(Photo: Marion Ross, demonstrating her skills from the Happy Days softball team, and Herbie J. Pilato. ‘Source: ThenAgainTV.com)
We finally got around to watching Then Again with Herbie J. Pilato, a half-hour classic TV-themed talk show that premiered last month. You can stream it free with ads on Shout Factory TV and Tubi, or ad-free if you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber.
We enjoyed the four episodes available so far, but they seemed…well, dated…and not in the way you might expect.
In episode one, for example, Barry Livingston (Ernie on My Three Sons) says he’ll be appearing on Trial and Error, to premiere in 2017! (That mockumentary legal sitcom did start running on NBC in March 2017, for two seasons, with Livingston playing “Juror # 1” in five episodes.)
On episode three, featuring three stars from the original Dark Shadows, Pilato tells Lara Parker that they’re taping on the 46th anniversary of her character Angelique’s passing (below). Some quick math after consulting Angelique’s Wikipedia page revealed that this episode of Then Again taped back on April 2, 2017.
And episode four, a tribute to legendary showrunner Garry Marshall, featuring folks from Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley, feels like it was taped not too long after Marshall’s passing in July, 2016.
Then again, back in 2016, Then Again with Herbie J. Pilato was announced as being sold to the Decades channel. So we expect these four episodes may have waited a while for a home.
In any case, we were glad to welcome them into our home. The series, so casual you could believe it was taped in Pilato’s own living room, includes relaxed interviews interspersed with photos and rare clips.
Our favorite clips included the aforementioned Livingston and his older brother Stanley (Chip on My Three Sons) in an earlier joint acting appearance on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet; Cindy Williams, the Shirley half of Laverne & Shirley, auditioning for the Princess Leia role in Star Wars; and Robin Williams as Mork in scenes with Laverne & Shirley’s Laverne (Penny Marshall) and Happy Days’ Fonzie (Henry Winkler).
Each episode also includes a few rounds of trivia Q&As to get viewers in and out of commercial breaks, which don’t even exist in the Amazon Prime version. Even when the answer might seem easy (i.e., Q: What was the original proposed title of My Three Sons? A: The Fred MacMurray Show) the whys might be unexpected: “The title was changed at the insistence of MacMurray, who considered the show an ensemble piece,” a voiceover told us.
Similarly gracious in episode three, Robert Conrad took affront when Pilato introduced him as the star of The Wild Wild West. “I’m one of the stars,” he retorted immediately. “Ross Martin [who played his sidekick on the western/sci-fi series] was my partner.”
For a rundown of all the guests on the first four episodes of Then Again with Herbie J. Pilato, visit thenagaintv.com/episodes, where you’ll also see that the next two episodes will feature Burt Ward (Robin on Batman) and Ed Asner (Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Lou Grant). We don’t know when they’ll debut – nor when they were taped.
And the nostalgia won’t stop there. Here’s a preview of even more episodes of Then Again:
Where to watch the classic shows
The Then Again episodes kept telling us that “complete seasons are available on DVD.” But our job at The Savvy Screener is to tell you how to watch content by either streaming or over-the-air antenna. So, in order of appearance above, here’s a viewing guide:
My Three Sons, which originally ran for 380 half-hour episodes over 12 seasons (1960-1972), first on ABC and then on CBS, can now be seen weekdays at 7:30 am ET on MeTV. It has no streaming outlet.
Dark Shadows, which originally ran on ABC for 1,225 daily half-hour episodes over six seasons (1966-1971), can now be seen weeknights at midnight on Decades. You can stream all of the series if you subscribe to Amazon Prime or Hulu.
Happy Days, which originally ran on ABC for 205 half-hour episodes over 11 seasons (1974-1984), currently has no over-the-air home. You can stream season two’s 22 episodes if you subscribe to CBS All Access.
Laverne & Shirley, which originally ran on ABC for 178 half-hour episodes over eight seasons (1976-1983), currently has no over-the-air or streaming home. Cable/telco/satellite subscribers can watch the series on Logo, which airs six episodes every weekday and another on Sundays around midnight.
The Wild Wild West, which originally ran on CBS for 104 hour-long episodes over four seasons (1965-1969), currently has no over-the-air or streaming home. Cable/telco/satellite subscribers can watch the series on FETV starting this Monday, August 26, at 1 pm weekdays and 4 pm Sundays.
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