What is the Retrogram?

Coming in 2019: theLogBook.com’s new podcast will cover, weekly, genre shows of the past (beginning with a range covering from 1965 through 1990. (The show may, over time, extend into the 1990s – 1995 would be a good goalpost – if the audience participation feature proves popular enough as a driving force for discussion topics.)

Each week, Retrogram will chronicle a week in broadcasting history focusing on the genre shows that week – sci-fi, superhero shows, fantasy, swords and sorcery, and even Saturday morning cartoons with a hint of the fantastic. (Summer doldrums weeks will include special episodes covering multiple weeks which contained only one show, and other topics of interest, ranging from unaired episodes to missing episodes, perhaps interviews down the road, and so on.)

Like Retrogram’s home base, theLogBook.com, home of the vast and ever expanding LogBook episode guides, the show covers those series which fall under the genres of science fiction, superheroes, the supernatural, fantasy, and occasionally a touch of horror.

Here’s how it works:

You call the shots. Go to the timeline, scroll through it, and find a week you find particularly interesting. Using the form at right, nominate that week of that year for a show! Tell everyone what the significance of that week to you is. The results of your participation will shape what’s covered on the podcast. (Otherwise, it’s just a chronological death march through 1970, and anyone who’s not interested in 1970 TV would tune out instantly and never even come back for 1971, right?)

We’ll watch the shows. Even if your host has seen it before, everything gets a fresh viewing, and the plot is summarized briefly for listeners, including background information and trivia about that week’s writers, guest stars, and so on. Then each episode is critically analyzed on multiple levels. Was it entertaining? Does it hold up now despite the changes in everything from society to the pacing of television drama? For that matter…did it hold up when it was first broadcast? What does each show tell us about the time and place in which it was made, and does it have anything to say to us about now? Was it visionary, ahead of its time, and engrossing, or was it awash in the societal biases of its day and just plain gross? Did it point the way past then-readily-accepted norms of racism and sexism…or did it just perpetuate those norms?

We won’t snark you to death. If a show’s lousy, it’s lousy…but everything gets a fresh viewing, preconceptions and reputation set aside, and gets judged on that basis. The “received wisdom” of the crowd is not what this show will be about. Your host grew up during this decade, complete with shag carpet, earth tones, a wood-paneled living room, a home Pong console, giant collars, Star Wars action figures and all. Just because it’s from the ’70s doesn’t automatically mean it sucks. Ditto the ’80s. There’ll be some historical context brought in from outside the TV as well – you might just learn something. Context isn’t just for kings, it’s for setting the stage and understanding what you’re watching.

What shows will Retrogram cover?

A heap of ’em, baby – from both sides of the pond!

  • 1990
  • Ace Of Wands
  • Alf
  • Alien Nation
  • The Amazing Spider-Man
  • Amazing Stories
  • Ark II
  • Automan
  • Batman
  • Battle Of The Planets
  • Battlestar Galactica / Galactica: 1980
  • Beauty And The Beast
  • Beyond Westworld
  • The Bionic Woman
  • Blackstar
  • Blake’s 7
  • Buck Rogers In The 25th Century
  • Captain Power And The Soldiers Of The Future
  • Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons
  • The Changes
  • Children Of The Dog Star
  • Children Of The Stones
  • Chocky
  • Circle Of Fear
  • Come Back, Mrs. Noah
  • Day Of The Triffids
  • Doctor Who
  • Doomwatch
  • Dungeons & Dragons
  • Electra Woman & Dyna Girl
  • The Fantastic Journey
  • Far-Out Space Nuts
  • Flash Gordon (Animated Series)
  • Friday The 13th: The Series
  • Future Cop
  • Gemini Man
  • Ghost Story For Christmas (BBC)
  • Ghost Story
  • The Greatest American Hero
  • The Green Hornet
  • Hammer House Of Horror
  • Hammer House Of Mystery & Suspense
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy
  • Holmes & Yoyo
  • The Immortal
  • In Search Of…
  • The Incredible Hulk
  • Into The Labyrinth
  • The Invaders
  • The Invisible Man
  • It’s About Time
  • Jason Of Star Command
  • Joe 90
  • Journey To The Unknown
  • Kolchak: The Night Stalker
  • Knight Rider
  • Knights Of God
  • Land Of The Giants
  • Land Of The Lost (1970s)
  • Land Of The Lost (1990s)
  • Legend Of Robin Hood
  • Logan’s Run: The Series
  • Lost In Space
  • The Lost Saucer
  • Man From Atlantis
  • Manimal
  • The Martian Chronicles
  • The Marvel Super Heroes
  • Masters Of The Universe
  • Max Headroom
  • Misfits Of Science
  • Monkey
  • Moonbase 3
  • Night Gallery
  • The Nightmare Man
  • The Omega Factor
  • The Phoenix
  • Planet Of The Apes: The Series
  • The Powers Of Matthew Star
  • Project U.F.O.
  • Quantum Leap
  • Quark
  • Raven
  • Ray Bradbury Theater
  • The Real Ghostbusters
  • Red Dwarf
  • Return To The Planet Of The Apes
  • Robin Of Sherwood
  • Robotech
  • Salvage 1
  • Sapphire & Steel
  • Search
  • Secrets Of Isis
  • Shazam!
  • The Six Million Dollar Man
  • Sixth Sense
  • Sky
  • Space: 1999
  • Space Academy
  • Spider-Man (animated series)
  • Spider-Man (Japanese series)
  • Star Blazers
  • Star Cops
  • Star Maidens
  • Star Trek (Original Series)
  • Star Trek (Animated Series)
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation
  • Star Wars: Droids
  • Star Wars: Ewoks
  • The Starlost
  • Starman: The Series
  • Super Friends
  • Supertrain
  • Survivors
  • Tales From The Darkside
  • Tales Of The Unexpected
  • Time Express
  • Time Tunnel
  • Timeslip
  • The Tomorrow People
  • Transformers
  • The Tripods
  • Twilight Zone (1985-89)
  • Twin Peaks
  • UFO
  • Under The Mountain
  • V
  • Visionaries: Knights Of The Magical Light
  • Voltron
  • Voyagers!
  • War Of The Worlds: The Series
  • Whiz Kids
  • Wild Wild West
  • Wizards And Warriors
  • Wonder Woman
    …plus numerous one-off TV movies falling into the same speculative fiction wheelhouse, and a few other surprises…

At this time we are not planning to include theatrical movies in the show, but their impact on the entertainment landscape will be of vital interest. How long did it take for TV to adjust to the seismic impact of Star Wars, for example? Let’s find out.

The timeline is nearing completion. All shows have been added, and a smattering of historical events is being sprinkled throughout the timeline for context. The sooner specific weeks are nominated, the sooner recording can begin (once your host settles into his new home base after moving to Utah this summer, that is). I hope to record months ahead of time so episodes can be “banked” in advance to avoid dead weeks.

A pilot episode has already been outlined to be recorded first, and will be made available early – perhaps months ahead of the start of the show in 2019 – to Patreon subscribers.

(Oh, and if you have something to advertise and you think this show is aimed right at your product or service’s audience? Let’s talk advertising – contact me via e-mail.)

Commence Retrogram. Let’s do this.

                  Earl Green, Retrogram creator/producer/host

This podcast is the replacement/successor to the previously announced books We Came From The Funky Future and The Guide To 42 British Sci-Fi & Fantasy TV Classics.