Monday, May 26, 2008

Remembering Dick Martin

Dick Martin (1922-2008)

Hollywood lost yet another legend over the weekend, this time, 86-year-old comedian and director Dick Martin, best known for his work on the classic series, Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, with his show business partner Dan Rowan.

Unfortunately, I’m not all that familiar with Laugh-In. I’ve seen many clips of the show but I’ve never gotten the chance to see a full episode. And what I have seen, I have enjoyed. I’m still hoping a network will air this again someday.

On the other hand I am very familiar with his game show work. And particularly, what's known as arguably his most memorable moment in that industry, which occurred on Password Plus in 1980. Of course, it’s this one, the France-for-French moment. What a lark that was. And it was always fun seeing him on Super Password or Match Game. I also actually enjoyed him on Mindreaders and I wish the show ran longer than it did. I’m also familiar with some of his sitcom work.

I’ve seen him on The Bob Newhart Show and Newhart and I noticed he directed a number of episodes of each show. He also guest starred on The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, The Nanny, Diagnosis Murder, 3rd Rock From the Sun, as well as numerous other series.

Nothing else much to say except what a sad loss for Hollywood, and my thoughts are with his family and friends.

Password: The Classic Versions

In honor of Million Dollar Password coming next week and since GSN’s only airing Password Plus and Super Password episodes for their marathon, last weekend I thought it’d be nice to pull out some of my episodes of the original CBS version and the two or three I have from the ABC era.

I must say, while the game play is always an important part of the show, and there were some great players on the show… Tony Randall, Elizabeth Montgomery, Betty White… some of the time I enjoyed the show simply for the guests who were there. What a treat it was to have veteran actor Jimmy Stewart on, Carol Channing is always a laugh on these types of shows. There was also Dick Van Dyke, Carol Burnett, Anne Bancroft, Robert Goulet, Jack Paar, Jack Benny, Diahann Carroll, Darren McGavin… just so many fun celebrities to look forward to. And seeing the episodes again, I couldn’t help but notice how lenient the lightning round was… if you blew a word by either saying it or giving more than one word clues on later versions of the show, you were screwed, either by having $1,000 be deducted for every illegal clue on Password Plus, or blowing your chances for the big money entirely on Super Password.

And I had fun watching the 1971 episode that GSN first aired around a year and a half ago with Jack Klugman and the late, great Brett Somers. Considering the fate of the ABC version, whenever I see the episode guide for it, I get a bit annoyed. There were so many great celebrities on this version. Mary Tyler Moore, Elizabeth Montgomery, Mel Torme, Adam West, Larry Blyden, Ed Asner… and there were occasions where both Betty White and Monty Hall sub-hosted. Betty White’s mom also played. It’s things like this that make me hate the old practice of recording over and discarding of tapes.

As far as the new version goes, after hearing how the show’s going to be handled, a big part of me feels right now that for me it’ll be like Donny Osmond’s version of Pyramid in the sense that I’ll pretty much be enjoying this revival for the host and the celebrities a lot more.

WGN's Retro Week

Great news for classic TV fans, especially fans 1970’s shows, because a few of them will be airing in primetime on WGN Superstation from 8-10 PM ET during the first week of June.

Monday, June 2nd features Mary Tyler Moore, and it’s the night I’m looking forward to the most. Tuesday, June 3rd features Barney Miller. Wednesday, June 4th will have Taxi. The Sweathogs will be seen on Thursday June 5th on Welcome Back, Kotter. And Friday June 6th will feature WKRP in Cincinnati.

I for one cannot wait for this. The 1970’s is my favorite decade of television and I love many of the shows from that time period, and unfortunately I don’t get American Life, so I haven’t had the chance to see Mary Tyler Moore and WKRP in Cincinnati in reruns since the TVLand airings. And I haven’t seen much of Taxi in many years. Word has it that there will be more classic TV coming to WGN, but it’s not known as to what classics in particular and when. You know, when I read that changes were coming to this network, I honestly cringed. Too many networks have changed for the worse in my eyes in the past three to four years, so I’m glad to finally have another network that will have some kind of classic feel to it, since there aren’t that many that are that easily accessible these days.

The only thing I wonder now is what other shows could be coming. I hope Mary Tyler Moore becomes a regular mainstay on the schedule at some point. I know for me that it’d be really nice to see more of the final three seasons of the run since Fox doesn’t seem to give a crap about this show on DVD anymore, which I find to be a shame for two reasons. One, you’d think they’d at least try to release season 5 since that has the episode “Chuckles Bites The Dust,” which is the most popular and well-known episode of the entire series. And secondly, they’ve seemed to have done such a good job with the DVD’s they have released. I only have season 1 right now but I’ve heard such good reviews about seasons 2-4 and I‘ll be ready to get them when I get some more extra money… ugh, I‘m so behind on my TV on DVD buying. I’m also betting Soul Train will stay on WGN since they’re still showing ‘70’s and ‘80’s episodes, which is good for those people who are fans but don’t have a local station that airs the show anymore.

One thing that should be pointed out is that the Retro Week will not be airing locally on WGN CW 9 in Chicago, it’ll only on the nationwide Superstation feed. However, that shouldn’t be a big loss for Chicago viewers since that area has MeTV.

The CW: Fall 2008 Schedule

Here it is, the CW's prime-time schedule for the fall 2008 season:

8 PM Gossip Girl
9 PM One Tree Hill

8 PM 90210
9 PM Surviving the Filthy Rich

8 PM America's Next Top Model
9 PM Stylista

8 PM Smallville
9 PM Supernatural

8 PM Everybody Hates Chris
8:30 PM The Game
9 PM America's Next Top Model rerun


I cannot tell a lie: I am really not psyched at all about The CW. Honestly, if it weren’t for Supernatural, One Tree Hill, Smallville, and Reaper, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be watching this network at all. I must admit, I am not a fan of televised wrestling these days, but I really don’t think it’s smart to get rid of one of their highest rated shows. But then again, the person in charge is the same person that got rid of Everwood so 7th Heaven could have another season that it desperately didn’t need. And Reba would have been cancelled if it wasn’t for a syndication deal, despite the fact that it was The WB’s highest rated sitcom. So I can’t say I’m not that surprised to hear that they’re getting rid of another high rated show.

As for the shows I do watch, I’m ready and eager for season 4 of Supernatural. That is my favorite current television series, and boy was the season 3 finale one hell of a cliffhanger. And I’ve heard that this will be the last season for One Tree Hill. I wouldn’t say season 5 was the show’s best season, but despite that I say let’s see if Dan can cheat death for the umpteenth time. Has anyone else noticed how much that show loves to play with that character’s life at the end of a season? Smallville will be gone too after this fall. And I don’t feel too psyched about Smallville’s last season after hearing Michael Rosenbaum is leaving the show. Kristen Kreuk’s departure to me won’t be that big a loss, but how can you have Smallville without Lex Luthor? I’m not a huge fan of Reaper but it has grown on me a lot, despite the fact that the Sock character still annoys me. I’m glad to see Bret Harrison get another shot at a series and I enjoy seeing him on it. I'm a bit disappointed though that we won't be seeing a full season of it. That's not coming back until mid season.

Despite my love for the four shows I’ve mentioned, this network is a perfect example of something in my eyes that wasn’t broken and doesn’t need fixing. The WB and UPN should have never merged. Ever.

ATWT: Coincidence? I think not.

Tuesday, May 20th:

Wow, I have to say that it’s certainly nice to see Noah going out to see Luke instead of the opposite. There HAD to have been something up. And I love you, Noah, but I’m sorry, there is no way in hell that lost letter being in Ameera’s possession is coincidental. There’s just no freakin’ way. And what happened to Noah now becoming suspicious of Ameera? Luke’s still onto Ameera of course, so we finally get a friend of Lucinda’s to investigate.

I freaking loved the kiss on this episode. It’s about time this show really got my heart going and in the end there was some sort of payoff in the end. I don’t even care if they were interrupted this time. I’m just glad their lips actually touched and stayed on each other for more than two seconds. I laughed when Noah got annoyed and was all like “What the hell?”. He’s as pissed off as we are that he can’t get any right now.

Wednesday, May 21st:

So Colonel Nutjob has escaped from jail… oh, Lordy. Ameera’s gone too. Coincidence? I think not. I actually agree with Noah when he says she was taken by the Colonel. Of course she was. I don’t know about kidnapping though. I mean she surely didn’t look that scared when she left with him. I can still see why Luke’s suspicious. They had some sort of secret all this time, and she‘s been going behind her back to talk to Winston. Then we get the “frantic” phone call from Ameera in New York, which really didn’t sound frantic at all to me.

Another kiss in a span of two days. Right when the scene called for it too. I’m still not that psyched about this storyline but I am loving it that they’re kissing again and we can actually SEE it. Please, keep the gay kisses coming!

Friday, May 23rd:

Aww, Noah, don’t you know? If you’re involved, Luke’s involved. I agree with Noah’s sentiment about how he doesn’t want anything else bad happening to Luke, but at the same time he at least could have told him that he was going to New York. And wow, Noah is on the STREET. I know cell phone service can really blow sometimes, but come on, show, you could have at least made that a little more believable. And wow, Coyle is involved in this whole scheme. I should have known the second he started to get suspicious about Noah being in New York.

Okay, now it does look a bit like Ameera’s not necessarily consenting in this completely. Still not a coincidence that they’re working together. Ugh, I know Daniel Hugh-Kelly is doing a good job still, just the sight of him as the Colonel creeps me out. And it may be true after all that the Colonel was nice in Iraq, but his behavior with Noah and just in general in the states negates all of that. And I thought Ameera was supposed to be drugged? Guess that didn’t last long. Either way, she heard at least 95% of that phone conversation between the Col. and Coyle and that probably will come back to bite him in the rear.

Now as for when Luke meets Noah in New York… of course, I love seeing Luke and Noah walk arm in arm, but they were just too happy for me in that scene and that ending really didn’t make that much sense to me.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

ATWT: Ameera, we're on to you...

Monday, May 12th:

I surely saw this coming eventually. It was just a matter of time before Ameera got caught by either Luke or Noah. And you just gotta love Ameera’s attitude. Luke being irrational? Girlfriend, please! We all know you’re up to something!

That line from Noah during the Old Towne scene where he said to Luke “I think you’re a little paranoid of my father” was just so wrong. All this time since everything’s gone down, he’s done nothing but distance himself from his father because of what he’s done and what he’s capable of. This guy succeeded in killing his mother and almost killed his boyfriend. He hasn’t been able to forgive him for any of that. See, writers? See how that doesn’t work? Then we have Noah accusing Luke of being jealous and asking him if he’d be happy if he and Ameera got divorced. Um, of course! And how is Noah supposed to know what Ameera is like? He’s known her for how long. And speaking of Ameera… cut to her slinking behind them listening in. And that “because she’s my wife” crack… ugh writers, thanks so much for giving me another example of why I think plot-driven storylines suck.

While I cringed at that part of the show, I was actually pleasantly surprised at some of what came after. There was a bit of improvement. It’s about time that Lucinda and Luke share another scene. And writers, why oh WHY have you not had Lucinda, Luke and Noah share scenes together? It looks like that Noah by the end of this episode has FINALLY woken up and realized that something’s fishy about Ameera. I felt better when he confronted Ameera, especially where he says “I can’t even talk to you right now.” It’s about time that Ameera put on her pitiful little pouty face and Noah doesn’t even give it a second thought and leaves. And what’s more he’s out to follow Luke for a change. Thank you! And I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who saw the foreshadowing at the end when Noah said “Nothing’s gonna happen to me. I promise.” That’s just a sign something bad’s gonna happen.

Can’t say the rest of the show was that great. I mean, come on, Juicy Janet? Abbondanza! Shoot me. Please.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

ATWT: What a Difference a Day Makes

Tuesday, May 6th:

Oh, my God. Wow. This is probably the first time in at least over two months where I have actually enjoyed an entire first-run episode of As The World Turns. $100 says Jean Passanante did not write this day’s script. And what a shock, Luke and Noah’s scenes were not 30 second to 2 minute long snippets.

I still hate the fact that the writing is plot-driven and bi-polar. However, I did like the dialogue itself and I think it was very well acted, especially by Jake. I found that Jake really shined today as Noah. I really felt for him. The emotion was all there. And Colonel Nutjob has not changed one bit. I’m not surprised in the least when it came to that. It’s not okay to be gay, but getting your gay son to marry a woman for all the wrong reasons and murdering his mom and trying to murder his boyfriend is just A-OK. You just gotta love this man’s crackerjack sense of morality! I don’t blame Noah one bit for not forgiving him. Daniel Hugh-Kelly also owned this episode. Just brilliant acting today. Absolutely brilliant.

Though I do wish that for once when Ameera puts on her little poor pathetic sad face and leaves the room that Noah would not follow her. SO not buying her routine. How about following Luke when you get into an argument. Also, good heavens… what a creepy conversation between Winston and Ameera. She is up to something. At this rate I think she’s co-conspiring with Winston either by force or willingly. I only question it because of the disturbing as hell line delivered by Winston “are you still my girl?,” then there was that little bit about Ameera not trying to be disrespectful, so I’m not sure. I’m still not an overall fan of it, but right now has to be the first time where I’ve actually garnered any pure interest in where this storyline is going next.

I also enjoyed the stuff with Casey and the stolen manuscripts. This is a type of story that in this day and age in soaps in my eyes is long past due to be seen again, instead of just resorting to the umpteenth triangle, quad, or story with an effed-up romantic pairing. It was nice to see some sort of investigation. My only beef is that it lasted two episodes. This is something that if written well enough to continue, could have lasted somewhat longer.

And, seriously, it’s insane how good already I find the show to be when it’s not centered around Katie, Carly (love her but she‘s been on my screen WAY too much in the past year, and the way she‘s been written in that time doesn‘t help matters), Brad, and now Liberty. Then the next day with those characters and the same ol‘ Paul, Sofie, Meg, and Mike business, I swear I had more fun getting cobwebs off my ceiling earlier in the day. What a difference a day makes.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Daytime Emmy Nominations: Game Shows

Here are the Daytime Emmy nominations this year for game shows:

Outstanding Game Show:
The Price Is Right
Cash Cab

Outstanding Game Show Host:
Pat Sajak, Wheel Of Fortune
Ben Bailey, Cash Cab
Alex Trebek, Jeopardy!

I’m excited about The Price is Right being nominated. You know, at first, since Bob was leaving... and since it would from then on be an all-Fremantle job, I was fearing changes would be made that I wouldn’t like at all and wouldn’t give the show justice. But I’ve been for the most part thrilled with the show this season. I would love it if they won this year. I wouldn’t throw a fit if Cash Cab won but this year I think Price is more deserving.

Wow. I’m kind of glad Wheel of Fortune was not nominated this year. Sure, I love Wheel, but this show in the past several years has just gone way too over the top with adding all the extra stuff they’ve added. It’s just gotten to be too much for me. At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised next season if they had sacks of money falling from the ceiling. From what I’ve seen this season, Jeopardy! thankfully hasn’t been as much of a disappointment. I wouldn’t be disappointed if they won this year for best show either. Temptation has been a major disappointment in my eyes and I'm glad that wasn't nominated either. I enjoy Merv Griffin's Crosswords but I don't see it much as Emmy-winning material at this point.

I wouldn’t say that Pat Sajak is doing a bad job on Wheel these days but at the same time I don’t think that he’s Emmy worthy right now. Alex from what I’ve seen this season seems to be doing as good a job as usual, but this year I am rooting for Ben Bailey. I think he is doing a great job on Cash Cab and I think he deserves it this time. I still think Price should win over Cab as far as best show goes, but I still think Ben is a good host. And as for Drew fans like myself… there’s always next year. There’s always next year.

ATWT: Home Sweet Home

It was nice seeing Holden and Luke have another father/son conversation. I also did enjoy the part where Noah mentioned how much Luke enjoyed junk food and that he bought a bunch of it for him. These are those little things about the characters that I think are fun to get to know.

And of course, in the bedroom, Luke and Noah are about to kiss twice but Luke is squeamish about it since Ameera is apparently standing right outside the door. I’m willing to give the show the benefit of the doubt this time as far as the almost kisses go, considering that last week’s kiss scene was obviously edited in and like I mentioned last week, we know this B.S. has come to an end, and the real results will show soon.

While I can look past the kissing this week, the scenes from this episode still could have stood to be written better dialogue wise. At the end of the episode during Luke and Noah’s argument, I’m not sure if the two want a separation or not. It just wasn’t put out clearly enough, especially considering the last time that Luke stormed out in the middle of an argument, on the next episode it was as if nothing never even happened.

In other news… I am so happy that Van has been nominated for an Emmy. Hopefully he’ll win it this year. He’s one of the actors on this show that are truly great, and do shine even if the writing could be so much better. It’s why I’m glad As The World Turns was not nominated for best writing or drama. Considering the mostly horrid job Goutman and Passanante have done on this show in the past year and a half, I really don’t want there to be any kind of sign that the two of them are doing a good job. Is there the occasional day when the dialogue is good? Yes. But when you lump in character development (or lack thereof), overall storylines (Dusty’s death, creepy Sam and his buddy Cowboy Jack), pacing and balance (Katie, Carly, and Brad being on over FIFTY episodes this year, which pales in comparison to other characters and not just Luke and Noah), the show as a whole shouldn’t really get one this year. I’m all for the actors and actresses winning all the awards in the world. A lot of them are the ones that help make the show retain its watchability for me, not Goutman and Passanante.