Monday, May 18, 2020

Television's Death Probe

News this past week of actor Heather Menzies' passing made me think of the science fiction television series Logan's Run. Even though I had seen her in 1965's mega-hit musical feature film The Sound of Music, it was in that television show that I took note of her. Then I remembered that I almost never watched it; when I did, it was in a casual way, unfocused and in little bits. (At the time I felt the series never lived up to its potential.) I ignored Logan's run simply because I was growing out of watching television as appointment television.

When does one slow down on watching television? I'm speaking of American prime time dramatic programs -- or sitcoms, which I almost never watched. Even with the litany of kids' things many of us in that time of our lives still managed to clock a lot of TV. But the ritual stops as we discover other things on our road to maturation. Or whatever.

I started to drift away in my mid to late teens. For example, this once regular viewer of The Six Million Dollar Man didn't watch the show's fifth and final season (1977 - 1978). I remember popping down and into the rec room one evening to grab a book from the bookcase and caught my siblings watching the follow-up episode to "Death Probe": "Return of the Death Probe." I turned to them and said, "you're still watching this?". Their even more youthful faces than my own beamed enjoyment. There on the television rolled what appeared to be an armoured go-kart, somewhat like the first model.

An admission: I enjoyed "Death Probe", even if it featured a cruder version of machine compared to the sequel vehicle of destruction. This then youth knew the Death Probe concept was rubbish, but, as was the case with more than a few Six Million episodes, there was a fun comic book vibe to "Death Probe".

But, my times were changing.

One day in 1995 I got a nasty wake-up call. A few of my coworkers emoted shocks and 'tears' as they recounted the latest episodes of Chicago Hope and ER. I stood in awe and bemusement as my mug of coffee got cold.

"Death Probe", first or second story, started to sound appealing.


The above piece was first posted as "I Missed the Return of Death Probe" on December 30, 2017.

No comments: