Although it shames me to admit it, I watch television most evenings. Much of the time I don't have a plan and rely on channel surfing to help map out my time in front of the boob tube. Channel surfing has led to occasional gems, one of which surfaced this week when I discovered El Rey Network.
El Rey is new, founded last year by movie director Robert Rodriguez (The Mexico Trilogy: El Mariachi, Desperado, and Once Upon a Time in Mexico.) According to what I was able to find on the Internet, Rodriguez created the new network in an effort of appeal to Hispanic Americans - ones who have been in the country for a generation or two and are fluent in English.
The new network has several old syndicated television shows. The X Files was playing the other night as I surfed up to El Rey. The next day I checked back in and found Starsky and Hutch on the little screen. Another television staple of El Rey is an old program called Dark Angel.
But Rodriguez has also reached into the film vault and is showing some rather campy old B-movies. Tonight there is a marshal arts double feature - Dragon Missile and Flying Guillotine, and tomorrow night on the network's Grindhouse Fridays the feature film will be the black-focused Detroit 9000.
El Rey is also presenting some original programing. This week I saw the first two episodes of From Dusk til Dawn, the Series. It is, of course, based on the 1996 movie of the same name, a movie that was directed by Robert Rodriguez. The film and the series center on a pair of criminals who are on the lam and trying to get to Mexico. They kidnap a family with a large motor home and use the vehicle and the hostages to cross the border. All the while they are being pursued by a relentless (and short) Texas Ranger (Fez from That Seventies Show). It is awash with sex, violence, and vampires - who could ask for more?
El Rey Network feels a little like a pulp magazine that has come to life. It's a bit of a guilty pleasure, and like those sweet enticers, I keep getting pulled back in for just a little more - and a little more
Nice job, Mr. Rodriguez. Thanks for making television a bit more interesting.