The worst part about insomnia for me has less to do with losing those precious hours of sleep. More often, it's the frustration at trying to find something decent to watch on the Telly at 4AM. This is the graveyard shift for most stations, time slots reserved for the undead programming of their line up. It's here that you'll find the vampiric paid programs selling exercise equipment and pyramid marketing schemes, or perhaps you'll be visited by the ghostly syndicated reruns of sitcoms that were probably left to rest in peace when they were cancelled in the mid-1960's. You may even stumble into the crowds of zombies groaning out the rough equivalent of "Brains..." to the high priests of the televised Christian cult.
After midnight, it gets downright spooky on the magic box.
My personal favorites are the liches. These are rebroadcasts of hour-long shows that are nothing more than cheap knockoffs of formulae that worked elsewhere. I call them liches because for reasons that defy normal logic, they refuse to die. There is no explanation for how they manage to make it past the half-season mark, and yet somehow they endure. It seems it takes an act of the gods to have a show like Beastmaster or Lost World cancelled.
I thought I had seen the worst of the lich programming until I saw Adventure, Inc. early Tuesday morning. The series is about some guy who forms a company of professional adventurers who go look for things, things to make them go. In this episode, they went to a small island off the coast of Greece where Odysseus finally settled after his three hour tour of the Mediterranean. Just to make things unnecessarily convoluted, the writers took the liberty of saying that the rumors of his being from Ithaca were grossly exaggerated. It only got worse from there.
An old college friend of the captain had been doing research there and stumbled upon the Curse of the Black Pearl Oracle’s Treasure. As she lay dying of some inexplicable fever that gave her hallucinations of badly-costumed Spartan warriors who chased her with Roman gladii, the team had "adventures" that involved landing far away from the island’s town and having to hike to get back there so they could rent a car (which eventually blew up.) In the meantime, they kept running into a helpful Greek hobo who called himself "the voice of the gods" or getting into trouble with the gang of greasy thugs from the town who were greedily seeking out the treasure for themselves. Of course, the treasure was out in plain sight, but the thugs never figured out how to find it because they were affeared of the green talcum powder hallucination-inducing fungus that grew in the Oracle’s cheap soundstage set cave. And just so you’re not kept hanging, the heroes protected the treasure so it could be given to "all the Greek People," broke up the gang in a big shoot'em up, and saved the girl.
I’m still hoping I dreamed all this, but then that would make my imagination incredibly cheesy.