Sunday, April 14, 2024

Top Ten #297

1) Good Times: A new show with that title is on Netflix this weekend. Let's just say the original is complete on DVD, streaming on Peacock, and on over the air on Get TV. You can hear us talk about that show right here.

2) Rulebreaker: The new book about Barbara Walters is out this week. If this book were made from a tree, what kind of tree would it be made from?

3) Franklin?: As we mentioned last week, Michael Douglas stars as Ben Franklin in a new Apple Plus series beginning this week. This comes on the heels of its original special in February spotlighting Franklin from Peanuts.

Is the next step a prestige documentary about Season 11 Batty winner Franklin Cover?

4) Check It Out!: For the second week in a row, VEI drops a surprising complete series DVD release. Clearly the world was not ready for the combined hilarity of this and Too Close for Comfort in one single week!

5) National Gardening Day: The perfect way to get outside and enjoy some sunshine, especially if maybe you can take a little TV out there with you.

6) Lionel Richie: I shared this extended version in our official Facebook group this week, and to me it's peak Lionel: Energetic, upbeat, and on message. And check out a cameo by a certain future TGIF star.

7) Verne Lundquist: I am not a big golf guy, save a brief era when I played Lee Trevino's Fighting Golf, but I want to salute this great sportscaster, who hangs it up after this weekend's Masters.

8) NBC Reports: You're Too Fat: On this night in 1974, NBC News looked at this then-pressing issue and concluded that surely advances in nutritional science and education along with sensible policy would make obesity obsolete in 50 years.

9) The Care Bears Battle the Freeze Machine: This special aired in syndication this weekend in 1984. I haven't seen it, but I am pretty sure I know who won.

10)  O.J. Simpson: In BOTNS World, we don't dwell on the NFL Hall of Famer killing two people in 1994. We try to focus on his post-football career as a mediocre actor, mediocre color commentator, and mediocre sideline reporter,

Actually, let me put this here: I have the following memory: One year on Thanksgiving, while I was watching football with extended family, towards the end of the telecast, O.J. got a bad cue or something on an NBC broadcast, and he cursed on the air before they could get the camera off him. I have never found a reference to this moment anywhere. Did anyone else see it?

Monday, April 8, 2024

Collectible Corner: Welcome (not back) to my collection!

Laurie and I attended a cool vintage toy show recently, and it seemed to be a huge success. I love seeing shows with low admission fees in contrast to the comic book shows that charge high ticket prices just to get in and buy stuff. This event was a success to me if only because I bought this beautiful item from 1976:

Now my question is: Dare I open this? This is in original shrinkwrapped form and in great shape. It almost seems like a shame to remove that and break up the packaging.

On the other hand, the box will still be in great shape, and Mr. Kotter will still look spectacular, even if I do open it up and check out the paper dolls inside.

For now, I am going to enjoy the box as is, but who knows if I will resist the urge to try out some different outfits on Mr. Kotter!

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Top Ten #296: Special "Protect your eyes tomorrow" edition!

1) Total Eclipse of the Heart: I have this video in my head for some reason today.

Remember, people, be smart tomorrow and always. Never, ever look directly at Doc Severinsen's outfit.

2) Joe Flaherty: Special shout to the late Joe Flaherty, our Robert Pine Genius Award winner at the Season 9 Battys. What else can I say except he made us laugh real good.

3) National Beer Day: Speaking of Mr. Pine, you know we suggest you celebrate with a Lowenbrau:

4) Too Close for Comfort: VEI surprised by releasing a complete series set of the1980s sitcom this week. Unfortunately, it looks like they used syndicated (and edited) prints. So it's technically incomplete, but all the episodes are there!

Also, 40 years ago tonight, the series' fourth season premiered.

5) Dinah, Won't You Please Come Home:
50 years ago tonight, Dinah Shore starred in this music special from Nashville on NBC, welcoming guests like Glen Campbell, Isaac Hayes, and...Jack Benny? Maybe he played fiddle.

6) Michael Douglas: The star of Streets of San Francisco has been making the media rounds to promote upcoming Apple Plus show Franklin, in which he plays the legendary stateman--Ben, not Franklin Pierce--with a twinkle in his eye.

Come to think of it, has he reached the age when he plays everything with a twinkle in his eye?

7) National No Housework Day: The boys can give Mickey the day off.

8) The National Invitational Tournament: I have always maintained that the winner of the NCAA tourney is just a paper champ unless it accepts the challenge of the NIT winner.

9) Sanford: In a lean month for new shows on streaming, this show stands out as one of the few adds I saw--the 1980 version of the show. Tubi now has, uh, a handful of episodes of each of its two seasons. Well, I said it was a lean month.

10) R.I.P. Barbara Rush, Barbara Baldavin:

(Note: Post was edited to correct an error in the Joe Flaherty item. We featured SCTV in Season 9, not Season 10. We may be able to pick Geniuses, but apparently I am far from one!)

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Are these streaming services really paying attention?

We know that all streaming services, Internet sites, and anything that can be accessed via a smartphone, smart TV, or connected device is mining our data and throwing it out into the universe, right? Well, then why aren't any of the streamers doing anything useful with it, like, say, helping me find something I might to watch on their platforms?

I am not going to launch a numbing discussions of algorithms, but are any of you satisfied with "recommendations" or "you might also like" rows on your streaming services? I think they are particularly inept in assisting those of us who prefer material made in the 20th century. It's like the systems can't even fathom that someone would rather see a 50-year-old sitcom than a brand-new direct-to-streaming thriller starring The Guy Who Was in That Show We Don't Watch and The Woman Who Was in the Reality Show That We Never Cared About.

I will give you an example: Last year, I started watching Sony's acclaimed series Family (1976-1980), a series in my wheelhouse--earnest, often corny family-centric dramedies--that I never got to see growing up. I really enjoyed discovering the series from the beginning, and I think it was on Crackle I started, but when Crackle started ditching all the Sony library programs, I found it again on Tubi.

Tubi then lost the series (along with fellow Sony fixture Fantasy Island, another show that was on Crackle and Tubi but is now nowhere), and I bemoaned that here. At some point, Sony's own Classic TV Rewind channel started dropping episodes in order verrrrry slowly. Oh, and Tubi added the series again.

Wait, what?

Yes, Tubi re-added it, but I found out by accident last week. I have no idea when Family returned, and my question is, why not? Tubi is a channel that sends me emails all the time. It tells me what's leaving. It tells me what I have in my queue as if I needed a reminder. It tells me what's coming to Tubi and what's new on Tubi. Yet somehow it never got around to telling me a show I had been watching in order on its own platform was back. 

What's the use of their collecting all my viewership data if they aren't going to make use of it? Whatever else they might be doing with my watching habits, they ought to be luring me in to spend more time on Tubi, thus watching their ads, by letting me know when they get back something I actually watched!

When I think of all the goofy stuff they bother to email about and some of the ridiculous recommendations they make on the site, I can only shake my head. I don't think it's a Tubi thing; it's all of them. They just don't care about what we really want to see. They care about what they think we should see. 

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Top Ten #295: Special Easter Edition!

1) Easter: Enjoy the holiday! If you want to revisit our season 10 opener, The Easter Bunny Is Comin' to Town again right here.

2) Major League Baseball: CATCH IT! 

3) Upstairs, Downstairs: The series finale of the original version aired on PBS 50 years ago tonight.

4) Shirley Jones and Richard Chamberlain: Happy 90th to each!

5) Wrestlemania: The first of the annual events happened on this date in 1985 and culminated a week of promotion all over the place, including NBC.

6) The Black Gold Awards: 40 years ago tonight, this syndicated awards show aired in many markets. It was hosted by Lou Rawls and honored excellence in R&B music. Michael Jackson won pretty much every award--but not all:

7) National Prom Day: Celebrate responsibly! Maybe you'll be lucky enough to enjoy a tune.

8) The Movies: 50 years ago tonight, ABC aired part 1 of a two-part special celebrating the history and legacy of Hollywood films. How much could they talk about when Paternity was still 7 years away?

9) March Madness: 40 years ago today, the Final Four featured Georgetown vs. Kentucky and Houston vs. Virginia. the big men in those games: Patrick Ewing, Sam Bowie, Akeem Olajuwon, and Olden Polynice (Yes, UVA actually got to the Final Four the year after Ralph Sampson left).

10) R.I.P. Louis Gossett:

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Top Ten #294: Special Springtime Edition!

1) Spring: I'd say it's been a long, cold Winter, but it really kind of flew right by. Warm weather brings all kinds of goodness, like midseason replacement series. You generally think of those as debuting in January or somewhere in Winter, but shows like Dallas premiered in April. 

Does Dallas really feel like a Spring show? No, but it doesn't seem Summer-y, either. Winter? I think it's just one of those all-time Fall shows.

Where was I? Oh, yeah, Spring! Married with Children premiered in April, too,

2) Norman Fell: Today would have been the 100th birthday of this icon! That's a whole lot of "building shelves."

3) Pretty much everyone on Head of the Class except Dan Schneider: No explanation necessary. I do kind of wonder what Brian Robbins, who was linked with him for years professionally, is thinking.

4) Women's History Month: To educate myself before the month is over, I think it's time I finally dove into that TV Guide with Donna Mills on the cover. 

5) Byron Allen: The bad news is, he may not get Paramount. The good news is, he might save $24 billion he was putting together! Byron, call us up. Maybe we can do business together.

6) People Are Funny: This show hosted by Flip Wilson premiered on NBC 40 years ago tonight. After Charlie and Company, Flip might have pronounced the title as People ARE Funny.

7) Donna Pescow and Robert Carradine: Happy 70th to both of them! It was Robert Hays who co-starred with Pescow in Angie, but we celebrate him anyway!

8) Entertainment Tonight: Imagine our delight when we came across a new upload of the show with the original cast led by Ron Hendren! Most of the ads are removed, but one that remains is for Paternity, the same movie Burt was plugging when we covered the program.

9) Ernie Hudson: It's good to see the star of The Last Precinct headlining the #1 movie this weekend.

10) R.I.P. M. Emmet Walsh and General Hospital stars Beth Peters, Robyn Bernard:

Monday, March 18, 2024

What a false alarm! (Accidentally wrong-dated this earlier)

 I like checking Just Watch for new additions to streaming, but it's not a perfect site. It lags behind a bit, and it is at the mercy of the information it pulls. Last week, I was looking over new additions to Plex, and I saw a thumbnail consisting of an old TV Guide cover.

Wait, that's Larry Hagman! Can that mean that Plex is showing The Good Life, Hagman's 1971 sitcom with Donna Mills as husband and wife who pose as servants because--Well, I'm not really sure.

I clicked through and saw that, yes, the listing indicated that was the show. Amazing! Well, Plex added WB's original Kung Fu before anyone else had it, so it's not impossible. Lorimar co-produced it, so Warner Brothers might have it (Actually, I believe Screen Gems owns the rights). I reasoned, well, maybe it really is on Plex!

Only thing is, that's not the Good Life Plex has. It's not even the 1975 Britcom of the same name (itself easy to find). I went to Plex itself and started playing it, and after a few ads, I saw some kind of reality show about pastoral life, I think. I didn't see credits, and I was too disappointed to bother to find out. 

As a group of famous Brits once sang (I wonder which The Good Life they enjoyed), I should have known better. I did, actually, but I let myself feel hopeful for a moment.