Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Happy Birthday, Betty White!

I really enjoyed Monday’s NBC special honoring one of the legendary golden girls. All of the classic clips (especially since I'm such a sucker for nostalgia), and all of those legends there in one room. Even a funny moment with the President! Carol Burnett has aged very well. I think my favorite part was the game show salute with Joel McHale, Carol Burnett, Ed Asner, Valerie Harper, and Vicki Lawrence. Just as a side note, I'm thinking Joel would make a hilarious game show host considering how deadpan he reacts to silly answers.

It’s impossible to pick only favorite role of hers for me. So much stuff of hers has been enjoyable. So much stuff from a legend in the female comedy world. From the fierce Sue Ann Nivens on Mary Tyler Moore, to the na├»ve Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls… in her arguably two most memorable televised roles, she’s managed to brilliantly portray two different and extraordinary characters. There’s also Mama’s Family, her many guest roles on other series, such as The Simpsons, Family Guy, and who can forget her current role on Hot in Cleveland. And let’s not forget all of her years on game shows, too. Easily one of the best players that ever walked a game show set. I'd say Pyramid and Password were the two shows I looked forward to the most in this particular genre. She could play a word game like no other.

As a person there are a number of things that make me respect her very much: her professionalism, her admiration for animals, her open-mindedness. Just an all-around wonderful human being.

I hope she has many more birthdays to come.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Ugh, ABC Daytime.

As someone who wasn’t really a big watcher of most of the ABC soaps (but did tune in time to time to see them) I was still pretty disappointed and at times even outraged at the news following the months after hearing that both All My Children and One Life to Live were cancelled.

It’s for me mostly been outrageous because of the deception. I really did not like it when Les Moonves joked about As The World Turns’ cancellation the day the announcement was made, to an interview with Marie Masters’ son-in-law, no less. However, at least there was honesty in the decision to cancel it.

But this situation unfolded differently. We sat and watched as ABC daytime lied to their casts and crews; Susan Lucci was actually even on Wendy Williams as recently as a week before the official word came out saying the cancellation stories as far as she knew didn't come from ABC. Furthermore, have the All My Children people uproot and move cross-country from New York to Los Angeles in 2009 for nothing, and lie to your fans for over a year, calming their concerns about cancellation only to yank the rug out from under them like that. Several articles and stories came out denying the rumors (the most recent article came as late as March 22) which really swelled around the time World Turns ended. I've also never believed that that ABC would suddenly change their minds between March 22 and early last April to end Children and One Life. Particularly since they knew exactly what hosts and shows they were going to replace them with. Oh, and speaking of the replacements, The Chew and The Revolution? Really? Despite what ABC would like to say, these shows aren’t new to daytime at all and are found a dime a dozen elsewhere in the TV world, especially the former.

Then we saw the whole Prospect Park situation unfold. Fans were so happy when they thought their favorite shows were saved. You know, at this point, I don’t know if that company really wanted to put an honest attempt to save these shows or if this was just a ruse to keep fans quiet for a while because there was so much backlash behind the decision to kill these legendary shows.

I think it would have been sad to see a soap leave the air regardless. Even cancelling the shows themselves would have been one thing, but the lying and fake reassurance for as long as ABC did it is despicable.

Will Horton’s Journey: More Insight

I’m going to get into regular postings with this show like I did with World Turns pretty soon, but I thought I’d take one more chance to expand a little more of what I'm enjoying with Will Horton’s storyline on Days of our Lives, especially with some of the latest twists the story has gone into.

For one thing, Will and Marlena’s relationship has really touched me. I love how the show has very clearly showed that Marlena’s going to be there for her grandson no matter what he’s going through. She’s always willing to sit and listen to his problems and concerns. I was moved to tears when he attempted to come out to her but chickened out in the end and sobbed in her arms on December 29th. Chandler has been brilliant at showing the emotional struggle it takes for one to come out. Just such a wonderfully written duo. I’m loving them as much as I loved Luke and Lucinda on As The World Turns (one of the things on that show they definitely got right). I find myself relating to this in a special way, too, because I hope when I come out to my own grandmother, she’ll be as accepting as Marlena Evans obviously will be.

I'm still pretty moved from last Thursday's episode with Will speaking with Sonny's father and his friend Mateo. You could tell how badly Will wishes he could have a close paternal type relationship like Sonny has. Because he knows he hasn't gotten any of that kind of stability with his own mother, Sami, and her Merry-Go-Round of relationships and marriages. Will thought this might happen with Rafe Hernandez, Sami's latest husband, but after witnessing her affair with EJ DiMera, he thinks any chances of normalcy in the way of a family have been wiped out.

Also, the scenes with Sonny's friend Mateo clearly makes him wonder if he's ever going to have a life where he's out, proud, and free like they are. Not to mention, Jai Rodriguez played really well off of Freddie and Chandler. As Sonny himself said, "He's just not there yet. He's just not there." Also, nice to have confirmation that Sonny indeed knows that Will's gay.

I must admit, I’m enjoying the EJ element in this storyline a lot more than I expected. Will’s attempt at blackmail to get money from EJ to leave Salem is a very accurate display of how desperate people get when they’re living in fear and denial. Some people will attempt anything, no matter how illogical it is, to avoid dealing with their problems head on. The point of EJ knowing Will shot him in the back in 2007 was a really excellent twist, especially since we never saw who actually pulled the trigger. It’s nice that they could add this element in the show with it making complete and total sense. Also it looks like Will doing EJ’s tasks could add a layer to him character wise. I also can’t forget that he has figured out Will’s other big secret.

Some people are wondering how EJ DiMera knows Will is gay already. Does he have expert gaydar or what? For one thing, it can be seen how EJ could interpret Will being reluctant about talking about his “feelings” in the gay way when he overheard one conversation with Will and Marlena. There’s also New Year’s Eve when he saw Will with Sonny and Tyler. What was going through EJ’s mind then? I won’t dismiss him on that. Because even when I take my slash fan hat off, Will has looked more relaxed, more open, and happier whenever he interacts with most other guys: Sonny, Chad, Sonny's friend Tyler, and for the most part, Mateo.

I’ve been enjoying this part of the story and am looking forward to the future. Because as a soap opera storyline goes, blackmail is one of the most classic elements you can have and it‘s being used very well here.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I'm Hooked... Again (And I'm Loving Every Second of It)

So I don't know how many other people are watching the latest storyline with Will Horton on Days of our Lives. But I have been hooked for several months. I’ve had a lot of excitement for the way things have been going ever since I heard it was finally confirmed that Will Horton is indeed gay.

If you followed me through all the As The World Turns ups and downs (mostly downs, well, creative downs) to the bitter end, you’re probably reading this and asking why. Why am I trying this again? Well, I can answer this. For one, I’ve had an off-and-on interest for this show for a long time. One of the first soaps I ever fell in love with, and it's pretty much the last hardcore favorite soap left thanks to the recent cancellations. So the investment's already there.

The show’s gone through a host of creative changes. The gay characters on World Turns got pretty dismal airtime in most cases throughout their course on screen, even with fan devotion and support of said characters; usually getting 10 minutes a week if we’re lucky. But the screen time issue with Will, although disappointing at first, made sense. Now that the story is in full swing for Will the airtime has actually been pretty impressing. Also if it’s partly because of rewrites, well then, it’s been worth it because especially since the writing change from Dena Higley to Marlene McPherson and Darrell Ray Thomas, the writing for this storyline has improved. I’m side-eying a couple other things on the show, like Jack/Jennifer/Daniel, and Madison being appointed as CEO of Titan by Victor when he barely knows her, but the writing for Will and Sonny has been rather on point. They've done a good job at staying away from stereotypes.

I can’t begin to describe how brilliantly Chandler Massey has played this role, especially as of late. He’s done such a tremendous job of playing this role realistically. As someone who identifies as gay, I’ve been so moved at how he’s handled the denial aspect of this. I know what it’s like to be gay, and at one point be scared out of my mind and not be ready to discuss it with anyone. Will Horton is a prime example of someone going through something that I and many other people have been trying to show people for many years. Homosexuality is something that in many cases we ourselves have to embrace and accept first before we’re ready to tell this part of ourselves to other people. Even in this day and age for some people it’s longer of a road to go for self-acceptance. If you don’t believe me, look at all the reported suicides we’ve seen over the past two years and much further back than that.

Not only has Chandler been great but I’ve really enjoyed Freddie Smith’s portrayal as the out gay guy in Salem, Sonny Kiriakis, who was introduced back in July. The dialogue they have going with his character and the closeted Will has already proven to be a great dynamic, and I can only imagine how much potential could be met with Sonny helping Will go through this part of his life. I imagine him being a great friend to Will.

Some people are worried about things like affection being handled with both Will and Sonny’s characters, and any other gay characters on the show. That’s a legitimate concern, and with the way things are going now, I’m going to trust the show until they give me a reason not to. And well, if you’ve read this blog between 2007-2008, you know me. If I see a hint of censorship I will not hesitate to sound off about it. Not to mention this is honestly would be the last soap ever to try something like this. I know many consider Days to be a conservative soap, but really? I think those bridges were burned almost 16 years ago when Marlena Evans was possessed by Satan. Speaking of Marlena, she's been such a phenomenal source of guidance for Will during his journey.

So there you have it; reasons why I’m sticking with the storyline. I have been really pleased and I hope things continue to go well.

The ‘Best Drama’ is indeed Supernatural!

Supernatural fans had plenty to be excited about with the People’s Choice Awards ceremony last night. They scored pretty big. Awards for Best Drama and Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Series! That’s right, Supernatural won! Whoo-hoo!

But there’s only one problem… the cast wasn’t there to accept the awards in person and the acceptance speeches were done via videotape. The latest development after this aired was found out from Jensen and Jared’s bodyguard that they weren’t invited to the ceremony.

A large number of us fans are obviously upset and disappointed with this revelation, and for good reason. How awkward could it possibly be to have a series win two major awards and no one from the cast be there to accept either? Best Drama’s about as big as you can get. It’d be one thing if it was one actor and they couldn‘t make it. But if the cast is saying they got no invitation, then that’s pretty messed up considering the attention and fierce competition revolved around said awards, especially with twitter being one of the ways to vote and how popular competitor shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Fringe, True Blood and even The Vampire Diaries are. It's also worth noting that The Vampire Diaries cast was invited since they were also nominated.

Supernatural has been a show that often gets little mainstream press and attention. Even on its own network for a number of years the promotion has been rather minimal and half-hearted at best and has only recently started to pick up a little steam. This was really our “Emmy/Red Carpet” type moment where us fans could have had a really lovely way to earn some of that recognition and respect. And even a little better considering this was entirely a fan-driven award. Somebody from the show had to be free to accept these awards in person. It just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever to not invite anyone at all from the cast. Who was responsible for making this decision and why on earth did they think it was a good one?

This fiasco aside, I am very happy for the show. When Supernatural is at its best (and it often is, even with some of the missteps in the sixth season), it has proven to be some of the most compelling television drama you could ever watch. I'm on the edge of my seat right now as Sam and Dean are going through the most intense season yet thanks to the Leviathans and them dealing with the losses of their loyal friends.

In the meantime, I’ll look at the bright side. The show won two significant awards. And well, Jensen and Jared weren’t there in person, but they did take their pants off for us. I mean, that accounts for something, right?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

'Bob''s Coming to DVD!

As reported on TV Shows on DVD yesterday.

Speaking as a fan of Bob Newhart, I obviously couldn’t have been more thrilled to read this. It’s actually funny because I was saying to myself just the other day that this was a pretty good show and that it’s too bad that we’ll probably never see it on DVD. Shows how much I know, right? Also, nice cover art.

This makes me wonder though. If CBS/Paramount Home Video is willing to release a short-lived show starring Bob, then what is Fox’s hold up with the final two seasons of The Bob Newhart Show and the rest of Newhart? Because I’m thinking with this release, and especially if Bob on DVD is a success in any shape or form, fans who pick this up will most likely want to see the remaining years of his other most famous and memorable characters, Dr. Robert Hartley and innkeeper Dick Loudon.

2011 Has Been a Great Year for Classic Television

I posted this elsewhere before, but I think it's still very relevant now as we're in 2012:

Yeah, I said it. 2011 has turned out to be a great year for classic television.

Now that I've said that, if you're as big an oldies fan as I am, you're probably thinking "What?! But TV Land is terrible. Hallmark's constant schedule shuffling is annoying. GSN only airs the same 4 classics over and over and they don't even show the full runs of them! SOAPnet airs nothing older than 1990 on a regular basis anymore!" If you are thinking any of that, well, you're right.

I haven't had GSN for several months now, and while there are some steps in the right direction, like with Jeopardy! and $100,000 Pyramid being back, I still can't say that I miss having it. I don't expect it to be all oldies all the time, but with most of their library consisting of classics, one would think they'd see more variety with the airings. I tried to keep up with Empty Nest on Hallmark all while they aired the show, and trying to follow it on there drove me crazy with how much it was bounced around. Not only did that show itself move around a lot, but there was more than one occasion where it'd change so fast that the cable guide couldn't keep up. The entire line-up in general often goes through many frequent, and seemingly haphazard changes. And don't get me started on how they edit The Golden Girls. Makes me glad I have all the DVD's at this point. And anyone like me who's followed TV Land for a significant period of time knows that channel is a shell of its former self. SOAPnet is going away, and the 1970's Ryan's Hope reruns already left the airwaves before the channel has even disappeared yet. So, yes. All of that does suck.

But even with all those gripes, classic TV in general is doing fine though. Elsewhere. When I say this I'm referring to over-the-air digital subchannels like MeTV and Antenna TV. We've had MeTV in this area for several months now, and boy, let me tell you, this is a classic TV lover's paradise with many beloved series. Mary Tyler Moore, The Bob Newhart Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Laverne & Shirley, I Love Lucy, The Odd Couple, Taxi, The Twilight Zone, Perry Mason... I could go on. This reminds me of what TV Land was like in its prime. When I didn't have cable and was pining for it. A little less than a month ago we got Antenna TV. I couldn't have been happier. Shows like Maude, Too Close for Comfort, Three's Company (and even the spinoffs The Ropers and Three's A Crowd), Soap, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents are now readily available.

Really, if you're interested in seeing some old favorites that you haven't watched in years or if you're new to some others, there's a good chance that you'll find something to enjoy on both of those channels. With the way many cable channels have evolved in the past decade, I never thought we'd have this many shows to choose from and enjoy on TV again. Oh, and did I mention the newest launched digital subchannel, Bounce TV, airs classic Soul Train on a regular basis?

So yes, 2011 has been a very good year in my eyes for vintage television. Most of it's just not on cable or satellite exclusive channels. If you don't have any of these channels, then I strongly suggest you contact your local stations and ask for them to be added.