This is the season when Save Our Favorite Show campaigns are cropping up all over the place.
Any show that's in trouble seemingly has some group behind it. Some of them are more than deserving - shows like "My So-Called Life" and "Party of Five."Others are considerably less than deserving. A couple of years ago I got a letter from the head of a campaign to save "Perfect Strangers," that silly bit of fluff headlined by Bronson Pinchot. (When it was canceled, there wasn't much weeping from TV viewers - and none at all from TV critics.)
And there's probably somebody out there trying to save the awful "Madman of the People."
But, in the face of efforts to save certain shows, your local television - being the contrary type - would like to take the opposite tack. Here, instead, is a pitch for several shows that deserve canceling for one reason or another - some because they've hung around too long, some because they're just plain rotten shows:
- All American Girl: Margaret Cho is another example of why networks shouldn't just hand out sitcoms to any stand-up comedian. They should give some kind of test to detect acting ability first.
- America's Funniest Home Videos: America, aren't we through laughing at other people hurting themselves yet?
(And, with the cancellation of "Full House," this is our big chance to officially turn the talentless Bob Saget into a has-been.)
- The Cosby Mysteries: Mr. Cosby was apparently under the impression that America was dying to see him on prime-time TV again. We weren't.
- Dateline NBC, Day One, Eye to Eye, 48 Hours and PrimeTime Live: A law should be passed restricting each network to only one news magazine per week. ABC gets "20/20," CBS gets "60 Minutes," and NBC gets one - and only one - edition of "Dateline."
- Double Rush: Nothing's worse than a comedy that isn't funny.
- Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: Don't you think that five seasons is plenty for a show that ran out of ideas after its pilot episode?
- The George Wendt Show: If more people actually watched this dog, Wendt might have expended all the good will he built up in 11 years on "Cheers."
- Hearts Afire: Never has a show watched by so few people stuck around as long as this one - and there are still a batch of unaired episodes out there that we'll be seeing sometime this summer.
Do John Ritter and Markie Post a favor. Put them - and this show - out of their misery.
- The John Larroquette Show: We've waited two years for this show to get funny. Or clever. Or charming. Or endearing. It's not any of the above.
- Living Single: This is an equal-opportunity sitcom - proving that women can be just as sexist, vulgar and obnoxious as men.
- Love & War: This is another show that still has unaired episodes out there, if anyone cares.
Your local television editor always wanted to like this show more than he did. And, occasionally, it was brilliant. Unfortunately, those occasions were infrequent.
- M.A.N.T.I.S.: If ever there was a bug in need of swatting, this is it.
- Married . . . With Children: Like everyone doesn't already know that this show should have been run off the air years ago.
- Martin: The world would probably survive without a half hour of stereotypical, sexist, vulgar humor. (And, parents, if your kids are watching this you might want to sit down and see what it is they're absorbing.)
- Me and the Boys: You're no "My Three Sons." And you're sullying the memory of that show.
- Models Inc.: There's nothing wrong with a good soap opera, particularly if it has a sense of humor. But this is a bad soap opera with no sense of humor.
- Murder, She Wrote: Now, your local television editor loves Angela Lansbury as much as anyone. She's classy, elegant and just the sort of person that should be starring in a weekly television series.
But it's waaaay past time that she was starring in something other than "Murder." The sameness of the show is mind-numbing. After 11 seasons, it's become almost impossible to tell one episode from another.
- Northern Exposure: The longer this show hangs around, the harder it is to remember how good it once was. And it was great when it started. It was even good for the next couple of years. Lately, it's only reached mediocrity from time to time.
Do us all a favor. Leave us with our memories, and don't keep turning out substandard episodes.
- Platypus Man: Quick, somebody break the news to Richard Jeni - he's not funny.
- Rescue 911: OK, I know this show is supposed to have helped saved lots of lives. And given William Shatner a steady paycheck.
But, come on, this was never more than low-grade reality programming that exploits the suffering of others. Six seasons are more than enough.
- seaQuest DSV: This show was waterlogged when it debuted, and it's been slowly sinking ever since. A salvage operation last summer managed to turn it from preachy and boring to silly and stupid.
- Something Wilder: Please, don't make us watch another former movie star - in this case, Gene Wilder - degrade himself on an inferior sitcom!
- Thunder Alley: Please, pack up one of those cars and just drive away.
- Under Suspicion: This is a show that some people are trying to save. Why, I'm not quite sure.
I've tried to watch it without nodding off. But the episodes I've seen have been dull and, worse yet, predictable - which isn't good for a show that's supposed to be mysterious.
- Unsolved Mysteries: Another gimmick show whose gimmick wore out long ago. Now maybe if they want to try solved mysteries . . .
- VR.5: Oh, just what we need - an incomprehensible mess brought to us by people who think they're smarter than we are.
- Walker, Texas Ranger: Isn't Chuck Norris just a little too old to be kicking people anymore?
- All Friday-night ABC sitcoms: Whether you're talking "Family Matters," "Step by Step," "Boy Meets World," "Sister, Sister" or "On Our Own," none of these shows deserves even one more week on the air.
Somewhere along the line, these shows became identified as "family" programs. But just because a show isn't offensive doesn't make it good. Let's hope that most families are too smart to let themselves be insulted by this kind of low-grade, childish "humor."
- All four shows on the WB network: They must have intended these shows to be terrible. This level of cruddiness can't be accidental.