Happy Friday, everybody! Time for another episode of Ask Alan, where I take your questions about the past, present, and future of this thing we call television.
First up this week, I tackle the question of what show I most want to rescue from Streaming Purgatory. This is a complicated one, because there are two ways to approach it: 1)What show do I most wish was streaming so that the world at large could more easily see it, or see it at all? 2)What show do I most wish was streaming so that I personally could watch an episode whenever I want to? In the end, I selfishly chose something from the latter category, but mentioned a bunch of possibilities for the former.
Speaking of streaming, question two was inspired by someone who’s currently binging The West Wing for the first time, and thus noticing how many Before They Were Famous guest stars that show featured. I answered the question in part just so I could remind people of an important magazine cover, but also to note how often certain long-running dramas managed to incorporate people who would be hugely famous down the road. (Not mentioned, for instance: Band of Brothers, where some of the most famous people in it had the tiniest roles at the time, like Simon Pegg or Michael Fassbender.)
Finally, I explain why your cable system’s On Demand library may feature every episode from the current season of some shows — or their entire runs to date — while others only make the last four or five episodes available. Get ready to learn about “stacking rights,” boys and girls!