Sunday, June 28, 2009

Online Pick of the Week (6/26): Soul Train

The pick this week is part tribute to Michael Jackson, and also part tribute to what has become overtime one of my favorite TV series, Soul Train!

Thanks to both WGN and a local station here, for a couple years I was able to see some of the classic episodes of the series and I instantly became hooked. I can imagine if I were old enough to experience the 1970’s episodes as the originally aired, I would have been easily trying to look what everyone was wearing to see what was hip in the fashion world at the time. And being an old-school music lover, it’s really fun seeing some of the artists like Kool and the Gang, Gloria Gaynor, Cheryl Lynn, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr., etc. I do admit I watched the show as a little kid weekly with other family members but I didn't quite understand the big deal about it back then.

Classic TV at its finest, The Jackson 5 performing on Soul Train in 1973, my online pick of the week!

ATWT: Alive and Kicking

Tuesday, June 23rd:

I can understand being suspicious of Riley and wanting Margo to see that, but geez, Casey, could you have tried doing it a bit less… jerk-like? Oh well, the good thing is that Casey/Alison is done now.

Daniel Hugh-Kelly is a welcome sight, but when it comes to Colonel Nutjob… with the smoking of the cigar yesterday and the evil laugh, I swear all else that was needed was a handlebar mustache, and you'd have the complete image of the stereotypical evil cartoon villain. And wearing fatigues with the name Mayer on them while probably walking outdoors in broad daylight? And YOU took the DVD? You’re supposed to be DEAD, remember? Sure of yourself much, Colonel?

Oh, and if Emily says the word “eggs” one more time, I will lose it.

Friday, June 26th:

There are still some things that really get to me with this show, because they still don’t bother sometimes to take care of important details. For instance, there’s Colonel Asshat threatening to call Margo and rat Riley out. And there’s also him taking off in broad daylight to go after him. Um… again, Colonel, YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE DEAD. How can he call anyone else? If I were you, Daddie, again, I wouldn’t be so sure of myself. Oh and the lesson for today: if I ever come across Daddie Dearest with a weapon in my hand, I’ll just shoot and ask questions later.

But one thing that was really good was the ending. This is how a soap should go out for the week. It’s days like this that goes to show that they can put at least some effort into it when they really want to.

And something else to point out: Luke and Noah have better chemistry than some of the couples on this show that actually get to have on-screen sex.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Remembering Michael Jackson

Like everyone else, as I watched the coverage on ABC, MSNBC, CNN, HLN, and local affiliates, I could not believe my eyes after all the wondering about his condition after being rushed to UCLA Hospital Thursday that in the end it was announced that Michael Jackson had passed away from cardiac arrest.

Besides all of his great music and success as a huge pop legend and icon, there’s one thing that really stuck out with me. Regardless of whether or not MTV airs enough music these days, one of the things that stand out on a lot of its shows is diversity. There are African-Americans, Latinos, as well as whites, people of many different backgrounds… different races, different sexualities, etc. featured on much of its programming. When looking back at the history of the network, it’s really hard to believe that at one point, MTV was reluctant to air music videos featuring black artists. Not only was Thriller the highest selling album ever, but it also started a significant trend and changed the landscape of music for MTV forever. And now not only was there a tribute on MTV all these years later, but it was hosted by Sway, an African-American and featured his music videos playing all night long. It’s really amazing how far things have come.

I watched an interview in which he said that he brought people together more in a way than even a lot of politicians can. And when I think about it, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Whenever you see footage of fans, whether it be a concert, or with people outside during the trials, and even Thursday with the crowds at the UCLA hospital and outside the Apollo Theatre in Harlem and elsewhere, you see people of all backgrounds gathering in his life to celebrate the fun time that’s about to be had, and in the wake of his death, gathering to celebrate the life of a truly gifted musician.

Rest in peace, Michael.

Remembering Farrah Fawcett

America has lost yet another legend in the entertainment industry.

I would say that Farrah is another one of those actors that from what I’ve seen, I enjoyed, and it makes me want to see more of their work. It’s been years since I’ve seen a lot of Charlie’s Angels, but from what I’ve seen, I loved. I always thought it was interesting that Farrah was only on the show for one year plus a couple episodes after, and she is the most familiar star of that show.

Makes me glad that Charlie's Angels out on DVD and that the show is available online to enjoy.

Rest in peace, Farrah. You will be solely missed.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Remembering Ed McMahon

Hollywood lost yet another legend this year. Edward Leo Peter McMahon, Jr., better known to the television audience as Ed McMahon, passed away yesterday at the age of 86.

I wish I had gotten the chance to see more of him with Johnny during his years as Carson’s sidekick on The Tonight Show. From what little I’ve seen, there were some great times and true legendary memories that were a part of that era of the series. Same with the Bloopers and Practical Jokes shows with Dick Clark. Talk about classic TV at its finest.

Besides his involvement with the Publishers Clearing House, I remember him best for his emceeing of the show Star Search. This came on when I was young every Saturday. It’s also incredible all the future stars that started on this series, whether they won or not: Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Aaliyah, Drew Carey, Rosie O’Donnell. I always preferred this version much more over the one that aired a few years ago on CBS.

Rest in peace, Ed. You will be missed.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

ATWT: Lack of Funds

I have to applaud Luke’s, well honestly, just plain being a good boyfriend by asking Damian for the money to help Noah with his film. His heart was totally in the right place. I can understand Noah’s reluctance to accept the money, but I’m glad he did. It’s a pretty awkward position. And now after all that’s said and done it’s the matter of who would take the DVD? My guess is probably Riley.

I know Luke’s spoiled, even he says so; but Meg Snyder, how dare you criticize anyone else’s parenting skills? You’re the same person let Paul the loon share custody with baby Eliza after he kidnapped her not once but TWICE, and was willing to set a fire at the Snyder farm with the baby in it to make you look negligent. If I were you, I wouldn’t care if Paul is Eliza’s father or not, I wouldn’t let that man cross the street with a child of mine, let alone share parental custody of any kind. Not to mention that a) Luke didn’t ask for that much money; it was Damian who decided to give that much and b) Luke didn’t ask for that money for himself, he did it for Noah. You are the LAST person that needs to be judging how ANYONE should be a parent. Oh, and one more thing… just what in the hell do you do??

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Online Pick of the Week (6/20): Ryan’s Hope

My pick this week is another clip from Ryan’s Hope. Another clip from early in the run, which features a pre-Child’s Play and 7th Heaven Catherine Hicks playing the role of Faith Coleridge.

This is one of the big reasons why I have so much fun watching older episodes of soap operas. Besides the generally good writing, in many situations you get to see stars before they really made it big. Ryan’s Hope also featured a young Christian Slater later in the run, as well as Grant Show, and Marg Helgenberger came on to play Siobhan Ryan by 1982.

There is so much potential with something like this that it makes me wish SOAPnet would do some type of marathon with it. Not only would it be a great way to see classic episodes, but how about seeing future movie actor Morgan Freeman on Another World? Judith Light and Nathan Fillion of One Life to Live also come to mind. Or… how about a pre-Buffy Sarah Michelle Gellar on All My Children? General Hospital held some big names too… Ricky Martin, Demi Moore, and Rick Springfield come to mind. And this could work wonders for the young demo that they’re practically falling over themselves these days to get. How about this same marathon featuring a pre-demon ass-kicking Jensen Ackles on Days of our Lives? One Tree Hill fans may want to see Bethany Joy Galeotti when she was on Guiding Light in the late 1990’s. So much potential to be had with a marathon like that! And a lot of the names mentioned come from shows they already air on a regular basis and could probably get easy access to!

Catherine Hicks seen early in her career here on Ryan’s Hope is my online pick of the week!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

$1M Pyramid Pilot: Pictures!

The pictures have just come out this week thanks to someone at Invision for the set of the new potential $1,000,000 Pyramid!

I really like the set. Retro is not really a requirement for a good set for a revival for me, however, I really do like what was put out. And I’m certainly not going to complain that they apparently have the legacy of the show in mind with the design, even right down to the $1,000,000 lighted sign above the big winner’s circle board. I’m glad to see what looks like trilons and not LCD screens.

And I’m relieved to hear that the revival is going back to the 7 clue-30 second format and not retaining the rushed 6 clue-20 second format that was seen on Donnymid. It was one of the serious problems I had with that version.

For me, this is the one saving grace for the 3 PM hour for CBS now that they have axed Guiding Light. PLEASE pick this up. I’d much rather see this over a talk show.

It’s nice that for once Michael Davies is behind a game show revival and I am really not nervous.

Monday, June 15, 2009

GSN’s Big Saturday Night Review

GSN debuted something new this weekend… something BIG! GSN’s Big Saturday Night!

I enjoyed 20Q. I really didn’t care for Cat Deeley when she subbed for Meredith on Millionaire earlier this year, but here, she seems much more relaxed and at home. And I’ve always loved Hal Sparks in everything I’ve seen him do: Queer as Folk, Pyramid, I love the… on VH-1, and this is no exception. You don't actually see him here, but I think you get the idea. The computer-style jokes were cheesy, but honestly, I wasn’t expecting any less. The game play is pretty entertaining.

As much as I liked 20Q, The Money List is really the better show out of the two. I actually like Fred Roggin more here than on GSN Live. While the lengthy reveals became to get grating to me (loved it when one of the contestants said “Don’t make me come out of this booth!”), the dramatics have been toned down tremendously when comparing this version to Fox’s. It really reminds me of an expensive version of Hot Potato, minus the moving couches.

As far as the rest of the night; I cannot stand the Big Saturday Night inserts. Really, I can’t. I can sit down and enjoy a show with good game show parodies or parodies of any kind, but this was not one of them. What the hell was up with that lame Weekend Update rip-off? And that interview with the “Whammy” just made me cringe. Eventually every time one segment came on it just made me wish that I had the ability to fast-forward live TV. I love Keegan-Michael Key and MADtv, but those parts were just awful. And it really irritated me to see GSN experience technical glitch number 2,457,380,962 and cut a segment of The Money List off too early just for more Big Saturday Night inanity.

So in all honesty, I’d recommend watching 20Q and The Money List, especially the latter… but on Sunday repeats. I wouldn’t bother wasting any extra time on Big Saturday Night.

ATWT: Bigger than a Breadbox

Tuesday, June 9th:

More inconsistencies… what’s up with Luke saying “you like everyone”… yeah, like Noah trusted Zac and Zoe from the beginning; especially Zac. Come ON, writers. Consistency is your friend.
As much as I love seeing Noah as the director of his own film, all the while I’m kind of wishing Luke and Noah would be doing something else with that camera. I know, I know. I’m a baaaaaad wittle boy.

Friday, June 12th:

Wow, looks like Margo’s found herself a new son.

It’s real nice that Noah’s character is being shelled out, but for some reason I was expecting a bit more when the Colonel’s box was finally opened. Maybe something more will come across soon.

Can we please make David A. Levinson, the scriptwriter of today’s episode, the new head writer of this show? I often enjoy not just Nuke but the entire show’s dialogue that particular day when he writes for it. Today he even made Parker - the brat from hell - a little bit tolerable, which goes to show that he can handle drama well while making the characters as human as possible. PLEASE make him the head writer. Now.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Online Pick of the Week: Analog Shutoffs (6/12)

This week’s pick is honestly really more than one. I noticed early in the morning along with a friend through IM’ing that there have been many analog shutoffs and signoffs that have been uploaded online. Being the big TV geek I am, I thought I’d try and see which one I thought was the best.

My absolute favorite so far is Georgia Public Broadcasting’s. As I mentioned in the previous analog-to-digital entry, it was done back in February. Unfortunately, thanks to the greedy folks over at Warner Music Group, the sound is not available. After the general manager of GPB mentions the fact that the nationwide required date had been moved from February to June and the reason why they decided to go along with the February date, the traditional signoff which hadn’t been seen in quite a while since going 24/7, with a video montage of places all around the state of Georgia (the Atlanta skyline, the Okefenokee swamp, etc.) with the classic Ray Charles rendition of “Georgia on My Mind” was shown. Very classy.

Two other favorites I’ve seen so far are from WRTV in Indianapolis (great clip montage), and KYW 3 in Philadelphia. With KYW’s, the original test pattern plays, which then fades into a slide with the word “Goodbye” under the CBS eye. It’s very sentimental and a good way to show off the end of an era.

It’s nice to see these stations use historical significance as well as sentiment and tradition for these signoffs. Fans of station logo histories will love signoffs like WOSU’s in Columbus, Ohio.

And again, it’s absolutely lame to see some of these stations do zip for the actual switch. For months and months this was touted as this huge deal and with some stations nothing period was done. Blah.

Analog TV signoffs are my online picks for this week! Find your favorites!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

VH-1: Best Week Ever Cancelled?

Word around the ‘net is that VH-1’s Best Week Ever is apparently off the air until 2010 and may not even come back then. I’m not surprised to hear this one bit. I loved the show so much in the beginning when it had a bigger range of people commenting on the week’s happenings.

But then they decided to revamp it and make Paul F. Tompkins the focus of the show, and it all went downhill from there. Nothing personal against him, I’m sure he’s a nice guy and all, but I really don’t find him all that funny and this particular format just lead to a real rip-off of The Soup. This is the perfect example of taking a show that was not broken and deciding to fix it anyway.

Why, why do networks insist on making unnecessary changes to something that actually works perfectly? Is it too hard to leave well enough alone? If it really does come back next year, let’s hope they revamp back to the way it was originally.

Goodbye Analog, Hello Digital

June 12th, 2009 marked a big day in the television industry, presumably the biggest since the transition from black and white to color. Stations across the country after decades have now stopped broadcasting in analog and now run digital only.

If I didn’t have cable right now, I’d probably be cheering at this moment. There are plenty of benefits with digital reception. All the years of struggling to get certain channels to come in with those bunny ears, and even missing out on shows because the reception is just too crappy, are now done and over with. Also, it’s really nice to have RTN and seeing Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune, The Price Is Right, and the current primetime favorites in HD widescreen. I notice better picture and crisper sound even on an older TV set. It’s like watching the shows on DVD.

From a local perspective, it was interesting to see how the stations handled it here in the Atlanta metro. We had some good coverage from WSB and WXIA with a veteran personality on WSB and the original engineer from WXIA, but I give major props to the Fox affiliate here, WAGA. Not only did they have the original engineer who signed the station on in 1949 to appear to turn the analog signal off; but it was also very cool of them to get the original script used that first day in 1949 and read from it. I do hate how a few stations (WPCH, WGCL, and WATL) apparently did nothing for the actual switch. After this huge campaign, there was no logo or anything in sight with any of those stations before the sign-off. It was back in February, but Georgia Public Broadcasting did an amazing switch using the old traditional sign-off, with "Georgia on My Mind" playing.

After all the campaigning with the commercials, the crawls on the screen, and the news reports, the digital transition is finally done. Here’s to a brand-new era of television!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

GSN Game Show Awards: Review

For a really good while now I’ve really been hoping that one day this genre would get its own award show to showcase the excellence of it, especially since the Daytime Emmys have really gone to pot (even the majority of soap fans showed disdain with last year’s ceremony) and last night, it finally came.

Howie did an absolutely incredible job. My favorite moment was when the letter S didn’t come up in Name It & Claim It. I loved him so much on this that I now have the desire to watch him do stand-up. And speaking of Name It… how the hell does someone go to something called The Game Show Awards and not know who Bob Eubanks is… and worse off not even know the name of the announcer of the program they’re attending? Even after Rich identified himself and when Howie said the name? Also I hate Survivor and even I know Jeff Probst hosts it. They deserved all the ribbing they got.

My other favorite parts where the moments when Mark Goodson and Monty Hall were honored. I loved Mark’s daughter’s response, including her saying “I AM a Mark Goodson production!” Didn’t realize Monty did so much for charity, and Mark’s tribute makes me wish we still had more of his shows on GSN. Match Game winning an award was nice too, and it was nice again seeing Joyce Bulifant, Patti Deutsch and Nancy Doussault… surprised Marcia Wallace did not appear.

As far as the sound not working during Bob Barker’s legend tape piece… after the stunt he pulled with Betty White, some would call that technical difficulties; others would call it pure karma. I choose the latter. And speaking of Bob, outside antics aside, the first sketch was pretty clever, which kind of makes it all the more sad. Because knowing all I do about him now, seeing skits like him appearing as God, putting his real persona in... it was just as if not more awkward than humorous.

One other thing to ponder… I did like Jeff Foxworthy’s acceptance speech, but I can’t believe 5th Grader won best show.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Online Pick of the Week: Super Password (6/5)

The pick this week comes from Super Password; an Alphabetics round worth $50,000. The clues are given by Sally Struthers, and it was uploaded by a fellow game show buddy of mine, gameshowluvr86.

One of the reasons why I think the majority of classic game shows get so much respect is the fact that there was indeed tension and pressure, but the pressure was handled the way it should have been. As evidently noted by the quivering in Sally’s tone of voice, the tension is obviously here. But any tension caused is from the element of the game and the game only. No overdramatics of any kind; no early NBC Deal or No Deal-esque commercial tosses, like for instance, “Will she get the last letter? Find out after this!” No extra long reveals. Just good old-fashioned game playing done right.

And of course there’s the hilarity, which makes it one of my favorite wins on a game show ever. Hair flies everywhere and the contestant shrieks several times “I LOVE YOU!” Glad to see Sally survived all that.

Great fun indeed. This big win from Super Password, my online pick of the week!

Friday, June 5, 2009

ATWT: Funeral Crashers

Wednesday, June 3rd:

Congratulations to Noah for getting his grant for school! And just as they’re about to celebrate… there’s a knock on the door. Grumble, grumble, grumble. Yes, Alison, you should have called. NO MORE INTERRUPTIONS THIS CLOSE TO HOT NUKE LOVE, PLEASE!

Don’t get me wrong, I love it to death that Luke and Noah, as well as Alison are involved and were there for Casey in a time of need… but at a funeral like this, no Bob? No Kim? No Lisa? Whether Adam is really dead or not, if it’s a real funeral, family members need to be there. That was just absolutely pathetic. Writers, you screwed up big time on that.

One really good thing happened today, something I’ve waited close to two years for… some Noah back-story! Finally! Now thanks to the conversation with Riley, we know that Noah was born in Georgia. Also I just love how awkward Luke was about asking about the Colonel… umm, wow, foreshadowing much?

Margo, I know you’re distraught right now, but Riley is a complete and total stranger. You’re inviting him to stay in your home after knowing him for what… a matter of a few hours? Yes, because the same thing went over SO well with Matt. Sigh.