Monday, October 06, 2014


Consternation at UNCLE headquarters over "The Half-Ass Affair."


They've cut Napoleon Solo in half.

No, the evil organization called Thrush wasn't behind this dastardly deed.  It's a local TV station that stupidly assumes that people won't mind missing the first half of the superspy's heroics every Sunday night at 10 PM.

Tonight I tuned in to Channel 5.3 (Me TV) to watch The Man From UNCLE and found WPUTZ-TV was running its local newscast until 10:30 PM.  Then without any explanation or warning it cut back to the Me TV network feed right in the middle of an UNCLE affair.

For the uniformed The Man From UNCLE is a spy adventure series from the 1960s, TV's answer to James Bond.  Compared to some old TV shows (for example, take MASH — please!) it hasn't been seen around rerunland that often.

There's really no good reason for WPUTZ-TV to chop an episode in two because on its other subchannel, 5.2, it's simulcasting the same news program.  On that channel (the CW affiliate) an hour of Seinfeld reruns are scheduled but that series is formatted in the 30 minute format.  So one episode is blocked but the other can still be seen in its entirety at 10:30 PM.

I don't watch Channel 5 local news.  One reason are the incessant ads that run on all three of WPUTZ's channels extolling the greatness of its news team.  Every ten minutes it's bragging that its news is the best in the business: the best journalism, the best weather forecasting, the best sports coverage, the best humility.

Also, I live in New York State but Channel 5 panders to the almighty Vermont advertising dollar.  Green Mountain State news until you choke.  Its competition across the lake, Channel 3/WCAX-TV, is professional, not a dog-and-pony show.  Sometimes it does a better job of covering news on this side of Lake Champlain.

WCAX's logo: "Vermont's Own Channel 3."

WPUTZ's logo: "Vermont Owns Channel 5."

Before the fall season kicked off the Channel 5 news trio — the two anchorpersons and the weatherman — were seen 24/7 in a promo rhapsodizing that the popular Ellen DeGeneres talk show was moving to their station.  Extreme close-ups showed the TV news team lacing up their shoes.  Why?  Because they were getting ready to dance.

And then the trio danced around, cavorting like coked up clowns, giddy that Ellen was coming to Channel 5.  Big smiles and a hearty "Welcome!"

Yes, happy dance = professional journalism.

So will Channel 5 change its mind and run The Man From UNCLE in its entirety on Sunday nights?

I doubt it.  From what I've seen the station manager will just dance around the issue.  Giddily.


Tal Hartsfeld said...

I agree with you on MASH being such an overrated show. What bothers me about that show is the way they make such a "hero" out of a hedonistic philanderer like the "Hawkeye Peirce" character. Like we should accept that the guy simply has a split personality or whatever. Would anyone ever be that tolerant of someone like that in real life?
The Man From UNCLE is a brilliant well-produced and classy show, full of subtle insightful dialogue. It's a total sin that the practices and procedures of the second-rate (totally perfunctory-minded) staff and management of your local METV station obstructs and interferes with your being able to enjoy this show in its entirety.

Anonymous said...

Every time I record Man From UNCLE What records is The Twilight Zone.