Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Where is "Remington Steele"?

Why is it that just when I have become immersed in a TV show, the network cancels it?  Has this happened to anyone else?  To me, it seems like every new season brings a show that’s interesting, provocative, intelligent, and I like it, but that show may not last past a season or two.  My most recent example is Lie to Me. I loved that show. But now it’s gone.  As a result, I tend to avoid new TV shows.  I don’t want to become immersed only to lose them.

ME Television has offered me a congenial alternative.  At least, I thought so.  I can watch TV shows that I loved years ago and ME TV will air them over and over.  I Love Lucy, That Girl, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, It Takes a Thief and Columbo have all re-entered my TV-viewing life.  Some friends and I were talking last weekend about ME TV and its offerings, and one friend pointed out that the shows she was most interested in watching regularly ME had scheduled in the middle of the night: Mission Impossible, Combat! and 12 O’Clock High. I’ve had the same complaint.

What is the rationale for the way ME TV has created its program schedule?  I cannot see one.  And then they shift programs around, add new ones (yay!), and horrors of horrors, also drop shows (grrrrr).  I suppose it can’t be easy being the program scheduler at a TV network.  However, it’s not easy being a viewer of a TV network, either, and I include the cable networks.

So what has prompted this grumbling?  ME TV dropped Remington Steele.  Why?  Who knows?  I cannot find anything on their website about the reason, and there was nothing aired on the network the week before the last show.  The network started promoting the two shows that would take its time slot and that’s how I learned of its demise.  I thought maybe they were just changing the time slot for it, but when I checked the program schedule on the website, no Remington Steele.

Credit: Twentieth Century Fox
I love Remington Steele.  I had not seen it since it first aired in the 1980’s, and I was excited that ME TV would air it every weekday evening.  I watched as many of the episodes as I could, but there were evenings when I was not home and I missed those episodes.  I had looked forward to ME TV going back to the beginning and re-airing the shows so I could watch the episodes that I’d missed.  But ME TV dropped the show.

Why am I so upset?  It’s just a TV show!  Well, one of the reasons I liked this show so much was the character of Laura Holt.  She represented an intelligent, talented and capable businesswoman at a time when women were still struggling to make a place for themselves in what had been exclusively a man’s world.  She attacks the issue head-on, too.  She inspired me in the 1980's and she inspires me now. 

Another reason I loved this show: it reminded me a lot of The Thin Man movies.  Each episode involved a mystery of some kind that Laura Holt, with her boss Remington Steele, needed to solve.  In the process, they encountered not only danger but folly and farce.  The show differed from The Thin Man movies in one important aspect: Laura and Remington were not married.  Of course, they also didn’t own a little dog like Asta together either, but the relationship between them became another mystery that they needed to solve.

So, Gina, why don’t you just go out and buy the DVDs?  Yeah, I’m thinking about it.  But first, I just had to grumble about how powerless a TV network can make a viewer feel when the network decides to drop a viewer’s beloved show.  I thought ME Television would be different from the other networks.  I was wrong.

Addendum:  To my tremendous surprise, ME TV replied to my e-mail asking why they'd dropped Remington Steele.  As it turns out, the reason concerns program rights, i.e. the right to air it.  They had not purchased the rights to some episodes and the right to broadcast had expired for the rest.  I hope that they will air this series again sometime in the future.  Thanks, ME TV!

Update: I'm writing this update over a year later on 4/24/14.  ME TV has been airing Remington Steele again once a week on Sunday afternoons.  Check the ME TV website for the time in your location!


Anonymous said...

Thanks Gina! You've expressed my exact thoughts AND answered my question regarding RS.

Gina said...

Thanks for the comment! I still hope ME TV airs the series again, but I broke down and bought the complete series DVDs.