Lost Signals: 3 Shows We Need Back

Lost Signals

Growing up, I was always glued to the television. It wasn’t that I didn’t like playing outside, I did, there were just so many wonderful shows that swept me up in their fictional worlds. Sadly, most of these TV series have faded into obscurity… I mean, not every show can have the track record of The Simpsons or South Park. That said, we seem to be in the eye of a perfect storm of remakes, premakes, and sequels that hasn’t just taken over Hollywood, but TV networks as well.

NBC just revealed Heroes Reborn as part of their Fall schedule, then there’s last month announcement that FOX has made a deal to bring back The X-Files, Thunderbirds are a ‘GO’ on ITV, Full House is set to return for a new season on Netflix, Twin Peaks is primed for a “sequel”—even Uncle Buck (yes, it was a movie AND a TV series) is getting a reboot on ABC! I’m pretty sure I’m missing a dozen others that are also be resurrecting in one form or another… point is, I wanted to share three shows I feel we deserve to see again.

Tales From the Crypt

This show was unique in how it told a story because each episode was exactly that, its own story, that collectively formed an anthology. Using old horror comics as the foundation for each episode, Tales from the Crypt brought to life scenes of fright and feral fun plucked right from the vaults of legendary publisher, EC Comics. You couldn’t have asked for a better host, either. The Crypt Keeper (voiced by John Kassir) broke down that fourth wall every episode, delivering hammy one-liners and creepy alle-‘gories’ directly to us (the audience). It was even one of the first shows, if not THE first, to digitally place an actor into an episode… using similar technology employed to finish The Crow after Brandon Lee’s early passing. They actually had Humphrey Bogart and Alfred Hitchcock guest star in an episode!

WHY IT NEEDS TO BE BACK

Television is just begging for a new horror anthology series and while contenders like Masters of Horror, The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits having come and gone (some more than once)—none have held a candle to this creepfest. The original episodes were slightly modernized takes on comics from the 1950’s. However, there are things in our society now that weren’t exactly relevant then… the internet, social media, smart phones, e-cigs, video conferencing—all of which could be utilized to put all new spins on these stories.

Max Headroom

What started out as a British made-for-TV movie in 1985 (Max Headroom: 20 Minutes Into the Future), would eventually spin off into its own series here in the States on ABC two years later. Based in a dystopian future ruled by a tyrannical board of TV executives who’ve outlawed turning off televisions (really), the show’s hero was a journalist by the name of Edison Carter. After Carter discovers the unethical truth about what’s going on behind the scenes, he meets an untimely end on the back of a motorcycle. Luckily, his friends are able to upload his consciousness into a computer and BAM!—the pop culture icon known as Max Headroom is born.

This was a show way ahead of its time. From featuring technology that we’re just now learning to utilize (video calling, motion capture) to the prediction of how it will take over our lives (do we really every plug out of the internet these days?), Max Headroom saw it all coming. Add in the excitement of a witty, slightly obnoxious “thinking” machine teaming up with humans to take down corporate America and this series is an easy candidate for a modern reboot.

WHY IT NEEDS TO COME BACK

We live in a society that’s basically reliant on technology to tell us what to eat, what to wear, who’s online… we fork over our data to every app in exchange to use their “services” and Big Brother can even track our cell phones and listen to our conversations. It all sounds very much like the premise behind this show (from 30 years ago!). Black Mirror touches on some of these themes already in episodes like ‘Fifteen Million Merits’ and ‘The Waldo Moment,’ but imagine if they employed Max as a voice decrying the tyranny of technology for a new generation of smart phone-enabled youth. Now that would make for a killer sci-fi drama to watch on weeknights.

ALF

ALF was, and probably is, the best situational comedy ever—at least in my book. For those who’ve never heard or seen ALF before… I am terribly sorry. The series starred an alien named Gordon Schumway (more commonly refereed to as ALF for ‘Alien Life Form’), from the fictional planet Melmac, who ends up crash landing in the garage of your average 80s-era nuclear family, the Tanners. The Tanner family, not sure what to do with him just kind of adopts the fuzzy aardvark. Enter the conflict: ALF is messy, rude, self-centered, obnoxious and eats cats—in stark contrast to the Tanner’s wholesome family dynamic. Luckily, ALF’s heart was always in the right place, making him loveable… even if he is a bit of a jerk.

Unlike most shows that get cancelled, ALF didn’t end abruptly. The show had the luxury of a fully thought-out ending… A COMPLETE HORRIBLE ONE I MAY ADD! The Government was onto ALF from the get go, it was always one of the key plots to the show, that’s why ALF had to keep a low profile thorough the show… he was pretty much on house arrest for the entirety of the series. In the final episode, just as ALF was about to go back to Melmac, the military moves in and steals him away to perform unspeakable experiments—what a horrible ending to a wonderful show.

WHY IT NEEDS TO COME BACK

Because of that ending… it was terrible. Granted, there was a short-lived spin off involving ALF actually working with the military in a very tongue-in-cheek made-for-TV movie called Project ALF, but it came years later and went unseen by a lot of fans whom were left to believe that our favorite intergalactic fuzzball was in some laboratory dumpster.

As I mentioned earlier, nostalgia is running super-high right now and with other puppet-based shows getting another show (The Muppets), the window for ALF to mount a comeback is open wide. Ideally, it would neat to see ALF finally escaping the clutches of the military and seeking out Brian Tanner (at the time, he was the youngest member of the Tanner family), whom Alf was closest to. The series could then fall back into a similar formula of the annoying, but loveable houseguest from space… maybe ALF could even have new “abilities” as a result of the military’s experiments!

Written by Christopher Bacon

Mister Bacon tries really hard to define the line between collector and hoarder. Between comics , cards , video games , metal and horror movies the only thing he likes more than obtaining them is talking about them. Beer is good too.

66 posts
  • Personally, I’d love to see ALF get a hard reboot. One where ALF is maybe not as harmless as he seems. There could be a bizarre duality to the show where there’s the comedic, family dynamic and then in other scenes he’s xenomorphing into a killing machine that stalks the neighborhood for cats… dogs… toddlers… whatever.

  • My vote would be for AMAZING STORIES. I love anthologies and the Steven Spielberg produced show had a more uplifting vibe to it, compared to other more horror themed shows like TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE or TALES FROM THE CRYPT. But my absolute favorite show is QUANTUM LEAP, which at the eleventh hour was cancelled and felt wholly unresolved with just a one sentence title card. I miss you Sam & Al…

    • Quantam Leap would be a great one! Always bothered me too how they left it hanging.