Thursday, July 31, 2008

Happy 35th Anniversary, Match Game!

Better late than never… I spent so much time trying to have this be perfect.

On Monday, July 2, 1973, Match Game '73, the revival of the classic '60's NBC game show where big stars and big blanks led to big money, debuted on CBS. That's right, this month, my third favorite game show of all time has celebrated its 35th anniversary!

This happens to be one of my favorite revivals of a game show ever, I find there's plenty to like about this show. There was the zaniness of the questions, the contestants, the groovy music… all of which would put you in that classic ‘70’s mood.

And of course, Gene Rayburn. Gene was the best. Had a great sense of humor, always had a great rapport with the stars and the contestants. He was one of the things that really made the show in its prime the absolute best. And there’s nothing better than seeing him read a question as Old Man Periwinkle.

Brett Somers and Charles Nelson Reilly has to be my favorite celebrity duo on a game show, ever. I love hearing them make cracks about each other; they worked so well together. And Richard Dawson, who I loved best from 1973-77, was entertaining as well. He seemed to be best in his earlier days of game shows to me, both on this show and I’ve Got A Secret. The semi-regulars were a treat as well; you had the poet-laureate of television Nipsey Russell, Betty White, Joyce Bulifant, Patti Deutsch, Elaine Joyce, and last but not least, Fannie Flagg with her colorful and loud shirts.

I’d say my favorite set was the one used from 1973-78. I’ve never been a big fan of the blue set from 1978-82, which is kind of odd considering my favorite color is blue. The first set really resembled the decade to me the most.

As for the other versions, I’m thinking the Match Game Hollywood Squares Hour would have been so much better if the Hollywood Squares portion was executed better, and if they got a better host than Jon Bauman. The 1990 version I thought was pretty decent. Not that I think Ross Shafer did a bad job, because I think he did fine, but I really wish that Bert Convy got to host it, especially after seeing a clip of one of the pilot episodes. And I think the 1998 version is best left forgotten.

Happy (belated) 35th anniversary and thanks for all the blanking memories!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

ATWT: Glorified Roommates

Thursday, July 24th:

Wow, show history with Julia’s mention. I love it when that happens, since all too often it seems like that element isn’t used very much these days on this show. Poor Luke. After seeing how things went down with his parents, he wonders what’s even the point of going on with his own relationship. Even though I’m still frustrated about lack of Nuke lovin’. I guess I can buy Noah’s reasoning for right now. I can understand wanting the first time to be special, but what annoys me about lack of sex with these two is that one week they’re all “I’m not ready for this,” then the week (or 9-10 day period) after when we see them again, they give each other these looks like they want to hit the sheets. NOW. It’s like the writers don’t know where to take these characters in that regard, and the end result doesn‘t make sense.

All I can say after this episode is that we better get a real love scene between Luke and Noah when the time finally comes (whenever that is…), especially after seeing that awkwardly disturbing and awful scene between Parker and Liberty. I don’t care what their point was in showing that; it was just creepy. And from what’s been seen around elsewhere on the ‘net, I see I’m not the only one that’s definitely not in the mood for a poor attempt at an ABC Afterschool Special, teen pregnancy style. I mean, good grief, even Katie is on the backburner for this. And I’m just not buying Brad as this big protective father.

And why is Holden so stupid? If you want to fix your marriage, going to the person you cheated with is NOT the way to go about it. What was up with that line of his to Luke’s… “This doesn’t concern you.”? Are you on crack, Holden? And I have no sympathy for Carly. At all.

I’ve always noticed Luke and Noah’s scenes were rather short and choppy looking about 99.999999% of the time (not to mention the rest of the show’s scenes go pretty fast too), but seeing their latest scenes on YouTube… yeesh, it’s really plain to see that the editing isn’t up to par.

Another Retro Week Coming from WGN America

WGN America’s got another Retro Theme Week planned. This one airs from August 4-7th, and focuses on “The Golden Oldies.” It’s as follows:

Monday, August 4th: The Honeymooners
Tuesday, August 5th: The Beverly Hillbillies
Wednesday, August 6th: Bewitched
Thursday, August 7th: I Dream of Jeannie

Well, while it’s still only four days out of the week instead of five, I find this to be much less of a disappointment than the ‘80’s week; at least there are four different shows. Friday they’re airing a movie. I hadn’t seen much of The Honeymooners in the longest time until the show came to WGN America, and I must say I’m enjoying it and boy, do I see the inspiration The Flintstones had. I haven’t seen Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie since TVLand dropped them, so it’ll be nice seeing them again. I’m not a fan of The Beverly Hillbillies. I could never get into it, but I’m sure the show’s fans are excited about it.

It's really nice to see WGN's continuing with these theme weeks; they must be doing pretty decently in the ratings.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Syndie Millionaire: Rumored Changes

The rumor mill’s a-turnin’ with daytime syndie Millionaire. For the most part, no real big changes. And I notice that a lot of them are elements from Super Millionaire.

Double Dip - I had to dig out an episode of Super Millionaire so I could refresh my memory as to how this works. Basically the contestant gets two shots at answering a question. I can easily see that working. I’m pretty positive that they’d have Double Dip in the higher question range just like on Super Millionaire. And this could be a good way to help contestants play the game a bit longer.

New Lifeline: Ask the Expert
- I’m imagining that this is similar to Super Millionaire’s Three Wise Men, sans two people. I loved this lifeline (and not just for the music cue), so if it does come to fruition I’m interested in seeing this play out.

Subjects from Upcoming Questions Revealed - This will obviously seem to help determine whether a player will walk away or continue the game. I just realized this would be a bit redundant; reason being, whenever it’s time for a new question, it’s read and the four possible answers are shown and the contestant already knows what’s been asked. The only difference is that when a question is read, it’s a bit more specific. And knowing what the question also determines whether or not a player will choose to leave.

Time Limit - I’m wondering how a real time limit on this show would work. And there’s also the fact that on the GSN documentary Game Show Hall of Fame: Who Wants to be a Millionaire, it was noted that this version already has some form of time limit. How much shorter could they make it? I’m surprised it’s that big an issue, since the show is shot on tape.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Gong Show (2008): Review

On July 17, Comedy Central brought back the Chuck Barris classic, The Gong Show, hosted by Dave Attell.

I have to say, I never thought I’d see the day where we’d have Jackass-esque warning disclaimers at the beginning of The Gong Show. But of course we have to have those for the morons who are going to try the dangerous stunts at home.

I do admit that as far as the “raunchy” humor and content on this version goes, I’m really not having that much of a serious issue with it. There are several things to consider. One of which being what network this is on and the audience that it’s catering to, so it’s really not a surprise. And while the original 1970’s version was certainly not as risqué as this revival is, it’s not like the original was all family-friendly, all the time (Popsicle twins, anyone?). There’s also the fact that it’s a show that airs late at night, and any impressionable kids should have gone beddy-bye by the time it airs.

As far as the minor things go… set’s okay, I guess. It seems to fit the ambiance of the show and that’s really what’s important. As far as the music goes, nothing really to write home about; but I do love the fact that they have an in-studio band playing it.

In the end after seeing one episode so far, I don’t hate this version but I’m not in love with it either, and I don‘t find it appointment TV. And I’d say the original version is still the best.

Catch 21: Review

On Monday, July 21st, GSN debuted the new original game show, Catch 21, combining pop trivia and the classic card game. This also marks the game show hosting debut of Alfonso Ribeiro, probably best known for playing the role of Carlton Banks on the NBC sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

As far as Alfonso's hosting goes... I do like the fact that he's capable of doing the job, and judging from his appearance on GSN Live and the documentary that was made, he looks like he actually wants to be there. He's having fun on the set, and is friendly to the contestants, which are all definitely plusses. But I think he still needs a little work. He could really stand to shout less. But it's his first hosting job ever, so there's always room for improvement.

The format is pretty good. I always love the idea of pop culture and things of that nature mixed in with the questions, and this show is certainly no different. The questions seem to be easy enough for a game like this. And I must admit, I've watched so much Card Sharks in the past three or four years that I'm so used to the ace being the highest card in the deck and not the lowest.

The contestants on the episode I reviewed seem to be pretty decent... though they could stand to tone it down a bit as well. And judging from GSN's latest promo that uses the word "decaf," they seem to be using overexcited contestants to their advantage and I don't really like the idea of that. Of course, I want to see players that want to be there, but I don't like it when a show is too loud.

Minor notes: I love the set. It seems to be a thing nowadays ever since Millionaire for most game shows to have the coldest, darkest, and busiest sets ever made and that can get really grating over time. But Catch 21's is very colorful and bright, not to mention lively and it really fits the mood of the show. I also like that this show has an actual theme. I don't like the current trend where most game shows' themes have the same 7 or 8 notes repeated over and over.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

50 Places That Make Cable TV Obsolete

I recently got a new top 50 list from Kelly Sonora. Thanks again, Kelly! This time about the top 50 websites that make Cable TV obsolete.

I can see how some of these sites make cable obsolete. If someone can't watch The Weather Channel, it's pretty easy as an alternative to just go to the website and find out the forecast. I can see how well the short films and productions of that nature can make it online. The Internet is a great and cheap way for filmmakers to get their work out and people in the business can easily see their work. As far as Coastal Dreams goes... why not just make this a regular soap opera? It's about time NBC had something else on its daytime line-up besides Days of our Lives and The Today Show. And of course, Facebook, the place where you can meet friends and loved ones, and people with the same interests as yours.

I can also see how some people who are maybe at work or are on the go somehow and they want to check sites like these online. It works for some fans and companies, like BMW, which is a successful company, but I can't imagine them having an entire network devoted to them. Cats are lovely creatures, but I don't see a whole entire network devoted to them either.

Though to be honest... I personally check most TV shows and things out online not necessarily because I want to, but because that's where they are. For instance, if a show like Undressed isn't being repeated on TV or isn't on DVD; if the episodes are online and I want to see them badly enough, well that's where I'll have to get them. And I think that's why a lot of people are tuning into shows like the classic ones online. With networks like TVLand and ION distancing themselves from them, unless someone gets Retro TV Network or AmericanLife, or if they're in Chicago and get MeTV, outside of tape trading they don't have many options if their favorite shows aren't released on DVD. And that's why myself and a lot of the people I know go to websites like YouTube.

ATWT: It's All About The Money, Honey

Monday, July 14th:

Not a big fan of this whole foundation storyline, but at least it's nothing absurd like the green card one.

The one thing I do LOVE about it is of course Lucinda's involvement. "Real money! In EURO's for heaven's sake!" I am so glad they're realizing she's needed with these boys' lives. And considering what Damian tried to pull two years ago I can understand completely why Luke didn't want anything to do with the trust fund in the beginning. But it's nice that he wants to do something nice with it. I was actually a bit surprised that Luke didn't want to use the money for some sort of kidney foundation or something of that nature.

What I didn't like one bit was Holden's behavior. Beforehand it seemed that even if something was going on with him, he would always be able to focus on his son and two daughters and put them first when the time came for it. Well not this time. All he could think of was Carly. Luke's situation was a complete afterthought. That was just so out of character.

Wednesday, July 16th:

Nothing much here to say except that it's nice to see Luke interact more with NuLily. "Holden Snyder's a good, good man." Oh, NuLily. tsk, tsk, tsk, NuLily, NuLily, NuLily...

Friday, July 19th:

I hate to say that I agree with Janet when it comes to the sentiment of "rules are made to be broken" when it comes to Luke and Noah's physical relationship (What's with the hold-up, Goutman?!). That is the first and most likely the last time I'll ever agree with Janet Ciccone on ANYTHING. Still not a fan of her or Liberty. Even though Janet annoys me to no end, it's nice seeing Luke and Noah interacting with other characters.

There are things I like about this Holden and Carly (or otherwise known as "Horly" or "Carho") storyline and there are things I don't like about it. What I do like about it is the great acting. And while Martha Byrne is still the one true Lily Snyder to me (hence previous postings using quotation marks), I will give credit where it's due and say that Noelle Beck did a great job with her scenes. Especially going off on Carly in her car, her delivery of the line "You BITCH!" was just awesome. So did John Hensley, Maura West, and we certainly can't leave Van out. Not only is it bad that it's an affair, but Luke's always looked up to Holden so it makes perfect sense for him to be as devastated as he is. What I don't like is what this has done to the Holden character. It doesn't make sense at all for Holden to be sick of Lily's lies and manipulations, only to go and be with Carly Tenney -- one of Oakdale's biggest liars and manipulators. I mean, seriously, this woman faked her own fatal illness. And of course, with this story, Holden's values have obviously gone down the toilet. Just look at the way he acted on Monday when Luke got Damian's money. Talk about out of character. And the gall of him while confessing his OWN wrong behavior to be talking with Lily about honesty. And him offering to drive Lily home from the hospital. Like that's gonna make everything all better. Are you freaking kidding me?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

50 Places to Find Your Favorite Downloadable TV Shows

I got this tip from Kelly Sonora earlier this week. Thanks, Kelly! It's an article all about the top 50 places to download your favorite TV shows.

I must say, a lot of these are some really good choices. It's really nice to have places online to find things like classic commercials and television shows, and episodes of current favorites if you miss an episode and you want to see it badly enough. I'm the type of person that spends hours online enjoying vintage television since it's not that readily available all the time, especially these days.

There are the obvious benefits of the sites of the major networks ABC, CBS, and NBC. If you miss an episode of your latest favorite show, you can easily access it in a matter of minutes. And with CBS's site, for most series, there's the added bonus of seeing the real credits. And I do love the AOL Television site. It's full of classic sitcoms and dramas, as well as the Procter & Gamble Online Soaps page. How great is it to see episodes of Edge of Night and Another World since SOAPnet these days hardly runs anything classic except the overnight showings of Ryan's Hope and Dallas. And it's great to find a place that has un-neutered episodes of Alice.

The only one I'm really not a fan of is #44, Crackle. I'm really not into the "Minisode" concept. I love Facts of Life and Bewitched to death, but seriously, give me the full complete episodes any day of the week over five minute butcherings. All of a sudden a 22-minute syndicated cut of a series doesn't sound bad at all. Even shows edited badly by ION sound more appealing than that.

I'm actually surprised that YouTube didn't make the list as even with the copyright police on its tail every now and again, there's still lots of things there to watch. Older commercials and promos, clips and full episodes of local newscasts from the 1970's and 80's, classic game shows, soap operas from the days where the writing was good EVERY day, and things of that nature. I have a simple solution to companies like Viacom and Sony who go nuts every time an episode of something they own is posted online: release the show(s) in question on DVD. Get networks to rerun your shows.

But at any rate, it's nice to have options. If your favorite show is not being rerun or if it's not on DVD, most likely it's online.

Osmond Pyramid coming to GSN

Word is out now that, Pyramid, the Donny Osmond hosted revival that ran from 2002-04, is coming to GSN. Mixed thoughts from me on this. Part of me is pretty disappointed that it's not a Clark era version, and it's been too long since $20,000 or $25,000 Pyramid has aired on GSN, or seasons one and three of $100,000 Pyramid, and I'd much rather see one of those eras. And since they seem to be cutting costs these days, I'm actually surprised that they just didn't pick up a Clark season since they have many episodes of $20,000, $25,000 and $100,000 to air on a regular basis already in their library; this is assuming if GSN had to first acquire the rights to the Osmond version, and then second, convert all of the episodes to the tape format that they use. Airing shows they already possess seems cheaper to me. I also don't like that it's replacing Russian Roulette.

However, there is the part of me that is happy since it's Pyramid, my favorite game show ever, and some form of it is coming back to GSN. And it could be worse, they could have gotten the John Davidson version. That version had a lousy host, and for the most part felt it just pretty awkward to me in general -- save some of the celebs, and there weren't that many episodes. The rerun abuse I think would be even more painful with that version if it ever came to that point.

There are things I liked about this version and things that I hated. I loved seeing a lot of the celebrities that appeared... Hal Sparks, Vicki Lawrence, Melissa Peterman, Marc Summers, Betty White, and Dick Clark, the master of the game himself... (if you see this show listed in my video collection, that's pretty much why I have so many episodes). I also thought Donny Osmond was a great host. Talk about down to earth, friendly, and he certainly knew the rules of the game. But then there are the pet peeves that at some points made this revival hard to watch. The 6 phrase-20 second format in the main game in my eyes really made the show seem rather rushed, and then there are the anal judgment calls in the winner's circle, where a player has to pretty much say the whole category word for word in order to get it right.

Another good thing: the moron I am finally just figured out what the hell Donnymid means (Donny + Pyramid = Donnymid).

ATWT: Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Monday, July 7th:

First of all, just what was with that line of Noah's... "It'll only be a few years." A few "YEARS"?! Are you kidding me? I'm also pretty sure that in real life that if the minute those soldiers found out Noah was gay, he would have been gone. And wow, gotta love Sgt. Wilkins' response when Noah said he was gay. "I didn't hear that," just like a six-year-old. All that was missing was him putting his hands over his ears singing gibberish. It just amazes me... if who their cadets sleep with is none of the U.S. Military's business, then why are perfectly competent servicemen and women fired over it time and time again? Don't ask, don't tell? Give me a freaking break.

As far as the reunion scene goes, what a disappointment. Don't get me wrong, I'm happier than ever that they are finally together again. But this was where we should have seen Noah pour his heart out about why he couldn't join the army and why he came back to Luke in the end. This is what I mean when I say I wan't an angsty storyline with payoff in the end; the payoff would have been the emotional outpouring. That could have been a really great reunion scene, but all we got was something that lasted barely a half a minute, complete with a hug. I'm sorry, but if my boyfriend came back to me like that I would kiss him like there is no tomorrow, and I'd expect him to do the same. Tsk tsk, show.

*sigh* The lack of airtime is really one of the biggest pet peeves I have with this show when it comes to these two characters. It's basically the fact of the matter of them most of the time not on often enough, and when they are featured, the majority of the scenes on the episode are way too choppy.

I certainly think I was right when I say that this episode could not have been worse than what we've already seen in the past, but today's definitely wasn't one of the best. And while I wasn't really feeling this whole army bit, it's really more the lack of airtime that was the most disappointing and what made it the most frustrating. It just makes me wish they would have just reunited when Cyndi Lauper was on.

Enough of the cockblocking plot devices, please, and let's please get to some Nuke lovin' soon while we're still young.

Monday, July 7, 2008

ATWT: True Colors

Thursday, July 3rd:

Oh. My. God. This has to be one of the best Luke and Noah episodes in a very long time. Seriously. It's rare these days when this show lives up to any sort of hype.

I loved seeing Cyndi Lauper on this episode. And one of the things that really made me enjoy it as much as I did is that it really seemed like it was just Cyndi talking and it was not a script. It really seemed like she was improvising it, especially during the first segment where Luke was interviewing her. Gotta love how Cyndi bumped Tony out of the way when she sang "Into The Nightlife." That was too hilarious. And her performing "True Colors" was a real treat, and I came extremely close to losing it when that happened. That's how emotionally well done I thought that was. And how awesome! TWO kisses, both uninterrupted!

And Noah, I love you, but are you crazy? Are you seriously going to try and join the army? And seeing Luke wave the little rainbow flag when he asked if Noah mentioned to his recruiting officer if he was gay... that seriously made me wish I had one of those on me.

And the airtime! Wow, they had to be on for at least 20 minutes. Now if we could just have airtime just nearly that decent on a regular basis. And how rare is it to see Luke close an opening segment?

Friday, July 4th:

Nice to see this scene with Holden and Luke; it was totally unexpected. In the last year, there have been numerous times where I absolutely could not STAND Holden as a husband, but Holden has still remained a good father and his talks with Luke have pretty much always never missed a beat. Character interaction always great to see, and it's a shame that it's a rarity these days on this show.

I have to admit, I am not a big fan of this whole army story, but there is no way -- absolutely NO way -- that this will be any worse than that whole Ameera charade. There's just no freaking way.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Celebrity Family Feud: Review

This would have come last week, but I forgot to set the timer for it. I know, naughty game show reviewer. *slaps wrist*

I don't think Al Roker is that bad a host, he's certainly capable of doing the job. He kind of reminds me of Richard Karn. He does seem to be having fun. But I do notice some tendencies of his I don't care for that much, for instance, the repeating of the words "Uh-oh!" or "Oh!" when someone gets a strike.

I thought the celebrities I saw tonight were okay, nothing to write home about. But they were watchable, and they looked as though they were having fun, and that certainly is the important part. And while I personally will be very much looking forward to seeing the episode with Margaret Cho, I do enjoy All-Star Feud much more when it was casts of different shows competing against one another.

I'm really not into the opening that's done for the show. I know some people hate the sound effect that's made when someone gives a right answer in the main game, the *ding-whoosh!*. I just don't think the whoosh! sound effects are necessary, and I do find that the whooshing starts to get a bit annoying after a while.

And this is another instance where I'm not liking the original theme used for the current era, basically since it's just the same parts of the theme song used over and over. I remember it annoyed me during the Karn era when they used it and it was so badly edited. There's no point in having it if it's just going to sound bad, especially if the current era already has a music package of its own.

ATWT: There's Nothing Like a Good Cry...

Wednesday, June 25th:

There are two things with this episode that really impressed me. First of all, it's about time Luke mentioned Damian and had a real conversation about him with Noah. Yeah, it was brought up last summer when Noah was still deep in the closet and seeing Maddie. But it was also glossed over so quickly and it was never brought up again until now. This felt a lot more like a real mention. Secondly, it was also about time that Noah cried. Now as ill-conceived as Winston's actual "death" was, this is something that still needs to be dealt with by Noah. And ever since he came back to Oakdale after New York, we would see him get close to crying but he never did.

Now while the show deserves cookies for that, as I mentioned, it's easy to see that Noah is distraught and his grieving is certainly believable, but his father's "death" isn't continuing to be handled that well. Metal dog tags? This guy jumped in the water. In reality something like those would sink right to the bottom. This is one of those situations where details are important. It's not the faking of death that I have a problem with; that is a standard soap tradition (I say faked because I don't think for a second Winston died for real). Couldn't they have made it at least look like his dad drowned? What about them discovering something lighter like his hat? I'm still not satisfied with how that went down. This show really needs to pay more attention to details.