Thursday, September 13, 2007

Nostalgiametrics: The Science of Today for Yesterday's Crap

Have you ever watched a movie or TV show that you loved as a kid and just been shocked - shocked, I say! - by how crappy it was? Sadly, stuff that seemed great when you were a kid is often revealed to be utter shit, and that can be hard to take. Believe me, I know. I had a full-on existential meltdown when I realized that Charles in Charge was not the comedic masterpiece that I remembered. I was like, "What is truth if this is a lie?"

As a handsome man once said here:

"Nostalgia is deception wrapped in sentiment. Nostalgia is a ghostly lover dressed in a lovely, old-fashioned gown, who beckons you to dance with her, to make love to her… and then she turns into a hideous mummified ghoul who rips your throat out with her teeth and blood gushes and the screaming, my God, the screaming… That is nostalgia."*
Gosh, if only there were some way to scientifically determine whether or not say, an old network TV show sucked or not, so we could spare ourselves the pain and disillusionment...

Well now there is!

Introducing Nostalgiametrics: The Science of Today for Yesterday's Crap

Using the patented Nostalgiametric grading system, we can now quantify a show's suckiness or lack thereof. It's simple: just pick a favorite old TV show, run it through the Nostalgiametric Checklist to assign it quality points, and then add up the points to get your Nostalgiametric Quotient!

Here's the Nostalgiametric Checklist for One Hour Network Television Programs:

The Main Guy(s)
  • Doesn't suck: +5 points (Incredible Hulk, Wild Wild West)
  • Is William Shatner: +5 points (T.J. Hooker, Star Trek)
  • Is a Woman: +3 points (Bionic Woman, Wonder Woman)
  • Superpowers: +3 points (Man from Atlantis, Greatest American Hero)
  • Ex-astronaut: +3 points (Buck Rogers, Six Million Dollar Man)
  • Ex-soldier: +2 points (Magnum P.I., BJ and the Bear)
  • Ex-convict: +2 points (Rockford Files)
  • Ex-cop: +2 points (Booker, Renegade)
  • Cop/agent: +2 points (Hunter, Martial Law)
  • Hot cop: +3 points (Miami Vice)
  • Private eye: +2 points (Spenser for Hire, Vegas)
  • Bounty hunter: +2 points (Renegade, The Fall Guy)
  • Can fly helicopter/plane/spaceship: +2 points (Matt Houston, Airwolf)
  • Mysterious loner who helps people in trouble: +2 points (Kung Fu, The Equalizer)
  • Occasionally shirtless: +1 point (Wild Wild West, Starsky & Hutch)
  • Always shirtless: +2 points (Magnum P.I., Man From Atlantis)
  • Hunted by somebody: +2 points (A-Team, Incredible Hulk)
  • Main character totally sucks: -5 points (Manimal, Automan)


  • Dog: +3 points (Tales of the Gold Monkey)
  • Monkey: +5 points (BJ and the Bear)
  • Hot chick: +3 points (Hunter)
  • Ernest Borgnine: +3 points (Airwolf)
  • Robot/alien: +3 points (Buck Rogers, Alien Nation)
  • Master of disguise: +2 points (Wild Wild West)
  • Punching bag/goon: +2 points (The Fall Guy, Walker Texas Ranger)
  • Dreamboat: +2 points (T.J. Hooker, JAG)
  • Comic relief: +2 points (Riptide, Fantasy Island)

Theme Song

  • Totally rules: +5 points (Magnum P.I., Six Million Dollar Man)
  • Sucks ass: -2 points (Manimal, Misfits of Science)
  • Written by Mike Post & Pete Carpenter: +5 points (Hill Street Blues, Rockford Files)
  • Spoken word intro: +3 points (A-Team, Charlie's Angels)
  • Sung by star of series: +3 points (Walker Texas Ranger, Fall Guy)
  • Title of show mentioned in song: +2 points (BJ and the Bear, Love Boat)
  • Gratuitous synthesizers: +2 points (The Equalizer, Airwolf)
  • Theme song sucks bad: -5 points (Misfits of Science, B.J. and the Bear)
The Cast
  • Lone wolf show: +3 points (Kung Fu, Incredible Hulk)
  • Buddy show: +5 points (Hunter, Cagney & Lacey)
  • Hero + posse show: +3 points (Walker Texas Ranger, T.J. Hooker)
  • Ensemble show: +2 points (Love Boat, SWAT)
  • Show named after buddies: +3 points (Starsky & Hutch, Tenspeed & Brownshoe)
  • Romantic tension: +3 points (Moonlighting, Hunter)
  • Old man buddy: +2 points (Hardcastle & McCormick, Jake & The Fat Man)
  • Attractive buddies: +2 points (Miami Vice, Charlie's Angels)
  • One attractive/one ugly buddy: -1 point (CHIPs)
  • Hot chick: +3 points (Dukes of Hazard, Buck Rogers)
  • Roddy McDowell: +2 points (Tales of the Gold Monkey)
  • Science guy/mechanic: +2 points (Street Hawk, Bionic Woman)
  • Patriarchal old dude: +2 points (Battlestar Galactica, Love Boat)
  • Frustrated police lieutenant: +2 points (Rockford Files, Starsky & Hutch)
  • Pilot: +2 points (Magnum P.I., 240 Robert)
  • Token old dude on posse: +2 points (Walker Texas Ranger, Matt Houston)
  • Major cast members replaced: -3 points (Airwolf, Dukes of Hazard)
  • Minor cast members replaced/added: -1 point (Airwolf, Knight Rider)
  • Hot chick added: +2 points (T.J. Hooker)
  • Normal vehicle: +1 point (Rockford Files, Heart to Heart)
  • Boss vehicle: +3 points (Magnum P.I., A-Team)
  • Super boss vehicle: +5 points (Airwolf, Street Hawk)
  • Crazy ass stunts: +2 points (Fall Guy, Dukes of Hazard)
  • Vehicle talks: +2 points (Knight Rider)
  • Loaded with custom features: +2 points (Wild Wild West, Star Trek)
  • Vehicle has a name: +2 points (Battlestar Galactica, Hardcastle & McCormick)
  • Vehicle is frickin' huge: +2 points (Love Boat, Supertrain)
  • Vehicle blows shit up: +3 points (Airwolf, Buck Rogers)
  • More than one vehicle: +1 point for each extra vehicle (Miami Vice, Riptide)

Bonus features

  • Two fights + one chase per episode: +3 points (T.J. Hooker, Hunter)
  • Weapon/gadget created out of scratch each episode: +2 points (A-Team, MacGyver)
  • Characters often pose as exotic dancers: +3 points (T.J. Hooker)
  • Has spawned spin-off show: +2 point (Dukes of Hazard, B.J. and the Bear)
  • Is spin-off show: -1 point (Enos, Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo)
  • Shameless use of stock footage: -1 point (Airwolf)
  • Non-lethal gunplay: -2 points (A-Team)
  • Fights vampire at least once: +2 points (B.J. and the Bear, Starsky & Hutch, Buck Rogers)


That's the basic Nostalgiametric Checklist for One Hour Network Television Programs. Now, let's add up all the points and see what your favorite show's Nostalgia Quotient is:

1-20 pts: Sucks ass. Try
to pretend it never existed - everyone else has.

21-25 pts: Some redeeming qualities. Watch it again after drinking a few beers.

26-30 pts: Halfway decent. Buy the DVD. Somebody out there has a website devoted to this show.

31-34 points: Kicks ass.
Begin letter writing campaign to network begging for the
show's return. Write fan-fiction or get a tattoo with the show logo.

35-40 points: Best show ever. Devote your life to this program and bludgeon anyone who speaks ill of it. Create a cult based on show. Name your children after characters on show.

Here are some examples for your reference:

Tales of the Gold Monkey - ABC's 1982 Raiders of the Lost rip-off starred Stephen Collins as Jake Cutter, a pilot/adventurer in pre-war South Pacific. Featured one-eyed dog and Roddy McDowell.


- Jan Michael-Vincent and Ernest Borgnine fly into danger and into our hearts in Airwolf, a super helicoppter. Extra points for awesome theme song, but loses points for replacing the entire cast for the last season. No Borgnine? No love.

T.J. Hooker

- William Shatner, Adrian Zmed, and Heather Locklear keep the streets of L.A. clean in this cop show. Shatner clung from every manner of speeding vehicle known to man, while Zmed and Locklear posed as exotic dancers on regular basis. Loses points for losing Zmed to Dance Fever.

*Wow, what kind of egomaniac quotes himself?


Anonymous said...

I need to think about it a bit more, but a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation puts the original Star Trek at somewhere around 40 points. Did you put that into the design on purpose, or is Star Trek just actually that cool?

David Campbell said...

Star Trek is one of the coolest shows ever, yes. Better than Airwolf, even.

Damn, I had the hardest time formatting this frickin' post...

Anonymous said...

Stewart Copeland on The Equalizer is not gratuitous - it is the soundtrack of awesomeness

Anonymous said...

I have an amazing 47 points for Star Trek. The Enterprise is a super-boss ride that talks, has custom features (transporters), blows shit up, and is frickin' huge, right? Beat THAT, Knight Rider!

Anonymous said...

I get 20 for The X-Files:
+5 main guy doesn't suck
+2 main guy cop/agent
+3 sidekick hot chick
+5 buddy show
+3 romantic tension
+2 attractive buddies
-3 major cast members replaced
-1 major cast members added
+2 has spawned spin-off show
+2 fights vampires at least once

Anonymous said...

I'll be gracious and give The X-Files 25 points by saying their theme song totally rules. One of the flaws in the system is that it takes into account the entire series, not just each season. So the first three or four seasons of X-Files would have a higher score.


Steven Taylor said...

I fear Airwolf, despite the fact that it was, like, totally Airwolf, should get an additional deduction for not only replacing the whole cast, but for casting Barry Van Dyke as St. John Hawke.

Tom Bondurant said...

I get 33 points for The X Files:

Main Guy doesn't suck: +5 points
Cop/agent: +2 points
Occasionally shirtless (Mulder's speedo): +1 point

Hot chick: +3 points

Theme Song
Totally rules: +5 points Gratuitous synthesizers: +2 points

The Cast
Buddy show: +5 points
Romantic tension: +3 points
Hot chick: +3 points
Frustrated police lieutenant (Skinner): +2 points
Major cast members replaced: -3 points
Minor cast members replaced/added (Cary Elwes?!?): -1 point
Hot chick added: +2 points

Bonus features
Has spawned spin-off show (The Lone Gunmen): +2 point
Fights vampire at least once: +2 points

What about a "Movie Version" factor?

Phillip said...

What about a "Movie Version" factor?"

Well, McHale's Navy had a movie version, so that could be a plus or minus.

spacekicker said...

that's so cool.

good stuff. I put the fall guy theme on my myspace about a month back I can't seem to bring myself to take it off!

Isaac said...

That's all good, but I tried the system and only got 24 points for Rockford Files, which is bunk: that show deserves a 30, at least. Fully 10 points are coming from the theme song, which is, admittedly, a song woth 10 points. But there must be more available.

Should I add another three points for the answering machine as a "spoken word intro"?

There should be a point or two for "sleazy conman as recurring buddy."

I think there should be some kind of "slumming actor guest star" factor, here.

Also, "Hero lives on the beach and/or in a beach house" seems like it's worth at least +2 (Magnum, Rockford, Miami Vice).

Anonymous said...

I have 48 for Trek, even with the -1 penalty for Minor Cast Added (Chekov); but the +5 for "Main Guy Doesn't Suck" could perhaps be argued against, I guess ...

Ethan said...

Surely you realize, Dave Campbell, that by giving us the super secret algorithm, we can reverse engineer The World's Most Awesome Show.

(voiceover, speaking over "Knight Rider"-esque dit dit didididit)
Travis Stone, former astronaut-cop, prepares for the first flight ever of the experimental Spacehawk interstellar helicopter. The Spacehawk is sabotaged; rigged with a infragamma bomb.

Nothing is left...

(Mike Post guitar wails)
Stone and his chimpanzee first mate, Kipp, are alive... but changed. Using his new unexplained powers, and Kipp's new unexplained hyperintelligence, Travis Stone rebuilds Spacehawk into the ultimate crime fighting machine. With the help of mechanic and computer expert Heather Truelove (Erin Gray), Travis and Kipp fly Spacehawk to all corners of the globe, defending the weak, righting wrongs, and searching for the saboteurs who remain free to this day.

.... and scene.

Quick math, 800 points.

Anonymous said...

No one can argue against Shatner, anonymous. Honi soit qui mal y pense.

Miami Vice ought to get, or lose, a few extra points for the "man's reach exceeds his grasp" factor common to "prestige" shows in the '80s, but more so: i.e., Michael Mann was working out his thematic, technical and artistic obsessions, but subject to the scheduling and budget of a weekly prime time television show. In the '80s, those limitations were real, unlike today, when a broadcast network is so happy to have a Zeitgeist-catcher like Lost or 24, and the attention and DVD sales that follow, that long delays are tolerated. When I see an old MV episode, like the ones revisiting Crockett's experience in 'Nam, or the ones about the Contras, or the one where Admiral Adama kills Sledge Hammer with a katana, I often see a large artistic force awkwardly constrained.

Which is a roundabout way of saying that, like Shatner, the television series and the movie Miami Vice fucking rule, but for different reasons, and me and my homies at Matt Zoller Seitz's The House Next Door ( will cut you if you disagree about the movie.

Anonymous said...

Oh My God... Tales of The Gold Monkey. I had LONG forgetten about that show... but NOW I know why something always seemed too familiar about "Ducktales". They TOTALLY stole evrything from
Tales of the Gold Monkey.

Tell me I'm wrong.

Anonymous said...

I only got 18 points for the original Galactica series - but I didn't factor in theme song points, because my poor deteriorating mind hasn't stored it.

I can't remember the theme song from the favorite show of my childhood. And am too lazy to go out and google it. Anyone remember if it was any good?

Anonymous said...

Holy crap, Dave Campbell, this is the best scientific quantifier of awesomeness now available. This whole system gives me a geekgasm.

isaac: I would argue that "Main Guy is James Garner" deserves at least a +5, since he's at least as cool as Shatner; and the answering machine totally counts as a spoken word intro.

Anonymous said...

Also: "Tales of the Gold Monkey" is totally "Talespin" without the cast of the Jungle Book.

Skipper Pickle said...

Addendum to "Bonus Features":

Eyepatch: +1

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but it obviously needs some improvement as it totally ignores the Jeff Goldblum/Geena Davis factor and GROSSLy under-rates Sledge Hammer.


Chris Sims said...

I have never hated you for your brilliance more than right now, Campbell

Okay, maybe that one time with the Alpha Flight drawing. Good show, sir.

Anonymous said...

I get 31 points for Buffy, but there really needs to be a +5 bonus for "Hot Lesbian Chick".

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Let's try running a couple of cartoons through this. We'll try two of my childhood favorites, Thundercats (awesome) and Silverhawks (sucks).

The two shows were on back to back and featured the same voice cast, but were otherwise completely different. I don't think the spin-off factor comes into play here. I'll leave out the judgment of whether or not the main guy sucks. Neither was the coolest character on the show, and one of them suffered from what turned out to be painfully poor writing.


Main Guy Superpowers +3
Ex-Astronaut +3
Cop/Agent +2
Can Fly Spaceship +2
Robot/Alien Sidekick +3
Spoken Word Intro +3
Title Of Show Mentioned +2
Gratuitous synthesizers +2
Ensemble Cast +2
Attractive Buddies +2
Hot Chick +3
Science Guy/Mechanic +2
Patriarchal Old Dude +2
Pilot +2
Boss Vehicle +3
Named Vehicle +2
Blows Shit Up +3
Two Fights + One Chase +3
Non-Lethal Gunplay -2

Total: 42
(Life, The Universe, and Everything!)


Main Guy: No points
Robot/Alien Sidekick +3
Comic Relief Sidekick +2
Theme Song Rules +5
Title of Show Mentioned +2
Ensemble Cast +2
Attractive Buddies +2
Hot Chick +3
Science Guy/Mechanic +2
Patriarchal old dude +2
Pilot +2
Boss Vehicle +3
Loaded With Custom Features +2
Named Vehicle +2

Total: 32

It's a good try. Great concept. But seems to me that the system needs major tweaking. I'll accept the 32 for Thundercats, but Silverhawks clearly breaks everything.

Capn Ho said...

This system is brilliant. You are the man, Dave Campbell! I came up with 27 points for the Greatest American Hero, which seems about right.

Ryoga M said...

Magnum P.I. gets a 38, when one gives the +2 "beach living" bonus, and my own +2 "character has 'Nam flashbacks" bonus.

Clearly, the system is perfectly calibrated.

Ragnell said...

Holy cow, Dresden Files got 33 out of only one season and with no vehicle.

Why the hell did SciFi cancel that show?

Anonymous said...

Mopsworth, a reverse-engineering of the kind you evocatively exposit has in effect been done. To whit:

Heat Vision & Jack

Main Guy Doesn't suck: +5
Superpowers: +3
Ex-astronaut: +3
Can fly spaceship: +2
Loner who helps people: +2
Hunted by somebody: +2

Theme Song Totally rules: +5
Spoken word intro: +3
Gratuitous synthesizers: +2

Buddy show: +5
Show named after buddies: +3

Boss vehicle: +3
Vehicle talks: +2 points
Vehicle has a name: +2

Shameless use of stock footage: -1
Non-Lethal Gunplay: -1

This gives us a round score of 40, which--even calibrating for it being a failed pilot and a genre parody, and quibbles over whether Jack Black sucks--seats it comfortably at the upper end of the range.

Anonymous said...

I ran ... wait for it ... "Grizzly Adams" through this scenario and got a 26. I fudged on sidekick since there wasn't a listing for "bear" -- I gave it a 4 since I figured a bear is cooler than a dog but not as cool as a monkey.

Anonymous said...

"Tales of the Gold Monkey deserves an extra +1 for having a dog sidekick with an eyepatch. I don't know why that makes it cooler--it just does.

Anonymous said...

Arg. Apologies if this turns out to be a double post, but it's looking like it swallowed my last comment, which was a retype of one that got lost due to a word verification glitch.

Let me explain. ... No, no. It is too much. Let me sum up...

Silverhawks, I realized, had a concept that could potentially have been totally Airwolf. (Winged laser-shooting cyborg cops with a cloaking modular spaceship, sent on a one-way trip to another galaxy to fight alien mobster supervillains, guided by a gruff old veteran with obsolete hardware.)

The problem is that the episodes were plotted by two interns with a Mad Libs book ("The Hawks leave the room, and only then do we see that the evil Mo Lec U Lar has disguised himself as a [noun]..."). It doesn't even have the mysterious Scooby Doo factor or the Superfriends camp factor to make up for it.

Great concept, poor execution. And the system has no way to factor that in.

Dan said...

BJ and the Bear theme song 'sucks bad'?! Surely you jest, sir.

The man lived in a truck with a sex-starved primate and the theme song explained why (and, ergo, is possibly the greatest theme song of all time):

"Best of all," it told us, "I don't pay property tax."

BJ McKay, fiscal pioneer!

McGone said...

I call horseshit on "Vehicle has a Name" being only worth 2 points. Then again, I would, seeing as my 3 kids are named K.I.T.T., Coyote and Airwolf.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I'm back. Decided to run Highlander through the system. Clearly, we're missing some key point values. Some deductions for Richie, maybe, but the Queen theme song deserves more than just the one five point bonus. And you gotta have something for "someone gets beheaded in every ep" and "new hot girl every ep" and something for the swords. Oh, and the flashbacks with the 200-year-old grudges.

That show definitely deserves more than a mere 25 points.

Anonymous said...

Wonder Woman:
Is a woman (+3) with superpowers (+3), fought the Nazis (ex-soldier, +2), can fly an invisible jet (+2), mysterious loner (+2).

Sidekick is a dreamboat (+2) punching bag/hostage (+2)

Theme song (1st season) totally rules (+5) and mentions title of show (+2)

Cast was Lone Wolf (+3) with science guy (+2, the computer) and minor cast members added (-1)

Transportation was super boss vehicle (+5) and one awesome custom feature (+2)

Episodes generally had two fights plus one (foot) chase (+3) but I have to reluctantly give it the non-lethal gunplay thanks to the bracers (-2)

35 points. Indeed, this show was fricking awesome when I was a kid.

Oh yeah, it also gets an additional bonus +10 points for helping to launch a generation of American men into puberty a couple of years early, boosting it above your scale, meant only to measure mortal shows.

Tony said...

I'm counting up "The Highwayman" and I'm getting a whopping 39 points. And I can't even remember the theme song or whether there was a hot chick or a frustrated lieutenant.

I don't think there were vampires, but I think he did have to transport a radioactive alien who came back from the dead.

He drove a semi named Stealth that turns into a helicopter, kittens. And Jacko.

• Doesn't suck: +5 points (Incredible Hulk, Wild Wild West)
• Hot cop: +3 points (Miami Vice)
• Can fly helicopter/plane/spaceship: +2 points (Matt Houston, Airwolf)
• Punching bag/goon: +2 points (The Fall Guy, Walker Texas Ranger)
• Comic relief: +2 points (Riptide, Fantasy Island)
Theme Song
• Buddy show: +5 points (Hunter, Cagney & Lacey)
• Pilot: +2 points (Magnum P.I., 240 Robert)
• Super boss vehicle: +5 points (Airwolf, Street Hawk)
• Loaded with custom features: +2 points (Wild Wild West, Star Trek)
• Vehicle has a name: +2 points (Battlestar Galactica, Hardcastle & McCormick)
• Vehicle is frickin' huge: +2 points (Love Boat, Supertrain)
• Vehicle blows shit up: +3 points (Airwolf, Buck Rogers)
• More than one vehicle: +1 point for each extra vehicle (Miami Vice, Riptide)
• Two fights + one chase per episode: +3 points (T.J. Hooker, Hunter)

Tony said...

Make that 48 for "The Highwayman." A little internet research reveals:

Spoken word intro +3
Title mentioned +2
Hot chick +3
One attractive/one ugly buddy -1
Science Guy/mechanic +2

Although ... deduct 2 if the vehicle is not "frickin huge" enough for the purposes of this exercise.

Matthew said...

Surely this scale needs a points value for the Bruce-Campbell-as-a-guest-star factor?

SallyP said...

You completely forgot Hawaii Five-O, you sillly silly goose. The theme song ALONE is worth a dozen points.

Is it just me, or does David Caruso look just like Jack Lord, except with red hair?

Anonymous said...

This is good, but I think you need to do an animated edition, as well. I don't know about the rest of your readers, but during the 80s, I was watching shit like Thundercats, not Magnum P.I. I mean, I was two years-old when Magnum started coming on. I didn't really get into hour-long dramas until I was a teenager, so I've got less nostalgia about those, and most of them hold up over time, anyway.

David Campbell said...

The Highwayman was the best show ever and if there were any justice in the world, I'd be watching a boxed set of all six seasons with Sam Jones and Jacko commentary, and then getting online to argue about Highwayman trivia at one of the hundreds of sites devoted to the show while playing with one of my many Highwayman action figures that I bought at the annual Highwayman convention in Cleveland.

Alas, there is no justice and The Highwayman didn't even make it a full season...

Anonymous said...

Now, see... this sorta works, but not for FOREIGN shows, it seems.

I applied this formulae to 2 recent "complete box set" DVD purchases and, while they ARE fabulously awesome (even by your ratios - which put them at 44points and 38points, respectively)... the shows STILL kinda suck - except for cult-status and bizarre-factor awesomidity.

The two shows are:



"The Hilarious House of Frightenstein"

One a 1969 British sci-fi pop-culture phenomenon and the other a 1970 Canadian "kiddie" show.

Here's the tale of the tape:

+3 lead is astronaut (the premise of the show is a secret agency that protects the world from Alien invaders in wicked-ass UFOs - and they have a moon-base, so lots of "astronauts")

+2 lead can fly spaceship
+5 theme song is AWESOME
+2 gratuitous synthesizers
+2 ensemble show
+2 attractive buddies
(some eye candy for the men and ladies alike - with HOT tear-away 1960's silver foil mini-skirt action, and purple go-go wigs on ALL the ladies.)

+2 patriarchal "old" dude
lead is a 30 or 40-something guy with all white-hair, but is kinda a smoother "Nick Fury"-type.
His British, so he can't be all gritty, but he can be gruff.

+3 boss vehicles
(this is where the show really kicks ass)
The Aliens have these awesome flying saucers and the Earth teams have a plethora of crazy-shit vehicles

+5 super-boss vehicles
(oh yeah... they're in there)

+2 custom features (you betcha)
+3 blows shit up (at LEAST one UFO is blown to hell each episode)

+5 xtra vehicle (they have space fighters similar to the ones in the original Battlestar Galactica)
so...add at least 5 points for that mini fleet.

+3 extra vehicle (they have land cruisers - like futuristic SUV's with all sorts of techno-crap on board)

+2 extra vehicle (a submarine vehicle... that the FRONT PORTION shoots off and blasts out of the water to fly in the sky as an AIR-recon plane - making TWO vehicles in ONE!)

+3 extra vehicle (a space satellite "brain" that also TALKS - thud the extra points)

That's 44 points!
And yet, the show is (thus far) dull as dish-water.
I'm only up to the 2nd disc, but I almost have to force myself to watch the rest.
Story-wise, it couldn't be MORE painful, but design-wise is friggin AWESOME!
It's by Gerry Anderson (of Thunderbirds fame) - and NO, this isn't animatronics (which, WOULD be cool), but live-action.

Still it is a cult fave and has a rabid following.
I had the opening sequence stuck in my head since the early 70's and I bought the entire series on DVD JUST based on that memory.


Now, onto the 1970 cult-classic:

"The Hilarious House of FRIGHTENSTEIN"

+5 lead doesn't suck (well...the lead is a green-skinned comedic Vampire. But the guy who PLAYS him [Billy Van] also plays 90% of ALL the OTHER characters as well. And he's funny. THAT doesn't suck)

+3 superpowers ( I said, he's a Vampire, and there's a Werewolf D.J., a Witch chef, and other characters that are supernatural, yet they exhibit NONE of the powers that those entities rightfully SHOULD. Except for "THE ORACLE" a fortune-telling swami. But his "powers" are not reliable. Non-existent budget and kiddie-variety show get the blame for the lack of real powers shown.)

+3 "robot" sidekick (the premise of the show is that Count Frightenstein is exiledaway from Transylvania to the Canadian mountain area named "Frightenstone" until he can prove himself to be able to animate his "Monster of Frankenstein-like" creation, "Brucie".
Brucie is sorta the "robot" since he's a construct. Sadly, he never gets Brucie working (at least not yet) and thus, he can't return to Transylvania.

+2 punching bag/ goon
(the Count's OTHER main sidekick is a big rotund zombie, "Igor" who is constantly berated by the Count.)

+2 comic relief (Igor is pretty funny - looking as well)

+5 theme song TOTALLY rocks!
"March of the Martians"

+3 Spoken Word Intro (by VINCENT Freakin' PRICE! complete with floating eeerily lit head!)

+2 title is in theme song (in the spoken part)

+2 gratuitous synthesizer
The theme is played 100% on MOOG synthesizer, written when the Moog was a NEW creation - yes. Awesome!)

+3 "lone-wolf" show (as I said, one guy plays 90+% of the characters, so it's pretty close to being a lone-wolf show)

+2 ensemble (well...there are 2&1/2 other guys who aren't the lead guy -and some puppets. The half? A MIDGET in Vampire regalia! THAT's right; a MIDGET VAMPIRE!)

+2 old man buddy (two really. One is "The Librarian" who is played by the main guy. The other is "The Professor" a real-life physics professor who is completely out of his friggin' mind.)

The entire show takes place in the walls of the castle, but vehicles are MENTIONED as being owned and driven in the neighboring village.

+2 gadget is created every episode
(The Count is an inventor. Sadly, he's not a very good one and all his stuff either blows up or malfunctions)

+2 "fights" vampire
(The midget Vampire makes phoney-phone-calls from a coffin-shaped phone-booth and pulls tricks on the Count and Igor)

SO, that's 38 points (or 40 points if each Old-man buddy gets counted).

The show is a bizarre pastiche of off-the-cuff improv and mind-numbingly bad jokes.
From what I understand, the entire show (all episode parts) were filmed in a marathon of like 20 days. Then, the parts were just edited and run as episodes.

Vincent Price also has numerous ON-SHOW cameos (he reads rhyming intros for the various snippets, in different costumes. His stuff was all filmed in a weekend or two and then cut up and edited for all the episodes.)

Also, the Wolfman (a WOlfman Jack riff) is a D.J. who spins then-recent rock-n-roll goodies.
Things from Donovan to the Strawberry Alarm-clock.

All in all... it SHOULD be the most awesome thing EVER.
But it's obviously more for kids hopped up on sugar-cereal (and stoners hopped up on ....well... other stuff, AND sugar cereal).
But even though it's horrifically BAD, that is what makes it GREAT.

*Note: if you're interested in buying it, do NOT buy the version available in the US. It's chopped and edited and suxx. Go to Canadian Amazon and buy it imported from them. THAT is the 100% whole and uncut versions.

Yes. Fan-sites exist for both shows.

Hmm.... now I don't know if Dave's formulae PROVES how awesome they are or not?
I'm gonna have to say; It DOES.



Anonymous said...

I agree with Paul, about Silverhawks:

Great concept, poor execution. And the system has no way to factor that in.

Maybe there should be a different metric for half-hour cartoons, but I see the opposite problem applying the hour-long drama Formula to Samurai Jack.

The execution far exceeds the somewhat minimalist pemise.

Samurai Jack has some of the trappings of the Formula -- an occasionally shirtless loner, who helps people while on the run -- but he doesn't have a regular sidekick or kickass ride.

And yet, who can deny that Samurai Jack is in the pantheon of the greatest cartoons ever?

Anonymous said...

Bruce Campbell as a guest star should definitely get a bonus, but what about Bruce Campbell as THE star? I say that is easy a +20 points. Did anyone try to run Adventures of Briscoe County through the matrix? I'm guessing it's somewhere around 75 or 80 conservatively.

Tom Bondurant said...

My Brisco County Jr. score was 36:

Main guy doesn’t suck (5), gets Shatner Bonus (5), is bounty hunter (2), and is himself hunted (by creepy future guys and/or Bowler); sidekicks are goon (2) and comic relief (2); song totally rules (5); buddy show (5) with one attractive and one ugly (-1); crazy stunts (2); and two fights + 1 chase (3).

I also gave Comet the horse the “transportation” points for “talking” (2 -- he’s pretty smart, anyway) and being named (2).

I agree the score should be much higher. My Galactica '78 score was 52 and my Alias score was 48, and Brisco County Jr. should at least be in the 40s by comparison.

Tom Bondurant said...

My score for V was 30:

Main guy can fly spaceship (2) and is hunted by Visitors (2); sidekicks include hot chick (3) and alien (3) who is comic relief (2); hero + posse show (3) with romantic tension (3) and more points for the hot chick (3); boss vehicles include spaceships (3) which blow shit up (3); and there are probably two fights + one chase per episode (3).

Tyler said...

I think you need to add a "SUPER crazy ass stunts: +5 points (CHiPs)"

Here's what I had for Briscoe County:

The Main Guy(s):
Doesn't suck: +5 points
Bounty hunter: +2 points
Hunted by somebody: +2 points (father)

Comic relief: +2 points
NOTE: there should be a "Nemesis Becomes Best Friend: +1-2 points"

Theme Song:
Totally rules: +5 points (CBS used it later as their Football Music for years)

The Cast:
Hero + posse show: +3 points
Romantic tension: +3 points
Hot chick: +3 points
Science guy/mechanic: +2 points

Boss vehicle: +3 points (Rocket was an intelligent horse that saved his ass on many occassions)
Crazy ass stunts: +2 points
Vehicle talks: +2 points (they communicated with each other)
Vehicle has a name: +2 points

Bonus features:
Two fights + one chase per episode: +3 point
Non-lethal gunplay: -2 points

Subtotal: 37 points

Bruce Campbell bonus: 5 points

Total: 42 points

Anonymous said...

BATMAN (1966):

The Main Guy(s)
Doesn't suck: +5 points (Bruce Wayne/Batman)
Can fly helicopter/plane/spaceship: +2 points (Batcopter)

Hot chick: +3 points (Catwoman/Batgirl)
Dreamboat: +2 points (Robin?)

Theme Song---
Totally rules: +5 points
Title of show mentioned in song: +2 points (the only lyric!)

The Cast---
Hero + posse show: +3 points
Romantic tension: +3 points (Catwoman - rowr!)
Hot chick: +3 points (Catwoman, Batgirl)
Patriarchal old dude: +2 points (Commissioner Gordon)
Frustrated police lieutenant: +2 points (Chief O'Hara, technically not a Lt.)
Token old dude on posse: +2 points (Alferd)
Major cast members replaced: -3 points (Catwoman)
Minor cast members replaced/added: -1 point (Batgirl)
Hot chick added: +2 points (Batgirl)

Super boss vehicle: +5 points (Batmobile)
Loaded with custom features: +2 points (Batmobile)
Vehicle has a name: +2 points (Batmobile)
More than one vehicle: +1 point for each extra vehicle (Batcopter, Batcycle)

Bonus features---
Two fights + one chase per episode: +3 points (absolutely! And what about Cliffhangers?!)
Shameless use of stock footage: -1 point (Always foggy at police HQ?)

Total = 45 Yessssss! And this is the only show where I am waiting for the DVD.

I almost ticked off non-lethal gunplay but remembered the Zelda The Great episode where two hit men fire machine guns at one another.

Unknown said...

Dave: this is possibly your greatest ever post, and not just because of the high Airwolf quotient. Thanks for making my day.

Anonymous said...

Looking at the clips tells me you need to add points for eyepatches. And Tales of the Gold Monkey has a *dog* with an eyepatch, which should count double.

Unknown said...

By my scoring Buck Rogers is off the charts at 45 points. And that's without the bonus point's I think it richly deserves for the Alien sidekick being a frickin Half-Hawk Half-Man Alien named "Hawk".

Anonymous said...

24, even with its flaws, got above 40. Nice.

Also, there should be SOMETHING for "Hero totally bites a guys throat out". Whether plus or minus I can't say.

Also, Firefly has somewhere over sixty. As good as this is, it's underrated. It needs extra points for... pretty much the entire cast.
And the toy dinosaurs. And the train robbery using a spaceship.

Anonymous said...

I think the performance of 24 and Firefly is unsurprising, but remember that Nostalgiametrics is finely calibrated to evaluate crap from the '70s and '80s.

For evaluation of the post-broadcasting television world's dynamics, different metrics are required.

Seungmina said...

Buffy's score of 31 by Anomous guy seems a little low, here's the way I see it:
Doesn't suck: +5 points
Is a Woman: +3 points
Superpowers: +3 points (being the chosen one does count)
Hunted by somebody: +2 points (Constantly by different people depending on the episode or season, but Angelous should count)
Hot chick: +3 points (Take your pick)
Robot/alien: +3 points (Buffybot)
Punching bag/goon: +2 points (occasionally Xander)
Dreamboat: +2 points (Angel)
Comic relief: +2 points (Xander)
Totally rules: +5 points
Spoken word intro: +3 points (On the season 2 DVD)
Gratuitous synthesizers: +2 points
Hero + posse show: +3 points
Romantic tension: +3 points
Hot chick: +3 points
Science guy/mechanic: +2 points (Willow)
Patriarchal old dude: +2 points (He's not old, but Giles is extremely patriarchal)
Major cast members replaced: -3 (Angel with Spike)
Minor cast members replaced/added: -1 point
Hot chick added: +2 points (Faith)
Normal vehicle: +1 point
Two fights + one chase per episode: +3 points
Has spawned spin-off show: +2 point
Fights vampire at least once: +2 points (Duh)

Grand Total: 54 Points

Tycho B. said...

I managed a score of 36 for Buck Rogers, although I think it's got to lose 5 points for Gary Coleman and probably another 3 for Jack Palance as a religious lunatic. +3 back for Frank Gorshin, though, and an extra +2 hotness for Erin Gray.

sideorderofninjas said...

Running Highlander through the Nostalgiamteric-trolla I came up with 31.

Actually, it may be higher. I'm sure that Duncan was a prisoner at some point and there was a cop that was investigating him, etc...

5 Doesn't suck: +5 points (Incredible Hulk, Wild Wild West)
3 Superpowers: +3 points (Man from Atlantis, Greatest American Hero)
2 Ex-soldier: +2 points (Magnum P.I., BJ and the Bear)
2 Mysterious loner who helps people in trouble: +2 points (Kung Fu, The Equalizer)
1 Occasionally shirtless: +1 point (Wild Wild West, Starsky & Hutch)
2 Hunted by somebody: +2 points (A-Team, Incredible Hulk)

5 Totally rules: +5 points (Magnum P.I., Six Million Dollar Man)
3 Spoken word intro: +3 points (A-Team, Charlie's Angels)

5 Buddy show: +5 points (Hunter, Cagney & Lacey)

-3 Major cast members replaced: -3 points (Airwolf, Dukes of Hazard)
-1 Normal vehicle: +1 point (Rockford Files, Heart to Heart)

2 Has spawned spin-off show: +2 point (Dukes of Hazard, B.J. and the Bear)

3 Hot chick: +3 points (Dukes of Hazard, Buck Rogers)
2 Patriarchal old dude: +2 points (Battlestar Galactica, Love Boat)

There ought to be some points for evil clones, evil duplicates, or extra points for evil
goatees of main characters...

Anonymous said...

damn you Dave, your equation totally screwed one of my favorite childhood memories-Land of the Lost was better than a 20.......wasn't it? If Wesley Eure (Will Marshall) sang the theme, than it could still squeak out of the sucks ass category and inch into the somewhat redeeming!

Main hero doesn't suck: +5 points
Rick Marshall

Hunted by somebody: +2 points
Big Alice and the Sleestak

Sidekick is a monkey: +5 points

Sidekick is comic relief: +2 points

Themesong totally rules: +5 points

Spoken word intro: +3 points

Title of show mentioned in song: +2 points

total so far/24 points, looking good!

Major cast members replaced: -3 points
(DAMN)Jack Marshall replaces Rick Marshall

Shameless use of stock footage: -1 point
(DOH!)same dino footage week after week

24-4=20 ARRGGHHHH!!!!!

dusty abell

Anonymous said...

"Tales of the Gold Monkey?" I haven't seen a lick of that for 25 years.. that show was the BEST -- then, due to a misreading of market analysis, they re-tooled for a more mature audience (Wednesdays at 8 to Fridays at 10?). The CBS programming exec thought they'd be counterprogramming against that for years.

In those days, the opening credits were the best, most exciting part of the show -- some catchy music and quick cuts of exciting stuff -- seldom could any show live up to the excitement promised in the credits.

Anonymous said...

Ah, I see the side order of ninjas caught some Highlander bonuses I'd missed. (While we're at it, I think there should be one for "based on a movie with Sean Connery.")

Hmm. Do the side order of ninjas come with nametags? Because it's my belief that a mob of ninjas with nametags would be the ultimate warriors. The trained-from-birth skills, the variety of weapons, etc. combined with the unstoppable power of... named characters!

But that's beside the point just now. Really, the thing I wanted to throw into the pot here was a new rule:

Spin-off in which the Lone Wolf cast is replaced with a team (Team Knight Rider, Team Airwolf, Team Viper, etc): Divide the total points by the number of team members.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for remembering Tales of the Gold Monkey so fondly. But I have to say that you didn't remember fondly enough. I found 8 more points, bringing the total to 36.

Ex-soldier - +2
(Jake had spent 5 years in the Army Air Corps, fought in the Spanish Civil War and was a member of the Flying Tigers.)

Occasionally shirtless - +1
(Hey, it was the '80s. It was a requirement.)

Mike Post & Pete Carpenter Theme Song - +5
(You can see the pilot movie opening credits at

If you want to see more Gold Monkey clips, go to or get all sorts of useless, but highly entertaining, crap at

Okay, I'm done with the gratuitous plugs. :)

David Campbell said...

I bow to your superior wisdom, Monkey Woman!

Evan Waters said...

BUCK ROGERS does score a trifle high, but I think it's fair so long as you count the second season separately.

Unknown said...

To Jim Donato on scoring Batman:

Roddy McDowall played the villainous Bookworm in two episodes, old chum. That adds 2 mores points, raising the Batman score to 47!

[word verification word of the day: yclfy; old norse verb, to make things taste worse]

Unknown said...

Actually, now that I think about Batman, we could fold a whole group of celebrity-specific scores into one condition: "Each cast member that also played a major villain on Batman: +2".

Roddy McDowall is still covered, Star Trek picks up +2 for Frank Gorshin (aka Riddler appeared in STTOS "Let that Be Your Last Battlefield"), Hilarious House of Frightenstein gets +2 for Vincent Price (aka Egghead)...

Unfortunately, the short-lived spinoff Gloria from All in the Family would get +2 for Burgess Meredith, but Twilight Zone would get +2 as well (+8 if you count each appearance as a different character separately).

Oh, uh, Batman would have a score of 216 or something, but that would be okay with me.

[word verification word of the day: cdyde, the class of all chemicals that exterminate compact discs]

kyyle23 said...

I have to say I was completely shocked at how much He-Man MotU, Thundercats, GI Joe sucked after I watched them while an adult.

They just seemed to kick so much arse when I was a kid. Now I watch them and its like watching 5 minutes of story and 25 minutes of He Man/Lion-O/(insert Random GI Joe guy here) doing a PSA telling me to excercise or drink my milk.

Its like waking up and realizing that the hot chick you were making out with when you were dreaming was your pillow.

Anonymous said...

How does Danger Island score on the Nostaliametrics?

Anonymous said...

really cool
just found the blog and love this entry.
Can it be used with TV mini series?

And BTW anyone who likes the Suicide Squad is in my League

Canton said...

I did not have cable growing up, but I still managed to catch a couple of episodes of The Secret World of Alex Mack at Grandma's house. It was extremely memorable, and I have since seen other episodes. So let's test it:

Alex does not suck (5), is a young woman (3), has superpowers (3), and is hunted by the chemical plant that accidentally gave her her powers (2). There's 13 points.

Ray Alvarado is her primary sidekick. I'll give him the comic relief points (2), but nothing else. He's not really a punching bag, not on a wholesome kids' show! 2 points.

There is goofy theme music (it doesn't suck, it's just goofy), but it serves as the backdrop for a spoken word intro (3). 3 points.

Alex is the hero, and she sort of has a posse (3). Most of her friends don't know about her superpowers, but, you know, I'll give it to her. I know there's romantic tension (3) in there somewhere. Sort of. When puberty starts to hit the cast. Annie Mack is the science girl (2), and the sisters' dad is of course patriarchal and comparably old (2). 10 more points there.

Transportation? Normal vehicle. Bicycles count. 1 point.

There are a lot of chase scenes in Alex Mack, and there's plenty of fighting with little to no bloodshed. Mostly verbal fighting. 3 points.

That comes to... let's see... 32 points. Yes, that sounds about right.

Matthew E said...

Here's a show that I thought was the best when it was originally on, but was appalled by it years later:

Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer.

I don't remember enough about it to run these numbers, but I know enough things (the theme song, for instance, was 'Harlem Nocturne', which is excellent') to be pretty sure that its rating in your system would be a positive integer. Which means that there's a problem somewhere, because it really is a terrible show.

Anonymous said...

Re: G_North

Curse me for the novice! You are a true scholar - and... you shame me! How could I have forgotten The Bookworm??!

But what of QUARK... Adam Quark?


The Main Guy [Adam Quark] ---
Doesn't suck +5
Ex-Astronaut: how about active astronaut, pally! +3 [should be 5 for active duty but I digress]
Can fly spaceship: +2

Sidekick ---
Hot chick: Betty I +3 AND Betty II +3
Robot/Alien: Ficus +3 AND Andy the Android +3
Punching bag/goon: Gene/Jean +2 G/J was always quick with the fists when testosterone was available

Theme Song ---
Totally rules +5
Gratuitous synthesizers: +2

The Cast ---
Hero + Posse show: +3
Romantic Tension: Betty I VS Betty II +3
Hot chick: Betty I AND Betty II +6 [prove me wrong]
Science guy/mechanic: O.V. Potter [pilot episode] +2
Patriarchal old dude: O.V. Potter, again +2
Token old dude on posse: see above +2

Transportation ---
Boss vehicle: we'll assume ANY spaceship is boss +3
Loaded with custom features: garbage baggie waldo arms +2

Bonus Features ---
Shameless use of stock footage: the bane of every space show! -1

That's a 53! No mistaking... Quark rocks!

Anonymous said...

What about the Six Million Dollar Man? Now that is some great nostalgic crap.

Anonymous said...


I completely forgot about the MONKEY points!

Hilarious House of Frightenstein HAS a monkey segment in EVERY EPISODE!

Well... man in GORILLA costume getting hit in the head with a golf ball - every episode.

The show NOW gets a total of...



Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
UKWP *AIRWOLF* said...

Well Airwolf's main theme tune deserves an additional 10 points just for being, well, so Airwolf. They've just released the episodic Airwolf soundtrack again recently, 'Airwolf Themes'. Google it and you'll find the official soundtrack site which is even totally Airwolf too!

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Anonymous said...


Nike shox said...

One of the flaws in the system is that it takes into account the entire series, not just each season.

Plumber Baldock said...

So nice movie.I must watch it!

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