Roku Channel Pick Of The Week: Made For TV

Each weekend we highlight a new channel on Roku that we think will be perfect for the hardcore TV Fan.

If you've ever found yourself on YouTube falling into a rabbithole of bad made-for-television movies, then you are the target audience for this new channel from developer Future Today Inc.

Until the 1990s, the made-for-television movie was a staple of the primetime television lineup. While everyone remembers the successes, most of the movies in the genre were clunky and often crammed with C-name actors networks hoped might bring in a few more not-so-discriminating viewers. Made For TV has collected about 50 made-for-TV movies and part of what makes it such a "must view" channel is the odd scope and quality of the films included in its catalog.

There are some truly wonderful movies, like 1977's Panic In Echo Park, 1969's The Over-The-Hill Gang and the iconic 1976 movie The Boy In The Plastic Bubble (starring John Travolta). Then there are just the odd pop culture flicks, like 1978's Rescue From Gilligan's Island.

But what really makes the channel worth watching are the strange, bad or just forgotten made-for-TV movies. Like 1971's Mooch Goes to Hollywood, a film about a dog named Mooch that runs away to Hollywood to become a star. The movie includes a grab-bag of C-list cameos, from Jim Backus to Zsa Zsa Gabor. Then there's 1979's Concrete Cowboys, in which two Montana cowboys played by Tom Selleck and Jerry Reed, travel to Nashville to open up a detective agency. But my favorite film might be the cringeworthy 1969 WWII "comedy" Wake Me When The War Is Over. In the film, Ken Berry plays a hapless American soldier who accidentally falls out a plane while trying to drop anti-German pamphlets. And then the hijinks begin.

If there's a downside to the channel, it's that the technical quality of the films ranges from "decent videotape dub" to "third generation copy." Some of the movies are missing opening credits and a few just seem to start five minutes into the film.

But regardless of the technical issues, Made For TV is a great treat for lovers of lame television. Many of these movies haven't been seen in decades and after you've watched them, you'll know why.