You don't see as many made-for-TV movies today as you used to. Sure, Lifetime does some and you'll find some on cable and the odd one on CBS, but the networks don't really do them anymore (and if they do they stretch them to two or more nights and call them a mini-series). But you could see them all the time in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Here are five they hardly show anymore, if ever, but I remember them fondly.1. One Of My Wives Is Missing (1976): Mystery about a man who reports his wife missing, then a woman shows up claiming to be his wife and he says she isn't. Stars Jack Klugman, Elizabeth Ashley, and James Franciscus. I pride myself in being able to figure out the shocking endings and plot twists that so many movies have (that's what happens when you watch so much TV, not much surprises you anymore), but this movie completely blew me away. It doesn't just have a twist ending, it has about three, and you just smile at the end because it's so clever, and you try to think back to everything that happened to see if they played fair. I haven't seen this movie in about 15 years. It's not on DVD and I can't remember the last time someone ran it. (It was remade years later with a different title, but it wasn't as good.)
There are drinkers, and then there are drinkers. The ones that always seem to have a drink in their hand. It's a social thing, it's a private thing, but most of all, it's an everyday thing. Here are five TV characters who drank. A lot.
1. Larry Tate (Bewitched): Sure, it was the 60s and drinking was everyone and not frowned upon like it is in a lot of situations today, but mother of God Larry used to drink a lot. Every single time he came over to the Stephens' home he rushed over to their bar and made himself a drink, or Samantha gave him one. He seems like a prime candidate for alcoholism: a harried advertising guy, always on the go, and an ad exec who works for him that seems to vanish or have odd things happen to him all the time. That couldn't have been easy to deal with. This guy drinks a lot. In fact, if you play the Bewitched drinking game (take a drink every time Larry takes a drink), you probably won't make it past an episode.
Lost will be returning after an unbearably long hiatus on February 7th, and I couldn't be more excited. All the anticipation has gotten me thinking about the elements that have been missing from my TV viewing these many months. Dexter and The Wire were excellent distractions, but Lost has always brought a certain unique something.
Here are the five things I've missed during the Lost break:1. The Jack-Kate-Sawyer Love Triangle: After months of longing looks and kisses that went nowhere, some actual progress was made when Kate and Sawyer got it on in the polar bear cage. To complicate matters, Jack was watching courtesy of the Other-cam. For once I actually cared about this romantic conflict, and there were no new episodes in sight! I can't wait to see what happens next to our favorite trio.
Fortunately, all reality shows are not the same. I mean, would Tim Gunn be involved in anything that wasn't a class act? Shows like Project Runway and, to some extent, The Amazing Race redeem an otherwise unfortunate genre littered with wife-swaps, cat fights, strangers picked to live in a house and competitive testicle eating. There is plenty of good among the bad, and in my neck of the woods, certain reality shows are as much "must see TV" as any scripted program. I'm looking for the same thing in both anyway - emotional truth.
Another way to define it is the way Jerry felt about his friendship with Keith Hernandez on Seinfeld.
My most enduring man-crush has been on Han Solo. Not Harrison Ford, mind you (as Howard Stern's impression of him as a humorless monosyllabic Frankenstein-type creature seems to be pretty dead on), but the character he played in Star Wars. Seeing as this is TV Squad, however, and not Cinematical, Han Solo is out of the running.
My top five heterosexual man-crushes (TV edition) after the jump...
I mentioned in a recent post that I resolved a few months ago not to watch the unholy crapfests that are Entertainment Tonight, The Insider, and Access Hollywood, but I still have a few New Year's resolutions to make when it comes to my TV viewing.
1. I resolve not to watch American Idol. I tried to do this last year and failed. You watch one episode of those damn auditions and you get laughing and you're hooked, like eating one Lay's potato chip or trying heroin. But after what happened last year (great singers not making it far enough, phone screw ups, Taylor Hicks winning), it's one show I don't want to bother with anymore.
The point of this edition of The Five, besides giving me yet another chance to talk about cartoons, is to examine those weird quirks that set certain cartoon characters apart from their constituents. That is to say, something beyond the usual bulging eyes, springing hair, unraveling tongues, mallet-induced head lumps and stars and birdies that twirl about the head whenever they crash through a wall. I'm interested in quirks and traits a character possesses that no other character does. Some of these are easy: Fred Flintstone's "Yabba Dabba Doo!," Bugs Bunny's various catchphrases like "What's up, doc?" and "Of course you know, this means war!," so I tried to delve a little deeper and come up with some oddities only incredible nerds like myself would notice.
Maybe this will make more sense if I just jump right into it:
I caught the video for Paul Simon's "Call Me Al" on VH1 Classic the other night, the one in which Chevy Chase lip syncs to the song, and it got me thinking about other funny music videos. I thought it would be a great idea for one of these "The Five" lists we bloggers love so much, and as I was racking my brain I realized I could just simply list five Weird Al Yankovic videos.
But no, Adam loves a challenge, so Weird Al is off limits. After the jump, check out the five videos I came up with, along with a little help from my pal Wild Bill. Throw down some of your own suggestions in the comments.
Much like fellow TV Squad scribe Anna, I could care less about Rosie's public squabbles and controversies. However, I do find it endlessly amusing that the last word in these public debates comes in the form of butchered Japanese poetry. Rosie is, of course, more invested in the spirit of the haiku and has never put much stock in a strict adherence to the 5-7-5 syllable scheme. I'd argue that she's actually grown way beyond the haiku, flown by sonnets and is taking us straight into epic territory. With Rosie making The View must-watch TV these past few months, I think a year-end review of Rosie's top five poetic expressions is in order:
After viewing the frighteningly accurate parody of Studio 60 that MADtv performed I got to thinking (which is always a bad thing). I can't remember a producer/creator of any television show in recent history who has carried so many of his or her trademarks from one program to another. I guess you could say Dick Wolf does this from show to show, but the Law & Order series is probably considered a franchise. Aaron Sorkin has produced three different shows that have had similar structural elements, including actors and actresses. When viewers watch these shows they anticipate those features and are disappointed when they don't see them.
So, with that in mind, here are the five trademarks that Aaron Sorkin puts in his shows.
The walk-and-talk: Others shows have people walking and talking all of the time, but usually slowly down a straight hallway. Aaron has taken this concept and perfected it, making it all his own. His walk-and-talks feature characters going up-and-down stairs, through security gates, behind bleachers, and around corners. He sometimes makes these strolls seem like a relay race: two people will talk for a while, then one person will tag-out and a new conversation will begin with another character. Meanwhile, as they walk they begin and end conversations with so much information that you need to record the show so you catch everything missed. And, speaking about those conversations . . .
Say what you want about TV, it does the familiar very well. From catch-phrases (just what was Willis talking about?) to genre-conventions (let's all freeze while the credits roll!) TV is America's comfort food.
What is my TV comfort food? The five after the jump...
This season, however, I've been completely suckered into the hot-and-heavy drama. I could chalk up my new fixation to a lost weekend, a bottle of scotch and a Bravo marathon, but I actually think the show has improved. Tom Colicchio, while no Tim Gunn, wears his quiet exasperation well. And, replacing former host Katie Lee Joel, Billy Joel's wife, with Padma Lakshmi, Salman Rushdie's wife, was a step in the right direction. Padma may not have much more going on in the spokesmodel department than Katie Lee, but you can always look at her and go, "Holy smokes. I guess surviving a fatwa qualifies you to date waaaaay out of your league."
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