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April 18, 2014

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Gone Too Soon: 'Soap'

by Jason Hughes, posted Apr 13th 2010 4:00PM
'Soap'
Normally, you'd think it odd to spotlight a series that lasted four seasons in a column like 'Gone Too Soon.' But 'Soap' was a different kind of series. Like the soap operas it was mocking, it was a premise that could have gone on for years and years. In fact, there's no reason to imagine that it couldn't still be on today.

From 1977 to 1981, Susan Harris crafted what would become a timeless comedy classic for ABC. But despite high ratings throughout its run, 'Soap' would only see four seasons, abruptly ending on a slew of cliffhangers that have frustrated fans for decades.

Despite that, the stellar cast and writing have stood the test of time in a way very few television series can, even if the wardrobes haven't. 'Soap' is as relevant and hilarious today as it was more than thirty years ago now. It deserved a longer life, and both the series and its fans deserved a true ending to Harris' brilliant vision.

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Best '80s TV Shows

by Kim Potts, posted Apr 13th 2009 6:00AM
Family TiesIt may have been the Me Decade.

But in TV land, the sisters were doin' it for themselves and finally getting respect as cops, war nurses and working moms; iconic shows like 'Hill Street Blues,' 'St. Elsewhere' and 'L.A. Law' would forever change (for the better) cop, medical and legal dramas; and no idea was too high concept to fill a primetime spot (time-travelling physicist? check; housewife-turned-CIA op? check; New York City beauty in love with a subterranean monster? check).

The bottom line: They all add up to 10 years of fine channel surfing -- and our awesome list of the 40 best series of the 1980s.

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Seven retro network promos to leave you confused, delighted - VIDEOS

by Eliot Glazer, posted Dec 30th 2008 10:02AM
abcWhile ABC, NBC, and CBS have historically remained in a cutthroat battle for viewers, each network has shared one common trait: come the season of network promotional campaigns, all actors must be prepared to look absolutely ridiculous.

After the jump ... Remember this pop cultural gem (video below) that gained traction on the Net not too long ago? The sheer oddity of the clip alone forces us to ask ourselves several questions: do these people all live together? Why is Marla Gibbs dressed like an astronaut? Does Bea Arthur do everybody's shoppingl? CAN'T NELL CARTER JUST SIT DOWN AND REST HER FEET FOR A SECOND? (Seriously, give her a break!)

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Did you catch the star power on CSI last night?

by Allison Waldman, posted Dec 5th 2008 9:35PM
Grissom CSILast night's episode of CSI, called "Young Man with a Horn," was not only a nostalgic story of old Las Vegas, it was also a chance to feature some wonderful stars from TV's past.

There was Ralph Waite, John-Boy's father from The Waltons; Robert Guillaume, the double Emmy-winning star of Benson; and even the creator of Laugh-In, George Schlatter. And the center of the whodunit was none other than an original Hitchcock blonde, Tippi Hedren, star of The Birds and Marnie.

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Memorable TV Politicians

by AOL TV Staff, posted Sep 29th 2008 6:00AM
Dennis HaysbertPresident Palmer ... Mayor Quimby ... President Roslin ... see where they rank on our list.

Just like their real-life counterparts, TV politicians will say and do anything to get your support.

The difference? Instead of a ballot, they want you to vote with your remote. And on TV, a politico's constituents are nothing more than ratings boosters. OK, so maybe there's not a huge difference.

From the obvious (three 'West Wing' pols make the list) to the more obscure (did you even know there was an elected official on 'The Wire'?), we count down the top 20 TV politicians of all time. Read through our list and let us know if you think we need a recount or if our list is full of winners.

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Privileged: Pilot (series premiere)

by Paul Goebel, posted Sep 9th 2008 10:23PM

Joanna Garcia(S01E01) In the first five minutes of this show, viewers are treated to a visual definition of the phrase "fish out of water."

I generally don't like any comedy that starts out with the the main character losing everything and starting her life all over again. In a drama, it kind of works that the hero has to go from town to town searching for something she lost. In a comedy, it just means that we'll be spending the next half hour watching the hero say things like, "What did I get myself into?"

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Watercooler Talk: Should a show continue waterskiing after it jumps the shark?

by Jay Black, posted Apr 14th 2008 3:12PM
Yeah, yeah, I know it's a tired meme, but it's important for the discussion today!As I sit in a converted dorm room at a college in Castine, Maine, waiting for either the start of my stand-up show or the sweet embrace of death to break up the monotony of my day, I find myself with gobs of time to explore some of the less-traveled corners of Wikipedia. After reading a 500 word analysis of what state Benson may have taken place in (really!), I moved on to the entry for "Jump the Shark." Gary Marshall is quoted there as admitting that even he felt a little weird watching Fonzie, leather jacket and all, jumping over that now mythic shark. He points out, however, that Happy Days remained a top-twenty hit for seven more years and produced more than 100 more episodes after it aired.

It occurred to me that had the internet existed in the 1970s, the backlash to the jumping the shark episode would have been immediate and crushing....

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Last Comic Standing: Audience Vote Round #2

by Jay Black, posted Aug 30th 2007 12:28AM
They should change this show so it's literally the last comic standing. You know, it's a contest where they all just stand up for a really long time.(S05E12) I can't help myself, I just need to blurt out tonight's winner: Doug Benson!

You almost thought I posted a pre-jump spoiler, didn't you? Admit it, you were sharpening your commenter fingers just ready to eviscerate me for ruining the show!

Well, I did no such thing. The only person who is ruining this show for you people is Bill Bellamy, and that's the way it's gonna stay!

Let's get on with the review...

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New TV on DVD releases this week

by Bob Sassone, posted Jul 23rd 2007 6:43PM

Pink PantherHere are the new TV DVDs, in stores tomorrow.

  • Benson - Season 1
  • A Bit of Fry and Laurie - Seasons 3 and 4
  • The Crow: Stairway to Heaven - Complete Series
  • Harvey Birdman: Attorney At Law - Vol. 3
  • Isis - Complete Series
  • Land of the Giants - Giant Collection
  • Philip Marlowe, Private Eye - Season 1
  • The Pink Panther Show - Vol. 6
  • The Real McCoys - Season 1
  • Spenser: For Hire - A Savage Place and Judas Goat
  • Star Trek - Captain's Log Fan Collective
  • Stargate SG-1 - Season 10
  • Suspense - Lost Episodes, Vol. 1
  • Tales From The Crypt - Season 6
  • Underdog - Vols. 1-3
  • Weeds - Season 2
  • Woody Woodpecker - Classic Cartoon Collection
  • X-Games - Best Of

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TV Obits: Roscoe Lee Browne, Edward Mallory, John P. Ryan

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 14th 2007 1:54PM

Roscoe Lee BrowneA new weekly feature here at TV Squad, as we list some recent deaths of those involved with TV, on screen and behind the scenes.

  • Roscoe Lee Browne: The veteran actor appeared in a number of TV shows, including All in the Family, Benson, Columbo, Mannix, The Invaders, Will and Grace, and a voice actor in cartoons. He was a classically trained film and theater actor as well. He died April 11 in L.A. of cancer at age 81.
  • Stan Daniels: He co-created Taxi and won several Emmys for that show and his writing on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. He died of heart failure on April 6 at age 72.

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Ron Carey dead at 71

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 19th 2007 2:30PM

Ron CareyCarey played Officer Carl Levitt on the classic sitcom Barney Miller (remember, James Gregory would always call him "Levine?"). He died Tuesday in Los Angeles after suffering a stroke.

Besides that role, Carey appeared in several other TV shows, including Benson, Alice, Lucky Luke, and the New Love American Style. He was in a bunch of movies too, including High Anxiety, Johnny Dangerously, History of the World, Part 1, Fatso, and The Out of Towners (the original). His last role was in the 1999 movie Food For Thought.

His real name was Ron Cicenia and he stood 5 feet 4 (hey, I'm only 5 feet 5, so it's always good to see other short guys become a success!).

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Richard Stahl dead at 74

by Bob Sassone, posted Jun 24th 2006 3:03PM
Richard StahlJust the other day I was wondering what happened to Richard Stahl. He was so funny in so many character parts, and then he seemed to vanish. He had been battling Parkinson's Disease for the past ten years, and died last Sunday in Los Angeles.

Stahl was in tons of TV shows over the past 40 years, including All in the Famly, Columbo, Laverne and Shirley, Benson, Good Times, Maude, Bonanza, That Girl, Love, American Style, Happy Days, Soap, Barney Miller, The Facts of Life, the original Love Boat TV movie, and was a regular on the 80s sitcom It's A Living. I'll always remember him from several very funny appearances in The Odd Couple. He was also in several movies, including Five Easy Pieces, Billy Jack, and Slaughter House-Five.

(That's him on the right in the photo, being attacked by Son of Blob.)

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TV Land's marathons are evil

by Joel Keller, posted Jun 3rd 2006 5:02PM
BensonHere's a piece of advice: don't ever, ever tune into TV Land on a Saturday when you don't have anything planned. If they're playing the right show, you'll get completely sucked in to the point where the sun will go down and you'll have never gotten out of your pajamas.

How do I know this? Because I've been watching the Benson marathon since about 10 AM, and have barely switched away from it since. I was going to pick up dry cleaning and go out for a nice lunch, maybe get some writing work done. But here it is, 5:00, and all I've done is laugh my ass off at one of my all-time favorite shows (one I haven't seen in many years). God, Kraus was funny. And Benson's insults towards her and Clayton were legendary, and... oh, crap. I need to go out for dinner tonight. Guess I'll actually need to leave the apartment...

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Benson coming to TV LAND

by Adam Finley, posted Jan 27th 2006 1:36PM
bensonOkay, so I wasn't as on top of this news as some people, but I was pleased to find out that Benson, one of my favorite shows to watch with my family growing up, is coming to TV LAND. Benson, as if it needs an introduction, was a spinoff of the popular series Soap and featured Robert Guillaume as a man hired to help out a widowed governor and his young daughter. Like his role on Soap, Benson stood as the only voice of reason among a throng of morons. If TV LAND keeps this up I may just hook my brainstem directly to the TV and live out the rest of my days in blissful nostalgia. Or at least until I get bored.

 

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