Monday, May 22, 2006

My All-Time Favorite Obscure TV Shows

In honor of the end of May sweeps, I thought I'd compile a list of my all time favorite obscure TV shows. As I tend to watch only shows involving superheroes, the list is a bit skewed toward that genre.

1) Small Wonder-- In 6th grade I watched this syndicated show every day after school. It was an absolutely absured sitcom about a family with a robot (Vicki) posing as a teenage daughter. The robot even talked like a robot and no one figured out she was a robot. The best episode was when the Dad (Ted Lawson) invented a new robot as an upgrade (Vanessa) who went rogue and Vicki had to save them all. I was very disillusioned when this series just ended. I thought there would be some kind of a dramatic reveal to the world that Vicki was a robot. Nope. It just ended.

2) The Hat Squad-- "You guys shouldn't fight. You should be different." This is the line that started the opening credits. Three adopted brothers, shown fighting as kids, grow up to work as cops. They all wear fedoras, hence the name "Hat Squad." Their dad is a bald retired cop who helps them. The pilot was really awesome. It had a bad guy named Victory Smith who went around and did whatever he wanted, stealing stuff and killing people just cause he felt like it. He even had a cell phone in 1991. Then the Hat Squad beat the crap out of him. Way to go Hat Squad.

3) The Flash-- Based on the comic superhero, aired on CBS in 1990. Flash is rip-off of the Roman god Mercury, who is a rip-off the the Greek god Hermes, but he is really cool. This 1990 series starred the dad from Dawson's Creek as Flash. Mark Hammill played the Trickster. This led to Mark Hammill voicing the Joker on Batman: The Animated Series. I've never seen a Star Wars movie. To me, Mark Hammill is the voice of the Joker. I've digressed from the Flash, but the series is now out on DVD. They are also making a Flash movie. The guy who directed Blade is directing it.

4) MANTIS-- This series had a ton of archetypes, which to me always rules. A genius black dude in a wheelchair gets a costume that allows him to beat up bad guys. He is joined by a middle age British dude and a cocky young bike courier. They mostly fight interdimensional men in black. How could this show not last forever? The dude who played Mantis went on to voice Martain Manhunter in the Justice League cartoon. Oh yeah, he's in Alias too. I will always associate this series with the early days of the NFL on Fox. Spidey director Sam Raimi did the pilot.

5) Due South-- started out on CBS, then actually revived in syndication after being cancelled in the mid 90s. More archetypes-- a Canadian mounty teams with an Italian-American cop in Chicago to fight organized crime. The mounty also had a pet wolf. The mounty himself was an interesting cross between Superman and Batman.

6) Murder in Small Town X-- The only reality series I've ever watched, on Fox in 2001. An awesome premise: the contestants are joined by improv actors in a fictional town to investigate a murder mystery. Unfortunately the execution sucked. It also made no sense how they wrote a contestant's "death" into the series every week. Lots of Taco Bell product placement, too. Eerily, the winner was an NYPD fireman who died on 9/11 a week after the final episode aired.

7) The Trial of the Incredible Hulk-- Kind of cheating here. It was a made for TV movie based on the series that aired in the late 80s. It was incredibly awesome because it had Daredevil (though in a black costume), Kingpin (even though they called him Wilson Fisk and not Kingpin) and even the Arranger (though they just called him Edgar). I've wondered if there is anyone oblivious to comics that saw this, then saw the Ben Affleck "Daredevil" 15 years later and drew a connection between the characters.

8) Strange Luck-- this is my favorite show that I never saw. Well, I saw ten minutes. I read an article about it the summer before it came out and decided I was a huge fan. Then it aired on Friday nights (on Fox) and I kept forgetting to tape it (since I was out keeping stats for my high school football team on Friday nights). Then the series was canned. It sounded awesome though, about a guy who always had weird stuff happen to him.

9) Iron Man-- a cartoon- part of the "Marvel Action Hour" in the mid-90s. I would get up at 7 a.m. on Saturday mornings to watch it. Once a classmate of mine in high school said "I am Iron Man." I said, "Wow, do you watch that show too?" This was before I knew anything about Black Sabbath.

10) Muddling Through-- I saw one episode of this sitcom with my brothers. We made fun of it for years, long after we remembered anything about it at all. It was an obscure show that only we remembered. No one else alive had ever heard of it. Then I went on-line a few years ago to see if it in fact ever existed. Turns out that not only did it exist, but that Jennifer Anniston starred in it and almost turned down her Friends role in order to stay on "Muddling Through." Only after the show got canned did she become a friend. If Muddling Through wouldn't have been cancelled when it did, she probably would have never had to go through that whole thing with Brad Pitt.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

i totally used to watch due south with my dad when i was like five. its a canadian show eh?

4:25 PM  
Anonymous nWo 4 life! said...

America jr. sucks. Hey what was that x-files type show that art bell was on for an episode? I think it lasted a season or two.

5:19 PM  
Blogger Azor said...

NWO, the series you are discussing is "Millenium." It didn't make my list because I didn't think of it as obscure, but now that I think about it, it probably could be considered obscure. It involved a dude named Frank Black (after the Pixies singer) played by the awesome Lance Henriksen, trying to prevent the end of the world. The Millenium Group used the phrase "This is Who We Are" as a secret code phrase, and I in turn used it instead of saying good-bye to people. One dude once asked me why I always said "Sou-ee-ack" whenever I bid farewell. Apparently slurred togehter "This is Who We Are" sounds like "Sou-ee-ack"

1:38 AM  
Blogger Azor said...

And it lasted for three seasons, though I quit watching season 3 because they sold out.

1:38 AM  
Blogger kevin said...

due south was a regular of mine, and another i would ad is quantum leap.

2:21 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Peddling Mud.

8:45 AM  

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