Creator Stuart Shapiro has heard it all.
Shapiro launched the show, which ran Friday and Saturday nights on USA Network, in June 1981. Night Flight was, foundationally, a late-night variety show: music videos, interviews, underground movies, bizarre animation, comedy. It might have been the first place you heard about Divine, Devo, or Wendy O. Williams. Night Flight also folded in New Wave Theatre, hosted by late musician Peter Ivers. It spotlighted emerging new-wave and punk bands, and Ivers was a formative part of its popularity until his murder in 1983.
Night Flight Plus, which costs $2.99 per month, joins more niche streaming sites that have sprung up around particular genres, such asSeeso and Exploitation.tv.During a Q&A after the screening, Shapiro said he thought society was in the midst of a channel revolution, like we were in the 80s. He revealed that his application to get Night Flight Plus on Amazon‘sFire device had been rejectedprobably, he said, because of nudity and GG Allin. When an audience member asked him what he thought of YouTube, he said he was of two minds. I think YouTube is anti-Night Flight, its not curated, he said. But you can put anything up there…its freedom of expression.
Freedom of expression is Night Flights mantra. Shapiro reminded the audience that, for many viewers,Night Flightwas a gathering place for the freaks and geeks. For young kids watching the show late at night in the Midwest, it reinforced the idea that it was OK to be different, and that there were other people out there like you. Host Zack Carlson asked the audience how many of them had been influenced creatively or artistically, or set on their path in life, as a result of watching Night Flight. The question prompteda surprising round of applause.
Shapiro said that eventually hed like to bring some original programming to Night Flight Plus and experiment with more interactive elements like livestreaming. Adding a personal feel to his project, he claimed that his phone number was the customer support line for Night Flight Plus. He might not know how to help callers with technical issues, he said, but at least he could talk to them.
Im committed to it being the nostalgic network, he said, not just 80s, but devoted to nostalgia entertainment, with the Night Flight library as its foundation.