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When I accidentally caught the pilot episode of "On The Air" on ABC in
1992, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I was 13 years old at the
time and up to this point, no TV show had ever made me laugh out loud.
It just wasn't something I did, even when I thought something was
funny. Then came "On The Air."
Watching this show for the first time was like taking a trip to some other universe. I couldn't stop laughing, and I'm talking about that annoying, over the top, tears in the eyes laughing. It was totally and completely out of control! It felt GREAT! I had never seen anything even remotely similar to this before and I knew in the first few minutes that I had just discovered my new favorite show. I'm still kicking myself for having missed the opportunity to record it.
I waited faithfully every week for "On The Air" to come on channel 4. Then one week, after only 3 episodes, "On The Air" did not air. In it's place was some stupid game show or something. I don't remember, I was too upset. I paned and started combing the TV Guides to see if maybe the show had been moved to another day or time. Alas, it was not to be. My new favorite show had been ripped out from under without any warning. I NEVER forgot this show after that, and until I found the posts on this site today, I literally thought I could very well be the only person on Earth who remembered this show.
With any luck, the show will eventually be released on DVD in attempts to recoup the losses. I'll be the first in line to buy a set. Why would a station dump such a good show? The only thing I can figure is that, and to use a classic cliché, it was simply way ahead of it's time. If this show were new today (and probably on a network like FOX) it's pretty obvious that it would be a much bigger success. Maybe we should start a petition to re-run the show? Does anyone know how to do this?
What would it be like if David Lynch made a sitcom? A comedy?
On The Air explains it. Fantastic. I've seen all seven episodes and I some of it is exactly about that unique thing we like about David Lynch. This show didn't get much of a chance, because it was aired daytime in summertime(worst time for a program to be aired) because ABC according to Lynch hated it. I feel that it was a great show having seen the whole thing, but its not flawless. The main error here is that David Lynch(and Mark Frost) wasn't involved enough in it.. They were busy with Twin Peaks at the time probably. Of course, the characters and plot for the series is pure Lynch.. the first episode is amazing. The characters are crazy, stereotyped and full of absurd depth.
The following episodes are quite good in themselves too, but for some reason there's a different writer for each episode here, so the series seems to change direction from episode to episode.. Some of the later episodes I found even a bit too silly.
But David Lynch came back on the last episode and wrote it, and EVERYTHING is right again. Lynch manages to throw some mystery into it again and its so amazing! All the episodes has its charm though.. Its a lovely show.. and if you like David Lynch and you like funny and absurd stuff, this is a safe shot. 8 out of 10 overall. The first two and number seven where Lynch is more directly involved
deserves a 9 out of 10.
I have a fading copy of all three episodes of On the Air. I watch them about every 2 years. I love them all and was upset when the show was canceled so soon. I was a great blend of David's strangeness and some wonderful attempt at hummer that ABC just didn't get. I don't know if there are other copies out there. If any one has it on DVD I would love a better copy. I can never see Ian Buckanen with out thinking of Lester Guy. I can never watch Lavern and Sherrly with out thinking of the Director. I quote lines from the show like it was a movie and no one knows what I am talking about other than my wife and kids. This is a must see for any David Lynch fan. Good Luck finding a copy of your own.
A gem that was too good to make it, just like Twin Peaks. I happen to have all 7 episodes on tape, as they were released briefly in the early 990's to capitalize on Lynch's popularity at the time. I watch them a least once a year, they're a nice antidote to most of the so-called comedies on TV now. Such great performances from Miguel Ferrar, David L Lander, and a hilarious appearance by the old Lynch standby Freddie Jones (Mr. Bytes in "The Elephant Man") as a pompous, over soused Brit from the stage who will remind you of every self-important actor you've ever met. As it goes in the world of TV, it was not meant to be. It is one of those shows that would have been nurtured by HBO or Showtime had they produced it. What makes it so achingly funny is how serious everyone plays it. If you've ever seen "Noises Off", this is as close to a sitcom as that show can ever come.
I didn't get to see this show when it was on television but I have a copy of the episodes on vhs, and I can certainly understand why On The Air didn't stay on the air for very long - it's original, for one thing, David Lynch's surreal and slapstick answer to the sitcom. Seek it out if you can, you will definitely not be sorry.
It has been ten years since I first show this show, and I still have "Blinky Vision" on my mind. As with all David Lynch productions, this show wasn't for everyone, bt those of us who fell in love with it will always crave more of it. In the U.S., only four episodes were aired, and I am still want to see the episodes left unaired. The cast was delightful, the stories quirky and hilarious, and I always felt tickled with glee over the insanity of it all.
I knew it wouldn't last, I loved it just too much. Television does that to me all the time. This was such a wonderful bizarre comedy. What there was of it. Miguel Ferrer performed with such serious, straight-faced intensity. Will I ever get to see all seven episodes?
I loved the show - my wife did not. But then again, I like Lynch and she
This seems to be an original show but is actually a cross between the old 'Dick Van Dyke Show' and the movie 'My Favorite Year'. Well, at least to me. Despite that I still found a haven in this show. It was nice to know someone else besides myself appreciates this bizarre and surreal humor. And then I was upset it was canceled, but I can certainly see why. I don't think the characters got a chance to really develop except for Blinky. If you missed the first absolutely hilarious show, you may have been destined to be lost. Kind of reminds me of 'Twin Peaks' - you either started with it and became intrigues and hypnotized - or you were lost big-time, babe.
Anyway, as noted, the first show hooked me. I laughed hysterically, and still do to this day, at the amazing last minutes. I wish I could describe it, but that may spoil it. It might be indescribable anyway relying on many situational visual laughs (some good audio ones as well - it IS Lynch, afterall). I could see real potential to revolutionize something in comedy here - but alas. It didn't catch.
Yes, I would love to see the remaining unseen shows if the first few are any indication.
Last time I watched On the Air I found the first two episodes hilarious
and the rest worthless, but years later my perspective is slightly
different. The first episode is genius, the rest is mixed, and the last
is pleasantly weird.
The series is about a TV series from the 50s called The Lester Guy Show. Lester is a faded film star whose plans for a TV comeback are spoiled by his co-star Betty, whose sweet innocence wins over audiences even as her complete idiocy leaves her bumbling and fumbling through life. Lester plots to destroy Betty, Betty drifts along in a haze, and the rest of the characters take pratfalls and yell a lot.
The first episode, directed by David Lynch and written by Lynch and Mark Frost, is utterly brilliant; a crazy, hilarious screwball comedy that mocks and embraces 50s TV. This is must-see for any Lynch fan, or, really, anyone.
Lynch then disappears. You've still got a fine cast and some weird humor, but nothing attains the heights of that initial episode. Although the other episodes aren't as bad as I recall.
Lynch co-wrote the final episode, and it's utterly insane. Not super funny, but really bizarre.
It's clear that what the series needed was Lynch. Without him, the craziness waned and the series lost that weird edge.
Here's what I wrote 8 years ago:
Title: Watch the First Two Episodes, then Stop
For years I was unhappy with the cancellation of On the Air. True, the last of the 3 episodes shown was abysmal, but the first two were hysterically funny, brilliant and original. I didn't think it could have just collapsed altogether after such a great start.
Years later, I saw the rest of the series, and yes, it could all collapse, because after those first two brilliant episodes, the show became dreadful. It really went from being a weird take-off of dumb sitcoms to just being a dumb sitcom with some weirdness in it. It just wasn't funny. A couple of episodes were decent, many were just pure tedium, and none matched those first two.
I have to say it: On the Air deserved to be canceled. But the first two episodes are as funny as anything that has ever been on television.
I have long been a fan of David Lynch's work on film and his "Twin Peaks" television series. This very short-lived 6-episode series now qualifies as simply a curiosity - something any true David Lynch fan should probably see once, but that anyone else could probably take or leave. As I read from another reviewer, the only thing similar in tone to this is Steven Spielberg's 1979 semi-flop "1941." I do not dislike either that film or this series, but they won't appeal to a sophisticated comedy connosseur. Both are loud, sometimes obnoxious slapstick pieces with a great eye for historical detail, and plenty of gags involving slipping on banana peels, things falling down, mistaken identity, and other cartoonish props. The highlights of the episodes are the dazzling set design and, not surprisingly, Lynch's injections of bona fide weirdness, such as a mostly-absent narrator who makes the same character introductions each and every episode, and more of Lynch's fetish for red curtains (he seems to put them in virtually everything he makes; there was even a character in "Twin Peaks" whose only known characteristic was an obsession with the curtains in her trailer). But the true sign that this was a Lynch production is a set of conjoined twins that show up almost randomly each episode (like Kenny's deaths in the "South Park" series) and walk around the set saying nothing but "Hurry Up!" over and over again. Other characters even refer to them as the Hurry-Up Twins!! Man, Lynch is one twisted genius.
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