Retro Television Review: Hang Time 1.1 “The Pilot” and 1.2 “Trouble in Paradise”

Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past!  On Mondays, I will be reviewing Hang Time, which ran on NBC from 1995 to 2000.  The entire show is currently streaming on YouTube!

Hang Time!  I’ll always remember my friends at Hang Time!

Imagine California Dreams if it took place in Indiana and if, instead of music, everyone was obsessed with basketball.  That’s Hang Time!

Produced by Peter Engel, Hang Time followed the adventures of the Deering High School basketball team.  Somewhat notoriously, the cast regularly changed from season to season, with only two members of the cast sticking with the show for every season.  The first season featured:

David Hanson as Chris Atwater, the star of Deering High’s basketball team,

Daniella Deutscher as Julie Connor, the newest member of the team,

Chad Gabriel as Danny Mellon, the quirky member of the team who had a crush on Julie,

Megan Parlen as Mary Beth Pepperton, the materialistic head cheerleader who was dating Chris,

Robert Michael Ryan as Earl Hatfield, the dumb country boy who loved basketball and worked as a mall security guard,

Christian Belanvis as Michael Maxwell, who had a lot of talent and an ego to match,

Hillary Tuck as Samantha Morton, the hyper organized team manager,


Reggie Theus as Bill Fuller, a former pro player who returned to his old high school to coach the team.

Season one of Hang Time also had an absolutely horrid theme song, one that was luckily abandoned after the season ended.

Episode 1.1 “The Pilot”

(Directed by Howard Murray, Originally aired on September 9th, 1995)

Oh my God, this was bad….

I mean, pilots are usually bad because the characters aren’t as nuanced as they will later be and the initial storyline usually tries to hard to establish everyone’s role in the show’s hierarchy.  Veteran retro television viewers know better than to expect anything good from an episode with the dreaded title of “The Pilot.”

That said, the pilot of Hang Time was really, really bad.  The show itself was never exactly good but it did eventually develop an oft-kilter charm.  But none of that charm is present in the first episode of the show.

Julie Connor (Daniella Deutscher) transfers to Deering High and tries out for the school’s basketball team.  A girl playing basketball!?  GASP!  Anyway, Julie turns out to be a slightly above average basketball player and wins a place on the team and …. well, that’s about it.  It would probably seem like more of an accomplishment if it appeared that there was any real competition when it came to getting on the team.  Instead, only a handful of people seem to be interested in playing basketball and at least a few of them seem to be …. well, kind of short.

I understand that Reggie Theus was a former basketball player-turned-actor.  Judging from this pilot, as an actor, he was a very good athlete.

Episode 1.2 “Trouble in Paradise”

(Directed by Howard Murray, Originally aired on September 16th, 1995)

“You should be home, baking a Cake!” a drunk basketball fan yells at Julie when she and Chris attend a pro basketball game.  Julie challenges the jerk to a game.  Chris tries to maintain calm.  Unfortunately, it gets both Julie and Chris on TV, which leads to Mary Beth and Danny getting jealous.

Bleh.  This was a dumb episode.  Mary Beth, who doesn’t care about basketball, was the only character to whom I could relate.

The first two episodes of Hang Time felt like California Dreams, without the music.  Hang Time would eventually develop a style of its own, with Megan Parlen especially proving herself to be a capable comedic actress.  But that style really isn’t present in much of the first season.

Next week: The Deering Tornadoes finally play a game!

8 Shots From 8 Films: Special Werner Herzog Edition

4 Or More Shots From 4 Or More Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

Today, the Shattered Lens wishes a happy birthday to one our favorite directors, the great Werner Herzog!  It’s time for….

8 Shots From 8 Werner Herzog Films

Fata Morgana (1971, dir by Werner Herzog, DP: Jörg Schmidt-Reitwein)

Aguirre The Wrath of God (1972, dir by Werner Herzog. DP: Thomas Mauch)

The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974, dir by Werner Herzog, DP: Jörg Schmidt-Reitwein)

Heart of Glass (1976, dir by Werner Herzog, DP: Jörg Schmidt-Reitwein)

Stroszek (1977, dir by Werner Herzog, DP: Thomas Mauch)

Nosferatu The Vampyre (1979, dir by Werner Herzog, DP: Jörg Schmidt-Reitwein)

Fitzcarraldo (1982, dir by Werner Herzog, DP: Thomas Mauch)

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009, dir by Werner Herzog, DP: Peter Zeitlinger)

Monday Live Tweet Alert: Join Us For Downdraft and Rollerball!

As some of our regular readers undoubtedly know, I am involved in hosting a few weekly live tweets on twitter.  I host #FridayNightFlix every Friday, I co-host #ScarySocial on Saturday, and I am one of the five hosts of #MondayActionMovie!  Every week, we get together.  We watch a movie.  We tweet our way through it.

Tonight, for #MondayActionMovie, we are watching 1996’s Downdraft!  Selected and hosted by @RevMagdalen, Downdraft stars Vincent Spano and Kate Vernon in a story about computers and the damage that they do!  While the trailer below is in German, the film itself is Canadian.  That’s how you know it’s going to be good!

Following #MondayActionMovie, I will be filling in for my friends Brad and Sierra (who are on vacation this week) and guest hosting the #MondayMuggers live tweet.  We will be watching the original Rollerball, starring the great James Caan as a future athlete who is forced to choose between the comfort of selling out or the freedom of …. well, freedom.  It’s a classic sci-fi film, one that is more relevant today than ever.  We start at 10 pm et.  Here’s the trailer:

It should be fun and I invite all of you to join in.  If you want to join us, just hop onto twitter, start Downdraft at 8 pm et, and use the #MondayActionMovie hashtag!  Then, at 10 pm et, start Rollerball and use the #MondayMuggers hashtag!  I’ll be there tweeting and I imagine some other members of the TSL Crew will be there as well.  It’s a friendly group and welcoming of newcomers so don’t be shy.  And reviews of these films will probably end up on this site at some point this week.

Downdraft can be found on YouTube while Rollerball is available on both Prime and Tubi!


The Smashing Covers Of Smashing Detective Stories

Smashing Detective Stories was a pulp detective magazine that ran from 1951 to 1956.  It featured the the usual crime-smashing stories of detectives and criminals but what was really smashing about Smashing Detective Stories were the covers.  The covers were about as pulpy as you can get!

Below is a sampling of the covers of Smashing Detective Stories.  For all but one of them, the artist is unknown.  The cover for the September, 1954 issue has been attributed to Norman Saunders and it would not surprise me if he was responsible for at least some of the others as well.

March, 1951

June, 1951

December, 1951

September, 1952

March, 1953

June, 1953

1954, March

September, 1954, by Norman Saunders

December, 1954

November, 1955

January, 1956

May, 1956

July, 1956

The Ultimate Labor Day Scene

Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy and the rest of the Peanuts gang never did a special about Labor Day.  I’m sure that if they had, it would have been the only special that we would have ever needed to understand this holiday.  It would have been a September perennial, as important to the year as It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and A Charlie Brown Christmas.  Unfortunately, we never got It’s The Labor Beagle, Charlie Brown and Linus never got to explain the turn meaning of Labor Day.

Instead, the ultimate Labor Day scene comes from one of my favorite movies, Office Space.  If you’ve ever worked in an office, you can relate to this scene.

Happy Labor Day!

Music Video of the Day: Take This Job And Shove It by Dead Kennedys (1984, directed by ????)

If this song isn’t the unofficial anthem on Labor Day, it should be.

Of course, Take This Job And Shove It is best known as a country song.  The most popular version of the song was performed by Johnny Paycheck and it spoke to the frustrations of everyone who was stuck in a bad job and who dreamed of just telling the foreman or the shift manager to go to Hell.  The song was Paycheck’s biggest hit and it was subsequently performed by many artists, some country and some not.  Dead Kennedys covered the song and, as seen in this 1984 performance at Olympics Auditorium, they added their own spin to the song.