Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

as seen on TV

Posted: March 11, 2018 in Television

A past co-worker revealed that her childhood love for The Dukes of Hazzard more recently inspired her to purchase a Jeep. (IIRC, she said it was her obsession with Bo… I opted not to nitpick that the Jeep belonged to Daisy.)

For me, ever since the loft that Laura moved to in season 2 of Remington Steele caught my eye, I seek lots of natural colors and texture – brick! :hearts: – in my décor.

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After abandoning broadcast television in favor of re-watching DVDs of beloved shows from the past, spoilers became a non-issue for many years.

When I began to want variety and branched out to DVDs of series I hadn’t seen, I found myself in uncharted territory. My previous experience following a new show on the Internet involved waiting after each airing for some industrious fan to write and post recaps, reviews, etc. Now, extensive episode guides are already available online… and I need them more than ever, because I usually watch with my family, and we tend to miss critical exposition because one of us is talking.

The big disadvantage — as you may have guessed from the theme of this entry — is spoilers. Of course, I know to avoid common sources, such as summaries and commentary for episodes I haven’t seen. But I’ve found spoilers lurking where I never suspected, to the extent that viewing an entire series unspoiled is proving to be quite a challenge.

If you, too, are discovering a show after its original run, be aware that spoilers can pop up in seemingly innocuous places:

  • Fanfiction. When I’m concerned about spoilage, I diligently avoid fanfiction for the topic in question. Fanfic writers are often inspired by key events, and synopses of the fics can be very revealing: “This scene takes place after Jojo’s death at the hands of Zulu.”
  • Fan videos. The montage could contain pivotal scenes, such as the main guy character proposing to the main girl character.
  • Facebook. A double threat, not only from friends’ comments, but also since Facebook might recognize the series as one of my interests and supply commercials for the current season — even though I’m several seasons behind.
  • Overambitious “wiki” episode recaps. In an effort to be thorough, they cross reference to future events: “We see Susie again in season four when we learn she has a long-lost sister.” Even their link designations can share too much. For example, I knew a character’s amnesia wouldn’t last long when my options included, “For the character briefly known as Jezebel, click here.”
  • Google image search. I was looking for a screencap of a fight between three characters, and displayed among the search results was a fan-made graphic of one of them, captioned with “R.I.P.” and the year.
  • Actor biographies. The dossier could reveal the character’s exit or return by providing appearances by year, season, or specific episodes.
  • Articles about the stars. A photo of a smiling couple is captioned “Sylvia out on the town with her TV husband.” But — d’oh! — their characters’ marriage is a very recent development. Hope all of that website’s viewers are caught up on their TiVo!
  • The main page of major news websites. If I watched Game of Thrones, it would be maddening that so many “news headlines” rehash the happenings of the latest episode. (No doubt those sites aim to up their link count using GoT‘s popularity.) Even if they warn of plot talk, very often there’s a telling screencap with the headline.
  • Amazon product reviews. I was about to place an order, and the featured review began with, “This was my least favorite of all the seasons.” Maybe that’s not a true spoiler, but such a verdict might predispose me to dislike it before even I’ve seen the first episode.
  • DVD covers for later seasons. When a would-be cliffhanger has a main character in jeopardy, I’m anything but on edge: “No worries. They’re still pictured with the cast for the final season.” (Okay, I confess. I actually like this bit of foreknowledge. My life’s hard enough without having to fear for the safety of my fave characters!)
  • Episode descriptions on DVD packages. Having written similar summaries myself, I understand how tough it can be to strike a balance between providing details for those who are looking for a specific scene, and ruining key surprises for the rest of us. As a public service to DVD Blurb Writers, here are two examples that, IMHO, land solidly in the latter category:
    (1) “After a failed battle with Xolor…” If the opening scene is a battle, we know how that will end. :thumbsdown:
    (2) “The team falls victim to a smooth-talking con man, and Sam must save the day.” … manages to give away the entire episode in one sentence! :thumbsdown: :thumbsdown:
  • Forums about other shows. Curious to know what fans of Program A had to say, I ventured to read one short thread, and I spent the next several seasons dreading the series finale of Program B because of one of the comments. Happily, in said finale, the plot twist that commenter condemned played out extremely well, in my opinion. Even more happily, I learned that exposure to TMI doesn’t necessarily negate any future enjoyment… although I’d still prefer not to take any chances.

With my eyes now opened to the plight of the “spoiler-phobic,” I realize that I need to post warnings with the episode information at my various websites. In the meantime, remember that, when it comes to having your viewing surprises spoiled, the only safe search is NO search!

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