Friday, September 30, 2022

This Day in TV History: Cheers premieres

What a great night of TV it was 40 years ago tonight! I am not talking about the series premiere of Star of the Family nor the second-season premiere of Joanie Loves Chachi. On September 30, 1982, NBC aired the first episode of one of our favorite television shows around here: Cheers!

We talked a lot about the show here and in many other spots on the podcast and here on the website. At some point we will discuss the classic sitcom's "later years," but today let's celebrate the beginning. 

Thursday, September 29, 2022

For Your Batty Consideration: McMillan and Wife

After a failed attempt to get John Schuck on the podcast in Season 9, we delivered with McMillan and Wife, an NBC Mystery Wheel show that also features Rock Hudson and Susan Saint James. "Cop of the Year" is not only a great Schuckcase, but a solid example of the series in fine form (I called it my favorite of the series) and a story loaded with interesting performers.


Our podcast episode
Show notes and YT playlist

Anonymous Batty Insider says: "If John Schuck doesn't get some kind of Batty after the guys seemingly built an entire episode around him, I'll eat my Rewind Stubbs t-shirt! I've been talking about episode selection this Batty season, and this is an example of the series being helped by the choice of an exceptional installment. We'll see if it pays off for Mac and Wife at the ceremony."

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

For Your Batty Consideration: Kolchak the Night Stalker

Our good friend John Holm suggested we look at Kolchak the Night Stalker this season, and we enjoyed perusing the short-lived but fondly remembered cult series. In "Werewolf," intrepid reporter Carl Kolchak didn't have to do much digging to find the title creature; it shared a cruise ship with him! Unlike many of the podcast subjects, Kolchak is something neither of us really grew up watching, so it was a fun experience for us. 


Yes. Yes, it was, very much so.


Our podcast episode
Show notes and YT playlist

Anonymous Batty Insider says: "Mike and Rick have given other shows a lot more praise this season, but they love Darren McGavin, and that alone makes Kolchak a Batty player. Throw in a colorful guest cast and a fun episode, and this could be a much bigger force than you might expect after hearing the episode."

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

This Day in TV History: A new beginning for Little House

40 years ago tonight, NBC took Little House in a new direction--nay, a new beginning, if you will.

Michael Lando stepped aside from his on-screen role for this ninth season, and the show became a Laura/Almonzo series. It didn't sustain the Little House ratings, and the show would end with a series of movies bringing back the rest of the family.

Here's a note from the 1982 TV Guide Fall Preview about the changes:

Monday, September 26, 2022

For Your Batty Consideration: High School U.S.A (1984)

This season's listener-voted episode was High School U.S.A., which beat out 3 other teen-centric 1980s TV movies, possibly due to its all-star cast. The movie blends the 'stars of the future" with the stars of, er, yesterday, throwing in a lot of familiar veteran TV faces. Our listeners knew what they were doing! This movie is a fun watch and gives us plenty to discuss on the podcast: Robots, cars, TEEN HIJINKS, and more!


Our podcast episode
Show notes and YT playlist

Anonymous Batty Insider says: "This one could be a big player at the Battys. It has potential in numerous categories, and the huge cast with all the familiar faces means it could really flood the acting categories. On the other hand, you could see a narrative with people thinking, oh, this already won just by being selected by the listeners. I don't know about that, but it's a possibility. I'd expect this to lead in nominations and maybe sneak in a few wins."

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Top Ten #196

1) Fall: Call it fall, call it Autumn, call it whatever. To me it used to mean the arrival of the Fall Preview of TV Guide, Fall Preview specials of the networks, etc. You know--the important stuff that makes the end of summer palatable.

2) The Facts of Life Go to Paris: AND PARIS WAS NEVER THE SAME! The movie aired 40 years ago tonight on NBC, As a companion to our podcast episode on FOL, Mike took a close look at this effort


3) Barbara Walters: Happy 93rd birthday!

4) The Tonight Show: In an article about ill-fated Paul Reiser show There's Johnny, Aaron Barnhart says the Carson-hosted show "is still the most-watched program on Antenna TV."

5) Silver Spoons: There they were, face to face, a couple of silver spoons on this day in 1982 as the sitcom premiered. We talked about not one, but TWO episodes (not the pilot) right here.

6) Math Storytelling Day: Here's a simple story: Guy counts fancy fruitcakes, guy immediately falls butt over tea kettle.

7) Zorro: Reading Andy Mangels' RetroFan history of the franchise made me want to check out some of the Filmation cartoons. Also, the 1950s show finally hits Disney Plus in October.

8) Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin: Happy 70th birthday! It's a good excuse to post one of my favorite 80s wrestling clips. The way announcer Jim Ross exclaims, "Jesus!" cracked me up then and still gets me.

9) Rod Holcomb: Ken Levine's excellent Hollywood and Levine podcast featured a two-part interview with casting director John Levey, and in this week's episode, Levey gives significant props to our old buddy Rod Holcomb for shaping the early days of ER. Rod directed the Greatest American Hero episode we covered, the first Captain America TV movie, and probably more!

10) Henry Silva: R.I.P. to the veteran actor and apologies for not including him last week.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

This Day in TV History: New beginnings that CBS hopes remind you of the past--September 24, 1982

40 years ago tonight, CBS had an interesting Friday night lineup. Leading it off at 8:00, The Dukes of Hazzard kicked off its fifth season with an episode called "The New Dukes." That's right, it was the debut of Coy and Vance, the Duke cousins!

The series was a huge hit for CBS in that time period, but the cousins, subbing for Bo and Luke after Tom Wopat and John Schneider had a protracted contract dispute with Warner Brothers, put a stop to that! The "real" Dukes returned late in the season and stuck around for the show's final (much-lower-rated) two seasons.

After the Dukes, CBS premiered Bring 'Em Back Alive, a period adventure show with Bruce Boxleitner. Everyone seems to remember Tales from the Gold Monkey, which had similar influences in the wake of Raiders of the Lost Ark's success, but this one is more obscure. 

Friday, September 23, 2022

For Your Batty Consideration: it's Garry Shandling's Show

This is the podcast about Garry's show, the BOTNS podcast about Garry's show...

Our tenth season continued with a look at one of the funniest sitcoms of the Eighties, It's Garry Shandling's Show. We talked about Shandling's career, great episodes of the show, and, oh, what a good one we used as the focal point: "Go Go Goldblum" with Grant Shumacher's favorite actor, Jeff Goldblum. 


Our podcast episode
Show notes and YT playlist

Anonymous Batty Insider says: "Rick went on kind of a weird crusade to point out how much he disliked the show's last season. I don't know what was up with that, but otherwise, they loved It's Garry Shandling's Show, and I expect it to score some major wins. It should be a big contender for theme song and some of the biggest Battys, too."

Thursday, September 22, 2022

This Day in TV History: Family Ties premieres on NBC

40 years ago tonight, NBC premiered the new sitcom Family Ties. It seems odd now that it aired at 9:30 in between an extended Real People and a rerun of Quincy. For one thing, it's hard to think of it as other than an 8:00 or 8:30 program, and for another, we associate it more with the comeback years of NBC than this Real People period.

The show went on to be a big part of NBC's rise in the Eighties, though it can be argued it rode the coattails of a certain other family sitcom (O-be-kay-be!) that debuted a little later. Still, Ties lasted 7 seasons and over 175 episodes, launching Michael J. Fox into stardom and becoming an essential part of 1980s pop culture. 

We talked about Family Ties back in our first season!

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

For Your Batty Consideration: Perry Mason

Our now-regular "retro retro" show, one looking at a TV series from the "Silver Age" or the 1950s/1960s, is a popular new feature on our BOTNS podcast schedule. This season we talked about CBS' long-running classic legal drama Perry Mason, covering the history of the series and talking about the original novels and even The New Perry Mason as we focused on the show's fourth-season opener, "The Case of the Treacherous Toupee." A young Robert Redford is among the guest cast in a fun Mason installment. We had a great time exploring the world of Perry Mason and hope that you continue to enjoy these steps outside our "official" time frame.


Our podcast episode
Show notes and YT playlist

Anonymous Batty Insider says: "It's obvious the guys enjoy Perry Mason, but it'll be interesting to see how the Batty committee handles it. Is it fair to throw an older show in there against the usual Seventies and Eighties stuff? I'm not saying it is or isn't, just that the question is going to be asked. Another factor might be the disappearance of the show from FreeVee, which might give the guys some residual anger. If everyone gets past those issues, this could be a big-time Battys player."

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

RetroFan is back with a Summer-themed issue (Hey, it's still Summer!)

I think this was meant to come out just a tad earlier, but there's no reason we can't enjoy the new RetroFan magazine at the end of meteorological Summer. This issue is a little light on 1970s/1980s TV content, but Andy Mangels' column covers that realm with a big piece on Zorro cartoons from Filmation.

The main story is on the 1960s beach movies, and there is a long article on car-themed cartoon magazines of the Sixties that sounds a little esoteric even for me but is quite entertaining. I really like the history of The Wild Wild West and the accompanying profile of Michael Dunn (Dr. Loveless). 

Elsewhere in the issue, Will Murray takes a look at the Masters of the Universe franchise, giving Filmation even more love. The Norman Lear interview is repurposed from a book and, sadly, does not touch on the fuller Learverse concept Mike and I have dreamed ab--uh, discussed on the podcast.

RetroFan is published by TwoMorrows I have no affiliation with them other than being a happy subscriber!

Monday, September 19, 2022

For Your Batty Consideration: Bob Hope

As we neared the midway point of our tenth season, we dove into the world of Bob Hope specials, inspired by our friend Geno (though he may not want to take responsibility for the Tahoe special since he suggested a different program that we may get to in the future!).  Bob Hope's All-Star Comedy Spectacular Live from Tahoe debuted January 1977 and featured stars like Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Charo, Mac Davis, and many more! Yet with all that entertainment going on, one of the biggest things we talked about was the messaging spread throughout the program by sponsor Texaco.


Our podcast episode
Show notes and YT playlist

Anonymous Batty Insider says: "It might be tempting to snub Bob just to envision the jokes he would make, but I see this being a bit of a Batty sleeper. For one thing, it has plenty of songs that are eligible in a category for which many episodes will not have nominees. Also, a variety show has a lot of variety. Look for a surprising number of nominees but perhaps a relatively low number of winners."

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Top Ten #195

1) MASH: Many are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the classic sitcom this week, and Me-TV is showing the episode we discussed, "Tuttle," today at 12:30 EST.

2) Anna and the King: Yesterday, though, we talked about the other sitcom CBS premiered 50 years ago yesterday. Just think, between the two of them, those shows won 14 Emmys!

3) Batman: This is also the weekend marking Batman Day, so consider this a reminder to be a good citizen and be careful on your skateboard. Batman would want it that way.

4) Emmy winners: Congrats to Michael Keaton, Jean Smart, Sheryl Lee Ralph, and the others.

5) National Cheeseburger Day: Sounds good to me! How about a nice, quick, juicy microwave burger?

6) Gus: 45 years ago tonight, the Disney program on NBC aired Gus, the Pigskin Mule. Life was much different a mere 5 years later, and the weekly Disney program was now on CBS. So 40 years ago tonight, the Disney program on CBS aired...part 2 of Gus, the Pigskin Mule. This clip below teases a 1979 showing of the movie!

7) The U.S. Air Force: Happy birthday to the USAF!

Do you think they are ticked off that Top Gun is about Navy pilots?

8) Holly Robinson: Happy birthday! 

Do you think she's ticked off that Top Gun is about Navy pilots?

9) The Equalizer: The original version of the show premiered on this day in 1985.

10) The Battys: Batty talk will continue here on the site this week as we build up to the Season 10 awards show! Last season's big winner: The Rockford Files.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

This Day in TV History: 50 years ago, a new comedy premieres on CBS!

Ok, yes, MASH debuted on CBS on September 17, 1972, but lots of people are talking about that show this week (And we talked about it here). How about some love for the other new program on CBS that Sunday evening 50 years ago: Anna and the King?

Based on the book/movie/Broadway musical, this incarnation of the story actually gets Yul Brynner in the title role. The King, that is. Samantha Eggar is Anna.

There are a few MASH connections pointed out by Harry and Wally's Favorite TV Shows: The two sitcoms share producer Gene Reynolds, and Brynner's daughter Serena is played here by Rosalind Chao, who later played Soon-Lee Klinger on the classic Korean War sitcom and its unclassic spinoff AfterMASH. By the way, harry and Wally say, "Compared to the hit movie, this TV version is pretty lame." It was gone after 13 episodes.

Here is what the 1972 Fall Preview of TV Guide says about the show:

Friday, September 16, 2022

For Your Batty Consideration: Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends

In episode 5, we had our first listener request of the season: Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends as suggested by our friends James and Lucille. Regular listeners know we can talk about all sorts of stuff when it comes to the cartoons, and this episode is no exception as we discuss "The X-Men Adventure." We learn about the Danger Room, about Firestar's background, and a little something about the bittersweet combination of love and attempted assassination by a cyborg.


Our podcast episode
Show notes and YT playlist

Anonymous Batty Insider says: "The episode they talk about really shows the class Spider-Man has because while he does give some tender words to Firestar, he gives much of the spotlight to her and to the X-Men. In fact, the focus on so many other lesser-seen characters may hurt Spidey's Batty chances."

Thursday, September 15, 2022

This Day in TV History: 3 short-lived NBC series premiere September 15, 1972

There are a lot of big-ticket shows that premiered in Fall 1972, and we may celebrate them, too, but today let's honor a few that didn't quite make it after debuting Friday, September 15, 1972.

At 8:30 on NBC, Brian Keith's The Little People first appeared. Keith stars as a pediatrician in Hawaii.

At 9:00, the same network unveiled its horror anthology Ghost Story, hosted by Sebastian Cabot. Jason Robards, Stella Stevens, and Jack Kelly are among the guest stars in episode 1.

NBC closes the night with yet another new show, Robert Forster as 1930s P.I. Banyon. I have mentioned before how much I'd like to check this one out.

Here's a promo for the latter two series:

Final tally: Banyon 13 episodes plus the pilot movie, The Little People  46 episodes after becoming The Brian Keith Show in its second season, Ghost Story 22 episodes, 9 after losing Cabot and changing the name to the broader Circle of Fear.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

For Your Batty Consideration: Siskel and Ebert

The fourth episode of our latest season focused on movies--that is, reviews of movies by TV critics, with a particular focus on Siskel and Ebert. We built the episode around a great 1989 installment of the two critics' long-running program, one that looked at Batman, Ghostbusters II, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, and Kung Fu Fighter. That's 3 blockbusters and a really, really cringy-sounding "art film" that is made by an acclaimed filmmaker and so Siskel and Ebert try to find meaning in it.


Our podcast episode
Show notes and YT playlist

Anonymous Batty Insider says: "This was a fun episode that provided something a little different--too different to win Battys? Could one be nominated for something without the other? It'd be nice to see S&E get something, but smart money doesn't see a lot of opportunities."

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

National Bald Is Beautiful Day!

Let's take this day to remind ourselves of the grave injustice that is the original Kojak not being available for streaming anywhere in the United States.

Monday, September 12, 2022

For Your Batty Consideration: Maude

In our tenth season's third episode, we went back to the Learverse, and there was Maude! Specifically, we focused on the "put on a show" episode "Maude's Musical," but we had a wide-ranging about the show's politics and even some of the issues it explored in its controversial 6-year-run.


Our podcast episode
Show notes and YT playlist

Anonymous Batty Insider says: "Episode selection can really have an impact on Batty contention. Look at Happy Days and think how it might have been different had they not gone with a musical episode from the later years. In this case, Maude should be a strong contender in several categories--theme song for sure--but covering 'Maude's Musical' rather than a more conventional example might have an effect in others."

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Top Ten #194: Special NFL Kickoff Weekend Edition!

1) The Emmys: Tomorrow the Emmys air live, and some old faves are nominated, but on this date 45 years ago, the 1977 Emmys honored The Mary Tyler Moore Show; Upstairs, Downstairs; Roots; and Genius Award winner Ed Flanders for his performance as Harry S Truman.

And if you forgot that the Emmys were tomorrow, don't worry, we will be here in this space next week to remind you that they happened.

2) Peanuts Specials: Apple Plus just added a big batch of non-holiday-themed animated Peanuts shows, including this one:

3) The Rookies: The Aaron Spelling cop show premiered on ABC 50 years ago tonight (after a pilot movie in March) and lasted 4 seasons and over 90 episodes.

4) Earl Holliman: Happy birthday! Actors and Other People for Animals appreciates you!

5) National Grandparents Day: 

6) Lola Falana: Also celebrating a birthday today is Fred Sanford's crush, Lola:

7) Miss America: The 1983 version of the pageant aired on NBC 40 years ago tonight, with Debra Maffet of California taking home the honors.

8) The Carol Burnett Show: The beloved series premiered on this date in 1967. Harvey Korman wasn't even on it yet, and he started breaking up.

10) R.I.P. Bernard Shaw: A CNN stalwart and, by accounts, a true pro.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

This Day in TV History: A Special night of television on September 10, 1972!

Talk about something for everyone! All kinds of programming aired on the broadcast networks on Sunday, September 10, 1972. 

A somber 1972 Summer Olympics got coverage on ABC the night before the Closing Ceremonies, and it was followed by Zenith Presents: A Salute to Television's 25th Anniversary. This sounds like my kind of program. Stars like Hope, Ball, and Lanson appear alongside clips from "some 400 shows," according to Vincent Terrace's Television Specials.

(Lanson is Snooky Lanson from Your Hit Parade.)

CBS had a preseason NFL battle between the Minnesota Vikings and the Miami Dolphins, the loser of the previous Super Bowl. September 10 seems late for a preseason game. Miami went on to have an undefeated season and spend decades being insufferable about it. The Dolphins and Vikes played "for real" several weeks later:

After the game, it's the final installment of The Life of Leonardo Da Vinci. I'm sure that's just the thing the football crowd wanted to see after several hours of beer and ball!

NBC led off the evening with a Davy Crockett adventure rerun as part of The Wonderful World of Disney before presenting the debut of Ozzie's Girls:

This series gave us the Nelsons again, but this time they took in boarders after David and Rick were all growed up. I mean, the original Ozzie and Harriet show only ran 400-some episodes, so you gotta bring them back, right? Because it's 1972, this show is socially relevant.

This pilot aired on NBC as a special, but the show itself went into first-run syndication the following season and lasted a year.

At 9:00, the Peacock Network premiered Liza with a Z, an original concert special produced for television in the wake of the success of Cabaret.

Sports, music, comedy, adventure, history...all on September 10, 1972!

Friday, September 9, 2022

For Your Batty Consideration: Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

In our tenth season's second episode, we took a journey to the hood--Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, surely thrilling our coveted 2-11-year-old demographic for the second week in a row! In addition to pondering the question, "What Is Love?" as asked in the episode premiering April 26, 1973, we talked about the show's overall impact and many other topics.


Our podcast episode
Show notes and YT playlist

Anonymous Batty Insider says: "This could be a Batty sleeper this time out, based on the affection the guys showed for the program. Will they feel the need to confirm that everyone on Mister Rogers was in fact special? Does Fred get recognized for his singing? His hosting? His kindness? Don't be surprised to see a few upsets come out of this one."

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Happy 100th birthday, Sid Caesar!

I mean no disrespect when I celebrate the late comedy icon's 100th birthday and say, wow, I can't believe he would have been "only" 100 today. Growing up, he seemed at least "a generation or two ago" when he appeared in guest spots on cartoons, variety shows, and in ABC showings of Grease. He was a comedy legend, yes, but a comedy legend, as in, someone who was from the past, yet he was only in his fifties and early sixties:

Of course, his prime was a couple of decades before the heart of the BOTNS era, but he was still a constant presence in the TV of the 1970s and 1980s. Looking at his resume on IMDB, I'm surprised there aren't as many credits as I expected. It just seemed like he was always around.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

For Your Batty Consideration: Season 10: Easter Bunny Is Comin' to Town

We kicked off our tenth season of Battle of the Network Shows on April 22 with an Easter Special looking at Rankin-Bass' beloved The Easter Bunny Is Comin' to Town, which premiered April 6, 1977 on ABC.

We discussed the mysteries of Easter EXPLAINED, the odd economic system of Town, our own Easter memories, and much more!


Our podcast episode
Show notes and YT playlist

Anonymous Batty Insider says: "Rankin-Bass shows score well in the Best Song category, and this year should be no exception, but they have not proven to be be big winners in the major categories. Does the fact that Bunny was back in April mean it will be hazier in voters' minds?"

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Season 10 Batty LISTENER AWARD voting is now open!

As is tradition, we will include a couple of listener-voted awards on our upcoming Season 10 batty Awards episode to go with the ones that Mike and I determine. Below are the two for your consideration! You can vote by leaving a comment here, emailing us at, or joining our Facebook group (or just visiting if you are already a member
Without further ado, here are the Season 10 Batty Listener Awards:

Listener Award #1: Best Friends Award
This Batty is for the outstanding besties who displayed their friendship in an episode we discussed on the podcast this season!


Kip and Henry (Bosom Buddies)
Spider-Man, Firestar, Iceman (Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends)
Charles Ingalls and Isiah Edwards (Little House on the Prairie)
Mac and Enright (McMillan and Wife)
Garry Shanding and Jeff Goldblum (It's Garry Shandling's Show)

Listener Award #2: Missing in Action Award
This Batty is for the regular character in a series who was not featured in an episode we covered and whose presence was missed the most.


Aunt May (Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends)
Jonathan Garvey  (Little House on the Prairie)
Mr. McFeely (Mister Rogers' Neighborhood)
Mrs. Naugatuck (Maude)
Emmanuel Lewis (Bob Hope Specials)

Voting will be closed Saturday, so please participate as soon as you can so you don't miss your chance to be part of the biggest night in retro TV podcasting!

Sunday, September 4, 2022

Top Ten #193: Special Day Before Labor Day Edition!

1) Merlin Olsen: His Jonathan Garvey was the star of the Little House episode I watched this week...or at least I thought he would be. Also, writer Joe Posnanski's excellent Substack is counting down his 100 greatest players in NFL history, and this week he featured Merlin at number 39 (subscription required) and talked about his presence on NBC TV in the Eighties.

2) Back to school: In many regions, kids started a couple weeks ago, but I remember going the day after Labor Day! And uphill in a blizzard, etc., etc.

And of course my mom and I would freestyle a PHAT RAP to get ready for the new school year.

3) The Price Is Right: The current version of the long-running game show began 50 years ago today on CBS as a daytime program and in nighttime in syndication.

4) John and Yoko on the Jerry Lewis Telethon:  Also 50 years ago, the duo made an appearance on the annual telethon. It was the only time a celebrity raised record amounts of money by promising not to sing.

No, I'm kidding. Here's some footage:

5) National Waffle Week: Grab a tasty one and celebrate! Actually, use a fork if you have butter and syrup on it!

6) The Facts of Life: I am still wondering what the deal was with "Teacher, Teacher," the seventh-season episode that plays like a spinoff proposal.

7) Danny Ponce: Happy 50th birthday!

8) Major League Baseball: I know everyone's giddy about the return of college football and the oncoming return of the NFL, but September is baseball, too. Enjoy this clip of the old HBO show Race for the Pennant, featuring clips, banter with Tim McCarver and Barry Tompkins, and a surprisingly jovial Frank Robinson:

9) Space 1999: September is a slow month for 1970s and 1980s TV on streaming, but Crackle did add this 1970s sci-fi show.

10) R.I.P.: Richard Roat and William Reynolds:

Saturday, September 3, 2022

National Cinema Day!

With many theaters offering $3 tickets today, you might be looking for something to watch. Well, we know a couple of guys who might be able to help:

Wait, it's not 1987? It's 2022? Well, then you're on your own!

Friday, September 2, 2022

Further Viewing: You try to watch ONE pleasant episode of Little House...

Laurie and I decided to watch a Little House on the Prairie episode the other night and, being in the mood for something light, I chose "Castoffs," the opener of the fourth season and first appearance of Jonathan Garvey, the character played by NFL Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen as sort of a less-crude replacement for Victor French's Isiah Edwards after French departed the series.

Garvey is a light character, and surely his introduction to Walnut Grove must be amusing, right? Welllll...

On one hand, there is a light touch in "Castoffs." An eccentric old woman (Hermione Baddely, fresh from Maude and destined to return herself in a couple more LHOPs) is living in the frame of a house, and the town ponders whether to "allow" her into their church each Sunday. 

The adults think she's nuts, but the kids embrace her, and Laura advises Garvey to seek her out for the crick in his back.

Wait, who? Yes, Garvey has no big introduction. He just IS. I guess he's been there all the time. Well, that would be well enough, though personally I think if you get Merlin, you build the whole episode around him. He does show some personality, like an inclination to rely on "medicine" to cure his back pain, but it's not his episode.

The issue here is that something far more momentous and far less humorous happens in this episode--early on, in fact. SPOILERS AHEAD...

You see, Laura is in a state of trauma for much of "Castoffs" because her dog dies! Beloved pooch Jack shuffles off this mortal coil early on, and while we don't see him literally dying, we DO have to observe Charles coming in, checking him out, taking a pulse and doing an autopsy (OK, I am exaggerating, but it feels a little drawn out) and confirming the poor creature is dead. Shirtless, I might add.

But that's not all! It's even sadder that it appears--and the death of a pet who is a regular on the series is pretty sad--because the day before, Jack was trying to get Laura to play with him, but she brushed him off. So we have the double whammy of a departed family member and the crippling guilt a survivor must endure.

But let's not complicate this. THE DOG DIED! We prepared to see how Merlin Olsen got his start on LHOP, and, WHAM, because it's Walnut grove and every moment of potential joy must be balanced by crushing despair, we see a pet death.

Here is the description of the episode on the Peacock site. Just for fun of the light, non-dog-dying variety, see if you can tell what is not included:

Only Walnut Grove's children welcome an old wanderer.

I don't see any mention of Jack dying! 

It's an entertaining episode with warmth and valuable life lessons, and I doubt I'm really giving much away by saying Laura winds up finding some happiness with a stray dog who just happens to be roaming around after Jack's passing. There is even a comedy bit with Mr. Oleson (not to be confused with Mr. Merlin Olsen) getting inebriated by the water that has been tainted with Garvey's "medicine."

But, Heavens to Reverend Alden, I was not expecting what I got in "Castoffs." The life lesson WE learned was, never, ever expect to get away from Walnut Grove without some kind of depressing or downright devastating traumatic incident.

In the interest of doing what Landon does in this episode and bringing everyone back up to a high note and a happier level, check out the great juxtaposition of two temperamentally opposite characters in this shot, though, and kudos to director Michael Landon:

Thursday, September 1, 2022

What's new in old shows on streaming in September

By now, you know the routine: Most streamers are done adding catalog shows to their libraries, but every now and then they surprise us. Disney Plus hasn't added anything in years. Paramount and Peacock seem to have little interest in using their vast libraries to bolster their streaming services. Amazon and Freevee have really slowed down this year.

HBO Max went in the wrong direction in August, removing scores of vintage Sesame Street episodes from the service, and it might be time to give up on them despite rumors that Dallas could show up there in remastered form. It's not on the September list, and Living Single isn't exactly what we're looking for around here.

Crackle adds Space 1999 this month, but Tubi doesn't seem to have anything new for us. They can surprise, though.

The best news is a carry-over from last month: In the spring, Apple Plus announced it was adding a new batch of vintage Peanuts specials along with its new Lucy school-themed special in August. Well, August came and went without the Peanuts Anthology drop, but that is now scheduled for Friday, September 9, and will include lesser-known efforts like 1973's There's No Time for Love, Charlie Brown.

I don't see anything yet for Roku Channel, BritBox, and Shout! Factory TV. So, yes, it's a slow month. 

Let's end on a high note with a few videos from stuff that IS coming this month: