I write this on the eve of AT&T's big debut of HBO MAX, a confusingly named streaming video services that promises a "curated" collection of "content" from our favorite "brands." Of course "curated" usually means, "you're not gonna get as much as you want."
In this case, I fear that the service will deliver big hits like South Park, Friends, and The Big Bang Theory but will not dive deep into the company's holdings the way the late, lamented Warner Archive Instant did. So for our fellow fans of 1970s and 1980s television, here is a list of programs that were on Warner Instant and therefore I assume could be on HBO Max. We're not talking only rarities, but a lot of this is infinitely more interesting to me than the shows that are already running multiple times a day in syndication.
1) Harry O: David Janssen's atmospheric, often-great private eye show was one of the highlights of Warner Archive Instant and is largely forgotten now.
2) The Man from Atlantis: This genre show has the advantage of being in just about every Warner Archive magazine advertisement I've ever seen!
3) Search: We already talked about it on the site many times, including of course, this episode, but it's worth mentioning again.
4) The Jimmy Stewart Show: Can't get much bigger in terms of star power than Jimmy, and since so many of his movies are controlled by other mega corporations, how about the gentle sitcom? And while you're at it, HBO Max, the Hawkins TV movies are welcome, too.
5) Flo: How many of us would relish the chance to fire up HBO max and blast that Hoyt Axton theme song?
6) The Practice: Not the legal drama, but the medical sitcom--the Junger/Witt Danny Thomas vehicle.
7) Logan's Run: Name value alone has to make it a contender.
8) Shaft: The TV movies from the 1970s would complement the theatrical movies, and they seem to make a new one every 10 years, so the "brand" is still relelvant. By the way, the fact that the original Shaft movies aren't on the lists of movies available at launch nor coming in June is a red flag for a company bragging about how much content it will have.
9) Wizards and Warriors: Well, it's not like it's going to hog bandwidth--the light fantasy/adventure series lasted 8 episodes.
10) Beyond Westworld: I don't think there's much connection to the current HBO series, but aren't you curious? This has even less episodes than Wizards and Warriors, but anything with Connie Sellecca is worth watching.
Of course it goes without saying that long-running series not streaming anywhere right now, like Medical Center, Eight Is Enough, The FBI, Night Court, and Alice should be there as well!
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