It’s no secret that the TV industry views summertime as poor for ratings. The networks abandon their regular programming anticipating beachgoers, barbecue frequenters, and amusement park enthusiasts will ignore their favorite shows to soak up the sun. And then there’s people like me, and presumably many others, who use the added relaxation of the season (if that respite even exists) to catch up on television they couldn’t fit in to their schedules the first time around.
With the advent of Netflix, and “On-Demand” or Hulu, the process is smoother and stress-free. It used to be that if you wanted to catch up on your favorite programs you would monitor your local listings for when the repeats would air. Now, they’re conveniently stored on the web for your viewing pleasure. It also has introduced the ability to marathon through entire series, if you so desire. Last summer, I would plop myself in front of the tube after a grueling serving shift to blow through “The Sopranos”—now one of my top ten favorites of all-time, easily. The summer before that belonged to two other classics in the critical canon, “Friday Night Lights” and “The Wire.” Those dramas are firmly cemented in my top ten as well (“The Wire” might be the heavyweight champ). Point is, there are some masterpieces awaiting your click out there.
In lieu of this new seasonal tradition of discovering new television territory, I thought we could explore these terrains together. Instead of spoiling an entire season though, and fixing ourselves to a limited number of shows, I figured that each week we could delve into a CLASSIC episode from a beloved series. An added bonus for me, as your reviewer, will be that I might just happen upon a diamond in the rough as well. For the first week (staring tomorrow), I will select the first episode we’ll unpack. For the inaugural edition of BLAST FROM THE PAST, I will be professing my undying affection for “Friday Night Lights” (that link takes you to the Friday Night Lights “Watch Instantly” page on Netflix, if you subscribe). Specifically, I will be plunging into the “Pilot” episode, where we’re introduced to football-obsessed Dillon, Texas and their warriors of the gridiron, the Dillon High School Panthers. I’ve seen this pilot twice, and there are series I would consider more refined, more intellectually satisfying, or simply better told stories. But this might be one of the most affective pilots ever.
After this week, it’s up to you Blast fans! If there is a show/episode you would like to see me review, suggest them in the comments! There are only a few requirements I have:
-The episode reviewed must be at least a year old OR not of the show’s most current season. This means the show can still be on the air, but in the spirit of this venture, the episode should be somewhat aged—it’s stood the test of time.
– The episode in question must be accessible by Netflix or available for free download on the Internet somewhere. No illegal sites, please. You know what I mean.
– Your suggestion must come within a few days of publishing the prior review to be considered. So if you begrudge me for not using your suggestion that you gave on Saturday, when I published the previous piece on, say, last Sunday …sorry, but I can’t wait around for your recommendations.
You may choose a comedy or drama, and any episode during its run, as long as it fits the parameters mentioned above. BLAST FROM THE PAST, should be posted sometime every week. That’s the goal, permitting I don’t get overwhelmed with other responsibilities. I’d like to see this feature conjure up a lot of enthusiasm for compelling, excellent TV. Enjoy your collective summers, and I hope you get the chance to read my inaugural entry on the “Pilot” episode of “Friday Night Lights” tomorrow.
And for any FNL lovers out there…
CLEAR EYES, FULL HEARTS, CAN’T LOSE!