Thursday, December 31, 2009

In Memoriam, A Recap

Since we lost so many great celebrities this year, I thought today would be the perfect time to recap once more some of those we lost in the television world.

Early in the year, we heard of the losses of both Ricardo Montalban of Fantasy Island and Steven Gilborn; Gilborn perhaps being most famous for his role as Ellen’s father on her ‘90’s sitcom, Ellen. Angel fans were saddened to hear about the loss of Andy Hallet; Britcom fans mourned the passings of Are You Being Served? alumni Mollie Sudgen and Wendy Richard. The comedy world said so long also to legends Bea Arthur, Arnold Stang, Fred Travelena, and Soupy Sales. There’s also game show host Ken Ober. We also said goodbye to three memorable stars around the same time: Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson. Just recently Sesame Street and 227 fans learned of the death of Alaina Reed Hall-Amini. I'll admit I was never once a fan of his commercials, but I did think it was pretty awful to suddenly hear of Billy Mays' death.

Atlantans lost a true local legend in November, as we bid farewell to WAGA-TV anchorman and personality, Jim Axel. And speaking of news legends, we also lost one of the biggest ones in the
business, Walter Cronkite.

May they all rest in peace.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Yearly Review: GSN

There’s been good moments this year, but way too few. I loved Clark Pyramid coming back, 1 vs. 100, Oodles, and seeing George and Brad on The Newlywed Game, but too many bad decisions have been made this year. For instance, losing the rights to about 98% of the Goodson-Todman/Fremantle libraries. The schedule changes that followed continued to lack variety. For instance, I actually don’t really have a problem with Karn Feud airing; it’s how many times daily it is shown. I was never expecting to see an exact copycat rendition of the 1997 Dark Period schedule, but it would have been nice to see a few of the Sony shows dusted off; maybe air a few shows early in the day or on weekends. And one can’t forget the constant technical difficulties. No station is perfect, but it should not take over 8 months to adjust to new broadcasting equipment.

It really seemed from about April 2005 to March 2009, schedule changes and so forth would occur as they always do. And in spite of any negativity within them, the positive would almost always seem to outweigh the negative. It was never perfect, although really when it comes to the best schedule, that’s really in the eye of the individual anyway. But there was still a lot of fun to be had. Ever since the majority of the Goodson-Todman/Fremantle shows left, this has no longer been the case. I’d say there’s still some good, for instance, Pyramid with Dick Clark has been a joy, but the mediocrity and just plain bad overpower any much of it. And knowing the fact that reality programming is coming back into the picture after how badly it tanked in 2004, it leaves me thinking that with this decision along with no on-air mention whatsoever of their 15th year on the air (which I found to be absolutely inexcusable), the new folks running the channel now either don’t know the history of the network they’re running or they plain just don’t give a damn.

I wish I could look positively in 2010 for this network, but really I don't think I can at this point.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Online Pick of the Week (12/25): Jeopardy! Rehearsal Games

This is a good pick for any Jeopardy! fan, especially one who wants to see how things are done when it comes to the practice and planning processes of the show. It's a clip montage of several rehearsal games from the first season of the current syndicated version of the show, which was uploaded (and hosted) by the then-contestant coordinator, Mark Richards.

I love how laid back they are with this; especially with the way the contestants are introduced in the opening portion of the clip. It’s always a little weird seeing someone else besides Alex host this show, but this is still good fun, and any glimpse of classic Jeopardy! is worth a look.

Hardcore game show fans will notice Whew! contestant Randy Amasia as one of the practicing players; he would be on Jeopardy! playing real-time in 1986.

A look at Jeopardy! rehearsal sessions, my online pick of the week!

ATWT: A Very Snyder Christmas

Friday, December 25th:

No Damian and no Meg? Both this and Dr. Bob Hughes serving as narrator are worthy enough in
themselves to give this episode an overall decent review. Seriously, a really nice touch having Bob do a voiceover.

Lucinda and Emma working together was absolute goodness. And I absolutely LOVED the care package Luke gave Noah. It was made of pure love and it was obvious how much thought it took. Even with Noah having doubts about where to go in the relationship, it's as plain as day how much he still loves Luke.

The family feel was very nice to see today, and yesterday as well… it’s something that’s really often been missing on this show for the past 2 ½ years. And I loved seeing Holden interact with Luke, Faith, and Natalie. It just makes me wish for more Luke/Holden scenes. And if another character on this show says Luke is just like Damian one more time, I may throw something!

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Online Pick of the Week (12/18): Beat the Clock

A week before Christmas is a pick of the week which comes from my own collection.

This is an episode of the original version of Beat the Clock from 1952, with Bud Collyer hosting. This has always been my favorite version of the show. The stunts were the best I thought here, and you can tell how much Bud gets into them; especially if someone tries the bonus stunt and wins. It’s obvious he always wanted the contestants to win.

My favorite part is at the end. I won‘t give too much away, but I will say this: I found it to be very touching and is totally like what you’d see if you were watching a show like Ellen.

Beat the Clock, my online pick of the week!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Online Pick of the Week (12/11): Barney Miller

Good gravy, Marie! If you’re a Match Game fan and you missed last Sunday’s second airing of the night of Barney Miller on WGN America, then you missed a treat, because the episode shown featured none other than the late Brett Somers as a guest star!

This was a pleasant surprise as I had seen her on the first season episode she appeared on, “The Stakeout,“ but I wasn’t expecting her to be on another one. It was a rather nice performance too. The episode is called “The Election,” and it was originally seen during season three. Brett plays a woman who was locked in her bathroom by her husband as a means to keep her from voting.

It can be found here on Hulu and on the season three DVD set. Brett on Barney Miller, my online pick of the week!

Buffy The Vampire Slayer Coming to Logo and MTV

Beginning in January 2010, for all the fans who miss seeing Buffy in syndication, you‘re in luck, because the vampire fighting Scooby gang from Sunnydale will be back in reruns!

I know some folks like myself were upset when FX first put the show on weekend only duty and then finally removed it altogether. And while the show is on DVD complete, it’s one of those series that I think always deserves a home somewhere in syndication. I can actually see the reasoning behind the Logo pickup… the show has a pretty substantial gay following (heh, I should know). MTV however… as much as I really love this show I’d really wish MTV would air music related programming. I know, I know... dare to dream, right?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

ATWT: Les Moonves

Les Moonves as a programming head already came off to me as rather ridiculous… having a hand in trying to cancel Reba before the merge to The CW even though it was one of The WB’s highest rated shows just because it didn‘t fit into the precious, coveted, and overrated demo system, and not wanting to let GSN air ANY version of The Price is Right in fear of “over saturation” when that network doesn’t get in near the amounts of homes as CBS, and having the same attitude with not wanting to let AOL put classic episodes of As The World Turns and Guiding Light on their ONLINE channel… but this honestly takes the cake.

I understand that canceling the show was a business decision reflected on the ratings over the past several years... a chunk of the audience have left the show thanks to craptacular decisions by Goutman, Passanante, and Co., but the least one could do as the head of the network is be classy about it. I thought Brian Cahill’s reaction was a lot of bunk but if someone thinks it was manufactured or not, it was at least classy sounding. I do not care if a Pyramid revival comes out of this; canning a staple show like this is NOT funny. At ALL. Especially considering the announcement was made just a little over 2 weeks before Christmas and also especially considering the interview was with Marie Masters’ son-in-law. I’d love to see him have this attitude if he were ever fired.

Les, do all us World Turns fans a favor and go to charm school.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

ATWT: Another Daytime Staple Bites The Dust

I’d say that while my confidence started to go up, I wasn't surprised to hear the notice this morning at all, and while I’m not shocked, I am pissed.

"As The World Turns" has been a cornerstone of our business and a tremendous asset to the company," said Brian T. Cahill of TeleNext Media, Inc., the show's production company. "We are proactively seeking a new outlet to carry the show, and are open to exploring innovative formats and relationships that will enable the future success of 'ATWT.'"

This statement from Brian T. Cahill really gets to me. If the show was such a cornerstone and an asset, then one would think they’d have been treated the show better over the past several years. Head writer Jean Passanante should have been fired 3 years ago. There's no reason period why this woman should have stayed on writing this show for as long as she has, and given her track record on Another World and All My Children, I'm surprised she was hired in the first place. The majority of fans wanted her gone long ago.

And it's executive producer Christopher Goutman's own fault for alienating fans by making too many piss poor decisions and alienating fans by making statements like he didn't care what they thought, and then waiting until imminent cancellation to fix the show's problems. There have been too many storylines either told too slow or too fast which put the plot first and the characters second, too much concentrating on characters and couples the majority of fans despise like Meg and Paul, turning one character like Paul Ryan into a complete cartoon and killing him off multiple times, making female characters weak and pathetic, waiting 3+ years to begin to reunite one of the show's most popular couples, Jack and Carly, and constantly giving characters that really deserve airtime space on the backburner (Luke and Noah of course come to mind as well as vets like Lisa and Nancy). And I hope Mr. Goutman is satisfied, because his lengthy discouraged "to-hell-with-the-fans-I'm-doing-it-MY-way-even-if-it-sucks" attitude with ATWT has just cost himself his job, as well as a mostly talented cast theirs, and it also cost the fans their show.

As much as I’m happy to see the show get better creatively in the past couple or so months (I personally have been watching more of the other days now), I can’t help but be upset with the powers that be at Procter & Gamble/Telenext, because as stated, if changes came sooner, this wouldn’t have happened. And if the rumors were true of Procter & Gamble/Telenext wanting to get out of the soap business, it’s still no excuse to not treat the fans better.

As far as CBS goes… I do think they seem to like to announce items like this at the worst possible times. Guiding Light’s cancellation was announced on April Fools’ Day, and this one was made right before the holiday season. They could have at least waited until January.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Online Pick of the Week (12/4): I’ve Got A Secret

In honor of the show returning briefly to GSN this month, I thought the online pick of the week should be no other than the classic panel game, I’ve Got A Secret!

I find something to like about every version of this show, but the Garry Moore era is hands down my favorite. Best host and I find the panel of Bill Cullen/Betsy Palmer/Henry Morgan/Bess Myerson to have had the best chemistry. I've also grown to like this show the most out of the successful panel show trio of it, To Tell The Truth, and What's My Line?. I love all three shows, but I find this one to have the absolute most liveliness and the most fun.

The show being live helped create some really memorable moments, like this famous blooper involving a cow and well… something not too pleasant. There’s also the celebrity guests… so many great ones. Ronald Reagan is highlighted towards the end of this clip, with Garry Moore himself highlighting some other moments with William Shatner in 1984. There’s also Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Woody Allen, George Jessel, Eve Arden, Soupy Sales with his pie throwing skills… I could go on and on.

The other secrets were interesting as well, like the piano player here, and some of them highlighted history. For instance with Neil Armstrong's parents.

The original I’ve Got A Secret… my online pick of the week!

ATWT: Noah’s Struggle

Monday, November 30th:

Again, this is pretty similar to Luke’s temporalysis situation, especially with the bowl breaking and Noah thinking that he can get it himself. It reminds me of Luke falling in Old Town. Jake is doing a great job at portraying what a struggle this must be for Noah. I was pretty much expecting Noah to lash out a little more. He’s still getting used to his life changing for the worse by being blind. Loved the kiss at the end… the 50th kiss to be exact! And I’m willing to bet money Noah’s stay at this rehab place won’t be for long.

Friday, December 4th:

I have to admit, as much as it’s nice to know how much Noah is apart of the Snyder clan’s lives, I was a bit ticked off that Luke visited Noah off-screen. If then brand spanking new Hunter can visit his mother in a home and if we can watch Carly go through practically every drink in her alcohol addiction storyline, at least one on-screen visit to Noah in his rehabilitation center is not too much to ask.

Meg continues to annoy me to no end. She’s already been played like a violin by Damian and yet she still manages to believe she has a future with him. And I just can’t take Lily and Damian as a couple seriously at all, especially while he’s cavorting around with Meg.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

GSN's 15th Anniversary

I would have posted this sooner but I’ve been having a hard time trying to word this exactly. I didn't want to sound too negative, but I guess that didn't work out all too well...

You wouldn’t know it from watching GSN on December 1st alone, but this day marks a big milestone for the channel, it’s 15th anniversary. The network first started in December 1, 1994; and signed on with this amazing montage.

As I scanned through the tape I have to answer Oodle questions, I notice that there has been no mention of this whatsoever, NONE. 15 years is a pretty big milestone, especially for a smallish cable network, and I can’t believe nothing was said at all. I think 2004 had to be one of the worst years of the channel yet, with reality programming in place and it being obvious they were trying hard to distance themselves from traditional game shows, and even then there was a little 30 second ad marking the 10th anniversary. That wasn’t much at all but at least it was still something. Not just that, but we’re also talking about a network that ran a marathon of shows when they turned 2. GSN dropped the ball on this.

This and with the many bad decisions that have been made this year, it’s a bit awkward for this fan to be overly enthusiastic or celebratory when it comes to this network. I’ve had it at home since 2003, and the first show I saw was Dawson’s Family Feud. After that would be two other classic shows: $100,000 Pyramid and Match Game ‘74... and I soon became hooked. I haven’t had it as long as other fans, but I’ve seen things like the 2004 changeover and the resurgence of classics on the weekdays in 2005; shows like Bill Rafferty’s Card Sharks were new to me. And it was fun seeing Super Password and Password Plus on a regular basis. There were also some downs like Without Prejudice and Starface, but it seems to me in spite of the negative aspects to the channel, between 2005-early 2009 it was pretty much a good thing to look forward to. I wish I could say the same thing now… with little to look forward to, I wish I could be happier about the network now but hopefully fans like myself will be happier for the 16th anniversary.