Route 66 and Route 66 (1993)

Route 66 (1960-1964)
Route 66 (1993)
Type: Spin Off

   Hey kids, why not get your kicks on Route 66? Well... because liquor is quicker. Ah forget that. Horrible start. Don't drink kids. Booze is for alcoholics and those too poor for crack. No wait. That's still really wrong. Drugs are bad, alcohol's bad, this paragraph is bad... Lets try this again.

   Route 66 was a famous cross country route made famous by the Nat King Cole song of the same name and the 1960's series also of the same name.

   Route 66 (the series not the song) told the story of friends Tod and Buz driving around the country and each week finding new adventures, new people to help. It would seem a natural given the title that they would stick to Route 66 but I've seen episodes where they were waaay off 66. Makes sense really. Driving coast to coast on 66, even stopping for lengthy stays like they did in each episode, you would finish the drive before four years time. Anyway for four years they traveled the country. Okay, actually for four years Tod traveled the country. Buz got out of the car after about three years and was replaced by Linc.

   In keeping with the idea that one good turn of the steering wheel deserves another, NBC tried to resurrect the series in 1993. Character Nick Lewis discovered that his long lost dad was, gasp, good old Buz! Nice. Here we thought Buz was a good guy and it turns out that while he was traveling the country he knocked some girl up. Does he stick around to help raise the kid? No! He has to aimlessly wander the country! That is his career dammit! So years later Nick discovers that his dad left him his mint 1961 Corvette! Wait a second though... in the original show the car was Tod's! Todd was the rich kid with the car and Buz was the poor one. What the?!?

   Well regardless of whose car it had been, Nick took off traveling the country. Good influence, Buz. Abandon the kid and then get him to waste his life wandering around like a slacker. Could you get him hooked on drugs too? And the pain doesn't end there. Who should Nick pick for a traveling companion but Arthur Clark as played by Dan Cortese! You trapped the poor bastard with Dan Cortese!

   Not that Dan Cortese is inherently evil or something but at the time he was way over exposed and was growing quite annoying. The idea of being trapped in a car with him day in and day out... yikes. Nobody even tuned in to spend an hour a week in a car with him.

   I think that was part of why the show didn't fly. Dan Cortese was just about over. On top of that Route 66 was not the nationally known thing it was in the 60s. It isn't even an official route anymore. If people were aware of the name at all it was as an old tune or a show that was "hip" in the 60s. Bad idea to try selling that to young kids today. Anything that was cool for your dad or his dad is inherently old hat and uncool for the current generation. Dopey NBC! Put some guys in a car (not Dan Cortese!) and call it something else - Road Trip, I Can't Drive 55... anything but Route 66 - and it would have a hugely better chance of working. Young kids want a show they think is new and their own, not a thirty year old hand-me-down.

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