Who needs cable when you have free Phil Collins videos?: The A.V. Club's guide to DTV in Milwaukee
We visit a magical place where "nobody delivers more Borgnine"
Television changed forever on June 11, 2009, when the FCC officially replaced traditional analog over-the-air broadcasting with newfangled digital. As a result, foil-coated rabbit ears now need an intermediary converter box in order to get precious, life-giving TV signals to wretched souls who don’t have cable. Fortunately, the Bush administration recognized the importance of inoculating the masses with heavy doses of Two And A Half Men and distributed coupons covering the cost of the converter boxes. So, is there anything good on? Here’s what The A.V. Club has been watching on DTV.
TheCoolTV (Channel 4.3)
What’s on: TheCoolTV is an all-music video channel that admirably ignores genre tags. That’s right—bands still make music videos. Isn’t that cute? A typical programming block might include Black Eyed Peas, Interpol, Julianne Hough, Bob Dylan, Blondie, and Pussycat Dolls. No matter the genre, it’s abundantly clear that all the good music video concepts were used up by 1991.
Check this out: For some reason, a live concert clip of Phil Collins-era Genesis performing its comically screechy hit “I Can’t Dance” seems to run on a loop on TheCoolTV. The video features a wild-haired Collins nightmarishly contorting his face and thrusting his hand down his pants for an uncomfortably long time. We’re pretty sure it’s the greatest music video we’ve ever seen.
RTV (Channel 6.2)
What’s on: The promos for Fox 6's sister station proudly declare that “nobody in Milwaukee delivers more Borgnine,” which is sort of like bragging that “nobody brings you more personal-injury lawyer commercials between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.” Anyway, RTV isn’t lying about its incredibly high Ernest Borgnine quotient—it regularly airs some of the best work from our Circus Parade’s clown prince, including McHale’s Navy, Airwolf, Wagon Train, and countless guest appearances on other TV shows.
Check this out: If you grew up in the ’80s, RTV will be a sepia-toned bastion of shows you watched in reruns after school, including Magnum P.I., Little House On The Prairie, Dragnet, and The Incredible Hulk.
MeTV (Channel 49.1)
What’s on: Fans of old television shows that have watched TV Land become a repository for Cosby Show and Roseanne re-runs should love MeTV, which sticks to tried-and-true classics like Hawaii Five-O, I Love Lucy, and The Dick Van Dyke Show.
Check this out: Either we’re getting really old, or Matlock is actually more entertaining than we ever gave it credit for. Maybe we should also start listening to grandma’s Josh Groban records.
WMLW (Channel 58.2)
What’s on: Sister station to Milwaukee’s CBS affiliate, WMLW is basically your mom’s TV iPod, with its mix of classics (Cheers), cringe-worthy crap (every “Judge” show in existence), eye-rollers (Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?), current Top 40 hits (CSI: Miami), guilty pleasures (Deadliest Catch), forgettable R&B (The Brian McKnight Show), and revelatory common ground (South Park).
Check this out: WMLW offers the best of Comedy Central, airing Reno 911! and Chappelle’s Show without unwanted side orders of Carlos Mencia and Dane Cook.