In the age of the Coronavirus, what’s old is new again.
At least when it comes to our entertainment options.
With all of Hollywood on pause along with the rest of us, original content is at a minimum. As a result, content providers are having to dig deep into their archives.
One thing that always plays (especially in times of crisis): nostalgia.
That’s exactly what CBS is hoping for as they bring back the CBS Sunday Night Movie. A staple of network TV from decades past — when a mix of original made-for-tv films and broadcast premieres of big blockbusters was actually appointment television — CBS is resurrecting that brand for the whole month of May.
And they’re using hits from corporate-cousin Paramount to do it.
It all started on May 3rd with a re-broadcast of Raiders of the Lost Ark, which ended up being the 3rd-most watched program that night in all of television.
Here is Siskel & Ebert‘s original video review Last Crusade when it was released in May of 1989. (Spoiler Alert: Gene’s a real grump about it, and Roger only counters with a faint Thumbs Up defense.)
And here’s Roger Ebert using the occasion of Last Crusade‘s home video release to make an argument for letterboxing (an issue that no longer exists, thanks to HDTV).
Here is the full schedule for the CBS Sunday Night Movies throughout the month of May:
Raiders of the Lost Ark at 8/7c
Forrest Gump at 8/7c
Mission: Impossible at 8/7c
May 24 (this week)
Titanic at 7/6c
May 31 (this Sunday)
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade at 8/7c
June 7 (a recently added bonus movie)
Grease Sing-A-Long at 8/7c
Sure, most people probably own these titles or can stream them at any time. Plus, they all seem to pop up on basic cable in regular rotation.
Still, I hope this proves successful for CBS, if for no other reason than it is a reminder of a time when TV really brought us all together. That’s a good message to remember right now, and embrace.
I doubt I’ll watch every minute of every broadcast, but I’ll be tuning in each week at least a little bit. It’ll be fun. And who knows…I mean, CBS has scheduled a lineup of movies that once you start watching them, it’s hard to stop.