Akai VSG285 video - I can't tune any TV stations thru to the VCR?
This sounds like a hookup or programming problem.
The typical hookup is cable/satellite box output to VCR antenna/RF input, then VCR antenna/RF output to television input. Since you are able to watch pre-recorded tapes, the latter is already correct. There are other ways to connect, using the audio/video outputs of VCR to audio/video inputs of the TV. Older or low end TV sets may not have these connections.
If by chance you are using an outdoor antenna (not cable or satellite) then the antenna connects to VCR antenna/RF input and VCR output as above. You will also need to program the VCR into the stations- most late VCRs will scan for active channels, and program themselves to those channels.
I'm not sure of the capabilities of newer cable & sat boxes, but generally, you had to tune that box to the channel you wanted to record. The VCR is set to channel 3 or 4 depending on the output of the cable box.
Lastly, most VCRs of the last 10+ years require the remote to setup advanced functions, such as timed record, date & channel setup functions. The buttons on the VCR itself only do very basic functions, Stop/Play/Rewind/F-forward/Eject etc.
If you don't have the orig. remote, some universal remotes may be able to do advanced programming functions.