Saturday, February 27, 2010

Online Pick of The Week (2/26) : Empty Nest

I’ve finally had the chance to get more Golden Girls DVD’s as of late (which is really a good thing now since Hallmark has wound up editing the show rather badly) and I’ve really been enjoying them. I recently finished season 2. And the only down spot was the season’s final episode, “Empty Nests,” which was a backdoor pilot for a spin-off. Rita Moreno and Paul Dooley played Renee and George, neighbors of the girls. Renee was depressed and lonesome as their daughter just moved out and her husband George is a workaholic. I’ve found Susan Harris to be one of the most legendary and significant creators and writers in television, but this concept based on that episode just didn’t work. It’s a really good thing this show’s format was retooled. Not just because the episode in itself wasn’t a good conception, but because what it did change to was something pretty great. When watching the original pilot, it’s hard to believe what came out of it later.

And of course, we fans know what did emerge from it. In its place would be Richard Mulligan playing widower and pediatrician Dr. Harry Weston. After his wife passes away, his two adult daughters, Carol (Kristy McNichol) and Barbara (Dinah Manoff) move back home. The role of the annoying next-door neighbor stayed and was still played by David Leisure, but his name was changed from Oliver to Charley. Also, at work with Dr. Weston was his wise-cracking and quick-witted nurse Laverne Todd (played by Park Overall). With this format, the show gelled much better. A lot of comedy came from high-maintenance Barbara and tough cop Carol.

One thing that I can’t help but notice with this show is lack of DVD’s. I can’t believe this show isn’t out on DVD or even rerun on television. It’s been years since that‘s happened. The last time was when it was on WGN in the late 1990’s. I’ll take a release anytime, but Buena Vista could have really taken advantage of it when The Golden Girls DVD’s were being released. The show ran for 7 seasons just like Golden Girls did so there could have been two releases of each show every time.

The episode chosen is an early one from the first season, "What's a Father to Do?", in which awards are given to both Carol and Barbara, and Harry can only be there for one.

Empty Nest, my online pick of the week!

Friday, February 26, 2010

G-T Shows I Miss on GSN: Tattletales

Another Goodson-Todman show I’d like to see return to GSN would be Tattletales, which originally aired from 1974-1978 on CBS and focused on celebrity couples and their personal lives. It was hosted by Bert Convy (who would win an Emmy for hosting the show in 1977). The format had three celebrity couples playing for cash which would be awarded to three different parts the studio audience. One red section, one yellow (or later called banana) section, and one blue one. The husbands would play in-studio and the wives off-stage in an isolation booth. When the first half of the show was over, they’d switch places.

I wish they had kept the earlier story format, in which for the first month of the show, in the front-game there was a “buzz-in“ type question or phrase such as “It happened at…” or “A humdinger of an argument” where then a husband or wife playing in the studio would buzz in and answer, then giving a keyword to identify it, such as “keys,” and would hope that their mate off-stage got it right. After that round would be “quickie” questions which would be multiple choice. That first round would be dropped in favor of all quickies. But the show still produced some zany fun after making it that way.

The show came back for two years in 1982. Same host, pert near identical set, and pretty much the same format. Though this version had more than married couples on. There were mother/son weeks, TV couple weeks, etc. The ‘70’s version had special occasions too; one of the best would be whenever Bert played the game with his then wife Anne. Another game show personality would host in that case; usually Gene Rayburn. And there’d also be an emcee week when game show hosts played with their spouses and they’d switch off hosting. Other hosts that participated included Bob Barker, Richard Dawson, Jack Narz, and Bobby Van.

Some refer to this as The Newlywed Game with celebrities… and well, it pretty much is. But to me that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. And I’ve come to like this show more than The Newlywed Game. This is the show for someone who’s into celebrities, but prefers to get their thrill in a tasteful manner. Tattletales comes off as all in good fun, and isn’t set out to make anyone deliberately look bad. I’ve laughed so much at many of the stories I’ve seen. One of my favorites hands down is Bill referring to a rather embarrassing moment with his mother-in-law.

This could work out well in an early afternoon slot. I’ll take this over endless Deal or No Deal or Lane Chain Reaction repeats any day of the week.

ATWT: Damian Fails at Life

Thursday, February 25th:

What’s this, Dr. Reid actually being helpful for once? But he’s still a douche bag in the process. So not surprised that Damian's alive. Seriously. Loving that Lily’s not putting up with Dr. Dick’s attitude. Hands down one of the best days Lily’s had in a long time. Why couldn’t she have this kind of backbone with Damian? Loved Molly for her good job in helping Holden today as well.

Didn’t expect to see Noah today. And standing up to Dr. Dick just goes to show that what he easily could have been willing to sacrifice in order to help his boyfriend and his boyfriend’s family. Totally unselfish. It’d have been nice to see Luke and Noah have a scene together though. Hopefully Luke will find out (on-camera) that Noah helped convince him to go to the police.

I'd consider this a good episode, at least for Nuke. I still did not care for the Mick/Alison/Casey mess though. But today just goes to show the powers that be can put a decent episode together when they want to. If we had seen more episodes like this, the show would have lasted longer.

ATWT: Another “Death” Investigation

Monday, February 22nd:

Sigh. What in blue blazes is up with this show and leaving certain important key elements out of scenes? This reminds me of several weeks ago when Luke asked if he was secondary to Noah's getting better last month. It’s as if something was left on the cutting room floor and the audience is left to guess for themselves what happened in the end. How do you have a character issue an ultimatum like Luke did with Noah today and not have Noah answer it in ANY WAY WHATSOEVER? Are you kidding me, show? They should have Noah at least explain why he left the house. One of the most important things you can do to tell a story on a soap opera efficiently is to explain why a character does what they do. It could have been a really nice angst-filled episode for them if the writers and/or editors didn’t screw it up. This ticked me off more than the actual plotline.

Tuesday, February 23rd:

Molly is spot on about how Lily’s pretty much let Damian walk all over her and the rest of the family ever since he came back to town. I personally can’t stand what a hypocritical, whining mess Lily has turned into. But, boy, she made a huge mistake by trying to forge a note and fake a ring. It just got Holden in even more hot water. In spite of any hot water though, I’m pretty positive Damian is alive. Not that I want him to be, but at this point I would put nothing past that creature. One of several reasons why I shed no tears for this “death.”

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Online Pick of the Week (2/19): The Price Is Right

The pick this week is The Price is Right… but not a version of the show that most everyone will remember. The original version (which is actually not the one that started in 1972) actually began in 1956 on NBC and was hosted by Bill Cullen.

Some may be turned off by the fact that there are only four contestants that stay for the whole show, but I don’t find this a problem at all. It lacks much of what the current version has, like for instance, no Plinko or Showcase Showdown to be had here, but it’s still a lot of fun. I think Bill’s interaction with the players, and the magnificent prizes alone truly make up for it. There were things as extravagant as a house and an airplane on some episodes. And there were plenty of cars, too. I also loved some of the guest hosts that appeared, including Merv Griffin and Arlene Francis.

Good series, and it’s a shame that there are such ridiculous standards set by CBS so that no version of this show period could air on GSN due to fear of “over saturation.” I think it’d be a nice addition to the schedule at any point, but it could especially do a little wonders now with such a limited amount of classics on the schedule. Seriously, one airing in the overnight hours, at say, 3 AM, isn’t going to kill the ratings for Drew’s version. What I did see was that four episodes of the show managed to make themselves available on the Best of The Price Is Right DVD set that came out a couple years back from BCI. It’d be great if we’d see more episodes of this version that way. Maybe the Mill Creek company could make it happen sometime in the distant future.

The Price is Right with Bill Cullen... my online pick of the week!

More DVD Releases

To me this seems to be a better year for TV shows on DVD so far, especially compared to last year. Then it seemed pretty much mostly current shows were only coming out.

I was pretty happy to hear that season 3 of Everwood will be released this year. After that happens, only one more season until it’s completed. This is also great since ABC Family never even bothered to give the show one complete rerun cycle before pulling it off; so at least fans are going to have a source for the episodes if they want to see them badly enough.

Also, season 6 of Sabrina the Teenage Witch will be released next month. I have to say, as much as I love this show, hearing about the musical edits, replacements, and some syndicated episodes on the previous sets have been really turning me off when it comes to buying them, but I know some people were still wondering about the rest of the show anyway and it looks like it’s finally getting closer to being done in the DVD market.

Not that I care for it anymore, but I also saw the notice for season 1 of Family Matters. I know Urkel became to be the most popular character on the show, but I find it a little funny that his picture on the cover is the largest of the whole cast combined. It’s like they’ve forgotten that the series was originally a vehicle for Jo Marie Peyton. I don’t enjoy seeing this show anymore, but a lot of people have been looking forward to this release for years and it’s good the fans are getting it.

With those shows, along with another season each of Mr. Ed, Night Court, and The Facts of Life, it’s beginning to look like a pretty good year for a show that’s not currently on the air when it comes to a DVD release.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

G-T Shows I Miss on GSN: Blockbusters

I'm starting a new type of entry which hopefully won’t last too long… a look at some of the Goodson-Todman shows that no longer air on GSN that I miss seeing. One of the big favorites of mine was Blockbusters, one of the few Goodson-Todman trivia shows, which sought out the age old question “are two heads better than one?” with a 20 hexagon board full of the first letters of each answer. Both US versions ran on NBC; the first from 1980-82 with game show veteran host Bill Cullen at the helm. The second lasted only from January-May 1987 and was hosted by Bill Rafferty.

My favorite is hands down the version that ran from 1980-82. Bill Cullen really shined here. I’ve often said that if this show were to ever be revived, using the two-on-one player format is the way to go. I’d maybe expand it so that more than family members play the two-person teams. The range of questions was also rather well executed. Good enough trivia questions to test your brain with a few pop culture ones mixed in. While the set looks dated, I enjoy seeing a manually operated game board, and major props to theme music composer Bob Cobert for coming up with a smashing music package.

I would say the 1987 version is far from horrible, but I think it really lost something when it abandoned the 2 vs. 1 format in favor of two solo players. That was the whole entire point of the show in the first place; to see if two heads were better than one. And with that gone the show just looks like any other game show. There was also an over-abundance of “Helpful Heloise” questions, which aren’t bad in general, but there just seemed to be too many of these on the show. I did enjoy Bill Rafferty’s hosting and I thought that adding the progressive jackpot in the Gold Rush was a good idea. It would have been pretty solid if it weren’t for the removal of the original 2 vs. 1 match up.

My favorite moment on this show has to be from 1980, with contestant John Hatten. While he was on the show originally, his house burned down, so he and his family had pretty much nothing. Then he wound up retiring after ten matches (the longest you could stay on at the time), $60,000. Then he came back in 1982 after the house limit was extended to 20 matches, played for ten more matches and won $60,000 more.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Online Pick of the Week (2/12): Monopoly

This show is known well with hardcore game show fans, but most people may not remember the show that I chose this week. Back in 1990 on Saturday nights for 12 weeks, ABC had an hour of game shows in primetime. One being Super Jeopardy!: the $250,000 championship game which involved some of the series’ best champions and the rare sight of four podiums. The other being Monopoly, a series that was based on the popular Parker Brothers’ Home Game; which involved trivia questions along with the hotels and park palaces. No thimbles to be had here, though.

This was an interesting take of the game. I wouldn't call it the best show, but it's not a bad way to spend a half hour. It’s obvious to me that this show was inspired by the success of the NBC daytime game show Scrabble, which had just ended its six year run and had made a great twist from the old board game that we all knew and loved. Before seeing or even hearing about Scrabble, I thought it would have been too hard to make a board game like that into a TV show… I felt it was even more impossible with a game like Monopoly.

Mike Reilly was an okay host. What I like is that he does seem to be in the game. What I’ve noticed about Merv Griffin is that when he picked hosts, he often got ones that had no prior experience. Chuck Woolery had never hosted a game show before Wheel of Fortune. Pat Sajak hadn’t done it either; before, he was a weatherman. And obviously the same could be said with football player Rolf Benirschke who took over for Pat when he left the daytime version of Wheel. The only two hosts I can think of who had some prior to hosting a series of his are Alex Trebek and Bob Goen who had a little before coming to daytime Wheel.

If there’s one thing that’s unforgettable it’s the incredibly cheesy but catchy theme song. M-oh-N-oh-P-O-L-Y! Oh... that’s going to be stuck in my head for a while now.

Monopoly, my online pick of the week!

Facts of Life: Season 4 Artwork!

The artwork for the DVD cover is now being released for the season 4 DVD of The Facts of Life, which is set to come out in May. It’s pretty consistent with the previous DVD sets by Sony. Though the pictures of Kim Fields and Mindy Cohn are obviously from later on in the run and not from around the season time period. Kim still had the bowl cut in the fourth season. I’m still very excited though, only a few more months till this comes out! It’s so nice to see more of a true classic get out on DVD! Thanks again, Shout! Factory!

SPN: Marathon this Monday!

It looks like some really good times right now for one of my favorite shows ever, Supernatural. Not only has the show just celebrated its landmark 100th episode, but it’s also been renewed for a sixth season! I know a lot of fans like myself were wondering what was going to happen with the show; whether this would be the last season, or what. It’s so nice to get an answer with that. And to make matters even better, there’s a marathon of the show on TNT this Monday! It’s mentioned around the ‘net as a “fan favorites” marathon. It airs from 9:00 am-6:00 pm and we’ll see the following episodes:

9:00 AM - “Tall Tales”
10:00 AM - “Hollywood Babylon”
11:00 AM - “Folsom Prison Blues”
12:00 PM - “Bad Day at Black Rock”
1:00 PM - “Mystery Spot”
2:00 PM - “Monster Movie”
3:00 PM - “Yellow Fever”
4:00 PM - “Criss Angel is a Douchebag”
5:00 PM - “After School Special”
6:00 PM - “The Monster at the End of This Book”

I notice that the last half of the marathon is exclusively comprised of fourth season episodes, which in itself is not a bad thing. Though I personally do have favorite season 1 episodes, like “Hell House.” “Bad Day at Black Rock” is absolutely hysterical. I laughed so hard at some of the bad luck Sam was getting as a result of what happened in the episode. This show is great at adding elements of comedy within a drama. “Monster Movie” is another true goodie, and black-and-white movie lovers would get a real treat out of it. “Yellow Fever” is another funny one with Dean’s constant fear. And “The Monster at the End of This Book” is certainly memorable for all the inside jokes with the show’s fan base.

I have to say one other thing though; while it’s great to see the show get the exposure that I think it deserves, I am a tad disappointed to find out that in a few of the episodes, the music has been changed for syndication. The good thing though is that this is thankfully not an issue with the DVD sets. Music is a focal part of this show, and I’m glad to see that DVD music rights are not a problem. I wish I could say the same for other series.

Be sure to set your DVRs for this; it’s totally a must watch!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

GSN: What The… ????

Nadya Suleman is talks with GSN right now while she’s “seeking employment.” Yeah, that’s right… Octomom. No, I’m not kidding. Though I wish to high heaven I were.

I just have one question… why?! I’m all for this network having new original programming, but how hard is it to get something new that’s… well, I don’t know… A FREAKING GAME SHOW?!?! Like for instance, I’m not a big fan of say, Catch 21, but at least that actually fits on something called a game show network. If they wanted to make new episodes of that, I’d understand completely. Even considering giving this woman time to discuss any type of serious employment shows me that the programming heads have taken leave of their senses.

I'm certainly hoping this session leads to nowhere. GSN's gone down the toilet enough programming-wise lately.

ATWT: Have I Mentioned I Hate Dr. Reid… and Damian?

Tuesday: February 9th:

My God, I can’t stress it enough. I HAVE NO SYMPATHY FOR DAMIAN. NONE. Why is there such little anger or disappointment coming from Luke now? The bastard has done so much and he knows all about it. Again Damian’s sabotaged people’s lives and when too much damage is done and everyone knows about it, he tries to take off with as little confrontation as possible, like any coward would. I can understand demanding answers, but there’s not quite enough heartbreak and upset reaction towards this. And Luke should know that Holden wouldn’t take the referring to Damian as “his father” very well. Especially after all that’s happened.

Wednesday, February 10th:

After today, part of me just wants to start an “I Hate Dr. Reid Oliver” club. As much as I don’t give a crap about Damian, Luke IS going through some major serious stuff now. And his attitude towards Katie, too? Ugh. Absolutely no decency towards other people. What is this guy’s problem? I'm beginning to think if he even has a heart, it's the size of The Grinch's.

I see Lily finally has her brain working as to who who’s treated whom better over the past years… if only this shed of common sense was turned on during Holden’s presumed death.

I love Noah being involved with other people, but I still can’t get around this plot-driven break up. They can talk at Java but not at home? How is Noah going to handle taking care of expenses if he moves out on his own? The good thing though is that it was nice to see Luke and Noah talking through things. I was really getting so sick of Noah being mad all the time before. Things went well until Maddie showed up. I love her, but she can show up at the most inopportune moments. I’m suddenly reminded now of a particularly steamy moment involving a towel…

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

DoND: Syndicated Version Canceled

According to Broadcasting & Cable. Not surprised to hear this one at all. The ratings apparently weren’t great this year; and it’s REALLY not a surprise to hear that, especially after reading how in some places the show was moved to bad time slots, some including the overnight hours. I know here in the Atlanta metro, one of the two daily time slots was cut and the show was moved to 9 am with no promotion whatsoever.

I am a little disappointed though, as I liked this version much more than the nighttime version. The theme weeks could get somewhat excessive, but other than that, it focused on mostly the contestants and the game; the way the show should be. And as a result, I found it to be a much more sane and pleasurable experience. It looks like pretty soon all we’ll have left of the show is the ridiculous amount of airings of the nighttime version on GSN, and by then my interest in the American version of the show will have dwindled down to pretty much zero.

Monday, February 8, 2010

TPiR: Nielson Survey

I would have posted this entry last week, but after I wrote it I couldn't find a working link any longer on the CBS site. But there’s a survey around which comes from the people at Nielson and asks what you think about The Price is Right at its current state. The questions are very precise and cover how the survey taker would feel about Drew Carey, Rich Fields, the models, the importance of the pricing games, the prizes, etc. It also allows you to give your own statements on whether or not the show has improved over the past year.

Two things come to mind. First, I’m not sure if other CBS daytime shows are having these (and considering what The Young & The Restless has apparently turned to, It’d be nice seeing survey answers for that show), but I can’t help but wish As The World Turns and Guiding Light had similar surveys. Unlike with focus groups (which some soaps like Another World were known for using), the actual fans could have taken them and they could have tried to help save both shows.

Secondly, this is also how GSN’s survey released nearly at the same time should have gone. GSN right now seems too invested in reality -- reality and "branching out into a different direction" -- something that’s already failed for them before and is failing for them now. The programming heads just don’t seem to have learned any lessons.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Online Pick of the Week (2/5): Sabrina, The Teenage Witch

It had been a while since I watched the show (it's probably about a year and a half since I've seen it), so I thought I’d check the reruns out again on ABC Family of one of my favorite shows, Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

I know the show comes off as cheesy to some people, including myself; even I find myself saying “wow, this is so cheesy” at times; particularly when certain special effects happen. But the good thing is that this is a show for me that has truly stood the test of time. I still find it incredibly funny after all these years. The storylines are still fun; one of my absolute favorites being where she earns her witch‘s license. I was really enjoying it until the 5th season (I was so glad they brought Nate Richert back). I also still love Melissa Joan Hart, Caroline Rhea, Beth Broderick, and Nate Richert on the show. And by the second season, Martin Mull, as he played a great Kravitz-type role on the series.

Some shows I watched growing up I just can’t enjoy anymore as an adult (I’m talking to you, Full House!). Nice to see Sabrina isn’t one of these types of shows. And for the record, I’m really disappointed to read that a number of the musical portions and acts on the show have been changed or edited out entirely when it comes to the DVDs. They even went so far as to editing out Martin Mull singing the Hokey Pokey of all things on one of the season 4 episodes. How ridiculous is that? Seriously?

The episode chosen is the pilot, where the 16-year-old finds out that she’s a witch! Enjoy! My online pick of the week!

ATWT: The Truth Is Out There

Friday, February 5th:

How seriously wrong of Lily to not tell Luke the whole truth about Damian. I just could not believe that. He is an adult and deserves to know everything that the bastard‘s been up to. Thank you, Molly, for filling him in! Though I hate how we actually didn’t even see the actual conversation. That was a scene that was worth seeing and it should have been done on-camera.

I have no sympathy for Damian. None. Period. I actually wouldn’t have cared by this point if they decided to kill the character off. There’s not a single iota of redemption left with the guy.
And Holden is such a bad liar. Still. It’s not even funny. People wouldn’t suspect him of anything if he didn’t act suspiciously.

Also, there was something else that’s getting to me with this show today; and it’s how awful Alison is being written. I love Marnie Schulenburg, the actress, and I wish I could say the same thing for the character. Alison has no spine. No self-respect. No integrity. It’s like they simply recycled a number of the lines of the same scripts from her previous triangle with Chris and Aaron and changed the names to Casey and Mick. It’s absolutely pathetic. And it’s no wonder the 18-49 young female demo is usually in the toilet. There are hardly any women on this show with a backbone. And it’s another reason why plot-driven material doesn’t work well with this genre. Alison should have matured and grown much better than this by now.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Remembering Frances Reid

Sad to report that daytime legend Frances Reid, who is best known for her role as Alice Horton on Days of our Lives, has passed away on February 3rd at the age of 95. Reid was also on The Edge of Night, As The World Turns, and Portia Faces Life.

Days has always been another favorite soap for me. I’ve had a lot of fun watching classic episodes lately, and Frances was one of the reasons why. I remember the first two episodes were broadcast on SOAPnet 4 ½ years ago and along with those and other episodes I saw throughout the years, and boy I noticed what a good talent she was when she was younger. She may have been disgruntled with the long working days, but she always seemed to put in her best efforts.

ATWT: Plot-Driven Frustrations

Monday, February 1st:

It was so nice to see Noah stand up for Luke. I was hoping for a scene like this. I was also glad to see Luke point out that he has an important stand in this relationship too and that he’s not the only one hurting, and Noah realized it! About time this happened. Noah also was willing to go without the surgery selflessly, for the sake of the relationship.

In spite of that good, I cannot stress any further how ridiculous this obviously contrived plot-driven separation is. Luke and Noah are not going to see each other away from the hospital, or even at home? Writers, you cannot be serious. It’s stuff like this that doesn’t make me wonder why the plug has been pulled on this show. Plot points should not be a crutch for soap storytelling, and this is one of many examples in regards to this show alone as to why.

Oh, Damian. Give. Me. A. Freaking. Break. I love how he tries to say him being caught will be bad for everyone else. You’re only worried about your own ass. You had no problem helping everyone else believe Holden was dead. And it’s nice to see Luke not fall for his pathetic attempt at a spin at what's happened.