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Taking a side trip to the ’60s and ’70s

Diginets – the digital side channels enabled by the transition to a digital broadcast standard in 2009 – are typically buried somewhere in your pay TV service lineup, or in your over-the-air channel list, but they can provide a nostalgic trip for people of certain age. With much “shelf space” to fill, we’ve seen networks or studios dust off some classics (or not-so-classics) that probably no-one ever expected to see back on broadcast airwaves.

Speaking for myself, over the past few years I’ve managed to watch every episode of Adam-12 and Emergency! – much to the chagrin of my son and wife – using several of these diginets.  One part nostalgic interest in the cars, lifestyle, and environment of the ’70s, and one part a warm memory of watching these with my parents, these series that were once appointment viewing for my family are now the equivalence of comfort food.

Even series that were already in after-school off-network repeats when I was a child in the 1960s and 1970s are showing up on diginets; programs like BatmanHazel, Combat!, and 12 O’Clock High. Who thought one would be nostalgic of reruns of reruns?

Of course, TV still does nothing without excess, so the growing viewership of these diginets means the early movers like Decades and Cozi have been followed by a number of others in this space. And more shelf space to fill means more series dusted off that might be have better left in the archive (I’m speaking to you, Rat Patrol and CHiPs).

Not nostalgic for this

As with all nostalgia, life seems it was a lot simpler when remembering through the eyes of an adolescent. But as PBS’ The Vietnam War recently reminded me, the late ’60s and early ’70s was marked by this country being ripped apart by the war, the generation gap, constant protests, and assassinations; turmoil that makes today’s political divides seem rather tame by comparison. I guess maybe TV was comfort food for us then as well.

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
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