As you can tell by looking below, I didn’t really watch a lot of television this week. That’s because I was busy watching movies and cleaning the house and organizing my books and my DVDs and my Blu-rays and then working on compiling my lists of all the movies that I’ve watched since 2007, which is a project that’s going to take at least a few months to complete. (Letterboxd is seriously addictive.) So, I watched far less television than usual and I guess that’s a good thing. I have to admit that I really didn’t miss it. To be honest, there was actually something liberating about not caring about it. That said, I’ll probably watch way too much TV next week. That’s just the way these things seem to go.
I also didn’t take a lot of notes about what I did watch. Unfortunately, I just didn’t have time to do so this week. So, my thoughts below are largely based on memory and, as you’ll see, some shows were more memorable than others.
Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)
“Listen carefully, I shall say this only once.”
The British airmen are still stuck in occupied France, the Germans are still trying to find the painting, and Rene is still just trying to find some time to focus on cheating on his wife. For reasons that are way too complicated to explain, the airmen had to fake their deaths this week. Apparently, people faking their deaths is something that happened pretty regularly on this show.
Anyway, this show continues to amuse me with its combination of humor both clever and low. For whatever reason, British sitcoms have always done better at portraying the humor of chaos than American sitcoms.
American Idol (Sunday Night, CBS)
Admittedly, it’s been like three years since I regularly watched this show so you’re going to have to excuse me for being annoyed about stuff that everyone else is probably already used to. Such as, it’s weird to me that there’s only one episode a week and that all of the voting is apparently done and over with in two hours. It definitely moves things along at a quicker pace than back in the old days but it still seems like whoever sings last is going to get screwed just by the fact that their supporters are going to have less time to vote. Of course, I’m foolishly assuming that people are actually casting their votes based on the night’s songs as opposed to who they’ve wanted to win since the show began.
I watched on Sunday. I felt bad for Arthur Gunn, who I felt should not have been eliminated. Later in the week, one of the people who did make it to the top 5 dropped out of the competition because of video that surface of him wearing a sheet when he was 13 years old. It was felt that he looked like he was pretending to be a member of the KKK, though his mother says that he was just pretending to be one of the killers from The Strangers: Prey By Night. So, I guess we’re down to the Top 4 now and American Idol will be ending a week early? Or will one of the previous eliminated singers get a second chance? I guess we’ll find out tomorrow!
I miss Vote for the Worst. They always provided such clarity in confusing times.
Baywatch (Weekday Evenings, H&I)
This week on reruns of Baywatch, the fifth season ended and the sixth season begun. David Charvet left the show and was replaced by David Chokachi, playing a swimmer-turned-lifeguard named Cody who my sister and I nicknamed “The Bulge” as soon as we saw him in the revised opening credits. Gena Lee Nolin also joined the cast, playing a bad girl lifeguard named Neely.
Though the cast may have changed, it’s still the same old Baywatch. The main theme of this show seems to be that no one should go to the beach because the beach is a seriously dangerous place. Every episode also features at least one drowning victim spitting up water after being revived by a lifeguard.
Season 6 did start with Mitch telling Stephanie that he was thinking of becoming a private investigator. Hello Baywatch Nights! Here’s hoping that H&I airs that show at some point in the future as well.
Hill Street Blues (Weekday Mornings, H&I)
As I mentioned last week, Jeff warned me that there was a massive drop-off in quality at the start of the 6th season of Hill Street Blues and my God, was he ever right. None of the episodes that I watched this week — all of which were from the sixth season — were particularly memorable. Some of them were actually rather regrettable. For some reason, it appears that, during season 6, the writers decided to abandon all of the established characters and instead devote their time to detailing the violent and sleazy adventures of Lt. Norman Buntz (played by Dennis Franz). Buntz is the type of fascistic cop who, in previous seasons, would have been portrayed as being a menace or an aberration. As such, it’s strange to see him now portrayed as being the center of the show. I’ve already spent a few months watching over a hundred episodes of this show and I’d like to see it all the way through to the end but I have to admit that the Norman Buntz Show doesn’t hold much appeal for me.
Intervention (Mondays, A&E)
On Monday afternoon, I watched two episodes of this A&E mainstay. In both cases, the interventions worked. One thing I noticed is that no one bothered to dress up for any of the interventions. One guy didn’t even bother to take off his backwards baseball cap. I’m just going to say right now that if anyone ever does any sort of intervention for me, they better make some sort of effort to look good. Don’t come to my intervention looking like it’s laundry day or something.
The Last Drive-In (Friday Nights, Shudder)
I caught the second half of this week’s Last Drive-In. (During the first half, I was hanging out with the #FridayNightFlix crew and watching Joe Don Baker in Mitchell.) The movie was an entertainingly gruesome film from 1981 called Dead & Buried. As always, Joe Bob Briggs was the perfect host.
Moone Boy (Sunday Night, PBS)
The Old Guys wrapped up last week so, in its place, PBS is now airing this sweet and funny Irish sitcom, which aired from 2012 to 2015. Chris O’Dowd plays Sean, who is the imaginary friend of 12 year-old Martin Moone, an imaginative boy whose drawings often come to life (or, at least, they do in his mind). In the first episode, Martin’s bike was stolen by two bullies and Martin’s father ended up bonding with the father of the two miscreants. It was a funny episode, well-acted by O’Dowd and, in the role of Martin, David Rawle.
Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)
This week, both Granville and Arkwright were miserable and lonely but, again, they avoided killing each other. Granville, however, did appear to give it some serious thought. In the end, he just left a small explosive device in the store. “Where does that boy go at night?” Arkwright wondered before nearly blowing his hand off.
The Rookies (Sunday Mornings, H&I)
Another Sunday, another two episodes of this old 70s cop show. I’m not sure why I’m still watching these episodes, beyond the fact that I’ve gotten into the habit. The opening credits are stylish and it’s always interesting to see how people dressed in 1973 but, for the most part, this is not a particularly interesting show.
The first episode featured Michael Ontkean having to prove that yet another shooting was justified. This is the third episode in which Ontkean’s character has had to justify shooting someone. Considering that he hasn’t even been a cop for more than a year (hence the title of the show), that’s somewhat disturbing. The second episode was something about the rookies trying to get the community to accept the presence of a camp for troubled and disturbed teenagers. It all worked out in the end. Ontkean didn’t have to shoot anyone for once.
Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)
Will got his theater but it nearly cost him a pound of flesh. Kate finally got a chance to act but failed to convince everyone that she was actually a man when she made the mistake of getting a vegetarian lunch. It all led to a courtroom drama and, fortunately, things worked out for the best. Will even got a new play out of all the drama. Upstart Crow continues to be a truly delightful discovery. (I should perhaps clarify that it’s a discovery for me. The show itself first aired in 2016 and had a dedicated fan base long before I came across it on PBS.)
Yes, Minister (Monday Morning, PBS)
On this week’s episode, Jim was placed in charge of transportation policy and quickly discovered that, as Sir Humphrey has often pointed out, it’s never good to be put in charge of anything. This seemed like a funny episode, if just because it was hard not to compare Jim’s distaste for transportation policy to the dorky (and kind of weird) enthusiasm that some people here in America currently have for debating infrastructure policy. Unfortunately, because the episode got off to a late start, my DVR did not record the last five minutes or so. I was not happy about that. Hopefully, Jim managed to push all of the transportation duties off on to someone else.