Midnight Caller (1988 – 1991)
This is a somewhat overlooked classic from the late eighties that I don’t expect many of you to remember. I was barely a teenager when I started watching this, but I was hooked from the start… even though it was undoubtedly aimed at a more mature demographic. Maybe it was the seedy nature and inherent darkness of the show; or more immediately, it could have been the sexy blues and jazz inspired theme. Either way, I remember it fondly, and it was one of my favourites growing up.
Gary Cole has gone on to do a lot of television and movies since this (and he had done a lot before), but Midnight Caller is where he really cut his acting chops. He played ‘The Nighthawk’ Jack Killian, a former cop who has decided to try his hand as a talk radio host, while investigating his callers’ problems on the side. Trust me – before the internet took over the world, talk radio was becoming quite the thing. In that regard it was very much a product of its place in time, and it would probably be difficult to replicate in 2017.
At just over sixty episodes, Midnight Caller didn’t have a particularly long run, and it isn’t remembered fondly or even often in TV retrospectives, but – by tackling difficult and controversial subjects – it was quite a progressive show for the sometimes sterile and saccharine eighties, and one deserving of a little more love than it gets.
And with that, for the few Midnight Caller fans still out there who will appreciate the reference, good night America… wherever you are.