Sunday, October 1, 2023

Nostalgia Sells

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

"Name that show..."

Nostalgia is a sentimentality for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations. The word nostalgia is a learned formation of a Greek compound, consisting of νόστος (nóstos), meaning "homecoming", a Homeric word, and ἄλγος (álgos), meaning "sorrow" or "despair", and was coined by a 17th-century medical student to describe the anxieties displayed by Swiss mercenaries fighting away from home. It was described as a medical condition, a form of melancholy.

And, Nostalgia sells.

Everything old is new again, so it's no surprise that streaming service Paramount+ would go into its library of hits for a reboot. And, boy, did they pick a winner with Frasier, which received 107 Primetime Emmy Award nominations, with 37 wins, in its 11 seasons on NBC.

Cheers originally aired on NBC from September 30, 1982 to May 20, 1993. Over the series run, 275 original episodes aired, an average of 25 episodes per season. In the early 1990s, 20 volumes of VHS cassettes were released; each had three half-hour episodes.

I was 22 in 1982. 

There is barely a sitcom from the past 30 years that doesn’t owe some sort of debt to Cheers. Story arcs. Cold opens. The workplace-as-melting pot format of its Boston bar. Most famously of all, it introduced us to Sam and Diane: the original sitcom will-they, won’t-they? couple who, over the course of five mostly wonderful seasons, popularised a whole new kind of romance – before discovering its limits.

Who remembers TV Guide? Who remembers "Must See TV"?  

Must See TV is an American advertising slogan that was used by NBC to brand its primetime blocks during the 1990s, and most often applied to the network's Thursday night lineup, which featured some of its most popular sitcoms and drama series of the period, allowing the network to dominate prime time ratings on Thursday nights in the 1980s and 1990s.

The term "Must See TV" has been used so often that it has almost lost all relevance. Game of Thrones? Must see TV. The Sopranos? Must see TV. Squid Game, Ted Lasso, The Mandalorian? Must see, must see, must see. Yet there was a time not all that long ago where the term wasn't a catch-all applied to the pop-culture series du jour. It was, in fact, a heavily-promoted slogan created by NBC promotional producer Dan Holm in 1993 that would come to be associated with NBC's dominant Thursday evening block throughout the 1990s. Although many shows were rotated through the block — Frasier, Wings, and Mad About You to name a few — the most prominent line-up of series associated with the Thursday night slogan happen to be three of the most iconic of all time: Seinfeld, Friends, and ER. But were they really "Must See TV"? Yes. Yes, they were.

OK, Tom..... land the plane....

Well, tomorrow I turn 63. And watching TV - only when the show was ON TV, was a big part of my life. In my 20s if you missed a show, that was it - you missed it. Appointment Television was a thing - you would make plans to watch a show. Anyone remember TiVo?

It is now 2023, and I am the Master of My Domain. No, not the Seinfeld episode, "The Contest"

I watch TV (should we even call it TV?) when I want, where I want, from any device that I want. Around 6 months ago, I bought a Mac mini. It was actually my first Apple computer - iPhone or two over the years, yes. But never Apple for my computers. And, because of the purchase of my Mac mini, I got a free 3 months subscription of Apple TV+ so, why not. Today, I just noticed my first $6.99 charge hitting my credit card for October. No Mac mini, probably no Apple TV+ $6.99 charge, every month. 

Must See TV is now Must Stream TV (Ah, do we still even call it TV? Should we?)

And so, I have now seen all of Ted Lasso (without my wife - she passed on watching it with me). Now watching The Morning Show, Season 1, (with my wife - her idea). Last night we started Season 1 and we watched non-stop for around 4 or 5 hours of episodes. We shall probably pick up where we left off tonight...  

Cheers was one of the greatest sitcoms of the late '80s and early '90s. Before there was Seinfeld, it was this little bar in Boston where we wanted to be. It's there where we hung out with an ensemble made up of a variety of characters who felt like our own friends as the years went on. Among them was psychiatrist named Dr. Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer). He wasn't the most popular character - but - he's the one who got his own spinoff when Cheers came to an end in 1993.

The Frasier reboot has an uphill battle ahead of it, right? The original was a classic show that won many Emmy Awards. That time in our lives can't be reduplicated, and that feels okay. To not see the cast we love so much is going to be sad, but that feels okay as well. We weren't turning into the original Frasier hoping to see the other cast members in Cheers show up, right? 

Cheers was one of the biggest TV series ever - and yet - Frasier succeeded anyway. This new Frasier series can succeed as well, but for many, it's going to be hard letting go of that original Frasier ensemble we loved so much. 

They were a part of our lives, and maybe they still are... don't get me started on Eddie the dog. 

Frasier premieres its first two episodes of a 10-episode season on Thursday, Oct. 12 streaming exclusively on Paramount+. New episodes will then drop weekly on Thursdays, exclusively on Paramount+. For those who don't subscribe to Paramount+, CBS will broadcast a special airing of the first two episodes on Tuesday, Oct. 17 beginning at 9:15 p.m. ET/PT.

Hey, who remembers what Dr. Frasier Crane would say at the beginning of each of his radio shows? 

When people called in to his radio show, they're assured that Dr. Crane is listening to them because he says, "I'm listening."

OK, North America..... it's 2023...... and I'm now 63..... that's 40 years of (TV?) And I'm streaming.

"Im streaming, when I want, from where I want. Oh, and I'm also blogging, and podcasting, and...and...and..." 

"The Contest"

"Nostalgia Sells"

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