Happy birthday to cable channel TV Land, which turns 17 today. It launched on Monday, April 29th, 1996. The channel today bears little resemblance to what went on the air back in 1996. For a long time, TV Land and Sci-Fi Channel were the two cable channels I wanted the most. I can still remember visiting relatives and turning on the TV to see what was on those channels and wishing I had them.
I also have a vivid memory of watching most of the pilot episode to Fast Times (CBS, 1986) on TV Land while on vacation. It was part of a day’s programming chosen by a contest winner. That sounded like a dream come true but I am sure there were a lot of stipulations and restrictions.
By the time I finally got Sci-Fi Channel the name had been shortened to Sci Fi and most of the old shows were no longer being aired. I still do not get TV Land although certainly I could if I were willing to pay for a more expensive tier of programming. But there’s no reason to do that these days.
TV Land, like so many other cable channels — MTV, VH1, TLC, The History Channel, CMT, A&E, Syfy — that have drifted far from their original concepts. At least The Nashville Network had the decency to change its name (twice, first to The National Network in 2000 and finally to Spike in 2003) when it wanted to rebrand.
To mark this rather insignificant anniversary of a cable channel I always wished I had, never got and now don’t want, hit the comments with your thoughts. What one season wonders or popular obscurities do you remember watching back in the day before TV Land became The Boomer Channel and shifted its focus away from classic television?