Underrated in America: The Hallmark Channel

I have a dirty little secret. Sometimes, when nobody is looking, and I'm sure my wife isn't around, I sneak into my room, turn out the lights, draw down the shades, and... I turn on the Hallmark Channel.

It's not something I'm really proud of. I should be watching something more in my demographic, like Spike, where I could watch a show called The Ultimate Fighter, or maybe catch a CSI: New York episode. My wife loves VH1. Heck, my parents love Lost on ABC. And while I tend to gravitate toward USA, where I'm hooked on detective series like Monk, Psych and even Law & Order: SVU and Law & Order: Criminal Intent, I admit that when I'm looking to see what's on, I will often make a stop at the Hallmark Channel.

When you watch the news and see the Dow constantly plunging, and countries like Iceland are going bankrupt, and there are still murders in America and problem in Iraq, sometimes it's nice to turn on a channel where it's a little more like 1988 than 2008.

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Of course, maybe my tastes are skewing older because I'm getting older (I'll be 39 in about three months), but I do think it's this post-9/11 apocalyptic-seeming world we live in that makes me nostalgic to occasionally watch shows, or the types of shows, that my 83-year-old grandmother enjoys viewing. During the 1970s and 80s, when I was a kid and then a teenager, my grandmother would tsk-tsk most of the shows in the TV Guide but then she'd point to something like Barnaby Jones and Murder She Wrote, and talk about what a "clean show" it was.