by Michael Dymmoch
I don’t do cable. There are only three non-premium channels I can’t get with my rabbit ears, and I don’t have time to watch them. I don’t have time to watch all the programs I’d like to see on WTTW and WYCC.
Recently I broke down and ordered the first four seasons of The Dead Zone. The commercials made me do it. Ion TV is running episodes three days a week and WLS runs them late on weekends. The Canadian-made series stars the geek from The Breakfast Club, Anthony Michael Hall. It isn’t The Wire, but it’s a guilty pleasure of mine—fun to watch. The Canadians seem to have great production values for those series that make it down here—good writing, acting and editing. Years ago it was Night Heat. Now it's Da Vinci's Inquest and The Dead Zone. As on Law and Order, lots of great actors get to star or guest star. David Ogden Stiers, who did such a great job as Major Charles Emerson Winchester III in the final seasons of M*A*S*H*, is a regular on DZ. Adam Beach (Law and Order) did a stint in season 1 as an Indian shaman; Gerald McRaney (Simon & Simon, Touched By An Angel, Deadwood) portrayed a Vietnam vet/politician on another episode.
What finally drove me to spend money for the DVDs was the commercials. Not just the twenty minutes of interruptions to the flow of the story, but the little flashing decal commercials that the stations superimpose OVER the program after the commercial breaks. Maybe I’m just getting old, but it’s too much trouble to screen out all the visual noise.
Anyone else still watching “free” TV?