DeFlip Side #187: Defying the Death Slot

DeFlip Side #187: Defying the Death Slot.mp3

Welcome everyone. I’m Christopher DeFilippis and this is DeFlip Side.

And I’m proud to be joining Destinies: The Voice of Science Fiction in this, its 35th anniversary celebration. It’s a mind-blowing milestone, made even more impressive when you consider that the show has not only managed to survive, but actually flourish for almost all of those years in the dreaded Friday night death slot.

Now, a bit of history for you younger listeners. Time was, way back in the olden days of network TV, Friday nights was where shows went to die. That’s when viewership was lowest, as most people where out blowing off steam after a long work week.

And a primary victim of that curse was Science Fiction programming. The genre graveyard is practically bursting with Friday night causalities.

Most of those dead shows are probably rightly forgotten. I doubt many people are pining for Manimal, Harsh Realm, Freaky Links, Doll House or Dark Angel. Do you even remember half of those shows?

But a fair number of death slot victims still live on in genre infamy. Fan favorites like Knight Rider, Chuck, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., and the holiest of all holies, Firefly — all got done in by the Friday night curse.

So was it any wonder that I assumed Destinies would meet a similar end?

Time for a shameful confession. When I made my first Destinies appearance way back in 1998 to plug my Quantum Leap novel, one of my first thoughts was, “Who the heck is listening to the radio on Friday nights at 11:30?”

If you had told me back then that the show would still be on in two decades, I’d have called you crazy. But that was before I got to know Destinies host Howard Margolin. It is through Howard’s talent, devotion and sheer doggedness that we are here celebrating 35 years of Destinies. With his unique ear, killer interviews, and wide-ranging expertise in all things genre, he has filled our Fridays with a true Voice of Science Fiction — and carved out a devoted audience where countless others have failed.

In that, Howard has turned Destinies into one of those rare Friday night outliers, to join the likes of the The X-Files, Battlestar Galactica and Doctor Who in bucking the curse and defying the death slot. Great work, buddy.

Still, the conventional wisdom isn’t entirely wrong. Come Friday night, after a long work week, I do want to blow off some steam — and I don’t do it by plopping down in front of the TV. Instead I turn off the lights, turn on the radio and decompress by the glow of the dial, listening to Destinies. That is when I know that my weekend has truly begun. And I look forward to enjoying that feeling, for many years to come.

Happy anniversary Destinies!