Thursday, March 3, 2022

Revisiting Women's History Streaming/DVD suggestions from last year

Earlier this week, I closed out February by taking another look at the suggestions I made for Black History Month in 2021--that is, 1970s and 1980s series that I'd like to see available on streaming and/or DVD. Well, I did a similar exercise last year for Women's History Month in March, and I want to see if any of these series actually materialized!

My comments from the original story are below (without the YT clips embedded in the previous post), with my new comments in bold:

Amy Prentiss This was on our radar even before the passing of star Jessica Walter last week, but i bet a lot of people reading her obituaries thought, "Wait, she won her Emmy for what, now?" I recently heard Cy Chernak suggest that this Ironside spinoff was ripped off by Prime Suspect.  In the series, the Emmy-and-Batty 9for a different project)-winning Walter becomes head of the SFPD and meets a lot of resistance.  Also starring Art Metrano! Only several episodes, but it could get plunked on Peacock or packaged with other NBC Mystery Movie selections.

No sign of this one, but it has that NBC Mystery Movie cachet and could surface eventually...though I doubt it would be on Peacock, which isn't exploiting its own library much.

All's Fair: Not all Norman Lear shows have been part of the national consciousness. I don't expect to see a live recreation of one of these episodes anytime soon.  I'd like to see a good, old original episode of it, though. The concept seems to be from another century now, and that's because it is! Bernadette Peters and Richard Crenna are liberal/conservative newspeople who are separated by age and background as well as political beliefs. It also stars Michael Keaton and Jack Dodson.

The Norman Lear shows always have some kind of chance, but for now we have to settle with episodes on YouTube.

Madame's Place: Let's not minimize the significance of Madame just because she was Puppet-American. This show is high on camp value but low on exposure in the last, what, 30-some years? I imagine it would have an instant cult following were it made available, but perhaps clearances make it impossible.

My comments from last year stand, but no official release yet. The series is easy to find online, though.

Double Trouble: I get a rush of nostalgia whenever I see a snippet of or promo of this 1980s NBC sitcom which had a seemingly endless rerun stint on USA Network soon after its original run. The Sagal twins starred, but stalwarts Donnelly Rhodes and Barbara Barrie were also in the cast along with scene stealers Jonathan Schmock and (future Arrested Development  creative force) Jim Valelly.

This is kind of a limbo show in that no one runs it anymore yet I bet it would have high, "Ohhh, yeah, THAT show!" factor among children of the Eighties. It was an unexceptional sitcom about teenage life, but the twins were charming enough to make the show worth another look.

Unless there is some kind of funky rights or elements issue with this, I am going to go ahead and predict that this one ends up on Crackle at some point this year. I have no knowledge of that, but it seems like a good fit. If you're into Schmock and Valelly, check out this recent post.

Jeannie: How about a cartoon for our list? I Dream of Jeannie has never been out of syndication and is frequently a national presence on cable or on diginets, but this animated spinoff is way out of circulation. The series ran only one season of originals and subbed Julie McWhirter for Barbara Eden; in fact the entire cast was replaced and Jeannie "served" a teen surfer voiced by Mark Hamill.

Hey, we got one! Crackle added this series last year.

Flying High: Anything with two-time Batty Award winner Connie Sellecca should be available, says I.

No sign of this one. It's a real long shot, I have to admit.

Gimme a Break!Nell Carter's star vehicle is barely mentioned today but was one of NBC's more bankable shows during its grim pre-Cosby years. This show was a rerun staple in the 1980s. Yes, Antenna TV has carried it in recent years, and other stations, too, and, yes, it got a DVD release years ago. But the DVDs are out of print, and I feel that this series just isn't talked about as much as one would think a family-friendly 6-season, 137-episode sitcom would be.  Hey, networks, looking for a throwback Black-themed sitcom and don't want to carry Cosby's stuff? Here's an option!

The Late Show with Joan Rivers Not to be confused with That Show with Joan Rivers, a more obscure talk show that has received exposure in the streaming era, probably by virtue of being fortunate enough to be available enough to be released by someone who is motivated to do something with old shows. Rivers was an excellent host, and while the work of her friend-turned-foe Johnny Carson is all over the place these days (and I'm glad for it), you have to scour YouTube for examples of Rivers' highest-profile pre-E! years series. It's worthy of more attention than just the infamous falling out with the King of Late Night.

Another long shot. Maybe some more episodes will show up on YouTube.

Tracey Ullman Show: It deserves to be remembered for more than just being the launching pad of The Simpsons. Ullman has had, what, a dozen shows with some variation of her name in the title? This is the one I'd like to revisit, one of the flagship early Fox Network programs.

The show is largely forgotten except for The Simpsons, and I don't know of even any hints of it appearing anywhere.

Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters: I'm sure it's impossible, but the Mandrells were huge in the early Eighties.  Music, comedy, and more were the hallmarks of this variety series that ended too soon when Babs stepped out of the singing life to rest her voice. It was maybe the last of the big primetime network variety shows, and it was a solid performer for NBC on Saturday nights at a time when it didn't have a lot of hits. Plus it had Krofft puppets!

Music shows are tough, and I don't think this is coming anytime soon unless the Mandrells get some kind of big documentary treatment and maybe Time Life comes out with a big box set.

So overall, 2 out of 10 ain't bad when we are talking short-lived and long-unseen TV shows.

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