About a year ago Professor Paul Cantor of the University of Virginia, who wrote that interesting book Gilligan Unbound, wrote an article for the Claremont Review of Books arguing that this was the true "Golden Age of TV", citing wonderful shows such as Deadwood,Lost, Rome, and Mad Men( I'm surprised he didn't mention "Friday Night Lights.) One of the reasons for the huge number of excellent TV programs nowadays is the existence of Cable networks which provide outlets for shows that appeal to "niche" audiences. As recently as the late eighties, a show had to succeed on the "big three " networks, or, as Timothy Leary once called them in one of his lucid moments, ABCBS. The annals of TV history are littered with very fine shows that were "brilliant but canceled": The Westerner,The Rogues, My World and Welcome To it, East Side West Side, Slattery's People- and the list goes on and on.Any of those shows would have found a "niche audience" nowadays on a cable channel. I know of most of those shows by reputation alone, as none of them is available on DVD. Here is yet another instance. This, In contrast, is a show I remember fairly well, since it aired in 1984( Which incidentally was perhaps the strangest year in my life-but thats another story.) The Call To Glory was set on an Airforce base in the early nineteen sixties, and was apparently originally intended as a "historical drama' akin to British historical soap Operas like the maginificent Upstairs Downstairs. ( Which incidentally inspired an American ripoff called Beacon Hill which may have been one of the worst, most stilted, TV shows ever made.)It would have followed the Sarnac family and its friends through the glory years of Camelot and the years of upheaval that followed. Sadly, the show never got around to the Vietnam war years( though at least one episode foreshadowed Vietnam.) This was a well acted, well written and stirring series. I would compare it to other "brilliant but canceled " shows from the eighties, All Fly Away and Home Front.
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