The odd concoction that is Stay Tuned doesn’t work as well as it should. The film has a great premise and it’s obvious a lot of painstaking work went into the production, but so what? Despite a frantic pace the movie feels dull and rarely comes alive with any cometic zeal. A cynical attitude and a dark tone make this film hard to decipher just whom it was intended to entertain. In the end it will wear on the patience of both, kids and their older parental viewing partners.
Salesman Roy Knable (John Ritter) spends all his free time watching television, to the exasperation of his wife, Helen (Pam Dawber). One day, TV salesman Spike (Jeffrey Jones) convinces Roy to buy a satellite dish offering 666 channels. The new addition to Roy’s home entertainment system sucks him and Helen into Hellvision, a realm run by Spike, who is an emissary of Satan. For 24 hours, the couple must survive devilish parodies of TV programs if they want to return to reality alive.
Stay Tuned is a glimpse back into a pop culture time capsule. The fun of the film is in the parodies and rip-offs of television, music, and movies of the era. The meticulous recreation of famous sets and time periods are the crowning achievement of the picture. John Ritter and Pam Dawber are good sports while Eugene Levy is underused, and Jeffery Jones is never able to fully cut loose as the devilish programmer.
Director: Peter Hyams
Stars: John Ritter, Pam Dawber, Jeffrey Jones