Television: Look Back In Angst

This fall the networks bet that anxious viewers will take refuge in nostalgia. What does it say about post-9/11 America if the cold war now seems cozy?

If you're anxious about life today, TV this fall is inviting you to journey to a happier time. A time when ketchup was a vegetable, when Saddam Hussein was a strategic ally, when children went to school, teenagers courted and families thrived with no greater worries than the possibility that they might at any moment be incinerated in a global nuclear war.

If programmers are correct, the state of the American psyche is such that suicide attacks and anthrax anxiety have made the cold war seem cozy. TV-series reunion specials last season drew big ratings, attributed to viewers' desire to...

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