I remember how thrilled I was when the local cable company added The Sci-Fi Channel to its lineup. It meant I could watch old episodes of The Misfits of Science and a daily dose of Doctor Who long before I could hope to own all the extant episodes of the series.
I’m not saying I have all the surviving episodes, mind. I’m three or four stories short.
But Sci-Fi in the 1990s was a treasure trove of classic sci-fi TV. Even forgotten shows, like the Starman TV show with Airplane‘s Robert Hays taking the place of Jeff Bridges, received heavy rotation in those heady days before infomercials took over the overnight and the channel re-branded itself and got in the Sharknado business.
To give you an idea of what it was like, here’s a video compilation of Sci-Fi house ads that aired during an episode of Tales From the Darkside. Each promo offers you a glimpse of not just what sort of shows the channel aired, but how they marketed them to their audience.
Instant access to most of this material means I can watch pretty much any episode of Doctor Who that I want, but there was something special about getting up early and watching the final season of The Transformers and Lost in Space, even with dopey adds for Sci-Fi Magazine in between.