iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Pat Gallagher

GET UPDATES FROM Pat Gallagher
 

Giddy-up -- Is It Time to Bring Westerns Back to Television?

Posted: 04/ 2/2012 11:40 am

Reality shows be gone... well, most of them. Maybe it's time to bring back Ponderosa and Dodge City to television because reality shows aren't quite as good as they use to be. Remember a reality-based show called This Is Your Life with Ralph Edwards? Ralph surprised his famous subjects with intros like: "Ann Margaret, this is your life!" Who didn't want to see this sex kitten's first grade teacher come out and tell the world how clumsy she was with finger paints? Let's reinstate that show for starters. Doesn't Tom Bergeron need another hosting gig?

In the meantime, I'd rather watch Matt Dillon and those nice Cartwright brothers battle the bad guys every Saturday night -- while wearing the same outfit week after week after week -- than watch the majority of the reality shows that are currently on the air (but let's keep my favorite -- Dancing With the Stars).

It probably wouldn't work to recycle Gunsmoke or Bonanza, but we could come up with some "new" Westerns. Here are some suggestions:

Guns and Roses (not to be confused with the band of the same name): A gunslinger named "Ringo" deals with mean guys each week but always returns home to his lady friend -- a saloon woman named Miss Rose. (She has a beautiful young daughter with big hair named Miss Kitty who will one day grow up and hang out in her own saloon with a Marshal named Matt.)

Have Gun Will Shoot: A cowboy named Will Shoot (whose great uncle was a gunfighter named Paladin) seeks out wanted men for bounty every week as he travels the country singing in one saloon after another looking for his big break as a singing cowboy.

Happy Trails: A husband and wife in the old west prove that the good couples always win. They ban together with their dog Rifle and their beloved horses Bert and Ernie to fight crime in a small western town called Roughage -- along with their sidekick Polk Salad Annie. At the end of each episode, they both ride into the sunset singing, what else, "Happy Trails to You" something like this, as the credits roll.

The Ranger Stranger: Social order on the frontier is managed nicely by a cowboy traveling incognito wearing a white hat and a purple mask. He and his sidekick and best friend Kimosabe (second cousin twice removed of Tonto) are inseparable. His stepbrother -- the Lone Ranger -- makes cameo appearances in every third episode wearing a black mask cut out of an old tablecloth.

Alias Smith and Haze: A gay cowboy named Alias Smith fights crime in a hip western town in the mid-1800s (along with his friend Gabby). This is the first openly gay cowboy series to hit the small screen. Brokeback Mountain should have received an Oscar (seriously) by the Academy Awards for Best Picture in 2005. It's time to bring it to television. If Jake Gyllenhaal plays the part -- instant No. 1 show! No, I'm almost not kidding here. Loved the movie!!

Autry -- (The Gene Autry Look-a-Like Show): Does this even need an explanation? I loved this nice looking singing cowboy and with the success of Glee and Smash, why not a tenor on a horse who breaks out in song each week for no reason. The theme song is "Back in the Saddle Again."

Wagon Wheels: The adventures of a large group of settlers traveling on a wagon train from east to west coast as they fight Indians, cattle rustlers, bounty hunters, thieves and occasionally each other while making their way over hills, mountains, valleys and flatlands through snow, rain, high winds, and severe draughts during some very hot summer days and nights. We find out the real meaning of the term "circle the wagons" during this 32-week trip. (One season equals 32 weeks ... the way IT SHOULD BE).

Rawhide: This is a remake. Clint Eastwood reprises his role of cowboy Rowdy Yates -- a lot older and wiser. (This will keep him off his own reality show ... unless it's actually good.) Rowdy gets involved with solving whatever problems the cattle drive encounters along the way to each destination. While he was once a young and impetuous 30-something handsome cowboy, he's now an 80-something wrinkled handsome cowboy who is more likely to give the bad guy a good tongue lashing rather than throw a punch. "Go ahead, make my day," he'll say, right before he falls asleep. The theme song is "The Cattle Call," by the late Eddie Arnold.

Ghost Train -- All Aboard: The Wild West gets a little spooky with the tales of a railroad train that transports different passengers each week (kind of like The Love Boat but on tracks) from one town to another with stories that revolve around restless western pioneers in the late 1800s. The catch is one of the conductors happens to be a ghost who was killed on that same track of land 50 years ago. (Can we get a Patrick Swayze doppelganger cast in this role?). Seriously, who doesn't like a good ghost story? It'll be kind of like The Twilight Zone meets The Sixth Sense in the Old West. Perfect.