If you've missed the latest collaboration between Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, this is the perfect chance to get on board. Ricky (recently confirmed to return to host the Golden Globes) and Stephen send their sad sack friend Karl Pilkington out to see the world and make fun of him mercilessly as he whines and complains his way around some of the most incredible locales on our planet.
It sounds mean, and it is. But you'll only feel sorry for poor Karl -- who'd be happier at home in his flat with a cup of tea -- for a few minutes. then you'll be laughing too hard to care. This week, Karl takes the legendary Trans-Siberian Express train into China. Fans may remember Karl's feelings about the Great Wall from last season. He was, shall we say, unimpressed.
'A Charlie Brown Christmas' is one of the TV specials we most associate with and look forward to at Christmas every year, and this week marks the 45th anniversary of the premiere. It was on Dec. 9, 1965, to be exact, that the Peanuts gang made its cartoon debut, in a special that almost didn't make it to air.
Does that mean they'll continue to air 'It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown'? Yes. 'A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving'? Yes. 'A Charlie Brown Christmas'? Of course. 'Happy New Year, Charlie Brown!'? That one isn't as popular, but ABC does own the rights. 'You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown'? Possibly around the next presidential election.
I'm not like that, though. On Friday, amid the post-Thanksgiving haze and without much interest in the college football games or reruns of CBS soaps or syndicated fare, I was channel surfing. Every time I saw something I liked, I stopped for a while. It was mostly movies. I watch Cary Grant and Sophia Loren in Houseboat, Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in Sleepless in Seattle, there was a whole bunch of Goodfellas, because Bravo showed it back to back. So I watched the ending first, then stuck around to watch the beginning. What an incredible movie -- still!
I wasn't even aware that there was already a Fawlty Towers complete set out. Or maybe I knew it and forgot and didn't get reminded of it until I heard about the new remastered set that comes out tomorrow. I'm gonna get that.
I'm also tempted to get Vegas, just because I liked that show and haven't seen it in years. I hate these "Volume" sets though. Just give us the whole season!
- Black Adder - Black Adder 1, II, III, IV, and V (All remastered) and Ultimate Edition
- Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman - Complete Series (New package)
- Eleventh Hour - Complete Series
- Faerie Tale Theatre - Bedtime Tales and Magical Tales
Admittedly, opinions of Hank haven't exactly been stellar. Quite the opposite, in fact. While the show has not actually been canceled, it does not seem long for this world. Its only consolation is that it lasted longer than The Beautiful Life.
Kelsey Grammer will never be able to get away from Frasier Crane, much like Carroll O'Connor was never able to get away from Archie Bunker. It's a shame since Grammer is a better actor than that.
So I was pretty excited to learn that Warner Home Video was releasing a lot of the TV specials, both individually and in collections. On Oct. 20, the Peanuts 1970's Collection, Vol. 1 will hit store and cyber shelves in a 2-disc set. A nice publicist sent me an advance copy, so I'm happy to devote this week's Jane After Dark to this lovely set.
I'm always harping on all the sex and violence on TV right now -- often in shows that bill themselves as family friendly -- so it's really nice to have something you can watch with your kids that you know won't contain anything offensive or off-color. Not only that, the stories usually have a moral lesson, but they don't whack you over the head with it. It's more subtle, wrapped up in the humor and innocence of the stories and characters.
Finally, a DVD release that I'm definitely, definitely going to buy: the new MST3K set! I'm also looking at the new Peanuts set because I don't have a complete collection of their holiday specials, but there have been a few of these collections released, so I'll have to figure out which one is the best one.
- Callan - Set 1
- Doctor Who - The Rescue/The Romans and Attack of the Cybermen
- Kath and Kim - Season 1
Hmmm...no idea why there's a new edition of Alias' season 5 coming out tomorrow. There was another version of the season already released, but it has been discontinued. I wonder if there's something different in the set that will tick off fans who bought that deluxe Alias Complete Series Set with Rambaldi Artifact a while back.
And the fourth season of Felicity too. Maybe it's J.J. Abrams' birthday?
- Alias - Season 5 (new edition)
- Ben 10: Alien Force - Season 1, Vol. 3
- Beverly Hills, 90210 - Season 7
Of course, that isn't always the case. Teachers can also be awful monsters whom we never forget for their ability to patronize, degrade, or humiliate us, often leaving one wondering if the man or woman in question took the job merely to torture students. This, naturally, can lead a kid to fantasize about how cool it would be to fall under the instruction of one of the following actors who, despite likely not possessing any type of teaching certification in real life, would probably be a blast to spend 40-or-so minutes on a daily basis.
I want to talk to you about a grass roots campaign to save Eli Stone. You see, I had this idea where fans of the program would send George Michael paraphernalia - CDs, MP3s, T-Shirts, programs, videos - to the executive mugwumps over at ABC in order to express their frustration that they were not picking up the back nine episodes of the series. It would have been similar in scope to the Great Peanut Campaign of 2007 that ending up (temporarily) saving Jericho.Then I got to thinking, which is always a bad sign. While a campaign such as this could result in programming executives opening their minds for just a minuscule amount of time to the possibilities of continuin the series, I'm not too sure it would be worth it. Not 'worth' in the terms that the campaign would fall on the deaf ears of the tailor-suited wonks. I'm talking about 'worth' in what it would cost the fans of the show to get the materials and ship them out to send a message. We are in a recession, after all.
Whenever there is some hot, hip pop culture trend, you see everyone adopting it. That's why James Bond went into freakin' space in Moonraker. The damn success of Star Wars and other space films. It happened to Snoopy too, in It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown. Yup, Snoopy and Franklin and others donned sweats and break danced in this special from the 80s, as you can see in the video after the jump.
The classic Peanuts show is one of the segments spoofed (it's called "It's The Great Pumpkin, Milhouse") on the annual Halloween episode of the show. The other segments include a Transformers spoof (the robots try to destroy Springfield, of course), and the segment I'm most looking forward to, a Mad Men takeoff. Seems that advertising agencies hire Homer to kill celebrities so they can make a bunch of money off of their likenesses. It's called "How To Get Ahead In Deadvertising." We'll see Homer falling off of a building a la Mad Men's opening credits.
As is often the case, the Simpsons "Treehouse of Horror" episode will actually air after Halloween, on November 2. After the jump, a video retrospective of the show's Halloween episodes and a sneak peek at one of the scenes from the new one.
I think I mentioned a week or two ago that it was good that I didn't have to spend any money on DVDs. Well, it looks like we're getting into a time when they're releasing something every single week that I want. This week it's Game Show Moments Gone Bananas, which looks like a lot of fun.
The first season of This American Life is finally out in general release after the Borders-only version from last year.
- Alvin & The Chipmunks - Alvin's Thanksgiving Celebration and Holiday Gift Set
- Ax Men - Season 1
- Boston Legal - Season 4
- Brothers & Sisters - Season 2
- CSI: NY - Season 4
- Cashmere Mafia - Complete Series
- Friday The 13th - Season 1
- Games Show Moments Gone Bananas
- iCarly - Season 1, Vol. 1
- Peanuts - Peanuts Holiday Collection
- Rob & Big - Season 3
- Samantha Who? - Season 1
- Schoolhouse Rock - Election Collection
- This American Life - Season 1
- Two and a Half Men - Season 4
Melendez was an animator for Walt Disney Studios in the 1930 and 40s, working on such classic movies as Fantasia and Pinocchio and Mickey Mouse shorts, then went on to make tons of movies, cartoons and commercials (he worked on many Bugs Bunny shorts and other famous cartoons) for well-known companies such as United Productions of America (where he was an animator on Gerald McBoing McBoing) and Playhouse Pictures. He then met Charles Schulz in 1959 and went on to animate (and often direct and produce) most of the Peanuts TV specials, including A Charlie Brown Christmas, A Boy Named Charlie Brown, It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and many, many others. Many people don't know this but he was also the voice of both Snoopy and Woodstock (they didn't talk, of course, but he did all of the howls and other noises). He worked on TV versions of Cathy and Garfield too.