Wednesday, October 31, 2007

GSN's Viewer's Choice Marathon this November 23rd!

I was at first pretty skeptical when I first heard GSN was having another Feast of Favorites marathon this year (now called Viewer’s Choice) after getting my hopes up when hearing the same thing would happen last year, only to find out that was a rumor. But after seeing the promo on the air and the webpage on the GSN site, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it’s true! On November 23rd, the day after Thanksgiving, us viewers get to pick what we want to see for ten hours of the day! From 9 am-7 pm.

I’m personally rooting for the following: Eubanks Card Sharks, Rafferty Blockbusters, Beat the Clock with Gene Wood, I’ve Got A Secret with Steve Allen, $100,000 Pyramid, Jackpot!, Wheel of Fortune, Rock & Roll Jeopardy!, The Joker’s Wild, Blyden What’s My Line?, Hot Potato, Tattletales, Tic Tac Dough, Treasure Hunt, and Win Ben Stein’s Money. Hopefully a few of those shows will make it. Mostly my goal was really picking series that are not on the regular schedule. Yeah, I applaud them for adding Double Dare, Trivia Trap, Let’s Make a Deal, Body Language, Press Your Luck and Beat the Clock with Monty Hall. But we can see those regularly. While highlights like those on the regular line-up are worth watching, I think this should be our chance as game show fans to see the more rarely seen shows. When I heard about this marathon, I truly was not expecting to see Barry-Enright series, or Pyramid or Jackpot! there, considering the library they’re in and how hard it is to see Sony shows. But after this and a few other recent special occasions, it looks like GSN can get the Sony owned episodes that are needed if they truly want to air them for an event. And even Rock & Roll Jeopardy!. I have always wanted to see that, especially some of the all-star ones. So yes, I’m definitely voting for things that are as of now, rarely seen on the air.

Game show fans that are reading this: if you haven’t done it yet, please vote! Voting runs through the 11th of November.

As The World Turns: Bye-Bye, Maddie

Friday, October 26th was the last day for Alexandra Chando (Maddie Coleman). But more on that later. First here’s my synopses on last week’s part of Luke and Noah’s storyline.

On Wednesday, Luke is back at the Synder farm. Faith tells Luke about Holden and Lily’s recent fighting and separation and all the Dusty stuff. Lily is right. They need to be working together and working through this as a family. Holden really ticked me off with telling Luke about the back story behind the whole recent drama. He keeps implying that it’s Lily’s negligence that is the cause. Lily knew Dusty was innocent, but she did NOT know about Dusty suspecting Winston Mayer until after he was shot in the chest and collapsed at the front door of the farm. How many times does someone need to burn that into that man’s brain?! Where is the understanding Holden? Thank God Luke doesn’t blame Lily for this. He even told Holden that he was being a jerk. So true. There is one person to blame for all this mess: Winston Mayer. And his behind is in jail where he belongs.

Thursday Noah shows up to visit Luke. Luke says it’s been a weird day but it’s gotten better since he came up. Meanwhile we have Maddie with Henry and Vienna at Al’s Diner saying that she’s headed off to Wesleyan. And not only that, but she’s going to make her own decisions about her own life. Back at the farm, Luke’s physical therapist had just left him a binder full of exercises. Luke’s afraid of his upcoming therapy, and Noah wants to help. Maddie pops in for a visit to bring by some DVD’s and to tell them that she’s off to Wesleyan. Noah feels bad because if it wasn’t for him, she’d have been in school by now. As Maddie leaves, she tells Noah in private that right now Luke needs people he can count on and to think about what that really means. Uh-oh. This is where Noah decides to tell Luke about the drunken kiss he had with Maddie. He explains his reasoning behind it. After his dad tried to kill him, in his mind he still blames himself for everything and he was sure that Luke didn’t want to see him at first in the hospital. Part of him still wonders if Winston was right and Luke immediately cuts him off and tells him to not even think that that guy could be right. Luke tells him that kissing Maddie was wrong and that Noah needs to figure out why he did it, and that his dad is a bigot. Also Win lied to him his entire life. Luke wants Noah to prove that the man who put him in the wheelchair is not the same man that’s in front of him. It may take time, but time is all they’ve got. What awesome scenes. Another episode that shows us that they have great chemistry. And even Luke kissing Noah’s hand. Good stuff.

On Friday we have no Luke and Noah, but a little more goodbye with Maddie, this time with Will and Gwen. Those scenes were pretty nice. You could easily tell if you hadn't been watching long how close they were. Nice and heartfelt as they were with Henry and Vienna.

I have to say as far as Maddie’s goodbye goes, I was overall pretty dissatisfied. Yes, her farewell scenes with Will, Gwen, Henry, and Vienna were good. But I was for the most part let down with the scenes with Luke and Noah, which were pretty much an implied good-bye and not a real true one. And there were absolutely none at all with Tom and Margo. For those who aren’t familiar with them, Maddie used to date their son, Casey Hughes, and she moved in with them for a while, but she had to leave after Margo caught her about to get hot and heavy with Casey on the couch. Despite that awkward moment, the three of them still had a pretty decent relationship, and Margo and Maddie really gained a bond as she helped her deal with Maddie’s rape and comforted her, and it really came from something since Margo was also raped when she was younger. And for the writers and show runners to have absolutely NO farewell scenes with Tom and Margo considering how they were basically a second family to her… in my eyes, that was the biggest disappointment about her final couple of episodes. And let’s not forget Kim from WOAK. Maddie was an intern there very recently. None with her either. Just something else the powers that be need to work on. Well, actually, they need to work on trying to keep all the good actors they can first. I mean after all, the only reason Alexandra was even let go was because they couldn’t find a story for her. They least they could have done were to have come up with better, and more goodbye scenes.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

It's Password... It's Million Dollar Password!

According to this recent Variety article, it looks like Fremantle is planning on reviving another Goodson-Todman classic game show; this time it’s the word game Password. And that’s not all. The top prize is $1,000,000.

I have to say I’ve always wondered what a revival for this show would be like, and I have always been excited at the idea of a new version (after all, Password is my second favorite game show of all-time, right after Pyramid). The host for it will be Regis Philbin. I can’t see a problem with that. Regis is an experienced host, and I think he’ll do a good job of entertaining the audience as well as keeping the game rolling at a proper pace.

One thing I am worried about is the million dollar factor. The contestants are supposedly betting all their accumulated monies on the million dollar bonus round. But it’s not necessarily the money amount itself that has me worried, though I do think that a million is a bit high for this show. It’s the fear that the people behind it will make the show gimmicky and have it be all about the million and nothing more, and that the game will be an afterthought. Believe me, I love it when the stakes are high as much as anyone, but I honestly feel that $50,000-$100,000 is tension enough. In fact, I think this show screams “syndicate me” much more over “big, huge money value high-stakes network show.”

Some folks have stressed the fact that there aren’t many good celebrities out there for a show like this. To that I have to say that I personally do not care who they get to play as long as they know how to play the game decently. They don’t have to be "A-list" stars. Lack of the most famous people possible has never stopped me from enjoying celebrity based game shows in the past so that won’t be a problem for me now. Of course, the little fanboi that’s in me will squeal in delight if they pick Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles of Supernatural, America Ferrera of Ugly Betty, or Chandra Wilson from Grey’s Anatomy. But truthfully, as long as they are careful and wise in choosing the stars, I will be content. There is only one person in which I think their appearance on this revival is an absolute must, and that is none other than Betty White. If Fremantle and CBS are reading this, please get her. Seriously. Not only was her late husband Allen Ludden, “Mr. Password” himself, but this is also someone who is a loyal friend and true to the game show community, especially to Password.

If they don’t half-ass any of the main game or bonus formats I think they’ll be just fine. I still have my doubts about the million dollar part of it all, but I think it can be pulled off if the game is treated with respect. Please don't pull a Card Sharks '01 on us, Fremantle!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

As The World Turns: Yay, they're boyfriends!

So happy! Luke and Noah are now boyfriends! Whoo! Though it was still a rather bumpy road towards the end. Here’s a synopsis for the past three episodes.

Dusty shows up again at the hospital and confronts Holden and again someone is trying to tell Holden that nobody knew Winston was a murderer right away. He also tells Holden not to take it out on Lily but him, so Holden decked him. Now I admit I’m really not the biggest Dusty fan you’ll find (though the writers have managed to make me appreciate him more as of late), but for Holden to punch him like that really wasn’t called for. I know that the Lily/Dusty/Holden trio has had an awkward history, but now is not the time for him to be thinking about the past. If it wasn’t for Dusty jumping whackjob Daddie in Luke’s room, Daddie would have succeeded in trying to kill Luke with that needle, and heaven knows Lily would have gotten hurt too. Look at the Colonel’s track record. If someone is trying to stop him at doing whatever, he’ll do whatever it takes to stop said person and keep his plan moving, no matter what happens to them. I’m not expecting Holden to hold Dusty’s hand so they can then break into a chorus of Kumbaya, but at the same time you’d think he’d be a bit grateful considering the circumstances. Though I am glad to hear that he doesn’t blame Lily for all of this.

Poor Noah. Poor, poor Noah. Seriously. He’s still reeling with what has just happened to him. And after stealing a bottle of alcohol at Fairwinds after talking to Dusty about Cheri, he finds Maddie. And Maddie tries to make him feel better. Okay, the two of them would never work as a couple for obvious reasons, but the other thing they have in common is that they do have psycho family members (i.e. her sister Eve, the slasher). Noah drunkenly kisses Maddie and is briefly back to that warped logic of dear ol’ Daddie’s about how he needs a woman to be a real man. Thankfully Maddie breaks the kiss and talks some sense back into him. She misses what they had, but at the same time knows it can’t work and knows that he wants Luke. But Noah still blames himself and thinks Luke wouldn’t want to be seen with him. During this time, we also meet Luke’s physical therapist, Bert. Luke really feels that without Noah, nothing can be done to make him feel better, and he’s losing his will to live. Bert wants to help Luke’s negative attitude, so he turns to his “secret weapon” - Lily. She calls Dusty obviously to get Noah. Thankfully after running into Dusty at Fairwinds before deciding that he wants to leave town, Noah finally decides to make it to the hospital to see Luke. Lily’s with Luke while he’s sleeping and Noah walks in with Dusty. Luke wakes up and sees Noah and asks to be alone with him. He asked Noah “what are you doing here?” and he freaks out for the first few seconds as a cue for him to leave. But Luke reassures him to stay. And they even hold hands! It was a really sweet moment.

Along comes Monday and we have more Luke/Noah scenes. And Noah even asks him “How can you look at me and not see the man who put you here?” Luke again reassures him that it‘s not his fault, and they are going to be boyfriends regardless of what’s happened. It may take time and it was even brought up that they may not be able to be intimate with each other for a long while. But that doesn’t matter, they are both willing and wanting to be together. They really do love each other. Yay! The resolution to everything was really nice and comforting, especially after all the chaos in the past week or so. And of course we have Holden giving Lily the third degree at Emma’s kitchen about getting Noah to come. By this point I was really just shouting expletives at my television set at Holden due to my frustration considering the fact that Noah actually did WANT to go, he just thought Luke wouldn’t care to see him and he really just needed a firm nudge. Lily didn’t act on her own. His arguments don’t even make sense. Does he even CARE that Noah could help out in the recovery of his son?! Exasperated sigh… why is this character being written like this?!

There are two things I really wish would be different about this storyline, and they’re are pretty much the same things I’ve addressed before previously.

For one, I really wish that Holden was being written better. I’ve said my reasoning in an older post.

Secondly, I still hate the idea of lack of character intersection. I wish that Lucinda would be in this storyline more. And while I was happy that she was on Friday, at the same time I was a bit disappointed that there have been no scenes with she and Luke in the hospital. She is one of the few character that really helps make him smile. Her, Faith, and Noah. And I could have really imagined some great potential with seeing her and Noah talking about things before he came out, and her encouraging him right along with Dusty and Maddie for him to high-tail it to the hospital to see Luke. And then we have friends Will and Gwen, as well as Brad and Jack were in the hospital the same time as Luke and didn’t visit him once. From research since I don’t remember a lot of the early years of this show with much detail, As The World Turns is supposed to be a family-heavy and friendly interactive show, and the powers that be had the perfect opportunity to have the characters intersect with each other more. I mean, Will Munson is supposed to be Luke’s friend, so the few scenes they’ve shared together since Luke came out to him don’t make much sense.

And again, as far as the show goes, I really wish the rest of the storylines were as engaging as Luke and Noah’s. The Carly one I thought was going pretty good despite the position of a certain character until recently. Maura West still rocks as far as acting goes, but I’ve noticed that this is one the biggest problems that head writer Jean Passanante has. There are few (and good Lord in heaven, I stress the word “few” VERY strongly) storylines that have had potential, but they are not executed properly. For example, J.J.’s kidnapping. And the problem I had with that is that eventually it just drug out way longer than it should have, with Jack, Carly, and J.J. going through obstacle after obstacle. Carly almost drowning in the quicksand (which really looked like a disgusting combination of oatmeal and dirty dishwater that hadn’t been changed in about three weeks) was the major nosedive as far as that went for me. It just got way out of control. I honestly wouldn’t have been shocked that just as soon as Carly and J.J. escaped from the quicksand if they had to get out Star Wars light sabers so they could fight off a giant lizard. Gladly soon after one more bit with the kidnapper, it was finally over. And there was one point early in Luke and Noah’s story where I was so furious I almost gave up entirely, reason being Noah sleeping with Maddie in Branson and the fact that they were on once in a blue moon. Luckily for the most part, their story has improved in quality and they kept me sticking around. Then you have the character assassination as well. Don’t get me started on Adam Munson.

Today I know I don’t need to watch the first half because Paul/Craig/Meg/Rosanna seem to be the head of the show. The storyline is such a snooze fest I don’t even care about what happens to any of them. And then there is more Carly/Jack/Katie stuff. What does that say? I mean, seriously, I really wish that I could be interested in the whole show. I truly do. When only one storyline out of the four or five that they have going is interesting and makes me want to come back for more, that is just sad. And it’s not just me. There are a number of fans who only care about Luke and Noah’s storyline. They are the highest rated storyline on the show right now. Thanks to them, the ratings are going up. Last year when I first started watching again when Luke came out, I was easily able to warm up to most of the other characters on the show that were new to me, and their stories. A little over a year later, it is drastically different. It just goes to show how the quality of the show for the most part has changed over a matter of time, and not for the better.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Price Is Right: Drew Carey’s big debut!

Today marked a new era in television history, with the airing of the first show ever of new Price is Right host, Drew Carey.

I have to say that while I thought he was a little bit stiff at times and could have explained the rules better, he still managed to do an acceptable job. Drew did seem like he was having fun and was really nice with the contestants. I loved it when he said "The idea is not to hurt the yodel man" to the contestant playing Cliffhangers. I have to commend him though for his banter with the staff, and while I did respect most of Bob Barker's hosting abilities, one thing of his I could not stand was in the past several years that he constantly hurried the contestants every five minutes and really not in a pleasant way, even though sometimes a few of them deserved it. I think that hearing that often got grating though and I'm glad that is no longer happening. And the one time Drew did need to hurry someone, he was rather polite.

I'm not going to criticize Drew completely and with such full vigor this early though. I mean, come on, let's be fair. The viewing audience has been accustomed to Bob's hosting style on Price for 35 years. This is an extremely early show of Drew's that was taped and his first show that aired on television. I won't mind at all giving him a bit more time, a month at least. At least he's being himself and he's not being overly loud and acting as if he were the stereotypical Mr. Game Show.

As far as minor things go… I must say that I am loving the new set. I absolutely hated the cyan/pink scheme from the last several years of the Barker era. I thought it was pretty ugly especially with the glitter, and while I thought the colorful doors that were added in season 35 looked really nice and bright, at the same time, they did not match the turntable and game podiums.

I knew after watching a preview clip on YouTube that the “Come on Down” music arrangement was re-orchestrated, so I wasn’t surprised about that. But I was a little shocked at hearing the new main theme on the air. I have to admit that this is one thing that I would not have altered, but at the same time I have to give the person who made the decision to change it credit for just re-orchestrating it to make it more sound more modern, and not just taking the easy way out by just choosing to change it completely and replace it with some modern-esque techno garbage that repeats itself every few notes.

This is a rather minor thing to nitpick about, but I have to say I’m disappointed that the “Mark Goodson television production” spiel is now replaced with “A Fremantle Media production.” The MGP mention is one of the things that help kept the retro feeling of the show, and I must say that the Fremantle version just makes this practice redundant now since we’ll see their logo again in a few seconds.

As far as Drew goes, he is really in a no-win situation. First of all, you’re going to have a group of Price fans who are not even going to give this man a chance regardless whether or not he’s doing a decent job and won‘t even watch (and I admit, years ago I would have easily been a big part of this group). And secondly, Drew is also trying to be himself, and some other folks will be saying “Well, he’s not handling One Away the same way Bob did” and are expecting the man to be a Bob Barker clone. Now I agree that finally seeing a new host on the air is a pretty big shock and it’s going to take a little getting used to some of the new surroundings. But I advise people who are still uneasy to give the guy more than one chance. It really could have been much worse. Fremantle could have done what they’ve done to other game shows in the recent past (Match Game and Card Sharks immediately come to mind), and could have turned the show into a complete disaster and trash the previous eras' legacies by trying to modernize them. This is a real early show of Drew’s and the first one the viewing audience saw. I’m pretty confident he’ll get better as time goes by. I urge people to please try and be patient.

Days of our Lives: The Devil Made Me Blog It

I was pretty excited when I heard SOAPnet will be airing three special episodes of Days of our Lives in honor of Halloween on the 28th. They are from probably one of the most infamous storylines in the show’s history: the Marlena possession storyline. And not just any possession, my friends. Marlena Evans here was possessed by the devil, ol' Satan himself. Here are the episode descriptions:

9PM: Episode #1995-7528 (OAD 5/12/95) Kristen is on to Marlena who morphs into a panther and also has Shawn attacked by a swarm of bees.

10PM: Episode #1995-7531 (OAD 5/17/95) After her loved ones see Marlena levitate and then interact with her as the devil, it's decided an exorcism is needed.

11PM: Episode #1995-7570 (OAD 7/18/95) With her friends and family thinking Marlena's dead, John fights the devil for her soul and brings her back.

Now after reading these, I immediately realized who the head writer was at the time, none other than James E. Reilly. I mean, considering the bizarre storylines that have come from Passions and his style of writing, there’s really no other person in my eyes in the soap opera writing business that could have come up with any more out-of-this-world type drama. As much as I’m looking forward to seeing these episodes for nostalgic purposes, I have to admit I’m a bit cringe-worthy now that I’ve seen the summaries. I was also surprised to find out that this storyline managed to last one year. And considering the quality of Mr. Reilly’s work, particularly on Passions, I couldn’t believe that he had a second run on Days; coming up with another infamous storyline, Melaswen in 2004 (that’s New Salem spelled backwards), where a bunch of characters who were believed to be murdered were actually wound up stranded on an island. I’ve heard mostly mixed reviews about the Possession era, but I know a lot of fans were turned off by Melaswen, and some haven’t come back since.

There are many soap fans who loathe this man. I myself really can’t say I’m a big fan of his work either. I admit after I managed to get over my anger with NBC for canceling Sunset Beach, I gave his creation Passions a try and did manage to enjoy it for the first 3 years. Then after that, I got sick of it. Basically because the plots were going nowhere fast, the dialogue became very repetitive, and while I'd try to tune back in a couple of times, nothing kept me hooked and made me want to stay. Also there were many instances where we finally thought something major was happening, only to find out the big revelation was a dream. That gets really annoying if it happens repeatedly. And when you stop caring about your favorite characters and/or couples, that is really not a good sign. I wasn’t sad to see it leave NBC. It was nowhere near Another World or even Sunset Beach quality, but I did enjoy it in the start, and he really managed to defecate on his own creation overtime. He also wrote Beach for a while, and after reading some of the plot synopses for that show to refresh my memory, I can take a safe bet and easily guess which ones he was responsible for.

As for the Days marathon, I do have to thank SOAPnet for airing a marathon that is well planned out and has something to do with the genre. This is another network that earlier this year has become known for airing things that don’t fit the purpose of the channel (case in point: The Fashionista Diaries), and for a while dumping traditional soap programming either entirely (which was the case with Another World) or to weekends only (Ryan‘s Hope and Port Charles), and making several other unfavorable schedule changes only to change a lot of them back. So I have to say this was a really nice surprise. It seems they can have a marathon of classic Days and the ABC soaps when they can, examples including: Days’ 40th anniversary, General Hospital’s Luke and Laura special marathon, the classic All My Children marathon that aired back in 2005, and the Ryan’s Hope marathon on St. Patrick’s Day a couple or so years back. I hope we get to see more classic stuff like this in the future. They’ve got a vast library of ABC shows that go back to the early if not mid-late ‘70’s at least, and from what is known, every episode of Days of our Lives exists in full. They also air The Young and the Restless, but considering how CBS won’t allow GSN to air any classic episodes of The Price Is Right, and according to a Soap Opera Digest article earlier this year they also won’t let AOL put older episodes of As The World Turns and Guiding Light on the Procter & Gamble classic soaps page. So I doubt we’ll see SOAPnet air any classic Y&R, at least for a while. I hope I’m wrong and that we see a marathon someday. I’d think they’d be able to make a deal with Sony but I can’t say for sure. I advise for SOAPnet to please use some of the classic episodes available more in the future when special occasions arise. Thanksgiving or Christmas would be an absolute perfect time to have one.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

As The World Turns: Bye-Bye, Daddie!

It looks like Wednesday, October 10 was the last day we saw Colonel Winston Mayer on the streets of Oakdale wreaking any havoc amongst any of its citizens.

Before Daddie Dearest finally got hauled off to the slammer on Wednesday, he figured he had to do one more act “out of love” for Noah. And good heavens, this guy sets one foot on the set and ALREADY I’m creeped out. He snuck into Luke's hospital room and tried to tamper with his IV. The nurse caught him the first time but apparently he thought he could try again. Luke wakes up slightly and sees him in the room holding a needle... as soon as he starts to do anything Lily catches him and tries to stop him, then he even tries to hurt her. And I know he would have done that too if he had the chance.. but then our resident superhero Dusty saves the day and jumps Winston from behind, punching him, telling Lily to leave, and stopping him from doing anymore damage to our already hurt Luke. Not bad for someone who was just shot in the chest and almost bled to death, huh? This is it for Daddie, his goose is now cooked. We find out from Bob that what he tried to put in Luke's IV was a sedative that would have caused him to possibly stop breathing. Later on Luke wakes up fully and with a little help is reminded of what happened. And sadly later on he can't feel his legs or toes. It looks like he's been paralyzed from the waist down.

And Noah yesterday… wow. What a major blow. Not only does he know his dad tried to kill Luke, but at the Oakdale police station Margo tells him that his dear ol’ dad also killed his mother Cheri Love (a.k.a. Charlene Wilson). Not only was he led to believe that she was dead for this long, but she was actually alive all this time up until he killed her. Finally when Win arrives at the station after being confronted at the hospital, he sees Noah and Noah obviously confronts him about what he’s done. Can you believe that Winston had the gall to defend what he did?! All “I didn’t want you knowing your mother was a whore!” Then when Luke is brought up, Noah asked what did he ever do to him, and that all he did was care for him. Then we get the third degree from Win talking about how WRONG and IMMORAL it was for them to like each other that way. And you bet your life I was cheering Noah on when he told off the handcuffed Colonel saying “I don’t think people who commit murder get to decide what’s immoral!” Oh, and Winston… ever heard of the phrase “You have the right to remain silent?” Moron. But you got to feel bad for Noah. He feels he’s got no one, and even though Dusty tried to tell him he’s not responsible for anything he feels as such anyway. He couldn’t even go into Luke’s hospital room. And today it looks like he’ll be hitting the bottle. Just sad.

For the most part I’ve mentioned all the good parts about this up until now, but I do have to say one thing that disappoints me about what’s happening with this storyline is what it’s doing to Holden and Lily’s relationship. I really don’t like how the powers that be are writing Holden. On numerous occasions since last Friday when he became more involved in it, I’ve gotten so frustrated with how he’s practically blaming Lily for this whole mess. And it just makes me wish I could reach into the television and slap him around a couple of times. It’s interesting, since like I mentioned previously she stayed out of the Cheri murder investigation per his request. And Dusty also told her to stay out of it. When Lily came across Dear OlDaddie at Fairwinds, she had no clue yet that he was a murderer. If you didn’t know of his recent crime spree, you wouldn’t either. You’d still be creeped out by his presence, but you wouldn’t know that. She probably thought that he was just some old-fashioned, traditional and stuffy guy who’s a big homophobe, has issues with Noah, and is fearful that being with someone out like Luke would wind up giving him a case of “the gay.” And she could even relate to him a little since just last year she had her own issues and worries when Luke came out. Of course she wasn‘t psycho, but she was a bit freaked. She didn’t find out that Winston shot anyone until after he, Luke, and Noah left for their trip when Dusty stumbled up to the Snyder farm and said who shot him. I can understand his being upset over her being secretive of her addiction to the diet pills and hiding them, and giving Jade all that money without talking to him first (even though that was HER money to begin with), but to have the attitude that it’s her fault that all of this happened, and not even hugging her or holding her hand at Al’s Diner or at the hospital when she’s in such a vulnerable state is just inexcusable. I mean seriously, he can’t hug her or hold her hand for ten seconds?! And I know if I were Lily, by now I would have told him where he can get off and to grow up. Holden, your son is paralyzed after a deranged psycho hurt him. You know Lily wouldn’t do anything intentionally to hurt her children. Put all that petty mess aside for a little while and be there for your wife and sort the other stuff out later. Seriously. Your son is in the hospital. Suck it up for a bit and stop acting like a six-year-old child. As my senior language arts teacher Ms. Angert always liked to say, “Get the underwear out from being wedged so far in your crack!”

This may be the last time I get to bash Colonel Winston Mayer, so I would just like to again congratulate Daniel Hugh-Kelly on what a good job he did at this role. It's been the longest since I've hated a fictional character this much. Really it has. The others did a good job as well. I always think that Grayson McCouch is a pretty good actor when he's not fainting. Van and Jake did a great job too. Both characters were in such heartbreaking scenarios, and I felt for them so much, so I know they did their jobs well.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Deal or No Deal: How the Mighty Have Fallen

I’ve just been going through a few old game show tapes, and on a couple of them they contain a few episodes of a current prime time game show I once loved, Deal or No Deal. Ugh, where do I begin?

First of all, NBC chose to make the mistake of airing this show 2 and 3 times a week, starting around the time the show premiered. And if they know from ABC’s experience with the first American version of Millionaire, choosing to air a first-run show in prime time more than once a week usually doesn’t work out too well. People got sick of it. I know I did. For me, first it was like “ooh, Deal or No Deal, gotta watch. Can’t forget to tape Monday, Wednesday and Friday!” Then it just became harder to keep up with the episodes, since other stuff comes on prime time too that I’d like to watch, and it started to become more of a chore to handle instead of appointment television that’s supposed to be fun.

And then there's the biggest reason of all for me to become tired of the show. How it’s become a caricature of itself by having every episode go above and beyond by having something special on it. And you know, it’s funny. I am someone who almost never gets annoyed and has the attitude of "forget all this mess and special episode crap" or "stop talking and just get to the game already!" I have a very high patience level when it comes to stuff like this. I’m often known to defend, say, Bert Convy, who a number of people seemed to have thought he treated Super Password much too relaxed, or when things happen on that version of the show that may eat up the game time a little. I love the concept of special weeks. Say for example, “teachers week” or “Christmas Week.” I love the concept when said weeks aren’t misused and done frequently. But on Deal they've heavily abused the idea of the special concept episode. I can understand having a special theme or holiday show every now and then, but Deal or No Deal can just go way too far. Nine times out of ten on this show when something “special” or “memorable” take place, it just winds up being cheesy and melodramatic and the show will wind up looking like something Ringling Bros. produced. They’ve done just about everything under the sun. They’ve even played the game on someone’s front lawn. Now I just cringe slightly when I see a promo, because if NBC’s not spoiling the outcome of the episode, eight times out of ten we’ll see what kooky theme they’ll have cooked up for the next show. When the show becomes more about “What bizarre theme are we gonna do next?” instead of playing and watching the game, you know you’ve got a problem.

Also let's not forget that you’ve got contestants who for the most part fit every stereotype imaginable. It’s like they pick them for that reason alone. Screaming at the top of their lungs over every little thing. Them, and their family members and/or best friends, or whoever. I mean, for half of season two I was just waiting for normal acting people to be on, not folks who acted like they had about eighteen cups of coffee before the taping of their episode. I was begging for good ol’ Joe Schmoe from Boise, Idaho, just to be DULL. That’s how bad it had gotten for me. You know it's not good if you're wanting a contestant to be boring. Eventually I just gave up watching the show entirely.

I can just imagine it now. If I were ever a contestant on this show, they’d probably find out I am a soap opera fan. So when the going gets tough, instead of being normal and offering me cash, instead they’ll offer me $100,000 worth of body wash personally delivered to me by All My Children veteran actress Susan Lucci. Not that I’m trying to trash Ms. Lucci, but please NBC, enough is enough! Just give me the game already! It’s why I prefer the British version miles over ours. For them, the emotion and the tension can stay in the game without them being over-the-top and out of control. And it’s perfect for me, because I love emotion and tension-filled moments on game shows, and their version is a perfect example of them showing how both elements can be brought out in a game show for us to see, and in a normal fashion.

Yeah, there's a reason I haven't watched a full episode in over a year. When DVD conversion time comes, I’ve got nearly 30 episodes on tape that I’ll just give away because I won’t care to look at them ever again. The Power of 10 and 1 vs. 100 have been the appointment game shows I’ve been watching in prime time.

Thumbs Up to GSN's Promotions Department

Today I would like to give major kudos to the GSN promotions department.

Finally as I watch the programming on the network, I start to see a couple more promos which promote more than half of the entire schedule.

The first promo for the daytime line-up is called "Rayburn's Eleven" and include the hosts of the shows that are seen each weekday. Including Chuck Woolery (Love Connection), Bob Eubanks (The Newlywed Game), Monty Hall (Let's Make A Deal), Peter Tomarken (Press Your Luck), Bert Convy (Super Password), Jim Perry (Card Sharks), Alex Trebek (Jeopardy!), Allen Ludden (Password Plus), Richard Dawson & Ray Combs (Family Feud), and Gene Rayburn (Match Game). All hosts and their respective shows air from 9 AM-3:30 PM. It's a pretty imaginative way to promote things, and the only inconsistency I find is that in about two weeks, they'll be airing Password Plus episodes featuring Tom Kennedy. But other than that, very good job.

The second promo for daytime is called "The Four Hour Happy Hour" and features the shows of the 3-7 PM block which mostly contain modern or original series from GSN. Including Chain Reaction, Whammy!, That's The Question, Lingo, To Tell The Truth with John O'Hurley, and Karn Family Feud. The only oldie is the Dawson version of the Feud. Notice Dawson is in both ads.

I'll admit it right now. GSN's version of Chain Reaction, Whammy!, and Karn Feud don't exactly put me in a gleeful mood, and by 3 PM my TV is on Guiding Light. Though I am glad they're realizing that people watch more than what is on prime time. The promos for the prime time shows and the Playmania block can seem endless. I agree prime time is the most important and the word has to get out there, so I'm not against promoting prime time programming. But I've always thought that all of the schedule should be promoted, especially during line-up overhauls. I mean, what's the point of them making major schedule changes if they're not announced over-the-air? If it wasn't for the Internet, people would never know. And plenty of people who aren't regulars to GSN's website but regular to the network will be going "What the hell?!" when they tune in looking for their favorite shows.

I've always wanted to see the shows be promoted individually like GSN's done in the past, but what we see now is certainly an improvement.

Monday, October 8, 2007

You're a mean one, Colonel Mayer...

You really are a heel.... okay, I guess I'm getting into the Christmas spirit a little too early. Well, here we go, on to the point of the latest Luke/Noah featured episodes of As The World Turns. And yes, more Winston Mayer hating. Oh, come on, join in! You know you want to!

Light bulbs go off in Maddie and Henry's heads about how the Colonel had such a quick change of heart about Noah. There's something about him they don't trust. Now normally in a situation like this, the parent(s) involved are sane, and even though it may take time for some to deal with it, there's usually and thankfully no real need to question why they'd accept their kid's sexuality so quickly. But in this case since the parent in question is a complete loon, uh, yeah, something's off.

Meanwhile, most of the Snyder clan are at the farm for a dinner, Noah included. I love seeing Noah and Luke together. I really don't think I can go on without sounding like an ├╝ber-obsessed fanboi, other than to say that Van and Jake have amazing chemistry and they're really cute together. This is where Colonel Mayer invites Luke and Noah on a fishing trip. It may seem like fun, but that's not what the Colonel has in mind.

On the day of the trip, Maddie sees Luke and tries to warn him that something's not right about about the Colonel. Not because of her little bit of jealousy, but because she was a little too cool about Noah. Luke asking "what are the chances of something like that happening?" And cut to dear ol' dad... shining a rifle ready for our unsuspecting Luke.

Meanwhile a staggering/breakdancing Dusty (work on the fainting, Grayson, please) shows up
at the Snyder farm in real bad shape due to him being shot and tells Lily that Winston was the one who shot him. Holden is there and they get into an argument of how they could possibly have known more if Lily hadn't been so secretive about it, all the while chewing her out, not even bothering to mention the conversation that he and Maddie had earlier about Win. And on today's episode at the campsite, still hadn't brought it up. Not to mention she wound up trying to stay out of the murder investigation (up until now for a little bit she was out of town), LIKE HE ASKED. Dude, your son and his boyfriend are in the hands of a psycho. Now's really not the time to play the ol' blame game. And then that nasty look he gave Noah at the hospital... like it's NOAH'S fault his dad is bonkers... even if he didn't mean it, that wasn't cool. I'm real disappointed with that. Can someone seriously give him his dose of Midol already?

You know something? There are almost no adjectives left to describe my opinion of Colonel Winston Mayer. Creepy is... calling him creepy is being nice. Poisonous spiders and cockroaches are creepy. This man is just... this man has no decorum. He's got no heart or soul in him to even CONSIDER hurting Luke like he did after such a heartfelt showing of emotion that Noah showed him. He's probably all hollow inside. You can't help but feel really bad for Noah. I mean, you can't blame the guy for wanting to believe that his dad really wanted to accept him for who he is (who wouldn't?), and he's ready to stop lying to himself and everyone else, and despite what a whack job his father is, this is why I was so happy he came out and he was happier about who he is. It's sad knowing that his dad isn't as cool about it has he says, but it's nice seeing him be happy for once, albeit brief. And when he finds out what Daddie Dearest has been up to (not only trying to kill Luke but also him succeeding in murdering Cheri, and attempting to murder Dusty), any remaining guilt about not making him feel completely proud of him for who he is will fly out the window and go far away. Too bad that right now that his dad is his only family (hopefully this will take an old-fashioned soapy direction and we'll find out someone else was his real father all along; no one deserves this cretin for a father). It'll be hard for Noah to take everything in, but I can't wait for any guilt to go bye-bye. Daddie is so warped he doesn't deserve anyone feeling guilty due to him. It's one thing to want the best for your son, but what he's done is just beyond bizarre, this is just sick.

The outdoor scenes were well done and well filmed. Especially the Luke/Winston struggle and Noah's reaction to everything. Poor Noah... Jake was really good at showing how Noah's world just crashed and exploded before his very eyes. Again the acting never failed to impress me. The intensity and emotion were all there. I reiterate: why can't 95% of the other storylines be this good?