Thursday, March 30, 2017

Season Two Premiere

We've promised it, we've teased it, and now we both promise and tease it some more. Battle of the Network Shows returns when season two premieres on April 6, but who are these mysterious figures? Find out in one week!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Just Watch Us Now!

Season two of Battle of the Network Shows is closer than you might think, and, as Leonard Nimoy would say, this vintage NBC fall promo might just offer some possible clues about what you could or could not expect. Just Watch Us Now!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Upcoming DVDs

Our last post looking at future releases of BOTNS-era TV shows on DVD took us up through March 14, so it's time to see what we have on tap for the spring. There isn't a whole lot out there beyond reissues, but there might be something on the list to interest you. Remember to let us know if you'd like us to cover any of these series in an upcoming episode!

April 4

The Carol Burnett Show: The Best of Tim Conway: Various rights and clearance issues make complete season sets a virtual impossibility, so in the meantime, enjoy a perpetual, confusing array of lesser releases!

Diff'rent Strokes: Season 5: Two words for you: "Bicycle Man." The show really kicked it up a notch with the Very Special Episodes this season. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll never look at Gordon Jump the same way again.

May 2

Vega$ The Complete Series: All together in one package. Amazon has it for 50 bucks right now, and that's not terrible $ for 67 episodes.

May 9

ALF: The Complete Series: ALF, of course, starred in one of our episodes in the first season, but the DVD world is giving him much less respect than we did. The earlier DVD release was substandard, featuring syndication cuts. This version, sadly, appears to be no different. Maybe some Melmacian bootlegs are floating around.

Lou Grant Season 5: Shout! finishes off the great newsroom drama with the final season. -30-.

Mannix and Streets of San Francisco (Complete Series): I wish CBS would make these available for streaming somewhere because these sets are a heckuva lot more $ than that Vega$ one.

May 30

Hart to Hart: Complete Series: Imagine having every episode at your fingertips! Like the one where...Uh, or the one with...Uh...(Suffice to say I'll have to do some brushing up if we ever cover this one on the podcast).

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Further Viewing: Cryin' Time With Tom Hanks

Here at Battle of the Network Shows, we love Tom "There's no crying in baseball" Hanks, but we also love us some Tom "I hit Alex" Hanks, so if we have the chance to celebrate some more Hanks crying, we'll take it...even if it means watching a kind of lame TV movie.

In 1982, post Bosom Buddies, Hanks starred in Mazes and Monsters, a CBS TV movie based on a novel based on an erroneous real-life story about a game of Dungeons & Dragons gone wrong. Hanks plays Robbie, who transfers to Grant University after flunking out of Tufts for playing too much Mazes and Monsters (he also has some dark stuff in his past, but his parents blame the game). After, oh, possibly a day or two, he joins a group of gamers made up of Jay Jay (Chris Makepeace from Meatballs and My Bodyguard), Daniel (David Wallace, AKA Todd Chandler #3 from Days of Our Lives), and Kate (Wendy Crewson, Harrison Ford's first lady in Air Force One).

Teen genius Jay Jay comes from an eccentric family and wears funny hats. Pretty boy Daniel bemoans a life of one-night stands. Kate feels she can't be herself with guys (until she meets Robbie and they play Mazes and Monsters, jog, eat, make out, and study in a duet-scored montage). A few other recognizable faces show up in smaller parts: Clark Johnson (Meldrick Lewis from Homicide: Life on the Street), Murray Hamilton (the mayor from Jaws), and Kevin Peter Hall (the Predator from Predator) playing a monster.

Anyway, the Mazes and Monsters game soon gets out of hand when Jay Jay tries to take it up a notch by staging a new version in some mysterious caverns. No crying in this one but plenty of yelling.

Robbie's emotional/psychological troubles reemerge, and he starts to role-play his character from the game, a monk called Pardieu...all the time. He disappears on a quest (given to him, he thinks, by his god Hall, voiced by Hanks), and, well, all this gives Hanks ample opportunity for some crying.

In Manhattan on his quest, Robbie gets mugged and fends for himself.

This leads to a tearful phone call to Kate (who he dumped so he could practice celibacy--she moved on to Daniel). Unfortunately, the audio cuts off near the end of this clip, but you can find the full movie on Amazon Prime or, um, other places.

Finally, the gang finds Robbie atop one of the Two Towers of his quest, in fact one of the World Trade Center towers,and we get this...

While we can't really recommend Mazes and Monsters, it does have some cheesy music, Jay Jay's hats, and of course Tom Hanks giving it his tearful all.

Monday, March 6, 2017

"New" 1970s and 1980s TV this month

It's time to take another look at the shows from the BOTNS era hitting television and streaming. It's a slow time, but there are some news tidbits to share:

The 40th anniversary of Three's Company is March 15, and Sitcoms Online reports that Antenna TV and Logo are celebrating with marathons. Also, according to the article, Logo is also showing Mama's Family. Who knew?

A new digital subnet, Light TV, is now on the air...sort of. If its website is any indication, it's only in NY and LA right now. Fortunately, other sources on the web have actual information. The channel comes from MGM, according to Wikipedia, and is headed by  Mark Burnett and Roma Downey and aims to be inspirational, positive, and other bright and sunny adjectives.

Some of the shows it airs, according to Sitcoms Online: (Seriously, Burnett, you can't get a decent website set up?):  Highway to Heaven, Touched by an Angel, Little House on the Prairie. You know what I'd like to see? The old syndicated religious-themed anthology Insight. Anyone remember that? Would you  like to see us cover that on the podcast?  Well, I would (Hey, Mike, make a note!).

Get TV added The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams on Super Bowl Sunday, while TV Land added M*A*S*H (returning for the 4077th time) on Presidents Day weekend. Maybe someone will show The Leprechaun's Christmas Gold for St. Patrick's Day.

Get also aired a Blue Thunder marathon a few weeks ago just before adding Airwolf  to its weekday schedule. Speaking of rarities, Get is showing a Crazy Like a Fox marathon overnight March 12 into March 13.

In the world of streaming, not much new. I think Hulu's addition of The Golden Girls last month is going to have to last us for...who knows how long? Netflix has no interest in 70s/80s TV, and unfortunately even Crackle seems to have mostly given up. Amazon Prime surprises us sometimes, though, and maybe something new will turn up.

Warner Archive Instant is still adding TV shows periodically. It now has the first 5 seasons of Medical Center, the first 3 seasons of Falcon Crest, and seasons 1, 3, and 4 (don't ask me why no season 2) of Scarecrow and Mrs. King in addition to other short-lived series like Flo that have been there for a while.

DVD is still the best way to see your favorite shows from the era. Does anything mentioned here interest you as a potential podcast subject or just to kick back and watch in reruns?