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Battle of the Network Shows

Each week, hosts Rick Brooks and Mike Cowgill explore the TV of the '70s and '80s through hand-picked episodes. 
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Battle of the Network Shows
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Feb 20, 2020

Charo! World-renowned flamenco guitarist! Charo! Frequent guest on the Love Boat! Charo! Mysterious! Charo! We couldn't do a podcast about seventies and eighties TV and not eventually talk about Charo! In this case, we talk about her 1976 variety special with bandleader Frank DeVol and special guest star Mike "Mannix" Connors! Say it with us one more time. Charo!

Feb 13, 2020

We travel through time and space with the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker), Sarah, and Harry as they try to stop the genesis of the Daleks at the hands of Davros. He's quite mad, you know? We also do our best to understand a little of the history of the Doctor Who phenomenon.

Feb 6, 2020

On a dark and stormy night, America's favorite mystery writer/amateur sleuth Jessica Fletcher takes a bus ride with a bevy of guest stars. While they hole up in a roadside restaurant, a passenger gets murdered, and everyone's a suspect (except Jessica and Amos natch). Whodunnit? Whydunnit? Will Jessica figure it out, or will they all fall victim one by one? Most importantly, will they make it to the Sheriff's Conference in time for Amos to get some potato soup? Let the man have his potato soup!

Jan 30, 2020

If you ever wanted to watch a cartoon featuring a spider-powered heroine who also runs a magazine with her know-it-all nephew and sexist photographer as they face off against space mummies, travel the world in seconds, and make Spider-Man look like a dope, then we have the cartoon for you! 1979's Spider-Woman cartoon, based on the Marvel character of the same name, has literally everything...in the first episode "Pyramids of Doom."

Jan 23, 2020

The classroom provides the settings and the Cold War provides the backdrops of these two mid-eighties sitcoms. In Head of the Class, the IHP team faces off a with a team of Russians, and Eric struggles between dueling pulls of cooldom and nerddom. Across the country, Yakov Smirnoff and a band of would-be citizens learn to become good Americans, and one learns that the path to love might lie in remaining true to himself rather than playing it hep. Plus, Yakov raps.

Jan 16, 2020

We here at BOTNS don't just want to entertain. We want to educate, especially for our vaunted 2- 11-year-old demo, and what better way to educate than to talk about classic kids science show "3-2-1 Contact" talking about light by going behind the scenes at a KISS concert?

Jan 9, 2020

We dive into the wild world of made-for-TV movies with a real whopper, Pray For the Wildcats. Ad men William Shatner, Robert Reed, and Marjoe Gortner try to seal the deal on a campaign by taking a dirt bike trip across Baja with a malevolent Andy Griffith! Plus Angie Dickinson!

 

Jan 2, 2020

Season 7 launches with an explosive start as we delve into quintessential eighties drama Miami Vice! Guns, cars, boats, airplanes, swagger, fashion, music, explosions, weird dancing kids, Glenn Frey, Richard Jenkins--this one has it all and then some! Crockett and Tubbs go undercover to Colombia to buy some drugs to stop a kidnapper/murderer in Miami. We think.

Dec 19, 2019

We celebrate the holidays with Yogi Bear and the gang as they try to cheer up a little girl in a jam-packed 23 minutes. How will the big city react to bears on its streets? Will Yogi find any pic-i-nic basket? How much does Augie Doggie really love his Doggie Daddy? How many Hanna-Barbera characters show up? Do we discover the true meaning of Even?

Dec 12, 2019

Adapting comics into TV and movies has become all the rage in Hollywood. Well, we have our own suggestions for comics that should have become shows in the BOTNS era!

Nov 28, 2019

We start to ramp up for season 7 with another round of the TV Guide Game, this time from the summer of '86! When school lets out and the sun stays out longer, what better way to spend your time than in front of the tube? This game includes such luminaries Jack Klugman, John Stamos, Valerie Harper, and two "Seinfeld" dads!

Oct 17, 2019

Live on tape from Tommy Westphall's snow globe, it's the Season 6 BATTY Awards! Join Rick and Mike as the stars vie for top awards like: Best Show, Best Episode, and Outstanding Performance by a Non-human! It all happens!! on theSeason 6 BATTY Awards!

Oct 10, 2019

On our recent "What's Happening!!" episode, Mike suggested that WKRP actor Gary Sandy and Doobie Brother Patrick Simmons share an uncanny resemblance. Now he puts Rick to the test to see if he can differentiate between Sandy or Simmons, and we learn a few things along the way!

Aug 22, 2019

We take it to the streets in our season 6 finale with a real Doobie--er, doozy. Join us as we groove to the infamous Rerun bootlegs the Doobie Brothers episodes of What's Happening!! Does it live up to memory or play a bit like a poorly recorded bootleg of a major rock act in a high school gym? We'll let you know, but how can you go wrong with laughter's the best medicine and music is the doctor?

Aug 15, 2019

This week, we return to Boston and travel to the very center of the Tommy Westphall Universe to talk about classic hospital drama St. Elsewhere. Betty White pays a visit to investigate the condition of an astronaut, Denzel Washington and Alfre Woodard get cozy, an amnesiac decides he's Mary Richards...much to the consternation of "The Bob Newhart Show's" Mr. Carlin.

Aug 8, 2019

Long before the Avengers assembled on the silver screen, the Arrowverse filled the CW schedule, or Netflix canceled the Defenders, NBC and Hanna-Barbera gathered some of DC Comics' greatest heroes and villains for a live-action TV event, and they chose the most obvious setting...the comedy variety special. 1960s Batman stars Adam West, Burt Ward, and Frank Gorshion join various standups, comedic actors, and unknowns in one of the oddest curiosities of the 1970s. Also, BOTNS fav Ed McMahon!

Aug 1, 2019

Someone might kill an up-and-coming pop star (Laura Branigan) unless Walter and Automan stop them. Along the way, Automan straps on a holographic guitar and rocks out. Why? It's the eighties, baby! Why else?

Jul 25, 2019

In another listener poll, our listeners chose eighties cartoon Jem and the Holograms. We chose two episodes promising appearances by stand-ins for some of the biggest acts of the eighties. Can you guess the real identities of the likes Roland Owens, Luna Dark, Johnny Deacon, Ron Cox, and the mysterious Lina Lerner? Also, some of the Starlight girls have some issues--including Vietnam flashbacks--the Misfits cause trouble, and bears bear!

Jul 18, 2019

Fed up with David's antics--limbo party, anyone--Maddie challenges him to act like an adult for a week. Will he, or won't he? Also, some guy gets kidnapped or something. Plus, we put on our own detective hats and try to answer whether the "will they, or won't they?" aspect of the show truly caused its demise?

Jul 11, 2019

This week, we look back at an unofficial TV genre, weekend dad TV, the kind of show that might fill the gap between the early game and the late game. Greatest Sports Legends combines interviews and documentary footage to cover the great athletes of the day. In a typical episode, Willie Stargell interviews Terry Bradshaw. Then an atypical episode parodies the show buy focusing on legendary bad player, raconteur, announcer, and actor Bob Uecker.

Jul 4, 2019

This week, we take a long, hard look two episodes of our Eighties Family Sitcom listener poll winner Growing Pains. In "Thank God It's Friday," Mike faces a tough decision when he finds himself at a cocaine (cocaine?!) party! Then a tonsillectomy sends Ben on a long, strange trip that includes the Skipper and a stunning heel turn by Danny Cooksey! Pull on your favorite pastel baggy sweater and cozy up to your hi-fi for Growing Pains.

Jun 27, 2019

Is the caller there? Is the caller fed up with filthy TV? Well find out how people felt in 1981 as silver-haired TV talk legend Phil Donahue talks to Pastor John Hurt of the Clean Up TV Campaign and Chicago TV critic Gary Deeb. What shows did 1980s churchgoers find the most offensive? How did the Campaign actually want to clean up TV? What did the studio audience think? Plus which BOTNS favorite does Gary Deeb call a "toilet show"?

Jun 20, 2019

Start your ignition, rev your engine, put the pedal to the metal, and accelerate into a high-octane episode full of high-octane action, high-octane bickering, and high-octane Buddy Ebsen! Our spark plugs are firing on all cylinders as we pull one of those sweet spin aroundy moves and, um, hydroplane into "Hardcastle and McCormick." Yeah, we’re car guys. So what?

Jun 13, 2019

This week, we break format to look back at the original cable super station WTBS, including Mike's memories of it as the cool independent channel in Atlanta, Rick's memories of it on cable in Pennsylvania, an overview of its influence on the TV landscape, a discussion of the mercurial Ted Turner, plus talk of the America's Team the Atlanta Braves, wrasslin', and of course the programming from cartoons to WTBS' early attempts at original content. We also check out short-lived sketch comedy show "Tush."

Jun 6, 2019

We start season six with one of the all-time greats, exploring the Diane years of "Cheers." First, Sam and Diane finally give in to their feelings, only things take a little longer to get going that Sam hoped. Then Diane meddles on behalf of Frasier, getting him invited on a fishing trip that turns into a snipe hunt for the haughty shrink.

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