Thursday, September 30, 2010

More September Classic TV DVD News

2010 is continuing to turn out pretty well for news in regards to classic TV on DVD.

Night Court season 4 is now available at the WB shop. Artwork looks nice and blends in well with previous seasons. It's also worth noting that this is the first season with Marsha Warfield playing baliff Roz, coming after the passing of Florence Halop. It's nice that Warner decided to find a way to keep getting this show out to its fans. Hopefully something can happen with other abandoned Warner shows.

According to; the final season of Dallas will be released January 2011. Also Shout! has also just announced that they've just acquired the rights to the '80's hit Webster. It'll be interesting seeing Webster again, it's been so many years since I personally have seen it. It's on that unwritten list of many shows that I thought would have easily been released and completed on DVD by now.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Online Pick of the Week (9/25): Wheel of Fortune

While I've shown my disdain with some of the theme weeks used on Wheel of Fortune in the last several years, pretty much because the concept is well overused, this one in particular I found to be pretty entertaining. Retro Week, from 2001. Here we find the show looking back at some of its roots. Including prizes on turntables, a "shopping" wedge, though not the actual thing, it is a nod back to the shopping days of the show where a contestant chooses a prize, and even the old "look at this studio" and "waiting to be won" phrases used in the opening.

I'm rather mixed on the whole shopping business. I like the idea of it, however, some of the prizes were a little... shall we say, interesting. I think I'd rather play for the cash instead.

The clips shown are also a nice treat. As well as trying to re-create the old atmosphere with the turntables and the older backdrops on the video wall. I have my likes and dislikes with the video backdrop wall on the show. I love it during times like Christmas with the fireplace and snow falling in the background. Some other times, not so much.

An episode of Wheel of Fortune's Retro Week, my online pick of the week!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Online Pick of the Week (9/18): Celebrity Jeopardy!

This pick is pretty much from a diehard fanatic's point of view. I love Celebrity Jeopardy!, as I've mentioned in the past. But here features one of my all-time favorite famous people, Melissa Joan Hart; who of course is best for her role as Sabrina Spellman on Sabrina The Teenage Witch.

I'm also enjoying Fred Savage on this. The Wonder Years was great, I also loved Working, haven't seen it in a long time, and I wish it'd be back in reruns again. The other celebrity featured is Alicia Witt, who played the daughter on the sitcom Cybill!

Celebrity Jeopardy!, my online pick of the week!

A Little GSN Schedule Rant

So I see GSN has decided to slip on more Family Feud with Richard Karn. Taking over the Dawson Monday and Friday daytime slots, at 9:30 am and 12:30 pm eastern. Combine that with the other airings, and basically the show will continue to be run into the ground.

In all honesty, I've really grown tired of all of this constant repetition. And I'm referring to all types of shows when I'm talking about this. Especially in the case of a show like Karn Feud. I don't have any actual hate for his version of the series. Or Richard Karn. That being said, no version of any show needs to air 5 times a day. Period. I don't care what year it's from. I don't care who the host is. I don't care how popular the run is (or seems to be). Especially if it's the same version of a series that has upwards of at least 4 different eras. As much as I was happy to see it return to the schedule, there's no need to air Card Sharks 4 times a day, especially if they only leased a limited portion of both shows. No need to air Deal or No Deal as much as they do. It's a hot property now, but it's going to get stale eventually, and drop off. Just like Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. And it'll probably happen sooner if they continue to air it as frequently as they do.

I'm tired of cable networks airing the same limited numbers of shows multiple times a day. I love a lot of shows, but some of them on other channels I barely watch in reruns and just decide to watch DVD's or old tapes instead at my convenience because I don't want to get sick of them because they air so much. It's lazy programming. Especially for a network like GSN, which has many shows from multiple eras at its hands. Hundreds of thousands of episodes at their disposal. It doesn't have to be all classic either. I miss the variety.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

ATWT: Reflections, Part IV

With it being a combination of things, that these are Procter & Gamble/Telenext's final shows, and because we've lost both shows in two years, and considering these were two of my favorite soaps, I also just can't help but compare how this show's final months to Guiding Light's. The last several months of that show were so hard to watch, but that was because the concluding storylines were actually pretty good. And as the weeks went onward, it became harder and harder to say goodbye to the characters that I once fell in love with. I was in tears after Josh and Reva drove away in the final scene. It's also worth pointing out that Guiding Light had far less time to wrap up their stories. As The World Turns was a different story, for the most part, things drove me away from watching.

I'll be more than happy to follow the actors from this show on future projects, because many of them are very talented and what kept people like myself from leaving the show sooner than I actually did. However, if I see a future show with Jean Passanante and Christopher Goutman's names in the credits, I will avoid it at all costs. As far as I'm concerned, those two have no business in the television industry after they've helped murder two lengendary soaps (I'm sure some Another World fans are still a bit miffed at them, too).

Because at the end of the day, the fans will know what's causing the growing decline of daytime soaps, and for the fans of As The World Turns and Guiding Light, they'll always know why those shows were canceled. Higher ups can blame it on "people not being home during the day" or "not having enough time to invest in a daily serial" all they want. Fans will know the truth. That these shows were put in the wrong creative hands for far too long.

ATWT: Reflections, Part III

But what has to be the most disturbing part out of all of this is that these two in charge actually think they did a good job telling this story. I mean, really. I know that when a character has two love interests, the ending won't please everyone. But still, the ending they came up with is inexcusable. In one of the most simple and classic soap opera storyline plots, the triangle, they managed to piss off virtually every fan involved, in some way, from start to finish! Yeah, real good job, guys. Not.

So much potential for this legendary and meaningful storyline to go out with a bang, and instead it went out with a whimper, all because simple potential was not met and details were not paid attention to; especially with a show in the soap opera genre, because things like key points in the storyline like the end of Nuke's relationship, and well, the relationship period, which was spat on by the writers and they progressed towards the end, Luke's being with Reid, and Luke's character in general were too compromised and manipulated for the sake of mere plot. I can't help but roll my eyes every time when reading about and watching these farewell tributes with the two of them mentioning the history and the legacy of the show. Like they actually cared. Please. They cared when they turned Adam into a psycho who attempted to rape his sister-in-law twice? They cared when they made Carly do disgusting things like fake her impending death in order to get Jack to marry her? They cared when they turned Paul into a complete cartoon? They cared when they made Vienna a complete skank? They cared whenever they decided to drop a character's IQ in order to make an insane plot work? They cared whenever they contradicted story dialogue within even mere WEEKS of each other?

And especially with this storyline in particular, when I think of all the good that came out of this storyline over the past 4 years... people feeling better about themselves when it comes to their sexuality, people who were inspired to come out because of it, people who were homophobic before watching it and had their views on gays changed for the better because of it, the effort spent to fight unfair kissing and on-screen sex bans just because the characters in questioned happened to be gay men, all the money raised for charity, friendships that were made, etc. This story over its entire course had a serious and major impact on people. It's honestly rather jarring watching the infancy of Luke's coming out storyline now, knowing all the character wanted was love and happiness, and knowing the story ends with him grieving like this. Knowing what a horrible way it ended just makes me all the more disappointed.

ATWT: Reflections, Part II

I also couldn't stand how towards the end this simply started to become a Reid redemption story. When Luke was with Noah, he was usually doing something, something. Writing, getting involved in an election, being involved in a "murder" investigation as half-assed as that story was; doing something other than just being in a relationship with someone. Luke was doing things for the hospital in the beginning of this, but that went away eventually. When Luke was finally with Reid, as in a relationship with him, it was all about Reid. We saw Luke actually giving Reid lessons on how to behave like a grown-up. Also what truly bugged me about the "redemption" element is that the writers never elaborated on why Reid was so nasty in the first place. I mean, yes, Luke blackmailed him into coming to Oakdale, but there had to be more to it than that. Why was he nasty to Bob and Kim all that time in the start? The random patient back on February 25th? The nurse on July 26th? MONTHS after Reid realized he wanted to be with Luke in spite of the blackmail business? Because I'm assuming if you're willing to have several make-out sessions with the guy who blackmailed you, the blackmail thing? Eh, might not be that much of a big deal anymore. But maybe that's just me. Though, anyway, it was simply all a mystery, and instead of finding it intriguing, like I'd guess the show seemed to intend it to be, I found it excruciatingly annoying; because it's extremely, extremely difficult for me to root for someone to get through whatever issues in the end they may have when I don't know what caused said issues to occur in the first place. He wasn't a monster, but his behavior was never explained. And when they tried to, it would be just like what occurred on May 28th. As soon as conversation between Luke and Reid during chess got really deep, and we were about to find out more about him, it was over. Just too much detail about this character was left up for interpretation. To sum it up? Basically, I didn't know why I should care.

Though I must say, as much as I have not liked Reid for about 97% of this storyline, even I find the ending for him to be disgusting and in poor taste. Seriously, THE most rectum-derived insanity I have EVER seen. He really couldn't get out of that car? Um, plot twist fail, show. Heaven knows I didn't want him to end up walking off screen hand in hand with Luke, but there was no reason whatsoever to kill the character. For one thing, it makes absolutely zero sense to spend all this time "humanizing" a character and giving Luke a second love interest only to waste him in the end. Secondly, there's the old standard, negatively stereotyped cliché out there of endings for gay stories in which characters end up either dead or alone and miserable. And with this show, executive producer Chris Goutman and head writer Jean Passanante decided to go for the gusto and include both elements. Also, don't get me started on how pretty much all of the straight couples walk off into the sunset happy while Noah and Luke end up apart and Reid ends up dead. Cliché much?! Just shameful.

ATWT: Reflections, Part I

I know it's been a while since I've made an As The World Turns-related entry. But I've just been so upset for the final weeks of this show that I seriously needed to take a breather for a while from watching it, for the sake of my sanity.

Especially as a Nuke fan, if someone asked me which part of this story did I enjoy the least, I'd say it was this part. Yes, it's definitely this one, because as much as overtime I grew on the idea of having some kind of triangle, this one was told so badly and so infuriatingly that I ended up taking some time off from watching the show. And as furious as I got during periods of the kissing ban, and things like the Ameera era, I never stopped watching the storyline for an extended period of time. I never dreaded seeing Luke on my screen. Never. My emotion for the characters of the show never went away. Ever. And for the better part of about 4 years, I always looked forward to the fierceness, the boldness, and well, the, hell, adorableness that was Luke Snyder. Always. Up until this mess.

Because they just didn't break up the Luke and Noah relationship and spice things up in a typically soapy manner. They took the Nuke relationship, balled it up, and threw it in the garbage. I will never understand why anyone running this show could have called this storyline a triangle. Because, it was not. Not a triangle. Not. A triangle involves three characters getting all three points of view equally and firmly established. One member of said triangle does not disappear from the screen for about 2 months. And the worst in that has to be this show lying about why Noah wasn't on so much in this story.

So much of it made no sense. Why did they keep going back and forth on who broke up with whom? Luke broke up with Noah. Period. On March 16th. And also, why did Reid seem to be on Noah's side during the breakup on March 17th, but then did a complete 180 with no explanation in a manner of weeks with him being completely on Luke's side? Oh, and speaking of taking Luke's side, where in the world did Reid have any right telling off anyone on how badly he treated Luke in the beginning? Where? For months he treated Luke himself like complete dirt, even after Reid realized he wanted him. Why couldn't they decide on when Luke and Reid's relationship actually began? I'm surprised I didn't get whiplash watching this.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Millionaire: Season Premiere

The biggest thing I noticed is that, well, as far as I'm concerned, the show pretty much resembles the copycats that came out after Millionaire instead of Millionaire now. I'm not a fan of the questions being randomized. I think that bothers me more than any of the cosmetic changes would have.

The music I don't have too much a problem with after listening to it in action, both on the show and on the show's website when playing the online game. It's got a dramatic element; my TV speakers thumped like crazy to the sound of the question cues, particularly when the "heartbeat" part of the cues played.

I have my issues with the format changes, but Meredith is still at her best as a host. Over the years I've looked forward to seeing her emcee Millionaire, and from this aspect of it all, that hasn't changed one bit. She is still bringing her "A" game as far as I'm concerned.

Family Feud: Steve Harvey's Debut

Well, it's finally a new day for Feud. Steve Harvey's first shows aired.

Just as I figured I would be after seeing the preview clips on YouTube, I really am impressed with Steve Harvey. I love Steve's interaction with the contestants. His reactions to the answers that are given are priceless. Especially when they give less-than-stellar answers. I have to repeat myself here: I am so happy to see that the bad answers are teased with. It was too annoying seeing the rotten responses getting applauded anyway like they were good. Also obviously being a comedian, he's great at telling a good joke; and in the case of this type of show, that's pretty much needed to help keep the fun aspect of the show alive.

I'm glad the Bullseye round is gone. For many years, I was very curious about how the round worked and wanted to see some episodes featuring it. Because within the game show fandom, they were often talked about. And when GSN started airing the ones from the Ray Combs syndicated era, I was pretty unimpressed with it. I didn't like how that round slowed the game down. It's nice that the current version of the show wants to have a nod or two for its classic roots, but there are better ways to honor them.

As for minor notes, I'm also glad the outdoor family introductions are gone. The new set looks nice. I still am not a fan of the classic theme being used on the newer version of the show. I know, I know, that sentence sort of contradicts what I just wrote in the paragraph above. But I do have my problems with this, as I've said before. Too much of the same parts of the song repeated over and over. I'd love it if they could get some different face off cues or something. "The Feud" is a truly one of a kind and memorable game show theme, but I wish the music people of the current version would take note, because there's more to the song than just the main part of it.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Online Pick of the Week (9/11): UK Blockbusters

The pick this week goes to a foreign version of a favorite game show of mine, the UK version of Blockbusters. The classic game that tried to answer the age-old question, are two heads better than one?

Blockbusters didn't fare as well here in America unfortunately. Bill Cullen's version ran for two years on NBC (1980-82), and 5 years later the show returned on the same network, albeit with a different format of one vs. one in 1987 with Bill Rafferty hosting. The show however lasted for a long time in the United Kingdom, from 1983-1993.

The primary object of the game stayed the same. The solo player played and connected a (white) vertical line of hexagons, while the pair connected a horizontal (blue) line. Also just like in America, the answers would begin with the letters on the game board. What really stands out for me with this version is how they managed to keep the two vs. one format and use it in their favor. No family pairs here, but sixth form students (equivalent to high school seniors in the US) made up the contestant pool. I wish the 1987 version had continued with the two vs. one format. Taking that away and making it two solo players only really took the original purpose away from the game. There were some differences in the prizes department also compared to the US versions; cash was the primary prize in the here, in the UK, money wasn't the sole thing to be won, although £5 (later £10) per question for instance were awarded, completing the Gold Run would win the players a trip. Bob Holness did a really nice job hosting the show. He almost reminds me of a British Allen Ludden, especially with the hand gesture.

Also a couple minor observations; what a lovely opening credit sequence, and who can't love the extra cheesy yet delightful Blockbusters hand jive? Those really help add to the charm of the show.

The UK Blockbusters, my online pick of the week!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Online Pick of the Week (9/4): Mary Tyler Moore

Been having a hard time this Labor Day weekend trying to find something for this week's choice, so I went onto Hulu, and after several hours of watching Mary Tyler Moore episodes, I finally decided on this.

Here we find a season 2 ditty, "Thoroughly Unmilitant Mary." Easily one of Edward Asner's best episodes. A news writers' strike leaves it all up to Mary and Lou to prepare their station's newscasts, and a clammy and nervous Lou Grant to do the night's newscasts. As we can see here, it ends up in a complete disaster.

This episode was written by Martin Cohan, future co-creator of Who's The Boss?.

Mary Tyler Moore, my online pick of the week!