Saturday, November 28, 2009

Online Pick of the Week (11/27): Chuck Woolery's Wheel of Fortune

This pick goes to an oldie but a goodie… Chuck Woolery’s Wheel of Fortune. As most game show fans know, Pat Sajak and Vanna White are not the original duo to grace the show. In 1975, the show began as a daytime show on NBC, with singer/songwriter Chuck Woolery as the host and Susan Stafford as the hostess.

I’m really a fan of Chuck Woolery’s hosting styles on this show. As far as favorite shows go with him, for me it’s always been a toss-up between this show and Scrabble. I appreciate any host who has a good sense of humor and a good rapport with the contestants. One of my favorite moments of his was on the 1976 episode that aired on GSN during the Merv Griffin tribute; where people apparently wrote in complaining about Chuck hugging the contestants, and he responded by hugging one of the female contestants after solving her puzzle correctly and said "I'm a hugger and if you were here, I'd hug you too!" You can tell by the way he did the final spin that he wanted the contestants to win big. Susan Stafford was a really enjoyable co-host; I really like the chemistry presented between her and Chuck. She also showed that she wanted the contestants to do extremely well.

One big reason I love the older episodes… simplicity. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s the reason why I don’t enjoy the current episodes as much. I don’t mind the idea of new twists, but the show these days can focus on those more than the game itself. It’s why the older episodes are always fun for me to watch. The older episodes are fluff free.

As for the shopping on older episodes; I love the idea of it, but some of the prizes could be a tad on the undesirable side. The prizes make me lean towards all-cash.

It’s too bad not enough episodes of this show exist to constitute a full syndication cycle, because it’s really worth airing.

Chuck Woolery’s Wheel of Fortune… my online pick of the week!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

ATWT: More Good Nuke Storytelling

Monday, November 23rd:

Another good day for Luke and Noah drama wise! The rejected kiss in bed made my heart jump. Usually something like that considering the circumstances with them hardly ever being seen in or even near a bed would piss me off; but in this case it didn’t. Noah pushing Luke away and still expecting him to be there for him obviously says that his love for his boyfriend is as strong as ever, even if he is upset over what’s happened.

The hypocrisy of Lily whenever she sees Holden with another woman never ceases to amaze me. And to Damian, the “respect” people have for you will go down in droves when they find out what you’ve been hiding.

Wednesday, November 25th:

Again, Noah is pretty much in the exact same position that Luke was in when paralyzed. He feels that all his life is over and it’s hard adjusting to things the way they are right now. As much as it has to be hard for him though, Luke totally needed to call Noah out and point out that how much he loves him no matter if he is blind, and I really loved Luke’s mention of what he’s thankful for. Another thing I loved was Noah’s mention of Emma’s sweet potatoes. I always enjoy little details like that.

This was a good day all around. The Nancy/Katie scene was great.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Monday, November 23, 2009

GSN: Upcoming Marathons

We'll be seeing some more marathons come Christmastime from GSN. Here’s the rundown (all times 9am-3pm except for the Combs and Dawson marathons, which run through 6pm):

December 24th: Combs Family Feud Marathon
December 25th: Dawson Family Feud Marathon
December 28th: Rayburn Match Game Marathon
December 29th: Deal or No Deal Marathon
December 30th: Karn Family Feud Marathon
December 31st: 1 vs. 100 Marathon
January 1st: O’Hurley Family Feud Marathon

In all honesty, this all week marathon situation is more like the Sci-Fi (or "SyFy", ugh) Channel. Deal or No Deal? Feh. Almost two whole days of the Thankgiving 4-day weekend was filled with that show. Something else should air in its place that day. I’ll be looking forward most to the Match Game, and Dawson & Combs Feud marathons, though there could have been a little less Feud too. A couple of the Match Game episodes featured are the “boobs” answer panel walkout episode from ‘74 and School Riot from ‘77. So if you do not have the DVD set and don’t have those episodes then this would be a good time to get them. As much as I find 1 vs. 100 to be an underrated show and think that it deserves a marathon, I’d rather not see it on New Year’s Eve. Dick Clark’s Pyramid should be the show for that; I mean, come on, the man is synonymous with the ringing in the new year. A Pyramid marathon would be nice even if there wasn’t as much variety with the episodes like last year.

GSN: I’ve Got A Secret Airings

When I heard that I’ve Got A Secret would be airing, I was a little skeptical as to which version would be airing and didn‘t want to get my hopes up about classic episodes airing. Nice to see that what will be seen is the original version of the show. This show will air at 3:30 am in place of Password, but Password returns right after.

Here’s some info on the episodes and the dates they’ll be shown:
12/07: 7/17/1952 - guest is Buster Keaton
12/08: 11/4/1963 - guest is Durwood Kirby
12/09: 5/18/1964 - Armed Forces Salute
12/10: 3/30/1964 - guest is Bette Davis
12/11: 11/11/1963 - guest is Jack E. Leonard
12/14: 2/15/1961 - guest is Lucille Ball (episode is guest-hosted by Johnny Carson)
12/15: 4/6/1964 - guest is Wally Cox (episode also features Colonel Sanders)
12/16: 5/11/1964 - guest is Durwood Kirby (Woody Allen fills in for Bill Cullen)
12/17: 11/16/1964 - guests are Robert Goulet and the Shangri-Las
12/18: 11/6/1961 - guest is Vivian Vance

It seems odd that they would do this randomly within the Password rotation, but this is one good thing that’s come from GSN within the past several months. If they can negotiate to get this show back on the air, even if it’s only temporary; it gives me a little hope that we could at least see some episodes of What’s My Line? again or some episodes of a show like Card Sharks during the day.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Online Pick of the Week (11/20): Remote Control

The pick this week is not only for the show itself, MTV's Remote Control, but also a remembrance post of sorts to the show’s host, Ken Ober, who passed away this week at the age of 52.

Here’s my take on it: Ken was a really fun host. Good with the contestants and the audience. I never saw him on Make Me Laugh, Smush, or Perfect Match, but after seeing him here I’d bet he was great on those shows as well. The questions are a lot of fun. This show also has the greatest way ever to eliminate a losing contestant. There are the little things to love too. I love the pictures of the game show hosts on the wall behind the host podium. I also love how the show’s judge wore a judge’s get-up.

I had never seen the show before until the two episodes MTV and MTV2 showed the other night. All I know now is that I’ve become a fan of the show and I’d really love to see a DVD release or something if neither MTV or VH-1 Classic does not want to air the show on a regular basis. It also makes me wish I was old enough to appreciate the older years of MTV.

Remote Control, my online pick of the week honoring Ken Ober.

WWTBAM: Tournament of Ten

Well it’s finally over! The Who Wants to be a Millionaire? two-week Tournament of Ten finished yesterday and we have our first winner in a little over 6 years! Congratulations, Sam Murray!

What really amazed me is how many contestants actually guessed right on the million dollar question after walking away. But in all honesty, I don’t really blame any of them for leaving. I always feel that if I were playing and I didn’t know the answer, that it’d be time to go. Especially in this case since it’s not like the regular play where contestants would usually have at least one lifeline to use during the question. And I'm sure if any of them saw Ken Basin lose back in August, they surely didn't want to see the same thing happen to them if they were wrong.

There were some really fun moments with this tournament, aside from the win itself, one of the most entertaining moments had to have been with Keilani Goggins with her presidential question. Tim Janus also had a great moment when he faked Meredith out when it came to being able to answer the question. As much as I love her on this show, I know the contestants sweat bullets in part to her “trickster” method in seeing if the answer‘s right or not. At the end, Jehan Shamsid-Deen scared the living daylights out of me as the timer dwindled down to practically nothing before leaving.

This was a lot of great fun and I hope the show does this again sometime.

ATWT: Poor, Poor Noah

Thursday, November 19th:

This was another good episode. Mostly in part by the acting, but the dialogue was great too. No matter how much Noah lashes out at Luke, it’s easily seen how much he still loves him. This is obviously a whole new world for this character. He’s never had to depend on anyone to get him through college or in other ways to start his life as an adult. In a way, it’s a little like when Luke was paralyzed, when he couldn’t walk and took his anger out on Noah.

Jake Silbermann really shined today, and so did Van. It’s just another instance out of so many that prove how well they work together. Due to Jake's great acting seen today, you could really tell how much pain Noah was in and how much he was hurting. Van showed how well Luke was hurting to see his boyfriend in such a sad state.

I admit I had serious reservations when I heard David Kreizman was coming over to this show after Guiding Light was left in such a horrid mess under his sole reign, but if we keep getting good storylines like this one, as well as if the rest of the show continues to improve, then I’ll be able to feel better about this show’s future.

ATWT: Good, Meaty Material

Monday, November 16th:

This was one of the best episodes EVER. Seriously. Such great acting by Van. And I was more than happy to see Mason get socked. Jerk had it coming. His behavior just goes to show he didn’t care about Noah at all. That comment at the end with him blaming Luke everything… what an ass. No, Mason; if you had kept your composure and acted like a professional, none of this would have happened. The only person to blame for this mess is Mason.

And as much as I rag on Meg, for the last half of today, she gets serious kudos from me for helping Luke out when it came to visiting Noah in the hospital room. It’s another reason why this particular storyline is more enjoyable than previous ones. There’s definitely the realistic angle in there about how same-sex couples do not have legal medical rights. Another plus being how much Noah is being treated like one of the family.

Tuesday, November 17th:

I admit I was floored at first when I found out about this adoption business, but all in all, it’s really just a way to take care of Noah’s health insurance situation. I love all of the character interaction in this. Bob’s face when Damian told him about the adoption was priceless. I’ll also admit that when I say I want Noah to have more family, this is not what I had in mind, but this is playing out much better than I thought it would.

Something I’ve noticed… it seems that the rush-rush-rush feel of the show seems to be coming to an end and for that I’m happy. This show is finally turning itself around and it looks like the start of some nice, meaty material to work with.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

GSN: Weekend Schedule Change

Weekends, effective November 28th, changes listed only:

9:00 am Hollywood Squares (Bergeron, SYN 1998-2004; replaces Match Game (SYN 1979-82))
9:30 am Whammy! (GSN 2002-03; replaces Password Plus (NBC 1979-82))
10:00 AM: Chain Reaction (GSN 2006; replaces Super Password (NBC 1984-89))
10:30 AM: Family Feud (O'Hurley, 2006-present; replaces Dawson Feud)
11:00 AM: Newlywed Game (with Carnie Wilson, replaces Whammy!)
11:30 AM: Catch 21 (replaces Chain Reaction)
12:00 PM: 1 vs. 100 (replaces Meredith‘s Millionaire & Bergeron’s Squares)
1:00 PM: Deal or No Deal (replaces 1 vs. 100)
3:00 AM: Catch 21 (replaces Dawson Feud (SYN 1977-85))
3:30 AM: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (Vieira, 2002-present, replaces Password (CBS 1962-67))

Blech. So much blech. What an awful schedule. Seriously. I love Hollywood Squares and Meredith’s Millionaire, but there’s no redeemable qualities with these changes at all. None whatsoever. They couldn’t get a couple shows out of the vault?

Whammy! continues to be run into the ground. Deal or No Deal will be seen *FIVE* times on Saturday. And knowing now much it airs on the weekdays… this is just way too much of one show. And I thought the Thanksgiving marathon was overkill. You know, I remember there was a time period from about 4 years ago to now, there’d be a few schedule changes where there’d be something that would happen that I wouldn’t like, but in spite of the negative feelings, there much more of the schedule’s changes would be positive and I’d find myself enjoying more of the channel. This is not the case anymore. Right now there’s 3, if not 4 shows that I can sit down and enjoy on a daily basis. No variety is really to be had at all now. We have the same shows with limited runs seen over and over again. The only Goodson-Todman classics left now are Match Game, Family Feud, and the original Password. It makes me dread the possibilities of future weekday schedules.

Hell, even with the reality garbage that came along, there were more classics than this in 2004.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Online Pick of the Week (11/13): Play Your Cards Right

I’m sure most game show fans are familiar with the game show Card Sharks, which ran in 3 incarnations (NBC 1978-81, with Jim Perry), (CBS 1986-89, with Bob Eubanks), (SYN 1986-87, with Bill Rafferty). There’s also the dreaded 2001 version, but I won’t go on about that. What some fans of this show may not know is that this is also a popular show in Britain. That’s right, a big hit called Play Your Cards Right, with none other than Bruce Forsyth as the host.

Bruce Forsyth is a great host of this series. Great interaction with the contestants; great chemistry with the models, over there known as the “Dolly Dealers.” Also he does a really great job with the handling of the cards. And of course, there’s one thing that I love a lot on this show: the questions. The interesting questions are one of the things that really have always made Card Sharks so much fun, at least for me. And here there are plenty of interesting ones to be had. Word has it that he was originally slated to host the CBS version. If they picked him, I'm sure he could have done really nicely.

There are a few distinct differences with Bruce’s show. For instance, the later episodes feature couples as contestants, usually married ones. Also, there is a car game featured in this version, however it is incorporated in with the money cards. And another difference: some people may be a little taken aback at the first 5 minutes or so because of the lengthy interview portions at the beginning. But in thinking about it more, I see why this happens. On our versions with Perry, Eubanks, and Rafferty, they all straddled. In other words, games would play continuously into the next show. On Play Your Cards Right, every game ends perfectly at the end with the Money Cards. The first five or so minutes must be done the way they are to keep it that way.

Play Your Cards Right, my online pick of the week!

ATWT: You’re Fired, Creepy Professor

Thursday, November 12th:

I’m not really a violent person, but I couldn’t help but enjoy the scene where Luke grabbed Mason in a fit of anger. The “I should have ripped your stupid scarf” line was pure classic. I see Luke’s frustration in this. Mason is Noah’s professor, and behavior like that is never appropriate. And in spite of that, it would be one thing if Mason was just harmlessly flirting and nothing more. But Mason has said on more than one occasion that when filming is done, he’s doing to be doing the best he can to get into Noah’s pants. It wasn’t about doubting Noah. And also Noah doesn’t see or hear the comments made about him that are said to Luke, so to him it just looks like Luke is overreacting.

Friday, November 13th:

I was so glad to see Mason fired. It was also nice seeing a bit more of the conversation with Noah and the Dean. Mason has no one else to blame for his career going down the toilet except himself. If he valued it so much, he’d have kept his hands and lips off of one of his students. I was really glad though that they at least made up and said their “I love you’s” before it really got ugly.

Great acting by Van and Jake. This looks to be a really good storyline at this point and from the looks of things, we should be seeing more meaty and emotional material in the near future!

A Little Cable TV Venting...

What is up with cable nowadays?

As I go through my Ryan’s Hope episodes this week I notice a promo for a mini-marathon of Cougar Town this Saturday on SOAPnet from 5-7 pm.

There’s only one problem with this… Cougar Town is a COMEDY, with no drama of any kind in it. Now this is not being used as a platform to bash that particular show. I’ve seen it a couple times and it really isn't as bad as I thought it would be. I’m also a fan of Courteney Cox so it’s nice seeing her on the screen again, and I wish it didn‘t come on the same time as Glee. But this isn’t about that. This is about the fact that the network that's supposed to be devoted to daytime dramas has put them in the position of second fiddle. The miscellany stuff seems to get much more attention than the actual soaps.

With all the reality garbage this network has been cranking out, along with the Sunday Night Movie, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, and I’m not. And what I love the most is that network and production executives always wonder why people flock to sites like YouTube and Dailymotion. At this point it just seems as though the train of thought is “if the network won’t provide material for the fans, the fans will do it themselves.”

We've also got GSN giving Carnie Wilson a reality show come January. Do the new people running the programming on this network even know its own history? They’ve tried to go in “a different direction” with reality and it didn’t work. Reality shows have failed on GSN. Every single one. A few of them may have done well at first, but then the ratings tank and if they’re not pulled entirely from the network they’re shoved off to 2 or 3 am and then they‘re gone (see Kenny vs. Spenny, The Amazing Race). Even one done based on another actual game show host, Chuck Woolery, in 2003, bombed as well.

And there’s more craziness than that on other channels. I flipped past The Weather Channel tonight and I see they’re airing Misery. Yeah, that's right. The MOVIE, Misery. Who thought this was a good idea? Yeah, who gives a damn about a possible Nor’easter forming when there’s a much more important blockbuster movie we can air instead? Geez, Louise.

GSN: Thanksgiving Deal or No Deal Marathon

Looks like GSN will be filling Thanksgiving and Black Friday this year with plenty of trimmings of Deal or No Deal. Yep, that's right, two days. 9 am-6pm.

Yeah, this is really ridiculous. And my negativity does not simply stem from my dislike of the nighttime version… although that is a part of it. But no show period, classic or modern, should ever have this much exposure. This is almost up there with the TVLand 48-hour type marathons. And let’s not forget the fact that a) this is not the first time the show has been featured with a lengthy marathon since its acquiring several months ago and b) the show now comes on at least 3 hours daily and I’m sure the show has cycled around more than twice by now. One other thing to consider… this is also not a show with thousands of episodes to spare either.

This is nothing but overkill.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Online Pick of the Week (11/6): Coupling (UK)

If I were to bring up the show Coupling to other Americans, what would come to mind to most may be the short-lived NBC bomb which ran for only 4 episodes back in 2003. But the version I’m referring to is the much better original British one, which is based on the relationship between creator Steven Moffatt and producer Sue Vertue. I first saw this on one of the PBS stations here and loved it.

This show revolves around the blossoming relationship with Steve Taylor (Jack Davenport; people in the US will probably remember him best for Pirates of the Caribbean) and Susan Walker (Sarah Alexander). There‘s also Susan‘s best friend Sally Harper (Kate Isitt), her ex-boyfriend Patrick Maitland (Ben Miles), Steve’s best friend and co-worker Jeff Murdoch (Richard Coyle; seasons 1-3), and Steve‘s ex-girlfriend Jane Christie (Gina Bellman). Coyle left after season 3 and a new character, Oliver Morris (Richard Mylan), took his spot.

What really made the show work was how the humor was done. It wasn’t an overt style of joke telling, but the writing in itself was still very enjoyable, and the situations themselves were comedic. One of my favorite scenes on this show has to be from episode 4, when Steve rants about seeing pornography and why he shouldn't be embarrassed about it. I haven’t seen the fourth season yet, but I can imagine why fans might have been upset with Richard Coyle’s departure; he had some of the best dialogue.

I always thought it was rather unfortunate about the NBC version. I remember being disappointed in it, especially since the creator of the British version was involved. It was also really miscast. I guess in the end though it was for the best, because some of what really worked on the British version would most likely never work here, especially in a post-nipple-gate world.

The pilot episode, "Flushed," can be found here.

Coupling, my online pick of the week!

ATWT: Sweet But Oblivious Noah

Wednesday, November 4th:

The idea of Lily questioning Holden’s whereabouts with Maeve is a freaking joke. The same questioning is coming from someone who married Damian not even two months after her first husband is presumed dead. It’s one thing to have mourned, but Lily’s just been selfish and I hate what this has done to her character.

Mason is so smug and creepy, and of course his smarmy ass would think it was better if Luke wasn’t there during the shooting. It’s been pointed out very well that Noah wants no part of his advances. That forehead kiss was just… ugh.

Thursday, November 5th:

Lily has just gotten on my last nerve lately. So she’s still wanting Holden, but she points this out while Damian’s arm is around her shoulder. And something else to point out… you know, normally snide comments made by Holden usually bug me, but in this instance, it’s more than justified.

Mason is so arrogant. I’m not much of a violent person, but I’d really like to reach into my screen and bitch slap that smug look right off of his face! Not only is he blatant about hitting on Noah, but he’s stupid enough to let that forehead kiss be caught on video. Luke is so right in being upset and I totally loved his “OH HELL NO“ face when seeing the dailies. I can’t believe he has the gall to put his arm around Noah’s shoulder in front of Luke like that. And then that game on comment?! Ugh. “Open season… open season for what?” Oh, Noah… na├»ve but loveable Noah… is it not obvious? Mason wants you. BAD.

On a note related more to the show in general, I’ve notice somewhat of an improvement in dialogue and the episodic crap seems to be gone now in favor of the more traditional soap opera storytelling; the way it should be. It really should stay that way.