Saturday, March 28, 2009

Online Pick of the Week: May to December

I’m starting as to what I hope is going to be a regular occurrence here, a weekly entry for something I find to be truly great television-wise online, either a full episode or a clip or something to that effect, known as the online pick of the week!

This first pick is, for me, a truly wonderful discovery. It is the pilot episode of the British comedy May to December, which is one of the first Britcoms I ever saw, back when I lived in Indiana, on WFYI; the other two being Are You Being Served? and Keeping Up Appearances. I haven’t seen this in years! It ran originally from 1989-94 and focused on the lives of 53 year old widowed lawyer Alec Callender (Anton Rodgers) and a divorced 26 year old high school P.E. teacher named Zoe Angell (Eve Matheson).

One of the things that really drew me into the show was the writing, and the genre itself. While I enjoy other types of comedy, when I’m in the mood, I just love to sit down and relax with something that is gentle. And the fact that it is a romantic comedy helps even more. The type of show where I can have a good laugh and enjoy the chemistry the two actors have. Similar things can be said for other series like As Time Goes By and To The Manor Born.

There are also the other characters, including woman-crazy law firm partner Miles Henty, smart and loyal secretary Vera Flood, the not particularly bright assistant Hilary, and Alec’s funny and cheerful son Jamie. There’s also tension in the earlier part of the run as Alec’s daughter Simone disapproves of their relationship. I missed Eve Matheson after she left but the show was still fun to watch when Lesley Dunlop replaced her. It’s amazing because usually when one main character from a show like this is replaced, it can be hard to watch. Also, Ugly Betty fans may be interested in the last season. Ashley Jensen joined the cast as the ditzy secretary Rosie McConnichy.

Ever since I moved back to Georgia in 2001, I was hoping Georgia Public Broadcasting would air this series. And well, if my judgments from a new promo is true, another favorite, Coupling will be back soon, so I guess there’s always hope.

May to December, my online pick of the week!

ATWT: The Damian Complex

Wednesday, March 25th:

Ah, such conflict. Luke, Noah, and most likely Lily and Holden’s safety could be at risk, but what Luke says is true: if he and the clan were to stay home in fear, the haters apart of “the sinners and perverts must be silenced” group win.

While I never want to see Luke hit by a car, I have to say the stunt was well done. Though for future reference, the only place I want to see Luke being hit at is… well, I better not finish that thought.

The only real issue I have is that how did Holden immediately know Luke was hit by a car? Come on, anything could have happened to him. And Noah, you are a miracle worker.

Thursday, March 26th:

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been nearly 3 years since our ol’ buddy Luke Snyder came out to his parents. And boy oh boy, dear ol’ bio dad Damian took it great, didn‘t he? I remember it all too well. He pretends to accept Luke’s sexuality, only to use his own true feelings to get an upset Lily to let someone from a brain-washing gay-to-straight camp try to haul Luke away. And of course, this lead to the big argument with Luke and Lily leading Lily and unborn Ethan to accidentally tumble down the stairs of their home into a coma. Yeah, I can see why Luke, Lily, and Holden are not very forgiving.

Loved the awkward Noah/Damian scene. PLEASE, please, keep using Noah more in scenes with other people. It seems as though that Noah tries to see the good in people. But in this case, eh… you’d think that by knowing his history with his own dad that he’d be more guarded towards Damian.

I think these past three days Nuke wise were pretty good, however, the same criticisms are still there. Way too fast, details need to be paid attention to (it seems that Luke’s facial injuries switched sides between the hit-and-run and going home from the hospital), etc.

ATWT: The Public Affair

Tuesday, March 24th:

While I do wish that sometime the show could grow away from the Afterschool Special-ish type stories, today was pretty well-done. The writing was nice, and it was great hearing Luke and Lily talk about their story. Noah again was also great as the supportive boyfriend. And I just love the show putting WOAK and Kim to good use.

Wow, Mr. Reese. You’ve changed your tune. Now let’s just hope the show remembers this date come summertime.

I’ve never seen such over sized hate mail before. People need to get over themselves. And while it’s great that most of the response to the interview was positive, Luke should take the negative mail a bit more seriously.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

DVD News: The Norman Lear Collection

Coming June 19th. I wish I could figure out why a) it’s so hard for Sony to release remaining seasons of shows and b) these DVD companies add extra bonuses, but the only way to get them is to screw over the fans.

It’s fine and dandy that a “lost” All in the Family pilot was found. I can sort of understand it being found later, things resurface at later dates all the time. But why should someone have to re-buy the first season if they already have it in order to get it? How hard is it to have interviews and the like on separate discs or future season sets so that fans can just get those instead of buying a whole season of something they already have? Or better yet, how hard is it to have interviews on the first released original sets of the respective shows?

Actually, even if you don’t have the individual sets already you can still be screwed. What if someone doesn’t like Sanford & Son, but they do like Maude? Or they don’t like Maude but they do like All in the Family? They’d have to buy a season of a show they don’t like if they want to see interviews or a lost pilot that badly.

Where’s season 2 of Maude? Season 2 of One Day at a Time? Also where are seasons 4 and beyond of Facts of Life? Seasons 3 and beyond of Diff’rent Strokes? I’ll bet you more fans are interested in the aforementioned yet-to-be released seasons over a repackaged set like this one. And knowing that there are chopped up “minisodes” of later years of Facts of Life and other shows on DVD sets as “extras” while fans have been waiting years now for future releases is just insult to injury.

Seriously, Sony, get with the program.

Friday, March 20, 2009

ATWT: The Nuke Afterschool Special

Monday, March 16th:

Ooh, new gay day player. Hello, Tyler.

Wow, Mr. Reese, when you realized that Luke and Noah only needed one bedroom because they were a gay couple, you practically made a beeline in the other direction. Could you have been anymore obvious? While you’re at it, why not just stamp “I’m a homophobe” on your forehead and get it over with?

I love Luke when he’s charged up too, Noah. Go, Luke. Fight the fight for gay rights.

I hope someday when I’m still alive that Luke and Noah move into their own place. Seriously, show, get this done, now. And while we’re at it, let it be a place that we can actually SEE.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

ATWT: More Schmoopiness, Please

Thursday, March 12th:

I have no sympathy whatsoever for Kevin. The guy decided to be “loyal” and be an accomplice to a murderer, drug dealer, almost rapist, and just plain slime ball. If the book was thrown at him, so be it.

Luke, you may have screwed up with the election and got kicked out of school, but now is the perfect time to turn your life around and get back involved into the foundation. Way to go Lucinda and Noah, show him he can be better. And a big yay for more of Noah having scenes with other people!

Even though I didn’t abhor Brian as much as before, I was cringing at the idea of his return. But knowing he wouldn’t be sexually advancing himself towards Luke made me feel better.

The writers can really screw things up, but there are two things that can really be done well in spite of it all. First, Luke and Lucinda scenes. These are pure gold practically 100 percent of the time. Secondly, Luke and Noah’s affection. Please, more bench scenes like today. The more hot schmoopiness, the better.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Golden Girls on Hallmark Channel

As of the past couple weeks, The Golden Girls has since left its 12-year home on Lifetime and has now moved to Hallmark Channel.

So far I’m pretty much enjoying how the network is handling the series. There seem to be added commercial breaks, which is the case with shows in syndication these days, but the episodes make sense and are easy to follow, and are not chopped up like, say, ION repeats which could cut out really important plot elements.

Compared to Lifetime, Hallmark actually airs the correct version of the opening credits. And contrary to what Lifetime has shown us, the girls actually changed over the course of the seven year run. Also, the theme is no longer butchered to a mere twenty seconds. The closing credits are the original credits from the episodes, unlike Lifetime’s squeezed fake credits that went by at the speed of light. However Hallmark shrinks them to an illegible size.

Of course, nothing beats DVDs, but this is pretty nice. Maybe I’m a bit biased, but this is one of those shows that I think always deserves a home someplace. The show airs from 12 am-2 am, 9 am-10 am, and 4 pm-5 pm eastern, weekdays.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Celebrity Jeopardy!: From Las Vegas!

Tonight, March 10th, marked the premiere of the new Jeopardy! set, and it was also the night featuring one of my favorite things ever in this world, Celebrity Jeopardy!.

I love it every time there is an all-star show. I wouldn’t want to see it daily, but it’s a real treat that I look forward to whenever it happens. I love seeing my favorite celebrities come up with questions to revealed answers, and they look like they’re having as much fun playing as I am watching. Makes me wish Sony would have more DVD releases for this show, not just more with civilian episodes, but another volume with just celebrity episodes. I’m sure they’d sell like hotcakes.

I loved all three but my favorite of the night was none other than Tom Bergeron. He seems to be as good and funny on camera as ever. I also loved how at some points when Aisha Tyler and Elizabeth Perkins kept ringing in before him the face that he had, looking like he’s thinking “Hey, what‘s wrong with my buzzer?“ And after seeing him guest host Millionaire, I ask, please, PLEASE, Mr. Bergeron, PLEASE host another game show.

As far as the new set goes, I love it. I’m wondering what it’ll look like when it’s in the regular studio, but I think it looks great. I love the blues. I love the look of the podiums. I love how much easier it is to tell when someone rings in. Just great. My hats off to the set design people.

When thinking about the previous set, I was never a huge fan of it, but I did think the newer HD podiums added in 2006 helped it out. I could not stand the podiums that came in 2002.

With a new look and the start of the tournament of champions tomorrow, here’s to a new era of Jeopardy! Cheers!

Remembering Wendy Richard

This happened back in late February, but I just recently found out about it.

Wendy Richard, best known for her roles on the British soap EastEnders, and the British comedies Are You Being Served? and its follow up series Grace and Favour (a.k.a. Are You Being Served? Again! here in the US), lost her battle with cancer on February 26th. She was 65 years old.

I am most familiar with her roles on the latter two sitcoms. I love Are You Being Served? and I’m sure I wouldn’t have enjoyed the character of Miss Shirley Brahms as much if it weren’t for Wendy’s portrayal. She played off the spunky, Cockney accented junior assistant to Mrs. Slocombe, played by Mollie Sudgen, very brilliantly. Some of my favorite scenes on the show involved her and Mrs. Slocombe.

I’ve never seen her other roles, including another one, her first, on Dad’s Army. Here’s hoping my local Britcom source, Georgia Public Broadcasting, picks it up one day.

Rest in peace, Wendy, you will be missed.

GSN: More About The March Schedule Change

More details have come about March 30th’s schedule change thanks to the PDF files at Buzzer, and wow, I could not be more excited!

The $25,000 Pyramid episodes will be 1985-86, new to GSN and haven’t been run in well over a decade since USA had game shows as apart of its schedule. I looked at the episode guide and there are some really interesting and fun celebs. Markie Post, Nipsey Russell, Melody Thomas-Scott, Bill Cullen, Florence Henderson, and even Bronson Pinchot. And there are some pretty memorable moments; the 1968 Chevrolet Chevette blooper, and Tom Poston and his contestant partner getting $0 in the winner’s circle (apparently contrary to popular belief is not the first time that occurred, but still, can’t wait to see it in even better quality). Can’t wait! I’ve always preferred daytime Pyramid, and while I was hoping for the earlier episodes, this is still a great surprise and I’m ever so excited about it! Good job, GSN!

The $100,000 Pyramid episodes are from season 3. I’m actually a tad disappointed because I was hoping for season 1, but still, this season in particular hasn’t been seen on GSN in quite a while, and I know many people at this point would rather see this than season 2, which first resurfaced back in ‘05.

Hollywood Squares episodes are all Bergeron, from season 1, which apparently haven’t been seen on GSN in years. I am really eager about this too, as I love this version of the show and I haven’t seen much of the early years of the show since they originally aired. This will always be my favorite version of the show. Tom and the gang had me rolling from start to finish.

Password in the overnight are daytime color episodes from 1966-67, which haven‘t been seen since 2002. I’ve always wanted to see more of this era of the show! However, Super Password on the weekends starts from the beginning. Eh, not too thrilled about this. I guess another opportunity to catch any episodes that may have been missed.

Chain Reaction on the weekends will still be Lane's. Blah.

I’ve never had GSN when they showed any of color Password, first season Bergeron Squares, or $25,000 Pyramid on a regular basis. I’m still disappointed that Press Your Luck, Card Sharks, and the black and white hour are leaving, but these latest acquisitions from Sony make for some GREAT consolation. Only less than 3 weeks away!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Wheel of Fortune: 5000th Show

A pretty big milestone was set last Friday. The nighttime Wheel of Fortune celebrated its 5,000th show.

I was pretty let down by it, to be honest.

Considering that the 3,000th and 4,000th celebrations didn’t feature contestants, I was pretty shocked that an even bigger milestone did, however, this wasn’t exactly the entire source of disappointment.

I liked the first two puzzles, and it would have been nice to have a theme with this the whole show; have puzzles that either were common phrases used on the show, and have a couple that dealt with memorable moments on the show… that could have been a perfect way to go to a clip or two.

I’ve read that some people thought that there should have been something done with the $5,000 space… have it stay on all during the show. Maybe make the house minimum $5,000. I agree, and it would have been one instance where I wouldn’t have minded an extra gimmick or two. After all, it certainly would have been necessary.

The set could have been decorated a bit more; maybe give it a party atmosphere. If Pat didn’t say it before every commercial toss and there was no daytime clip followed by a couple minutes with the cake, people wouldn’t have noticed all that much; because I doubt that some people were watching all week when clips were shown at the end… I didn‘t even know about that until Wednesday.

It really just seemed way too much like a regular episode.

ATWT: A Bridge Too Far

Monday, March 1st:

Well if there’s one thing that’s really good about this storyline, it’s that Luke and Noah are in of this story together. We need more schmoopiness.

Elwood, that smarmy comment about Noah being in the closet? You jerk.

Kevin, way to look suspicious with these “apologies” to Alison. It’s so obvious it’s Mark now it’s not even funny. Are you a complete idiot?

Thursday, March 5th:

Wow, Kevin… helping aid Mark, a MURDERER, from the cops?! What the hell was with that “I look after my friends” line? Boy, please. Give me a break. What about Luke who saved your life? As soon as you found out Luke was gay, you never treated him the same way again.

Another instance where plot overpowers intelligence; why in the world would Alison go ANYWHERE with Mark after what happened last Halloween? I wouldn’t cross the street with him let alone go off to some warehouse alone with him someplace. And can we please, PLEASE stop with the needles and torturing Alison? Just positively cringe worthy. Tsk, Tsk, Mark, you’d rather die than let people who’re gay help get you off the bridge? So pathetic. Lock him up and throw away the key. Now. And if I were Luke or Noah, I’d be staying away from that bridge after seeing one person die off of it.

Loved the Starsky & Hutch reference at the end and this whole thing could have been presented much better than it was. Character development and paying attention to details... it can't be that hard.