Book Report: Nick at Nite’s Classic TV Companion edited by Tom Hill (1996)

This book, written right after Nick at Nite’s 10th anniversary, comes from the days when Nick at Nite was TV Land before TV Land became its own channel and Nick at Nite began showing whatever it shows now.

This book is an episode guide for some of the more popular classic television shows that Nick at Nite aired, including:

  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show
  • Welcome Back, Kotter
  • I Love Lucy
  • Bewitched
  • Taxi
  • The Munsters
  • I Dream of Jeannie
  • The Bob Newhart Show
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show

I can almost count the number of episodes of these I’ve seen on television. A couple from Welcome Back, Kotter, certainly, and one from The Dick Van Dyke Show because it was on one of those dollar DVDs you can pick up in the grocery store that contains 4 old television shows. I know I’ve watched episodes of some of the others and snippets of all of them, but for the life of me, I couldn’t match the scenes to the episodes.

Hopefully, I’ve picked up some useful trivia in the months I’ve spent working on this book a little at a time. The book also triggered in me a slight urge to pick up DVDs of some of the shows so I could watch them in the original order–imagine that; ten years later, the book isn’t triggering an urge to watch the cable station whose brand is on the book, but to consume the shows in another format entirely. But I won’t act on it that quickly.

The chapters are introduced with a section on when the show first aired on Nick at Nite and a compendium of quotes about the series from other books. Ergo, the introductory matter was meaningless. However, some of the episodic addenda was interesting: little footnotes about recurring actors playing different roles, singing and dancing numbers within the shows, or breaks in continuity.

Worth a buck if you have five hundred pages of reading time to spare and enjoy old television shows.

Books mentioned in this review: