Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

In honor of CBS adding a MacGyver reboot to their fall lineup, I’m reposting this top ten list, which I wrote years ago.

Top Ten Ways MacGyver Would Be Different If It Was Made Today

10) The bulk of Mac’s efforts would be spent on grisly crime scene investigation

9) Almost twice as many commercials would reduce the show’s actual running time to approximately 41 minutes (including the theme song and closing credits)

8) Most searches for bad guys would involve Google Earth

7) Instead of being positive and well-adjusted, Mac would be moody with issues – LOTS of issues

6) Mac would teleconference with contacts, rather than traveling to meet them

5) Murdoc would be a main character, because viewers love an anti-hero

4) When Mac went missing, Pete would locate him with GPS on his cell

3) No need for Mac to know science: he’d look everything up using an app

2) Characters would sing and viewers would call in to vote on who would be killed off

1) It would be cancelled after three episodes

More MacGyver top tens:
http://www.rusted-crush.com/macgyver/topten.html

I found a DVD of season 1 of The Rockford Files as I was looking for a show the fam and I could watch. I hadn’t seen it before, but the price was right, so I got the set. I thought the show would be good, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it! Jim Rockford definitely doesn’t lead the charmed life of many of the detectives on TV shows from the 1980s. That’s quite a change of pace for an ‘8o’s-TV-show, happy-ending lover like me; I think it makes the Rockford character more relate-able.

I’m sure a big part of the character’s appeal is that James Garner plays him with just the right mix of sincerity and sarcasm… And it doesn’t hurt that James Garner is so easy on the eyes. Very often, while watching the show, I just stare and drool: “Sakes alive. A man!” :drools:

~ * ^ + ~

random thoughts about TV

Posted: July 5, 2013 in review, Television

The fam and I were talking about some former TV shows, and the 1970s series Police Woman came up. That show was truly a pioneer for its time. Today we think nothing of seeing a woman in virtually any industry, but at that time, it was far from the norm to see a “police woman” that was anything other than a meter maid. Kudos to that series for breaking new ground.


The Remington Steele episode “Corn Fed Steele” looks *very much* like it was filmed on several of the sets from the TV series The Dukes of Hazzard.

Side note: love how Rem puts on jeans and a denim shirt and drives a pick-up to blend in while in the small town – then doesn’t bother disguising his British accent. Way to blend there, Steele! 😀

In the Wings episode “Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places,” Brian makes a last-minute Valentine’s Day date with a lingerie saleswoman, but his evening is interrupted when Helen calls looking for Joe, who is late for *their* date.

Sounds normal, right? Sure… except that Helen calls the Sandpiper desk at the airport terminal, where Brian is having his date! Still sounds normal? Maybe… except that Brian is wearing a robe and his date is modeling lingerie. Did I mention they’re in the airport? Not even in Joe’s office: out in the main section of the terminal.

Having read transcripts with production commentary for other shows, I know it’s possible the director chose to have this scene in the airport to avoid the cost of building a new set. Maybe they reasoned that it’s also logical when Brian (at their place of business) tells Helen that Joe got a late start in leaving, and it shows what risk-takers Brian and his date are, to be gettin’ cozy in such a public place.

But, having said all that… I still think it’s just WEIRD for them to have such an intimate liaison there. :inshock:

review: The Greatest American Hero

Posted: November 25, 2012 in review, Television

I recently started rewatching The Greatest American Hero, and I was especially impressed with the pilot episode. As any good pilot episode does, it presents our hero’s situation so that we can appreciate the difficulties our hero faces in his new undertaking.

Near the start of the ep, a child is watching the SuperFriends (with Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, etc.) which almost foreshadows what’s to come, that is, the man becoming a superhero. At the same time, the superhero cartoon creates a nice juxtaposition that sets up our story: what if an ordinary man was suddenly given extraordinary powers? To say the least, this suddenly extra-ordinary man would face the same challenges that our hero did:
– A flashy costume looks great in the comic books, but actually wearing one on any given city street might just get you committed.
– Family responsibilities are likely to suffer because of your frequent and unexplained absences. (Can’t very well tell ’em you were out saving the world.)
– The hazards inherent in your new career could take a toll on your relationships as well as your real-life job.
– Perhaps the biggest challenge of all: you discover that superheroing is not as easy as it looks on television. Even if you did have the instruction book, doing supernatural things would take some getting used to.

Having experienced all of these challenges, not to mention losing the instruction book, it’s even more remarkable that Ralph remains willing to accept the job. It says a lot about his character. Then again, we saw that same part of his character when he accepted the less-than-plum assignment of teaching the remedial class. He truly wants to help, and he doesn’t bail even when he knows that continuing won’t be easy. I think this is one of the reasons he was chosen to receive the suit.

Having watched almost all of the season one episodes now, I’m still appreciating not only the story presented by this show but the way it’s told. For example, the suit and the super-heroing aren’t the main focus. Instead, what’s important is the real-life stuff, Ralph, Bill, Pam, the way they feel about things, the things they want, the relationships they’re developing. It just goes to show that, while we need heroes to rise to the really big moments, we don’t need a super-suit to live the best life we can. We just have to stick with it.

EPISODE REVIEW: Lady for a Night
The Young Riders, Season 1 Episode 15

Spoiler Alert! The review below contains spoilers, so if you’d like to watch the episode first, check out episode 15 of season 1, currently available at:
http://www.hulu.com/the-young-riders

The Young Riders’ writers consistently do a great job of telling their tales, but this week, I watched “Lady for a Night,” and the story struck me as especially compelling. It makes sense that, during the course of the series, there would be at least one plot (well, besides hiding-as-a-boy and attracted-to-Kid) where Lou’s being a girl creates unique complications. Typically the gang solves some crime or rights some wrong, but this time, the crime is perpetrated by the seemingly charming man Lou finds herself attracted to.

To further dissect the story, alone in another town, Lou’s seemingly simple foray out for an evening in a dress was her “testing the waters.” She’d been living a decidedly unfeminine life, posing as a boy but watching with envy as other girls get to dress and act like ladies. She finally decided to try it for herself. The handsome Tyler responding to her as he did no doubt validated her effort: she was indeed a lady. At the risk of over-identifying, I have been where Lou is. The first time a handsome guy paid attention to me, I felt just like Lou, and probably for the same reason: validation. However, also like Lou, it soon became painfully obvious that the man you want is not always the one you need. In fact, pursuing such a man could prove quite destructive.

At the risk of over-thinking, Lou’s dilemma with Tyler personifies the discussion Lou has with Emma about relationships. Lou confides to Emma that she’s frightened by Tyler’s feelings for her, and yet she likes it, too. Lou is at a loss for what to do next, and Emma (quite unhelpfully) says that Lou must decide for herself. This starts to ring true when Lou hears that Tyler lied to Sam. Lou chooses to keep quiet about what she knows, opting instead to go confront Tyler. Sadly, he turns on her. He not only chooses his life of crime over any feelings he has for her, but he tries to use her own feelings for him against her. “You won’t shoot me,” he taunts confidently. “You like me too much.” And it’s true, she does like him – but she chooses to end the relationship and save herself. However, the pain of her choice (Tyler’s death, representing the finality of her decision) shows on her face. It’s as if, in the moments after he died, her whole attempt at being a lady – in fact, a woman – was a mistake in the way it all ended so badly. Happily, Lou seems to have made peace with it by the episode’s end.

A big part of Lou’s peace likely came from Emma acknowledging Lou as a girl. Emma revealed that she had known Lou’s secret, but she waited until Lou gave some sign (in this case, buying the dress, even if she did hide it) that she was ready to share it. In her disguise, Lou had been forced to relate to everyone as something she wasn’t, so it’s important that she’d now have Emma to relate to not only as a fellow woman but as a mentor and friend, both good to have when braving uncharted territory. It’s also significant that Emma wanted the other riders to be “introduced” to Lou in the dress. This gave the guys a more complete picture of who Lou is, and as the people who know her best (who happen to be members of the opposite sex) their subsequent approval was critical. At first, Lou only dared to wear the dress away from home, as if the two lives, rider and woman, could not coexist. In the end, Lou appreciated that Kid accepted her as both, even if he’d only physically seen one side.

It’s debatable what kind of feelings Tyler really had for Lou, but in the moment he realizes that it’s her dressed as a boy and snooping through his room, his reaction is an appropriate mix of surprise and hurt. Lou’s not the first person to ever want to reinvent herself; maybe Tyler had seen Lou as his chance to make a fresh start with some innocent young thing? Given his penchant for slapping prostitutes around, it’s believable that he’s a man very driven by emotion. Clearly, meeting the real Lou, and knowing that she had seen the real Tyler, shattered any delusions either of them had about the relationship and sent Tyler’s passion back to his customary anger.

On a completely shallow side note, Roger Rees reminds me of some deadly combination of Pierce Brosnan and George Harrison, and in my book it’s *very* easy to see how Lou could fall hard for such a man.

So inspired was I by this episode (and by Roger Rees’ face 😉 ) that I made a wallpaper using screencaps from this ep. It’s currently the 2nd wallpaper on this page:
http://www.neloo.com/chezanne/fanart/index.html

annoying TV characters

Posted: April 16, 2012 in review, Television

Most Annoying TV Characters Ever

Kim Bauer, 24 (2001–10) – They called her ”Cougar Trap.” The hapless teenage daughter of terrorist fighter Jack Bauer on 24, Kim Bauer (Elisha Cuthbert) had a never-ending series of misadventures that kept distracting our hero from saving Los Angeles. Most infamously, a season 2 nature trek resulted in Kim getting caught in, yes, a cougar trap, then nearly eaten by the very animal the trap was meant to catch. Apparently the cougar was smarter than she was. —James Hibberd

Nikki and Paulo, Lost (2006–07) – There’s a reason some characters are relegated to the background. When Lost writers decided to bring two of the also-crasheds to the forefront, no one could have predicted how grating the pair’s whiny inanity would become. Only 11 episodes after their debut, Nikki and Paulo (played by Kiele Sanchez and Rodrigo Santoro) were unceremoniously buried alive in a particularly gruesome (and satisfying) bit of fan service. —Keith

Janice Litman, Friends (1994–2004) – If irritation could be tapped as a fuel source, our reaction to Janice’s laugh could power a midsize city. The curly-haired cackler (Maggie Wheeler) ruined any number of events in the Friends’ lives, popping up throughout Chandler’s courtship of and marriage to Monica, and even crowding into Rachel’s hospital room when they went into labor at the same time. —Lanford Beard

Sam McKinney, Diff’rent Strokes (1984–86) – Most people point to The Brady Bunch’s Cousin Oliver as the ultimate horrifying example of a newer, supposedly cuter little kid brought in to boost ratings, but give me Diff’rent Strokes’ Sam. Wait… no, that’s not what I mean. I mean don’t give him to me. Because he’s super annoying! Truth be told, I can’t remember what exactly made that little scamp (Danny Cooksey) so irritating, but every so often I wake up in a cold sweat with the words ”Hey, Mr. D!” running through my head. And it’s that kid’s fault. —Dalton Ross

Kimmy Gibbler, Full House (1987-1995) – The Tanners’ wacky next door neighbor and DJ’s best friend was definitely the Urkel of Full House. Danny Tanner (Bob Saget) and Uncle Jesse (John Stamos) always wanted Kimmy (Andrea Barber) to go home, and her outfits — she was fond of neon, patterns, and horizontal stripes — were as loud as her blaring voice. One of her most defining traits: her especially stinky feet. Gibbler, go home! —Stephan Lee

Arnold Horshack, Welcome Back Kotter (1975-1979) – Sounding a bit like a vacuum cleaner trying to suck up a billiard ball, or the cachinnations of a gravely ill hyena, Arnold Horshack’s laugh was one of the most grating sounds in television history, possibly beaten only by some unholy Jean Stapleton/Fran Drescher hybrid. Sure, he was the lovable weirdo of the Sweat Hogs, but every time he raised his hand and yelled, ”Oohhh, oohh, oohh, Mr. Kotter!” you wanted to send him straight to detention. —Keith Staskiewicz

Screech, Saved by the Bell, Saved by the Bell: The College Years, Saved by the Bell: The New Class (1989-2000) – Brillo-haired Samuel ”Screech” Powell (Dustin Diamond) was a scrawny misfit whose squeaky voice, nerdy interests, and talent for bungling things made him unbearable — Steve Urkel, but not as smart. Most annoyingly of all, Screech (and Diamond) just didn’t know when to quit: The grating character appeared in not one, not two, but all three incarnations of Saved by the Bell. No wonder Lisa Turtle wanted nothing to do with him. —Hillary Busis

Eriq LaSalle, ER (1994-2009) – Why did it always seem like there was a bug up the butt of Dr. Peter Benton? We get it — an emergency room isn’t the place for a whole lot of Tra La La — but LaSalle’s brooding depiction of a talented but rarely satisfied surgeon was a total downer, man. —Lynette Rice

Dawn Summers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2000-2003) – Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg) had issues, and with good reason: The people she loved kept abandoning her, her sister was an ultra-enviable superhero, and, oh yeah, at age 14, she found out that everything she thought she knew was a lie. Still, it was tough to feel sympathy for Dawn as she sulked, complained, and developed an irritating shoplifting problem. Maybe if the teen had whined less, viewers wouldn’t have yearned to see her get eaten by some Hellmouth beast. —Hillary Busis

Kennedy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2002-03) – Granted, Kennedy (Iyari Limon) had some serious shoes to fill, replacing the dearly departed Tara (Amber Benson) as the new girlfriend for sapphic witch Willow (Alyson Hannigan). But did she have to be such a brat? The Hamptons-bred potential slayer aggressively pushed her way into Willow’s heart whether Willow herself was ready for it or not, and stridently called into question Buffy’s leadership at the moment when her leadership was most needed. Her one redeeming virtue: Kennedy herself even seemed to know how annoying she really was: ”This might have escaped your keen notice,” she once told Willow, ”but I’m kind of a brat.” —Adam B. Vary

See the full list at:
http://www.ew.com/ew/gallery/0,,20586339,00.html


I’ve recently been pondering my own choices for Worst TV Character Ever. So far the contenders include:

Lauren from Alias, Season 3 – Lauren had a tough stigma to overcome being the person who married Our Heroine’s True Love… but the way Lauren was portrayed was inconsistent. At first she was supposed to be a well-meaning gal who suddenly found herself in the awkward position of marrying a guy whose dead True Love comes back to life. And it was hard enough to buy that, but *then* we learned she was really just another bad guy working on a scheme of her own… and with that revelation, she instantly became a one-dimensional joke of a character.

Suzanne from Booker – I suspect that this character was written specifically to entice Lori Petty to appear on the show. Why else would they write a character who is supposed to be cooler than the show’s namesake? She was painted as some earnest albeit mischievous, street-smart saint. (Oops, she lied again. Grr! Oh, but she’s just misunderstood, now she’s sincere again. Aww. :rollseyes: ) From the start, I found her attitude, her deceptions, and her insistence on getting involved with Booker’s cases not only uncool, but positively grating, like fingernails on a blackboard.

And arguably, my #1 choice for worst TV character ever:

Eve from Angel, Season 5 – This one stands out in my mind as a terrible TV character, primarily because she was so darn smug right from the start, and not only could I not fathom why but her presentation made me not care at all to find out. From her very first appearance, I found every scene with her painful to endure.

favorite A-Team scenes

Posted: December 22, 2011 in favorite-scenes, quotes, Television

Two of my favorite A-Team quotes/scenes from the episode Bounty:

1) Murdock is abducted at gunpoint from the hospital. As the kidnappers are driving away, Murdock rambles on – in typical Murdock fashion – but his nonsensical chatter makes one of the kidnappers furious. He finally snaps at Murdock, “Are you crazy?!” Murdock replies, quite logically, “Of COURSE I’m crazy. You got me out of the Psychiatric Ward at the VA hospital, stupid!” 😀

2) The others are racing against the clock to find Murdock, and Hannibal wants Face to scam some info they need in less than five minutes. Face agrees, but he says that he’ll need BA’s help. BA scoffs that he’s “no good at running scams.” Face replies that he’ll do all the work; “All you do is enter on cue and say what I tell you… It’s just like being an actor.”

At this Face looks at Hannibal, who turns to look back at Face. Their wordless exchange is a clever instance of how, while the show doesn’t break the fourth wall, they sure are pushing on it! (Plus, the scene makes me wonder whether they’re making a dig at someone on the cast or crew…)