been lampooned on every show from The Simpsons to Drew Carey to The King of Queens, but it's not anywhere to be seen. What gives? Anyone have any idea where I can find this show?

Third Rock From The Sun: This is another show that burned up the syndicated landscape from the late '90s until about three years ago, and for good reason: Aliens! That look like humans! Living in Ohio! It was a funny show, especially as the Solomons first felt out the wonderments of life on Earth (like the orgasmic look that came over Sally's face the first time she sneezed). It had a great cast and good writing... so why do I not see it anymore? Is there a rule that there can only be one Carsey-Werner show on heavy rotation at a time (That '70s Show)? It seems like it would be very rerunnable, but I never see it anymore.

Do you folks know of other shows that used to be on all the time and now you can find them? Let me know in the credits.

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Yeah.... "Cosby" and "Brooklyn Bridge" loved it! "Mary Tyler Moore" "Chicago Hope" that show was awesome! And definitely "Moonlighting"! BTW "Becker" is GREAT! You are sooo disconnected dude!:}

July 23 2011 at 12:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wild Wild West and Dark Shadows.

October 29 2010 at 10:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I haven't seem McHales Navy in a long time. Watching the reruns was a Sunday afternoon ritual when I was kid. And I want it back in black and white, not that colorized abomination that Ted Turner put out about 15 years ago.

March 10 2006 at 9:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jason Anderson

Home Improvement's syndicated on two separate channels here in the Philadelphia region.

And 3rd Rock from the Sun is at least coming to DVD fast enough. Only like 3 more releases to go before I own the whole series.

March 10 2006 at 5:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Two shows that I haven't seen in syndication in what seems like forever: St. Elsewhere and Picket Fences.

March 10 2006 at 12:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Home Improvement is on cable on Superstation WGN a lot. It's on weekenighs from 6-7p (eastern time) and a couple of other times on the weekends i think

March 09 2006 at 3:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oh my lord, I would watch "F Troop" again in a New York minute. My father and I used to curl up on the couch and watch that show, and giggle madly. I had a mad crush on Ken Berry at the time, but of course I was, you know, 8 years old.

Yeah, so it's 40 years old. It was silly as hell. I am still known to say, "It is BALLOON!" when the opportunity arises. No one gets it, of course (my father died 20 years ago), but it slays ME.

March 09 2006 at 2:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

At least the first season of F Troop is coming out on DVD in June. (I purchased the six-episode DVD that came out last year and that show is still as funny as it ever was!)

Would also like to see the real WKRP (with the original music), although I know the chances of this one are slim; The Odd Couple (just gets better with age), The Bob Newhart Show (ditto), and Hogan's Heroes (this was on early Saturday mornings on Hallmark Channel, until they decided we needed to see even MORE "Little Shack on the Back Lot").

I'd like to see TVLand pick up a package that Sony (then still Columbia) put together a while back that contained a lot of their shows that didn't run long enough to be viable syndies on their own (such as "Love on a Rooftop").

March 09 2006 at 2:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'd add Moonlighting to the list. I'm not sure when I last saw it. And if we're talking about shows we'd like to see, how about 80's classics Matt Houston or Masquerade?

March 09 2006 at 2:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"The Courtship of Eddie's Father"
"The Magician"
"The Incredible Hulk"
"My Favorite Martian"

Syndication has been oddly Bixbyless for quite awhile.

Trivia: Bill Bixby is one of only a handful of actors to star in three hit series: Martian, Eddie & Hulk.

March 09 2006 at 12:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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