Saturday, October 30, 2010

Online Pick of the Week (10/30): Cheers

Time for another pick of the week, this time, Halloween related and a classic, and that classic would be a season 5 episode of the beloved sitcom Cheers.

I actually saw this on television yesterday morning and thought it'd be a good enough idea for this if I could find it online. Here we find Carla having trouble finding a new house. Cliff saves the day by informing her that he found a decently priced old house. The only catch is that it was built on top of a 17th century prison graveyard and appears to be haunted.

This episode is called "House of Horrors with Formal Dining and Used Brick" and was written by the late David Angell and directed by the legendary James Burrows. This also has the distinct notoriety of being the series' 100th episode.

It's my online pick of the week!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Online Pick of the Week (10/22): Blankety Blanks (Australia)

The year is 1977. Like the UK version, there's no Gene Rayburn obviously, but it's still a pretty funny show. Hosted by personality Graham Kennedy, the format here on Blankety Blanks is pretty much the same here, except for the cash amounts in the SuperMatch rounds. Unlike the UK counterpart, this one does offer cash in that round. The show was produced by Reg Grundy, best known here in America for the shows $ale of the Century and Scrabble.

It's absolutely crazy how close this version of the show resembles the American version in the looks department. The set colors are exactly the same as ours was back then. Same style opening with the turning wheel, Graham Kennedy's hair looks like Gene Rayburn's did in 1977. Even one of the celebrities laughs like Brett. It's insane. From a physical point of view, it's only a music change, lighted sign and an EMC-51 microphone away from being our Match Game '77.

The episode chosen is the debut of the series. Worth a look to see how another country took Match Game and made it their own.

Remembering Tom Bosley

Another loss in the television industry; this week, we lost one of the most beloved actors in show business, Tom Bosley, who died Tuesday at age 83 of lung cancer.

My love for the later years of Happy Days has pretty much dwindled because I didn't really care for how silly it got towards the end. This being said though, Howard Cunningham was definitely one of my favorite television fathers. Fair and loving.

It's been really nice seeing the interview clips of the cast mentioning what a nice man Tom was. A real gentleman. It was actually what I expected to hear. I also didn't realize what a broad history Tom had in Broadway. I also read that Tom initially turned down the role for Happy Days, until he read a scene involving Richie and Howard. I was glad to see that he changed his mind; I can't imagine anyone else playing that role so perfectly.

After Happy Days ended, Tom also had roles on Murder She Wrote and The Father Dowling Mysteries.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Online Pick of the Week (10/16): Blankety Blank

Another fun British game show to enjoy. This time it's Blankety Blank, their take on the classic US game Match Game, which has, for all of its incarnations on the BBC, have been based on the 1973-82 version of the series. The show has had its fair share of hosts: Terry Wogan (1979-83), Les Dawson (1984-90), and Lily Savage (1997-2002).

As seen by the caps here, they've gone through a different share of sets, but the game remained the same. There are 2 contestants and 6 celebrities, just like our version. Two rounds with "A" and "B" questions. Questions have blanks to them, naturally, just like our versions did.

The prizes don't quite match up with our version though. They play the SuperMatch round for prizes, and the losing contestants get that old Blankety Blank chequebook and pen. What I like about this version is that while it doesn't have the budget that the US versions had, it's still worth a good laugh. Also, the lack of a big budget really comes in handy for Les Dawson, who is featured as host on this particular episode; who as seen on other clips throughout YouTube, had no problem cracking some great jokes at its expense. And well, who are we kidding anyway? While Match Game, and especially Match Game PM had a perk of offering large sums of money in the SuperMatch rounds, the bigger reason most watch the show is for the comedy, and there's a really good supply of that here.

The episode is from 1988, and as mentioned features the second host, Les Dawson at the helm. Les had a dry, sarcastic wit with his version of the run. It's like he realized the show was comedic and not to be taken too seriously, and with that notion, he ran with it.

Blankety Blank, my online pick of the week!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Online Pick of the Week (10/9): Charmed

It's been a while since I've caught some Charmed reruns on TNT, but I fell in love with the show about 2-3 years back. Out of all the sisters on the show, Piper is my favorite out of the Charmed ones. Fierce, and doesn't take crap from anyone. She also had one of my favorite magical powers on the show -- the ability to freeze time.

This is one of my favorite scenes of hers on the show. As much as I hated Prue's death, it really did bring out the best in the actresses on the series, especially Holly Marie Combs. Here, we find Piper naturally having a hard time dealing with the death of her sister. And here, while grieving, we find out who exactly Piper is upset with.

This clip from Charmed is my online pick of the week.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Online Pick of the Week (10/2): Vintage Promos

Been scouring YouTube and been gawking at many of the older ways networks and local stations tried to grasp our attention with the shows they had to offer. I like how promos back then seemed to be more catchy and memorable. This is kind of a missing element from today's shows. I know networks still do a fall preview show, but it seemed to be a much more glamorous event back in the day.

From a local standpoint, WXIN in Indianapolis had a great campaign from circa 1989: "Indiana's Best." Some have their cheesy elements, like WAGA Atlanta's "Good News Atlanta" 1986 ad here with the balloons and such, but it's still very fun and heartfelt. Some of my favorites also include the old ads of WUSA in Washington, D.C. (back then known as WDVM, and before that WTOP).

And I can't make an entry like this without mentioning a few of the network promos that have graced our screens over the past several decades. Including ABC's "Still the One" in 1977, the successful campaign of CBS's in the mid 1980's (1983-86), "We've Got The Touch". About a year later in 1984, NBC had come up with "Let's All Be There," and used it for two years, this was when the network really started to bounce back with success with hits like The Cosby Show.

A good look at nostaglia here with some of these. Vintage station promos, my online picks of the week!

Remembering Stephen J. Cannell

Another big loss in the world of entertainment, television writer Stephen J. Cannell passed away on September 30 of cancer, at the age of 69.

Cannell had an amazing success as a television writer and was involved in the creations of many different crime drama series, including 21 Jump Street, Hardcastle and McCormick, The Rockford Files, The A-Team, Wiseguy, and Hunter. Steven also did some acting roles as well, including guest shots on Silk Stalkings (which he also acted in), Magnum P.I., and most recently Castle, in which he played himself.

I personally loved his idea on how to create a hit show. Basically that if you know whatever you're working on is good if it's something you yourself would want to watch. And also, an amazing clip was just posted by the Archive of American Television/EMMYTVLEGENDS folks over at YouTube, which has Stephen giving advice to all of the aspiring writers out there, especially the ones who are going through a bit of a rough period. It's something I'm really going to take to heart:

And of course, we can't close this entry without this iconic television ending: