Great Moments In Television History #13: The A-Team Premieres


39 years ago today, television viewers who were watching NBC primetime met a group of four former members of the Special Forces who, during the Vietnam War, were framed for a crime they didn’t commit.

The pilot for the A-Team first aired on January 23rd, 1983.  No one had much hope for the pilot, with the exception of star George Peppard who predicted the show would be a hit as soon as he read the script.  Producer Stephen J. Cannell hadn’t had a hit in a while.  When Cannell was hired by NBC, network president Brandon Tartikoff asked for one thing: “Mr. T driving a car.”

Despite what the critics thought and despite the skepticism of the network brass, The A-Team was an immediate success.  Audiences loved the four misfits who somehow always managed to win the day despite Face’s womanizing, Murdock’s insanity, and B.A.’s fear of flying.  A week after the pilot aired, the show’s first regular episode was broadcast directly after the Super Bowl.  The rest is history.

If you have a problem, the A-Team can help.  You just have to find them.

Previous Great Moments In Television History:

  1. Planet of the Apes The TV Series
  2. Lonely Water
  3. Ghostwatch Traumatizes The UK
  4. Frasier Meets The Candidate
  5. The Autons Terrify The UK
  6. Freedom’s Last Stand
  7. Bing Crosby and David Bowie Share A Duet
  8. Apaches Traumatizes the UK
  9. Doctor Who Begins Its 100th Serial
  10. First Night 2013 With Jamie Kennedy
  11. Elvis Sings With Sinatra
  12. NBC Airs Their First Football Game

Lisa Marie’s Week in Television: 1/16/22 — 1/22/22


I made a specific decision not watch too much TV this week (and next) so that I could concentrate on getting caught up on the films of 2021.  I made an exception for The Amazing Race, because I write about it for another site.  And, on Thursday, I did turn on the TV because I’ve had a long-standing argument with a friend of mine about whether or not The United States of Al is real show or just a twitter meme.  It turns out that it’s real!

Anyway, here’s a few thoughts on what little I watched.

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

In occupied France, the search for the stolen money was replaced by the search for the stolen landmines.  Rene continued to try to run his cafe and cheat on his wife in peace while Michelle and the Resistance continued to insist that, as the bravest man in all of France, Rene had a responsibility to continually put his life in danger.  Along the way, Michelle said, “I shall say this only once,” and Herr Flick and Van Smallhousen disguised themselves as monks.  The comedy on this show is very broad but it’s also very well-acted so I can’t help but laugh.

Crabtree referred to the bombs as being “bongs.”  Again, it made me laugh.

The Amazing Race (Wednesday Night, CBS)

I wrote about the restart of the race here!  I shall miss Anthony and Spencer the most.

B Positive (Thursday Night, CBS)

This is one of Chuck Lorre’s many depressing sitcoms.  Imagine Mom but instead of being a bunch of drunks, all of the characters are terminally ill.  Anyway, I watched this week’s episode just to confirm to myself that this show actually exists.  And it does.  I didn’t pay much attention to the episode, though.  For some reason, what I did see reminded me of those annoying commercials that Kate McKinnon does for Verizon.

Who doesn’t love a comedy about people dying scared and alone?

Football Game: Cowboys vs 49 (Sunday Afternoon, CBS)

My initial reaction to Dallas’s loss went something like this: “Congrats on cheating your way to victory, San Francisco.  Must be great to have the officials on your side.  Well, you guys got the victory but at least my city is a nice place to live so we’ll call it a draw.”

Fortunately, it has since been explained to me what happened during the final minutes of the game and I now understand that the Cowboys lost because they made a lot of sloppy and stupid mistakes.  So, a sincere congrats to the 49ers and to the Cowboys: Stop screwing up!

Full House (Sunday Afternoon, MeTV)

MeTV showed four episodes of Full House as a part of their tribute to Bob Saget.  I watched all four and My God, that was a bad show.  Saget was likable, though.  And I liked both John Stamos and Lori Loughlin and even Candace Cameron did her best to bring some sort of reality to the over-the-top cutesiness of the show.  But everyone else was pretty obnoxious and the dialogue was so painfully sweet that it was impossible to listen to without cringing.  I do have to admit that the audience’s habit of responding to everything by going, “Awwwww!’ did make me smile a little.

Ghosts (Thursday Night, CBS)

Ghosts is about a couple who live in a haunted house with a bunch of quirky ghosts.  Cute concept but it gets old quickly.  Why can’t the scoutmaster ghost take that stupid arrow out of his neck?  This week, one of the ghosts discovered that she had the power to end people to Hell which … eh.  Like I said, it got old quickly.

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

Arkwright was obsessed with Nurse Gladys Emmanuel.  Granville was depressed.  I’m pretty sure that Sunday was not the first that I had seen this episode.

The United States of Al (Thursday Night, CBS)

I watched an episode of this show just to see if it actually existed.  Apparently, it’s been on the air for a year or two but I have never met anyone who has actually watched the show.  Earlier this year, there was some twitter excitement over an extremely mawkish commercial for the show’s new season but that was pretty much it.  I always suspected that the commercial was actually some sort of viral prank but I guess I was wrong.

Anyway, this is about a veteran who lives with Al, who was his interpreter in Afghanistan.  It’s a culture clash comedy.  The main theme seems to be that Al is annoying af.  It’s also a Chuck Lorre sitcom so the show actually deals with serious issue in a cartoonish way.  This week’s episode featured Al getting addicted to online poker.  His roommate sprayed him with a garden hose until he snapped out of it.

Yep, this is a real show.

Oh!  And the episode ended with one of those stupid Chuck Lorre title cards for people who want to hit pause and discover what Chuck thinks about the world.  It was something about Liz Cheney.  It was like five or six words long but that proved to be too many for my ADD.  Oh well!

Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 1/9/22 — 1/15/22


Another week and I have yet to watch the latest season of Cobra Kai.  What can I tell you?  This was a busy week and  I was sick for a good deal of it.  No, not COVID sick.  Instead, I was just sick with the cold and the allergies that I get hit with every January.  You would think that would lead to me having a lot of extra time in which I would have nothing to do but watch all the latest shows but it didn’t quite work out that way.

Anyway, I’m feeling better now and David Lynch’s birthday is next Thursday so this upcoming week is going to be a good one.

Here’s my week in television.

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

LeClerc was nearly executed in the town square by Herr Flick.  Apparently, it was because Flick is still searching for the stolen money.  (To be honest, it can be a bit difficult to keep up with everyone’s motivations on Allo Allo.)  Fortunately, the British bombers flew over the town just in time to provide a distraction.  “The bummers!” Office Crabtree announced, in his mangled French, “Just in the nock of tome!”  LeClerc escaped with his life but the British airmen are still stuck at Rene’s café.

The Amazing Race (Wednesday Night, CBS)

The Amazing Race went to Scotland this week, which made me feel very nostalgic for the last time that I was in Scotland.  Unfortunately, at the end of this leg of the race, Phil announced that shooting was being suspended due to the COVID lockdowns.  The action then picked up over a year later, with the remaining teams gathering in Switzerland to continue the race.  Unfortunately, not all of the teams could return, including my favorite, the team of Anthony and Spencer.  Boo hoo.  Anyway, I reviewed this week’s episode here!

The Bachelor (Monday Night, ABC)

This Monday, I watched the Bachelor while also watching a Steven Seagal film.  I’m still trying to decide which leading man had less charisma.  Seagal is pretty boring but Clayton is just like a piece of cement that can speak in barely legible sentences.

Bar Rescue (Weekday Morning, Paramount)

I had this on the TV for background noise on Thursday morning.  While Windows updated, I listened to Jon Taffer yell at an owner who forgot to call a cab for a drunk guy.  Usually, I think Taffer needs to calm down but, in this case, he did have a point.

The Brady Bunch (Sunday Morning, MeTV)

On Sunday, MeTV aired four episodes of The Brady Bunch and they all featured Alice being taken for granted.  In the first two episodes, her boyfriend took her for granted.  In the next two, the family took her for granted and even drove her to quit at one point.  The new maid wasn’t as nice as Alice so the family went down to Alice’s new waitressing job and basically got her fired.  What a bunch of jerks.  Why did Alice put with all that?  Was the money that good?

Dexter: New Blood (Sunday Night, Showtime)

I wrote about the series finale here!  For the record, I refuse to believe that Dexter’s dead.

Judge Steve Harvey (Monday and Tuesday Night, ABC)

I watched this new series on Monday.  It came on after The Bachelor and I was too busy (or maybe lazy) to change the channel.  I can’t really say I paid that much attention to it.  Why would you air a cheesy courtroom show in Primetime?  Why would you get Steve Harvey to be the judge?  Why, why, why?

By the way, since Steve Harvey is now an ABC employee, you know he’s going to end up hosting the Oscars right?  The Oscars are going to come back from commercial and Steve’s going to say, “If you ain’t thanking God in your speech, that Oscar’s not going to provide much comfort while you’re burning in Hell.”

King of the Hill (Weekdays, FXX)

I watched a few episodes of King of the Hill on Sunday afternoon.  My favorite of them was the two-part episode where Hank was briefly a murder suspect and he feared that, due to accidentally taking one hit off a joint, he might be guilty.  “My God, I’m hearing things.  That’s a side effect of the marijuana poisoning.”

The Larry Sanders Show (HBOMax)

This is a 90s sitcom that aired on HBO, about a neurotic talk show host (Garry Shandling), his sleazy sidekick (Jeffrey Tambor), his profane producer (Rip Torn), and the show’s staff.  Jeff loves this show so we watched two episodes on Sunday morning.  The first one we watched featured Larry freaking out over David Duchovny having a crush on him.  The second one featured Larry’s sidekick, Hank, freaking out because one of his sex tapes had been stolen.  In short, there were a lot of people freaking out.  Both episodes were pretty funny, though the whole thing was definitely a relic of a different era.  (The highlight of the second episode was a bizarre conversation between Norm McDonald and Henry Winkler.  Winkler thought Hank’s sex tape was an exercise video.  McDonald said, “Hank’s got a huge cock,” in that Canadian way of his.  Winkler replied, “Then why is he so upset?”  Trust me, it was funny.)  Rip Torn was hilarious as Larry’s producer.  That said, I don’t think I would have wanted to spend any time with any of the characters on The Larry Sanders Show.  They were all funny but kind of mean.  They probably would have made me cry.

The Love Boat (Sunday Evening, MeTV)

MeTV paid tribute to Betty White on Sunday by showing a 1984 episode of The Love Boat, in which she was a passenger.  Also on the Boat for that cruise: Carol Channing, Rue McClanahan, Michelle Phillips, Cesar Romero, Alan Thicke, Dick Van Patten, and Fred Willard.

Betty White and Carol Channing played showbiz veterans who were trying to convince Cesar Romero to publish White’s memoirs.  Thicke played a man who was trying to convince his ex-wife (Phillips) to marry Fred Willard so he wouldn’t have to pay any more alimony.  Meanwhile, in a totally serious subplot, Dick Van Patten played an abusive salesman married to McClanahan.  The serious subplot was kind of jarring when mixed in with scenes of White and Channing singing and Fred Willard doing his amiable goof routine.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show (Sunday Afternoon, MeTV)

MeTV showed four episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, all featuring Betty White in the role of Sue Anne Nivens.  Needless to say, they were all funny but it was hard to watch them without considering that the entire cast is now gone.

Mom (Weekday Afternoon, Paramount)

On Thursday, I forgot the change the channel before Paramount started their two-hour Mom bloc.  All four of the episodes dealt with the moms and their friends freaking out over people smoking weed.  The few time that I’ve seen Mom have made me happy that I don’t have an addictive personality because I don’t think I could handle being a Recovery person.

The Office (Weekday Evenings, Freeform)

I’m happy to say that The Office is now on FreeForm, so I can watch it without having to deal with Comedy Central’s weird, mental health commercials.  (“The past two years have been difficult for everyone….”  Yeah, no shit.  That’s why I’m watching your station, so I can escape for a few hours.)   I watched a few episodes from Season 4 on Wednesday and then a few from Season 5 on Friday.

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

While Arkwright cheated his customers and sold them spoiled food, Granville swept the store in quiet misery.

Relatively Famous: Ranch Rules (Saturday Morning, E!)

The children of celebrities work at a ranch, that’s the plot of this show.  On the episode I saw, Billy Bob Thornton’s son was fascinated by a cow giving birth.  Then everyone went back to their cabin and talked about how difficult it was being only relatively famous.

Silk Stalkings (Tubi)

On Sunday morning, I decided to get back to binging Silk Stalkings, the 90s show about half-naked people committing crimes.  The first episode that I watched featured Chris and Rita investigating the murder of a hair dresser.  At first, they thought it was mob-related but then it turned out to be relationship related.  This was actually an episode that I had seen before but it was still enjoyable to rewatch.  The second one I watched featured Chris and Rita investigating the murder of a surgeon and again, this turned out to be one that I had seen before.  (Both episodes previously aired on ZLiving while I was dealing with that terrible sinus infection last year.)  Still, even if it was a rewatch, it was still enjoyable.  Silk Stalkings was delightfully trashy.

The first episode that I watched on Monday was another one that I saw last summer, while I was dealing with that sinus infection.  (Yuck.  I hate word sinus and I hate the word infection.)  A real estate tycoon was beaten to death by a baseball bat and all the suspicion fell on the baseball player that Rita happened to be dating.  This was followed by an episode in which an obnoxious radio talk show host bullied people into committing murder and suicide.  It was a well-done episode.  Rodger Bumpass (who is perhaps best-known for voicing Squidward Tentacles on Spongebob) was perfectly cast as the evil talk show host.  The third episode I watched involved Chris and Rita solving a homicide that was witnessed by a teenage runaway.  Rita encouraged the runaway to get back in school.  Good for Rita!  Finally, the fourth episode featured Rita investigating the murder of a friend’s nanny.  I didn’t really pay much attention to it but, from what I saw, everyone appeared to be having fun.

On Tuesday, I got things started with an episode that featured Chris and Rita investigating a murder at an exclusive casino.  Chris got to wear a tux while Rita went undercover as a dealer.  They were so cute together!  This was followed by an episode with Rita and Chris investigated the death of a drug dealer, despite the fact that the new DA wanted them to lay off the case because it might make the department look bad.  It was a bit of bland episode, to be honest.  The third episode was considerably better, as it featured Chris shooting a suspect and then the suspect’s sister trying to get revenge by seducing him.  It was trashy and fun.  Even more trashy and fun was the final episode that I watched on Tuesday, in which a prostitute witnessed a murder and Chris and Rita ended up investigating a judge.

I didn’t watch the show on Wednesday but I did return to it on Thursday.  The first episode I watched featured Chris, Rita, and their captain (played by Broadway legend Ben Vereen) going undercover to bust a bunch of drug dealer who were working out of a club.  Vereen seemed to be having a lot of fun and that made this otherwise pedestrian episode entertaining.  This was followed by an episode that found Chris and Rita going undercover yet again, this time on the set of a trashy film shoot.  It turned out that one of the actresses on the film was Chris’s mother!  It was a fun episode.

On Friday, the first episode that I watched featured the great Patrick Muldoon as a serial rapist who had just been released from prison.  Chris and Rita made sure that he didn’t go back to prison by sending him to the graveyard instead.  Muldoon, in his younger years, was always perfectly cast as a villain and this episode was effectively disturbing.  Rita and Chris’s fury felt real and cathartic.  At its best, Silk Stalkings was trash with a conscience.  That was followed by an episode where Chris and Rita went undercover as a married couple and were totally adorable as they solved the murder of a man who was found on the beach wearing a tuxedo.

I did not watch the show on Saturday but I look forward to returning to it over the course of the upcoming week!

WKRP In Cincinnati (DVD)

This 70s sitcom dealt with the daily life at a radio station in Cincinnati.  Jeff loves this show so we watched a few episodes on Sunday morning.  One dealt with a man in a pig costume painting the station’s lobby.  Another one featured the station manager running unsuccessfully for city council.  And the third one featured the station’s ad guy appearing on an early reality show called Real Families.  WKRP was a pretty funny show.  Like The Larry Sanders Show, it was very much a show of its time.  Unlike The Larry Sanders Show, the show’s characters were really likable and I would have probably enjoyed working with them.  No one would have made me cry.

Miniseries Review: Ford: The Man and The Machine (dir by Allan Eastman)


Henry Ford changed the world, for both the better and the worst.

Starting from his own small workshop in Dearborn, Michigan, Henry Ford designed the first mass-produced automobile.  He transformed cars from being a luxury item to being something that nearly every family owned.  He created the concept of the assembly line.  He argued that workers needed to be paid a livable wage and he also advocated for an 8-hour workday.  At a time when every facet of American life was heavily segregated, he encouraged his factories an auto dealerships to hire black employees.  He was a pacifist, who took part in a widely-ridiculed but apparently sincere effort to try to convince the leaders of the world to just stop fighting.

Unfortunately, Henry Ford was also something of an unhinged lunatic, a man whose skill at engineering and his empathy for his underpaid workers did not necessarily translate into a sophisticated understanding of anything else.  When the workers in his factories tried to unionize, Ford employed violent strike breakers and he felt that most of the population were like a children and therefore incapable of governing themselves.  He understood how to make car but he also fell for all sorts of quack science and was a believer in reincarnation.

Worst of all, he was a rabid anti-Semite, who blamed almost all of the world’s problems on “Jewish bankers” and who played a huge role in popularizing a scurrilous work called The Protocols of Elder Zion in America.  Claiming to lay out the details of a Jewish plot to secretly control the world, The Protocols were a ludicrous document but many people believed them because they were promoted by Henry Ford, who was as big a celebrity in the early 20th Century as all of the social media influencers are today.  All these years later, The Protocols are still cited by anti-Semites.  A series of anti-Semitic editorials (which Ford later claimed to have signed off on but not actually written) were published in Germany under the title The International Jew, the World’s Foremost Problem.  Hitler wrote of his admiration for Ford in Mein Kampf.  Ford, it should be noted, did keep his distance from Hitler, though whether that was due to a personal distaste or the threat of an economic boycott is not known.  (Jewish leaders had already organized one successful boycott of Ford in the 20s, which led to Ford closing down his newspaper and offering up an apology.)  At the Nuremberg Trials, many of the Nazis said that they had first been introduced to anti-Semitism through the writings of Henry Ford.  Reportedly, when Ford saw newsreel footage of the concentration camps, he was so overcome with emotion that he collapsed from a stroke.

(Two years ago, when Nick Cannon regurgitated the usual anti-Semitic conspiracy theories on a podcast, he was pretty much saying the exact same thing that Henry Ford said at the start of the 20th Century.  Later, under threat of economic boycott, both Ford and Cannon would off up half-hearted apologies for their statements.  Ford continued to make cars.  Cannon continues to host a handful of television shows.  How does that work?)

First broadcast over two nights in 1987, Ford: The Man and the Machine was a Canadian miniseries about the long and controversial life of Henry Ford.  Cliff Robertson played Henry Ford.  Hope Lange played his wife while Heather Thomas played his mistress.  R.H. Thomson played Ford’s son, the sensitive Edsel.  Michael Ironside played Harry Bennett, a sinister figure who was hired to break up union activity and who eventually became Ford’s right-hand man.  If I remember correctly, I believe Canadian law actually required that Michael Ironside appear in almost every Canadian film and television show made in the 80s and the 90s.  His glowering presence and menacing line delivery practically shouted out, “Don’t mess with Canada,” and he does bring a note of genuine danger to his performance here.

Ford: The Man and the Machine opens in the late 20s, with an aging Henry Ford already starting to lose control of his mental faculties.  A series of flashbacks then show how Ford built his first engine, his first car, and eventually his first factory.  We watch as Ford goes from being an enthusiastic, self-taught engineer to being one of the most powerful men in the world.  Along the way, Ford grows arrogant.  The same stubbornness that led to his early success also leads to his later problems.  For all of his ability, Ford’s ego and his refusal to reconsider his conclusions leaves him vulnerable to both flattery and manipulation, whether it’s coming from the White House of Woodrow Wilson, from his own executives, or from the authoritarians who rose to power in Europe following the first World War.  As portrayed in the movie, he’s a loving father who also flies into a rage when Edsel designs a car on his own.  He loves his wife but he keeps a mistress.  He loves his family but he’ll always prefer to spend time working on his cars than spending time with them.  Henry Ford changes the world but his own hubris makes it impossible for him to change with it.

The miniseries is built around Cliff Robertson’s performance as Ford and Robertson does an excellent job in the role, convincingly playing Ford as he goes from being an enthusiastic dreamer to a paranoid millionaire to a doddering old man, a Bidenesque figuredhead who is only nominally in charge of his own company.  Neither the film nor Robertson shy away from showing us Henry Ford’s flaws.  Instead, both the production and the actor offer up a portrait of a complex man who transformed the way that people lived but who couldn’t escape from his own prejudices and resentments.  Ford: The Man and The Machine is a history lesson but it’s a valuable one.  If you’re a student of history, you’ll find much to think about in this miniseires.

For the record, I do drive a Ford and it’s a good car.  However, I tell myself that it’s named after Gerald Ford.

Titans S3 Ep6, “Lady Vic”, Review by Case Wright


The holidays are over and I know A LOT about Electricity, Magnetism, and Titans. The episode opens with a brutal scene of a woman killing two cops. I almost had to look away. It is NOT for the faint of heart. What got to me was the cold psychopathy of it. The reason for this little Kill-spree is poorly developed. It quickly cuts to Wayne Manor and Blackfire is now a quasi-Titan and she still prevents me from totally concentrating. She and Superboy have REAL chemistry. So… pretty sure that’s happening very soon. Kyptonians get all the luck!

Lady Vic really more of a B-Storyline. We see how Barbara Gordon and Dick became an item. Boy knows girl, boy and girl both dress flamboyantly, and boy and girl knock over a museum for an old trinket, which of course leads to Knocking Boots. There’s a lid for every pot, but museum heist leading to intercourse doesn’t seem like a direct route to me, but what do I know- I study hours of Math …. for fun. Through flashbacks, we learn that Babs and Dick went on heists for fun, but ended up killing Lady Vic’s husband, brother… or something.

I guess that I have to note that there is a plotline of when will Blackfire and Superboy hook up? However, this plot-line is just so predictable that it’s not great. The show needs Hawk back. He added a terrific wisecracking element and Gar and Superboy just don’t quite make up for his loss.

Jason Todd is still Red Hooding with Dr Crane. Lady Vic works for him too, but just as a side-hustle.

This episode was more disjointed than a knee replacement, but I guess you have to watch it to prepare for the next episodes.

TV Review: Dexter: New Blood 1.10 “Sins of the Father” (dir by Marcos Siega)


I’ve been thinking about the finale of Dexter: New Blood for about three days now.  I’m going to guess that if you’re a Dexter fan, you’ve already seen it so I’m going to just talk about what happened without posting any spoiler warnings.  I hate spoiler warnings anyways.

Harrison shot and apparently killed Dexter.  Now, I have to admit that, when Harrison first showed up during the first episode, my initial thought was that Harrison was going to end up killing Dexter for the same reason that Dexter had killed so many others.  And, as other have pointed out, the entire show was pretty much leading up to either Harrison killing Dexter or Dexter being forced to kill Harrison.  So, really, I guess I should be happy that the show followed its storyline to its only logical conclusion.  I can certainly respect the show for staying true to itself but respect and happiness don’t always go together.

To be honest, even though I knew that it should happen, I really thought there was no way that the show would actually do it.  I was so used to Dexter being able to get out of any situation that I just naturally assumed that he would be able to do it again.  And if Dexter had managed to escape from the jail without killing Logan in the process, I think Dexter probably could have pulled it off.  But, by killing Logan, Dexter broke Harry’s code.  Dexter revealed that the code was really just a part of his own sociapathic ritual.  It wasn’t something that he truly obeyed,  Instead, it was something that he used to justify his dark urges.

Harrison realized what Dexter had done and, as a result, Harrison shot him.  I didn’t necessarily buy the idea that Dexter would just stand there and encourage his son to kill him.  That was a bit convenient and it required Dexter to have a conscience, which is something that we all know he didn’t have.  Even Dexter’s comment that he had never felt love until the minute Harrison pulled the trigger felt like another case of Dexter what he knew the audience wanted to hear.

My main issue with the episode wasn’t so much Harrison shooting Dexter as it was what happened next.  Allowing Harrison to escape and agreeing to cover up what he did was totally out-of-character for Angela.  Angela, who has shown that she’s willing to arrest anyone in town regardless of how close she may be to them, had no problem wiping Harrison’s prints off the gun and tossing him some money for his journey.  It didn’t make any sense.  Angela barely knows Harrison.  How does she know that Harrison didn’t help Dexter with the murders?  Also, after Angela discovered that Dexter was a murderer, did it not occur to her that there might be something strange about the stabbing at the school?  Is Angela okay with Harrison driving off to freedom while the kid that Harrison tried to murder is destined to always be remembered as a potential school shooter?  I can accept Harrison shooting Dexter.  I can even respect it.  But I cannot accept that Angela would let him get away with it.

There were other loose ends that bothered me.  Why was Edward Olsen such an important character in the first few episodes?  Why did he mysteriously vanish?  Why did the show seem to building up to a twist about Audrey’s parentage, just to abandon the whole thing an episode later?  How did Kurt manage to capture Molly, who was more or less aware that Kurt was a killer and certainly wouldn’t go anywhere willingly with him.  Considering that this episode appeared to be the definitive end of Dexter’s story, those loose ends are frustrating.

That said, it was a well-directed episode.  Michael C. Hall was riveting and genuinely frightening in the scenes where he manipulated Angela and Logan.  The final montage of the faces of everyone innocent person who died as a result of Dexter’s actions was an emotional moment and I’m glad to see that Doakes was included with Deb, Rita, LaGuerta, Lundy, and all the rest.  Doakes always got a raw deal.

Dexter: New Blood was a success.  Even the fact that I have mixed feelings about how it ended is proof of how well executed this revival was.  (Trust me, I could have hardly cared less when Dexter sailed into that hurricane, so fed up was I with the show at the time.)  And, between you and me, I’m not convinced that Dexter’s dead.  Yes, he was shot.  Yes, he didn’t look good.  But Harrison drove away before the paramedics arrived.  Dexter’s survived a lot.

At the very least, Ghost Dex would be amusing….

Lisa Marie’s Week In Television 1/2/22 — 1/8/22


As the first week of 2022 comes to a close …. I have yet to watch the fourth season of Cobra Kai!  What’s up with that?  Oh well, I’ll watch it next week.  This week, I was busy.  Next week, I’ll ignore everything else I need to do and watch TV.  How is that not a good plan?

Anyway, here’s what I watched this week:

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

After being gone for a month due to pledge programming, Allo Allo returned to the PBS line-up on January 2nd.  Having escaped from the hospital, Rene returned to the café and dealt with Michelle’s latest scheme to get the airmen out of France.  It involved hiding them in a hollow bomb that would be dropped over England.  The only problem is the Resistance needed a place to hide the bombs.  Michelle, of course, volunteered Rene’s cafe.

While I continue to laugh at Crabtree’s mangled French, I also find myself looking forward to the every scene involving LeClerc and his attempts to disguise himself.  “It is I, LeClerc.”

The Amazing Race 33 (Wendsenday Night, CBS)

I wrote about the premiere of The Amazing Race here!

The Bachelor (Monday Night, ABC)

Big goofy Clayton is the new Bachelor.  Big goofy Jesse Palmer is the new host.  Honestly, we need more of a break between installments of this franchise.  Anyway, Monday’s episode featured Clayton meeting the girls and, of course, sending one of them home on the first night because she wasn’t there for the right reasons (plus, she was like sloppy drunk).  It was such an obvious set up.

Dexter: New Blood (Sunday Night, Showtime)

I reviewed the latest episode of Dexter: New Blood here!

Joe Millionaire (Thursday Night, Fox)

On this dating reality show, a group of women are competing to end up with one of two men.  One of the men is a millionaire.  The other isn’t!  The twist is that the women don’t know which is which.  Unfortunately, the viewers do know and that takes a lot of the fun out of the show.  It would be a lot more enjoyable if we were guessing along with the women.  Instead, we know that the farmer is actually very wealthy and the dude who looks like a European prince is actually a construction worker.

(To be honest, this show seems more like a parody of a reality show than an actual show.)

The first episode of this new edition of Joe Millionaire aired on Thursday.  One of the women was sent home because she followed one of the men on social media.  The show handled this development as if it was the most serious thing ever.  I guess sending one random person home on the first day is going to be a new dating show ritual.  Anyway, Joe Millionaire was pretty stupid.  The men were boring.  The women were boring.  The host is also the butler at the mansion where everyone is staying.  There was a lot of nonsense over whether or not everyone was there for the right reason.  (What is the right reason when it comes to stuff like this?)  Who cares?

I’ll probably watch it, though.  I just won’t talk about it on twitter.  It’ll be our little secret, my dear readers.  Sound good?

The Love Boat (Sunday Evening, MeTV)

The Love Boat and its enthusiastic crew completed their cruise to Alaska.  Everyone learned an important lesson about being too competitive and the importance of following one’s heart.  Yay!  Needless to say, it was a pretty silly show but sometimes, it’s good to watch something silly.

And Love …. won’t hurt anymore….

The Office (All The Time, Comedy Central)

I watched a few episodes from the fourth season on Thursday.  Michael hanging out in New York with Ryan was good.  The dinner party remains a classic.  I had to change the channel once we got to the one where Jim was playing golf with the client and, for some stupid reason, he brought along Kevin and Andy.  It never felt right whenever the show featured Jim actually working.

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

After being off the air for the month of December due to pledge programming, Open All Hours has returned to the PBS lineup.  On Sunday’s episode, Arkwright longed for Nurse Gladys Emmanuel while Granville continued to stew in resentment.  I don’t blame Granville.  It couldn’t have been easy being a 40 year-old stockboy.  I always find myself wondering what Granville did to get sold into indentured servitude in the first place.

Shipping Wars (Tuesday Morning, A&E)

A&E is now showing the old, original episodes of Shipping Wars in the morning and new episodes at night.  I have yet to watch any of the new episodes, mostly because the old episodes got so annoying after Roy died that I can’t imagine that the new episodes could be any better.

Anyway, on Tuesday, I mostly had the show on for background noise.  I did notice that one episode featured a bunch of people pointing guns at Roy.  It was presented as being a very dramatic situation but if Roy was really going to be shot, I kind of doubt that Shipping Wars film crew would be allowed to just hang out while it was happening.  Eventually, it all turned out to be an elaborate prank.

Another episode featured Jen basically destroying a butter sculpture that she had been hired to deliver.  Apparently, this was no prank.  On the original Shipping Wars, Jen ruined nearly every delivery she was supposed to make.  It’s kind of odd that people kept hiring her.

The Twilight Zone (Sunday, SyFy)

SyFy completed its Twilight Zone marathon on Sunday.  I caught two of the marathon’s final episodes, both of which were from the season when the show had an hour running time instead of 30-minute.  The hour-long Twilight Zones tend to be uneven.  The first episode I watched was about a ship that came across as possibly haunted submarine.  It would have been an enjoyably creepy 30-minute episode but, at an hour, there was just too much obvious padding.  The second episode featured a young Dennis Hopper as a Neo-Nazi loser who finds success after a mysterious benefactor takes him under his wing.  The identity of the benefactor was obvious from the start (it rhymed with Jitler) but Hopper’s odd and unhinged performance made this episode memorable.

U.S. Figure Skating Championships 2022 (Saturday afternoon, NBC)

USA!  USA!  USA!

Great Moments In Television History #11: Elvis Sings With Sinatra


The fourth episode of The Frank Sinatra Timex Show was officially called It’s Nice To Go Trav’ling but it’s unofficial name was Welcome Home Elvis.  That’s because this special, which aired on May 12th, 1960, also marked Elvis Presley’s first appearance on television after his release from the U.S. Army.

It was a 30-minute special, sponsored by Timex.  Elvis only appeared in 8 of those minutes.  The rest of the show’s running time was made up of Frank Sinatra hanging out with his Rat Pack pals.  Still, in those 8 minutes, Elvis performed with Sinatra and television history was made.  (Elvis even wore a tuxedo for the occasion, so he would fit in with Frank and the pack.)  This special was the highest rating program of the week and it proved that being away in Germany hadn’t diminished Elvis’s popularity one bit.

Elvis, who was born 87 years ago on this day, would later go on to star with Nancy Sinatra in 1968’s Speedway.

Previous Great Moments In Television History:

  1. Planet of the Apes The TV Series
  2. Lonely Water
  3. Ghostwatch Traumatizes The UK
  4. Frasier Meets The Candidate
  5. The Autons Terrify The UK
  6. Freedom’s Last Stand
  7. Bing Crosby and David Bowie Share A Duet
  8. Apaches Traumatizes the UK
  9. Doctor Who Begins Its 100th Serial
  10. First Night 2013 With Jamie Kennedy

TV Review: Dexter: New Blood 1.9 “The Family Business” (dir by Sanford Bookstaver)


We all knew that, at some point, Dexter would have to welcome Harrison into the family business.  It finally happened on this week’s episode of Dexter: New Blood.

Set on Christmas day (but, oddly enough, airing during the first week of January), the ninth episode of Dexter: New Blood found Dexter and Harrison finally bonding.  Dexter told Harrison the story of Wiggles the Clown though, at the insistence of Ghost Deb, Dexter said that he just told Wiggles to stop doing what he was doing.  Even when Dexter was telling the story, it was obvious that Harrison knew there was more to it than just Dexter giving a stern lecture.

Harrison also told Dexter that he had stabbed his friend and that he wasn’t the hero that everyone made him out to be.  Yeah, we all figured that out a while ago, Harrison!  Still, it was interesting to watch Harrison discover what the rest of us take for granted.  We’re so used to the idea of Dexter tracking down serial killers and murdering them that it’s easy to forget just how weird and traumatic it would be for someone to learn about it or witness it for the first time.  One of the big problems that I had with the final season of Dexter’s original run is that Deb never seemed to be truly shocked at the discovery that her brother was a serial killer.  Fortunately, the reboot did a better job with Harrison than the original did with Deb.

And yes, Harrison did learn the truth.  He and Dexter tracked down Kurt’s secret lair and saw Kurt’s “trophies.”  And when Harrison announced that Kurt needed to die, just the slightest smile came to Dexter’s lips.  Dexter managed to bring Harrison over to his side without actually having to confess to all of the people that he had killed.  Only after Harrison had announced that he was on board with the idea that some people deserved to die, did Dexter admit to killing Wiggles the Clown and Arthur Mitchell.

Kurt met his end in this episode.  Harrison watched as Dexter killed him and then, somewhat ominously, had a flashback to Rita’s murder.  Is Harrison going to realize that, for all of Dexter’s rationalizations, his father is a serial killer as well?  If Harrison truly buys into the code, then Dexter could be in some trouble.

Actually, Dexter might be in trouble regardless.  Angela appears to have figured out that Dexter killed the drug dealer.  And, at the end of this episode, she received a letter telling her that “Jim Lindsay Killed Matt Caldwell” and one of the titanium screws that was left behind after Dexter burned Matt’s body.  If Angela learns the truth, will she arrest Dexter or will she let him and Harrison go free?  Angela has sworn to uphold the law but Kurt also murdered Angela’s best friend.  And, as we learned on Sunday, Kurt also murdered Molly.  Angela might be tempted to let Dexter escape.  I guess we’ll find out next week.

It was an excellent episode, though I have to admit that I was really disappointed when Molly showed up as one of Kurt’s trophies.  When Molly first appeared, her character annoyed me but, as the season progressed, I came to appreciate both the character and Jamie Chung’s performance.  In many ways, she was the stand-in for the viewers.  It was hard not to feel that she deserved better than to be killed off-screen.  Indeed, considering that she knew that Kurt was probably a killer, you have to wonder how he managed to ever get to her in the first place.

Still, that aside, The Family Business was Dexter at its best.  The deliberate pace and the atmospheric direction all reminded of the classic early seasons of Dexter.  Michael C. Hall perfectly captured Dexter’s love of his work while Jack Alcott played Harrison with the right mix of fascination and fear.  Still, I have to wonder what the show’s end game is going to be.  Ghost Deb was pretty adamant about Dexter not bringing Harrison into the family business and Ghost Deb usually know what she’s talking about.

We’ll find out next week!

Miniseries Review: The Last Don II (dir by Graeme Clifford)


The Clericuzio saga continues and it’s sillier than ever!

The Clericuzios were the Mob family who were first introduced in a Mario Puzo novel called The Last Don.  In 1997, CBS turned The Last Don in a three-part miniseries.  The ratings were good enough that, in 1999, the network gave the world a two-episode sequel, The Last Don II.  The Last Don II was created without the input of Mario Puzo (who died shortly before the miniseries aired) but director Graeme Clifford returned, as did a few members of the cast.

For example, Danny Aiello briefly returns as the honorable but aging Don Domenico Clericuzio, talking about life in the old country and demanding to know why some of his children have yet to marry.  Under his leadership, the Clericuzios are almost totally legit and they’ve even become powerful in Hollywood.  Claudia De Lena (Michelle Burke) is in charge of the family’s film studio and has recently become engaged to a film star named Dirk Von Schelburg (Andrew Jackson, trying to do an Arnie impersonation but coming across more like Jean-Claude Van Damme).  Still, despite the fact that the Clericuzios are (slowly) abandoning organized crime, they haven’t completely cut their ties.  They still have enemies.  And when Don Clericuzio dies after dancing at his final birthday party, those enemies are set to strike.

Who can run the Clericuzio family?  Only one of the Don’s son was actively involved in the underworld aspect of the organization and he’s promptly (and, to be honest, hilariously) crushed when someone drops a shipping crate on him.  Another Clericuzio son is gunned down at his legitimate business, proving that someone is trying to take out the entire family, regardless of whether they’re a part of the family business or not.  Georgio Clericuzio (David Marciano) goes to Paris and tires to convince Claudia’s brother, Cross (Jason Gedrick), to return from exile to take things over.  Cross refuses because he’s happily married to the most famous actress in the world, the improbably named Athena Aquataine (Mo Kelso, replacing Daryl Hannah in the role).  However, Athena is subsequently blown up by a bomb that was meant for Cross and that’s all it takes to bring Cross back to America.

Now that Cross is in charge, he sets about to discover who, among the other Families, is targeting the Clericuzios.  Helping him out with this is Billy D’Angelo (James Wilder), who we are told is the the most important of the Clericuzios capos, despite the fact that he was neither seen nor mentioned in the previous Last Don.  It seems pretty obvious from the start that Billy is not to be trusted.  Everyone who has ever seen The Godfather will automatically look at Billy and say, “There’s your rat.”  But Cross is a remarkably naïve crime lord.  He’s apparently the only guy in the Mafia who has never seen a Mafia movie.

Of course, there’s more going on than just Cross trying to figure out who is targeting the Clericuzio family.  His unstable aunt, Rose Marie (Kirstie Alley), wants revenge for the murder of her son Dante but, fortunately, she’s distracted by an affair with the family’s priest (Jason Isaacs, of all people).  Disgraced former studio exec Bobby Bantz (Robert Wuhl) is plotting against Claudia.  And finally, Cross is falling in love with his stepdaughter’s nanny (Patsy Kensit) despite the fact that it’s kind of obvious that the nanny is actually an undercover FBI agent.  Remember what I said about Cross being impossibly naïve?

The Last Don was a fairly silly miniseries.  The Last Don 2 is even sillier but, for that every reason, it’s also a bit more entertaining.  If the first Last Don was held together by the rivalry between Cross and Dante, the sequel is held together by a nonstop flow of melodrama, overheated dialogue, and thoroughly unsubtle acting.  It’s as if the director looked at every over-the-top scene and said, “It’s okay but can we turn things up just a little bit more?”  As such, tt’s not enough for Danny Aiello to merely make a cameo before his character dies.  Instead, he has to deliver cryptic words of wisdom about family and and honor and he has to do one final, Zorbaesque dance of joy before his heart gives out.  Meanwhile, Kirstie Alley really throws herself into playing the insane Rose Marie and whether she’s seducing a priest or hoarsely yelling that she doesn’t know how to ice skate, her performance is always more than strange enough to be watchable.  Jason Isaacs, meanwhile, furrows his brow desperately as he tries to resist temptation.  Patsy Kensit is the world’s worst FBI agent while Kim Coates shows up as one of her colleagues.  Conrad Dunn returns as Lia, the Sicilian assassin with the world’s silliest mustache.  Even the presence of Robert Wuhl is less of a problem in the sequel.  With everyone chewing up every piece of scenery that they can get their hands on, it somehow makes sense that Robert Wuhl would show up and start yelling, “DON’T LAUGH AT ME!”  Somehow, it even seems appropriate that Joe Mantegna receives a “special appearance” credit, even though his character pretty much only appears in the archival footage used during the opening credits.  The Last Don II is just that type of miniseries.

Jason Gedrick and James Wilder are both good actors and they both do what they can with the roles of Cross and Billy.  Unfortunately, both of them were seriously miscast in The Last Don 2.  Neither one of them is the least bit Italian and Wilder was a bit too young to be convincing as the most feared capo in the family.  Compared to the classic gangster films that inspired them, both The Last Don and its sequel feels more like gangster cosplay than an actual portrait of life as a member of the Cosa Nostra.  Like the first Last Don, The Last Don II suffers from a lack of authenticity but it’s just ludicrous enough to be fun.