I will probably be sincere. I hadn’t heard of Evening Flight till our Editor in Chief talked about it to me. After which it was time to go down the rabbit gap. What awaited me down there was a testomony to peak 80s counterculture.
However I’m getting forward of myself right here.
What Precisely Is Evening Flight?
For the uninitiated, very like I used to be solely a month or two in the past, Evening Flight is a present that lit up cable TV screens each Friday and Saturday night time from 1981 to 1988. Stuart Shapiro is the creator of this much-revered embodiment of the Wild West period of cable TV.
It featured no anchor and started with an equally iconic voice-over by Patt Prescott, who launched the theme earlier than launching into an evidence of the relevance of the artists, bands, reveals, and films being featured. From that second on, you had been in for an journey. It was like a really 80s punk creation calendar — you by no means knew what you had been gonna get. However gods, if each chew didn’t delight.
In essence, Evening Flight was one of many OG late-night selection reveals, that includes music movies, interviews, underground motion pictures, weird animation, and comedy. It was house to rising new-wave punk bands. For seven fantastic, rebellion-tinted years, it’s the place the misplaced youngsters of the neighborhood gathered over bottles of soda and weed, discussing questions of objective, individuality, and existentialism. It was the true spirit of the 80s — minus the commercialization.
Once more, I can solely think about what this will need to have felt like. I believe that it’s like that stack of pirated CDs I’d hire from a slightly-shady nook store each month as a younger teen, with completely no concept what I used to be about to come across.
So, the place is Evening Flight now? Higher but, why did this present — with all its cult-following and extraordinary powers of shaping the concepts and beliefs of a complete technology of punk youngsters — vanish into skinny air?
Besides it didn’t. Years in the past, Shapiro — bored with the toll the present took on his psychological and bodily well-being — was compelled to take a break. Quickly after, that period of TV slammed to a screeching halt. Streaming platforms took over, and the time of Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+ began rolling out. Maybe reveals like Evening Flight didn’t have a spot in a world of consumption and commercialized media.
Followers had been, thus, compelled to undergo reminiscing. The time of Evening Flight and secret rebellious rendezvouses was over. Or was it?
Time in a Filmic Bottle
Destiny had different plans, it appears, as a result of, a long time later, a fan with an Oklahoma-based firm acquired a warehouse with the Evening Flight library, total and intact. Right here was Evening Flight once more. Preserved in time, the world wasn’t, couldn’t be, completed with out one thing as extraordinary as this present.
After all, Evening Flight’s resurgence wasn’t a part of Shapiro’s plans. He says, “I keep in mind the extraordinary quantity of labor and staff coordination between myself and my companion at ATI, Cynthia Friedland, who was managing the authorized and acquisition, whereas I used to be enhancing through the day, prepping, after which enhancing within the morning studio at night time from 7 o’clock at night time until 1 within the morning, Monday via Thursday.
“It went on nonstop for me for six years.”
Intense because the work was, Shapiro remembers the inventive freedom they had been handed for 8 hours every week with excessive fondness and maybe not a small quantity of satisfaction. “We might placed on something that we needed to,” he says, “…it was type of like a golden age of programming.
I don’t assume in my life as a Producer Director Entrepreneur I ever had extra enjoyable and felt extra rewarded by being a beacon within the new age of programming.”
So, on being handed a library filled with what I can solely name his dreamchild, Shapiro started the tedious strategy of digitizing all the assortment. In 2015, Shapiro launched the Evening Flight web site, adopted by the subscription-based platform — NightFlightPlus.com — in early 2016. This Evening Flight is a museum. And maybe a lot, way more.
The subscription-based platform provides a visit down nostalgia lane and a dwelling, respiration tribute to 80s counter-culture.
The Legend Streamed
If the 80s had been about rebel, then NF had signified one of the best of that spirit. In spite of everything, NF was punk earlier than MTV was even born – actually, the cable channel as soon as recognized for music movies would launch 8 weeks after Evening Flight debuted. This platform, too, is not only a stilted previous testomony. It’s a motion. In the present day it stands towards the industrial nature of streaming platforms, providing one thing distinctive and particular person, but one which reminds considered one of a neighborhood the place you’re understood and accepted.
All the assortment right here is curated as an alternative of being overwhelming, protecting you mindlessly scrolling via infinite expanses of unhealthy reveals to seek out one you may tolerate. You may instantly subscribe to the location and stream it on-line or head to Roku, iOS, Apple TV, or Amazon Fireplace and delve into the insanity that, to cite their Twitter bio, “broke all of the cable TV guidelines within the Nineteen Eighties.”
Jason Woodbury, producer of the Evening Flight Plus present — WASTOIDS — is a more recent addition to the fandom, very like me. When requested whether or not he believes the brand new platform provides one thing distinctive in comparison with streaming companies like Netflix, he says that it supplies a “standpoint.” “There is a numerous slate of programming on NF,” he provides, “however, one way or the other, all of it feels united in a theme of subversion and peculiar humor.”
However what allure does he assume it holds for you and me, i.e., ones simply getting launched to it? His reply to that is easy. “..precise discovery”, he says, “Of fascinating subcultures, musical figures, cult horror motion pictures—is feasible with a service like Evening Flight.”
That mentioned, I fear about its future. Can NF maintain on to its punk-rock anarchic crown on this age of entry? I, for one, need it to outlive. At present, it must give attention to advertising its distinctive gross sales perspective, like providing an unique, curated expertise, and never simply financial institution on nostalgia. The creators might additionally revisit who their target market is. Shapiro himself appears conscious of this.
“…I believe that among the finest facets of Evening Flight Plus is its huge library of music, documentaries, music movies, and authentic packages primarily based on authentic air masters of Evening Flight, which you can not see wherever else – this simply offers you not solely a nostalgic excessive from a programming perspective, however Evening Flight Plus additionally delivers you the good new documentaries and music which can be out there wherever with no promoting.”
“It’s shocking how youthful persons are interested in 80s programming although they had been by no means even alive then,” he provides.
I, for one, am not stunned. If the latest 80s wave that drowned mainstream popular culture says something, it’s that millennials and Gen-Zs couldn’t be extra keen on pseudo-nostalgia.
They — we — crave a return to an easier, neon-scented time that’s untainted by the conflict on terror and a pandemic. NF can capitalize on this very craving. Whereas this can be the other of each excellent NF stands for, if some advertising and capitalization can save one thing as uniquely, rebelliously punk because the present, then so be it.
I finish this journey down pseudo-nostalgia lane with a comic book I couldn’t assist however hold revisiting every time I learn extra about Evening Flight. Midnight Radio — by EL Comics — embodies a lot of what I now imagine is the spirit of Evening Flight. It’s a present that goes ever on, haunting, humbling, and vaguely harking back to a house misplaced and a fire re-won.
This text was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.