Lisa Reviews The Premiere Episode Of Filthy Rich


I have to admit that I have a sneaky admiration for network television.

I mean, on the one hand, the networks are dying.  After decades of dominating America’s free time, network television was pushed aside first by cable and now by streaming services.  It’s been a long time since anyone looked to the big four networks in search of ground-breaking entertainment.  (Don’t even get me started on the CW.)  In many ways, the networks feel like relics of a bygone era.  Why structure your life around staying at home on a certain night so that you can catch whatever’s on NBC, ABC, CBS, or Fox when you can just DVR it or watch it online at your own convenience?

And yet, the networks carry on.  In the middle of the Streaming Revolution, the networks continue to insist that they’re at the forefront of American culture.  “Look,” they say, “We have football!  We have the awards shows!  We have game shows hosted by formerly funny comedians!  We have the smarmiest late night talk shows host around!  We have the nightly news!”  There’s something oddly touching about the refusal of the networks to admit that they’re no longer particularly relevant.  They’re like Charles Foster Kane, isolated away in Xanadu and insisting that he’s still as powerful and important as he’s always been.

I guess that’s why I’m always fascinated by the start of a new television season.  That never-say-die spirit just appeals to me and I always imagine a bunch of network executives saying, at the start of each season, “This time, we’re going to show Netflix and HBO how it’s done!”  With the Emmys now over and done with, the 2020-2021 network television season has begun.  For me, It’s always interesting to see which shows become a surprise hit and which shows end up getting cancelled after just three weeks.  Oddly enough, the previous television season brought us no real hits and only a few dramatic cancellations.  That’s the first time I can remember anything like that happening.  It was strange.

This new season is also going to be strange because, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, production on a lot of shows were halted.  Of the few new dramas and sitcoms that are scheduled for this season, the majority of them are starting in October.  Even once the season does get started in earnest, most nights are going to be dominated by celebrity-themed games shows and reality competition programming.  That said, I remain an optimist.  Surely, there will be at least one good new drama or sitcom on network television this season, right?

Well, it probably won’t be Filthy Rich.

Filthy Rich, which premiered on Fox on Monday night, is the latest primetime soap opera.  It’s a show about a wealthy Southern family that owns a Christian television network.  When the patriarch of the family is killed in a plane crash, it leads to all of his bastard children coming out of the woodwork so that they can get their inheritance and blah blah blah.  It’s meant to be campy and over-the-top and satirical but, judging from the pilot, it just tries too hard.  Kim Cattrall plays the scheming matriarch and her erratic southern accent serves to remind that us that Kim Cattrall doesn’t exactly have the greatest range as an actress.  Meanwhile, none of the children are really that interesting and even the big, ornately decorated mansion seems rather dull.  It’s all a bit too calculated to be genuinely subversive.

With its portrait of scheming rich people and Christian hypocrites, Filthy Rich feels like the edgiest show of 1999.  Unfortunately, it’s airing in 2020 and, at this point, we’ve all seen enough Ryan Murphy productions to be able to guess every single thing happens in the pilot for Filthy Rich.  (Admittedly, Filthy Rich is not actually a Ryan Murphy production.  Instead, it was developed by the director of The Help, Tate Taylor.)  There’s not a single surprise to be found.  The show seems to think that it’s blowing our minds but, at this point, it takes more than a supporting character smoking weed to be shocking.  What would have made Filthy Rich better?  It probably would have helped if it had aired on HBO or maybe even FX.  Instead, it’s a primetime network show that tries hard to convince us that it’s edgy when it’s actually totally mundane.

Anyway, it’s hard to imagine Filthy Rich surviving against Dancing With The Stars and The Voice so hopefully, everyone involved will move on to better things.

Here Are The Emmy Winners!


I skipped watching the Emmys this year because …. well, do I need a reason?  When it comes to award shows, my heart has always belonged to the Oscars.  The Emmys have never done much for me.

That said, I do want to say Congrats! to all the winners.  Bad Education won and I am excited about that, though it still bugs me that if only the film had been purchased by Netflix rather than HBO, it would be Oscar eligible as opposed to having to settle for an Emmy.  I’m also happy to see that Zendaya won for Euphoria and …. well, to be honest, there’s not a single winner that I really disagree with.  I don’t watch Succession but I know a lot of people love it.  Schitt’s Creek doesn’t do much for me but it’s nice that Pop! got some recognition.

I mean, at this point, I’m just happy that the Emmys — which were done with an audience and featured all of the winners accepting either from their home or a hotel room — were even held.  If they can do the Emmy, there’s no reason why they can’t do the Oscars, right?

Here are the winners!

Winners

Outstanding Drama Series

Better Call Saul
The Crown
The Handmaid’s Tale
Killing Eve
The Mandalorian
Ozark
Stranger Things
Succession — winner

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Helena Bonham Carter, The Crown
Laura Dern, Big Little Lies
Julia Garner, Ozark — winner
Thandie Newton, Westworld
Fiona Shaw, Killing Eve
Sarah Snook, Succession
Meryl Streep, Big Little Lies
Samira Wiley, The Handmaid’s Tale

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Nicholas Braun, Succession
Billy Crudup, The Morning Show — winner
Kieran Culkin, Succession
Mark Duplass, The Morning Show
Giancarlo Esposito, Better Call Saul
Matthew Macfadyen, Succession
Bradley Whitford, The Handmaid’s Tale
Jeffrey Wright, Westworld

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series

Andrij Parekh, Succession — winner

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series

Jesse Armstrong, Succession — winner

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Jennifer Aniston, The Morning Show
Olivia Colman, The Crown
Jodie Comer, Killing Eve
Laura Linney, Ozark
Sandra Oh, Killing Eve
Zendaya, Euphoria — winner

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Jason Bateman, Ozark
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Steve Carell, The Morning Show
Brian Cox, Succession
Billy Porter, Pose
Jeremy Strong, Succession — winner

Outstanding Competition Program

The Masked Singer
Nailed It!
RuPaul’s Drag Race — winner
Top Chef
The Voice

Outstanding Limited Series

Little Fires Everywhere
Mrs. America
Unbelievable
Unorthodox
Watchmen — winner

Outstanding Film — Bad Education (winner!)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Uzo Aduba, Mrs. America — winner
Toni Collette, Unbelievable
Margo Martindale, Mrs. America
Jean Smart, Watchmen
Holland Taylor, Hollywood
Tracey Ullman, Mrs. America

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Watchmen — winner
Jovan Adepo, Watchmen
Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. The Reverend
Louis Gossett Jr., Watchmen
Dylan McDermott, Hollywood
Jim Parsons, Hollywood

Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series or Movie

Maria Schrader, Unorthodox — winner

Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series or Movie

Damon Lindelof, Cord Jefferson, Watchmen — winner

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Jeremy Irons, Watchmen
Hugh Jackman, Bad Education
Paul Mescal, Normal People
Jeremy Pope, Hollywood
Mark Ruffalo, I Know This Much Is True — winner

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Cate Blanchett, Mrs. America
Shira Haas, Unorthodox
Regina King, Watchmen — winner
Octavia Spencer, Self Made
Kerry Washington, Little Fires Everywhere

Outstanding Variety Talk Series

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
Jimmy Kimmel Live
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver — winner
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Outstanding Comedy Series

Curb Your Enthusiasm
Dead to Me
The Good Place
Insecure
The Kominsky Method
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Schitt’s Creek — winner
What We Do In the Shadows

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
D’Arcy Carden, The Good Place
Betty Gilpin, GLOW
Marin Hinkle, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Annie Murphy, Schitt’s Creek — winner
Yvonne Orji, Insecure
Cecily Strong, Saturday Night Live

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Mahershala Ali, Ramy
Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Sterling K. Brown, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
William Jackson Harper, The Good Place
Daniel Levy, Schitt’s Creek — winner
Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Kenan Thompson, Saturday Night Live

Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series

Daniel Levy and Andrew Cividino, Schitt’s Creek — winner

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series

Daniel Levy, Schitt’s Creek — winner

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
Don Cheadle, Black Monday
Ted Danson, The Good Place
Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method
Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek — winner
Ramy Youssef, Ramy

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Christina Applegate, Dead to Me
Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Linda Cardellini, Dead to Me
Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek — winner
Issa Rae, Insecure
Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish

Here’s The Trailer for Season 2 Of The Mandalorian!


So, I’ll be honest.  My first reaction when I saw this trailer was to spend like the next six hours talking about how cute Baby Yoda is.  Once I got over the cuteness of Baby Yoda, I thought about how atmospheric and full of menace and mystery this entire trailer is.  Seriously, this whole thing is wonderfully put together.

Enjoy the trailer!  The Mandalorian returns on October 30th!  As for now, be sure to watch the Emmys on Sunday to see how the show does when the big awards are handed out.  It’s got quite a few nominations.  There’s a long-standing Emmy tradition of shows that are a part of the cultural zeitgeist receiving a lot of nominations during their first season and then not winning anything.  Hopefully, that won’t be the case with The Mandalorian.

Here’s The First Teaser For The Stand


Let’s just be honest here.

Come December, we all know what we’re going to be in the mood for.  After making our way through 11 months of 2020, everyone is going to watch a miniseries about a society-destroying pandemic that leads to a civil war and the destruction of a major U.S. city.

I mean, seriously.

The latest version of The Stand will premiere on December 17th, on CBS All Access so, if you’re thinking of canceling your subscription because of how terrible Big Brother has been this season …. well, hold off for a few months.  This version of The Stand features Alexander Skarsgard and Whoopi Goldberg and it’s probably going to be really bad but …. well, our longtime readers know how I feel about Alexander Skarsgard.  I’ll watch him in anything.

Anyway, here’s the first teaser for The Stand.

Randall Flagg says hello.

Baby, can you dig your man?

He’s a righteous man!

Here’s The Trailer For The Saved By The Bell Reboot!


Good God, this looks awful.  When is Mario Lopez going to start aging?  I swear, the man has to have a Dorian Gray-type painting up in his attic or something.

Oh well.  As bad as it looks, I’ll probably watch a few episodes.

Guilty Pleasure No. 47: The Powers of Matthew Star


A few weeks ago, I was looking through the Guide and I noticed that MeTV had apparently started airing a show called The Powers of Matthew Star.

The name immediately intrigued me, though I wasn’t quite sure why.  I think that some of it just had to do with how silly it sounded.  The Powers of Matthew Star.  Of course, someone named Matthew Star would have powers.  But what type of powers?  Since his last name was Star, it would probably be a good guess that they would be extraterrestrial powers and since his first name was Matthew, it stood to reason that he was either an angel or a human-alien hybrid, or perhaps an alien pretending to be a human.

As I pondered just who Matthew Star could be and what his powers were, I suddenly realized the real reason why the title jumped out at me.  I had actually heard of this show before.  Several years ago, while I was reviewing all of the Friday the 13th films for this site, I came across several references to The Powers of Matthew Star.  That was because the show had featured by Amy Steel (who survived Friday the 13th Part II) and Peter Barton (who did not survive Friday the 13th — The Final Chapter).

Because The Powers of Matthew Star airs at four in the morning (Sunday morning, to be exact) I set the DVR to record it.  I’ve now watched a handful of episodes and I like the show, even though I’m still not really sure what’s going on.

As I suspected, Matthew Star (played by Peter Barton) is an alien who is pretending to be a human.  Each episode opens with a narrator explaining how Matthew Star ended up on Earth but I have to admit that I’ve found the narration next to impossible to actually follow.  As far as I can tell, Matthew Star is actually a member of alien royalty but, after his home planet was either conquer or blew up, he had to go to Earth in order to hide out from another alien race that wants to destroy him.  Because he looks like a teenager, Matthew has to go to high school and deal with high school stuff while, at the same time, solving crimes for the government.  As far as his powers are concerned, he can apparently move stuff with his mind but he has to be careful about moving too much because then his cover might get blown and the aliens that are searching for him might destroy Earth.

Matthew’s guardian is Walt Shepherd (Louis Gossett, Jr.), who is a teacher at the high school and who knows about Matthew’s powers.  I think Walt is actually supposed to be another alien, though the episodes I’ve seen have not exactly been clear about this.  Matthew’s best friend is Pam (Amy Steel), who is the editor of the school newspaper.  Matthew has a crush on her but he’s not sure if he can ask her to prom because he’s an alien and he’s got other aliens looking for him.

From what I’ve seen, the show’s a bit silly.  For instance, one episode featured Matthew and Shepherd going to Italy on some sort of top secret government job.  The very next episode featured Matthew using his powers to win a high school football game and it ended with a message about the importance of education.  Despite my love of Italy, I preferred the football game episode to the secret agent episode.  The football game episode was so achingly sincere that it was hard not to enjoy it.

And really, from what I’ve seen, that’s the main appeal of The Powers of Matthew Star.  It’s silly and the plot is difficult to follow but there’s an overwhelming sincerity to the show’s portrayal of Matthew as an alien who just wants to save the Earth, enjoy high school, and work up the courage to ask Pam out on a date.  If I had been alive and like 13 years old in 1982, I would have had such a huge crush on Peter Barton.  Barton is incredibly likable as Matthew Star and he and Amy Steel are a cute couple whenever the show allows them to get together.

Unfortunately, according to Wikipedia, it appears that the whole high school angle of the show was dropped after the first 12 episodes.  (MeTV is only 7 episodes in.)  Starting with the 13th episode, Matthew was no longer a high school student, Amy Steel was no longer on the show, and every episode featured Matthew and Shepherd exclusively using their powers to defeat terrorists and other criminals.  That doesn’t sound like it’ll be as much fun.  I’ll probably stop DVRing the show once that happens.

Until then, though, I’m enjoying the adventures of Matthew Star, alien royalty-turned-high school student!

Previous Guilty Pleasures

  1. Half-Baked
  2. Save The Last Dance
  3. Every Rose Has Its Thorns
  4. The Jeremy Kyle Show
  5. Invasion USA
  6. The Golden Child
  7. Final Destination 2
  8. Paparazzi
  9. The Principal
  10. The Substitute
  11. Terror In The Family
  12. Pandorum
  13. Lambada
  14. Fear
  15. Cocktail
  16. Keep Off The Grass
  17. Girls, Girls, Girls
  18. Class
  19. Tart
  20. King Kong vs. Godzilla
  21. Hawk the Slayer
  22. Battle Beyond the Stars
  23. Meridian
  24. Walk of Shame
  25. From Justin To Kelly
  26. Project Greenlight
  27. Sex Decoy: Love Stings
  28. Swimfan
  29. On the Line
  30. Wolfen
  31. Hail Caesar!
  32. It’s So Cold In The D
  33. In the Mix
  34. Healed By Grace
  35. Valley of the Dolls
  36. The Legend of Billie Jean
  37. Death Wish
  38. Shipping Wars
  39. Ghost Whisperer
  40. Parking Wars
  41. The Dead Are After Me
  42. Harper’s Island
  43. The Resurrection of Gavin Stone
  44. Paranormal State
  45. Utopia
  46. Bar Rescue

Here Are The Major 72nd Emmy Nominations!


Usually, when it’s time for the Emmy nominations to be announced, I’ll post what I personally would have nominated.  I didn’t do it this year because, for whatever reason, I didn’t watch as much TV last season as I have in the past so I felt like, if I had done a Lisa Has All The Power post for the Emmy nominations, I would have ended up just nominating a bunch of shows that I hadn’t actually watched and that would just be wrong.

I will say that I was hoping to see nominations for Bad Education and Unbelievable.  Both did receive nominations, though not as much as they should have.  Bad Education was nominated for Best TV Movie and Hugh Jackman received a nomination but it deserved so much more.  (It’s the best film that I’ve seen so far this year and it bugs the Hell out of me that it was sold to HBO and not Netflix because Bad Education is the type of movie that should get Oscar recognition.)  Unbelievable was nominated for Best Limited Series but Kaitlyn Dever and Merritt Weaver deserved nominations as well.  I was also disappointed that neither Aaron Paul nor Robert Forster were nominated for El Camino.  I’m also upset that my favorite comedy series — Medical Police — was totally snubbed but I’m not really surprised.  Medical Police is hilarious but it’s not self-important enough for the Emmys.  Still, considering that Curb Your Enthusiasm was kind of terrible this year, it’s a shame that Medical Police couldn’t sneak in there.

(This year still isn’t as bad as the year that Twin Peaks: The Return was snubbed in all the major categories.)

Anyway, here are the major nominees.  At least The Mandalorian got some recognition.  GO BABY YODA!

Drama Series

“Better Call Saul” (AMC)
“The Crown” (Netflix)
“The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu)
“Killing Eve” (BBC America/AMC)
“The Mandalorian” (Disney Plus)
“Ozark” (Netflix)
“Stranger Things” (Netflix)
“Succession” (HBO)

Comedy Series

“Curb Your Enthusiasm” (HBO)
“Dead to Me” (Netflix)
“The Good Place” (NBC)
“Insecure” (HBO)
“The Kominsky Method” (Netflix)
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon Prime Video)
“Schitt’s Creek” (Pop TV)
“What We Do in the Shadows” (FX)

Limited Series

“Little Fires Everywhere” (Hulu)
“Mrs. America” (Hulu)
“Unbelievable” (Netflix)
“Unorthodox” (Netflix)
“Watchmen” (HBO)

Televison Movie

“American Son” (Netflix)

“Bad Education” (HBO)

“Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings: These Old Bones” (Netflix)

“El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie” (Netflix)

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. The Reverend (Netflix)

Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Jason Bateman (“Ozark”)
Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”)
Steve Carell (“The Morning Show”)
Brian Cox (“Succession”)
Billy Porter (“Pose”)
Jeremy Strong (“Succession”)

Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Jennifer Aniston (“The Morning Show”)
Olivia Colman (“The Crown”)
Jodie Comer (“Killing Eve”)
Laura Linney (“Ozark”)
Sandra Oh (“Killing Eve”)
Zendaya (“Euphoria”)

Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Anthony Anderson (“Black-ish”)
Don Cheadle (“Black Monday”)
Ted Danson (“The Good Place”)
Michael Douglas (“The Kominsky Method”)
Eugene Levy (“Schitt’s Creek”)
Ramy Youssef (“Ramy”)

Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Christina Applegate (“Dead to Me”)
Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”)
Linda Cardellini (“Dead to Me”)
Catherine O’Hara (“Schitt’s Creek”)
Issa Rae (“Insecure”)
Tracee Ellis Ross (“Black-ish”)

Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Jeremy Irons (“Watchmen”)
Hugh Jackman (“Bad Education”)
Paul Mescal (“Normal People”)
Jeremy Pope (“Hollywood”)
Mark Ruffalo (“I Know This Much Is True”)

Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Cate Blanchett (“Mrs. America”)
Shira Haas (“Unorthodox”)
Regina King (“Watchmen”)
Octavia Spencer (“Self Made”)
Kerry Washington (“Little Fires Everywhere”)

Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Giancarlo Esposito (“Better Call Saul”)
Bradley Whitford (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
Billy Crudup (“The Morning Show”)
Mark Duplass (“The Morning Show”)
Nicholas Braun (“Succession”)
Kieran Culkin (“Succession”)
Matthew Macfadyen (“Succession”)
Jeffrey Wright (“Westworld”)

Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Laura Dern (“Big Little Lies”)
Meryl Streep (“Big Little Lies”)
Helena Bonham Carter (“The Crown”)
Samira Wiley (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
Fiona Shaw (“Killing Eve”)
Julia Garner (“Ozark”)
Sarah Snook (“Succession”)
Thandie Newton (“Westworld”)

Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Andre Braugher (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”)
William Jackson Harper (“The Good Place”)
Alan Arkin (“The Kominsky Method”)
Sterling K. Brown (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”)
Tony Shalhoub (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”)
Mahershala Ali (“Ramy”)
Kenan Thompson (“Saturday Night Live”)
Dan Levy (“Schitt’s Creek”)

Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Betty Gilpin (“GLOW”)
D’Arcy Carden (“The Good Place”)
Yvonne Orji (“Insecure”)
Alex Borstein (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”)
Marin Hinkle (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”)
Kate McKinnon (“Saturday Night Live”)
Cecily Strong (“Saturday Night Live”)
Annie Murphy (“Schitt’s Creek”)

Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Dylan McDermott (“Hollywood”)
Jim Parsons (“Hollywood”)
Tituss Burgess (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend”)
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (“Watchmen”)
Jovan Adepo (“Watchmen”)
Louis Gossett Jr. (“Watchmen”)

Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Holland Taylor (“Hollywood”)
Uzo Aduba (“Mrs. America”)
Margo Martindale (“Mrs. America”)
Tracey Ullman (“Mrs. America”)
Toni Collette (“Unbelievable”)
Jean Smart (“Watchmen”)

Reality Competition

“The Masked Singer” (FOX)
“Nailed It” (Netflix)
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” (VH1)
“Top Chef” (Bravo)
“The Voice” (NBC)

Variety Sketch Series

“A Black Lady Sketch Show” (HBO)
“Drunk History” (Comedy Central)
“Saturday Night Live” (NBC)

Variety Talk Series

“Daily Show with Trevor Noah” (Comedy Central)
“Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” (TBS)
“Jimmy Kimmel Live” (ABC)
“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” (HBO)
“Late Show with Stephen Colbert” (CBS)

TV Review: Night Gallery 2.1 “The Boy Who Predicted Earthquakes/Miss Lovecraft Sent Me/The Hand of Borgus Weems/Phantom of What Opera?”


The second season of Night Gallery premiered on September 15th, 1971.  Once again, Rod Serling led viewers through a darkened museum, inviting them to look upon macabre paintings and imagine the story behind image.

The first episode had four — that’s right, four! — different stories!  Apparently, the show’s producers demanded that, for the 2nd season, each episode feature shorter stories along with some light-heated segments.  From what I’ve read, Rod Serling was not particularly happy with the directive and it’s perhaps significant that, after writing every story featured in Night Gallery‘s first season, he only wrote one of the stories featured in the second season premiere.

The Boy Who Predicted Earthquakes (dir by John Badham, written by Rod Serling)

Herbie (played by 12 year-old Clint Howard, younger brother of Ron) is a little boy with a very special gift.  He can see the future.  He seems like a normal child, the type who rambles about random subjects except that, at random, he’ll suddenly stop and ominously predict the future.  After Herbie correctly predicts both the rescue of a missing girl and an earthquake, Herbie is given his own TV show.  For a year, Herbie makes predictions, all of which come true.  Then, suddenly, Herbie refuses to shares his latest prediction and says that he doesn’t want to do the show anymore.  What has Herbie seen and is it a good thing or a bad thing?

The Boy Who Predicted Earthquakes gets the second season of Night Gallery off to a good start.  Centered by a natural performance from Clint Howard, The Boy Who Predicted Earthquakes is an intelligently written and thought-provoking story.  Not only does it examine the burden of being able to see the future but it’s also a provocative look at how society exploits the gifted.  With the exception of Herbie’s grandfather (William Hansen), the people around Herbie are less concerned with what he predicts than that people keep watching.  The segment ends on an appropriately dark note, one that will keep the viewer thinking.

Miss Lovecraft Sent Me (dir by Gene Kearney, written by Jack Laird)

A gum-chewing babysitter (Sue Lyon) show up for her latest job.  It’s at a castle!  And the owner of the castle (played by Joseph Campanella) has gray skin, is wearing a cape, and has a Transylvanian accent!  What could it all mean?

This is a short comedic segment.  Apparently, the producer of Night Gallery, Jack Laird, had the idea to liven things up with sketches like this one.  Serling was apparently not a fan of the idea but Miss Lovecraft Sent Me isn’t that bad.  It’s silly and insubstantial because Joseph Campanella and Sue Lyon handled their roles well.  It’s impossible not to laugh when the babysitter reads aloud the names of the books that Campanella has sitting on his bookshelf.

The Hand of Borgus Weems (dir by John M. Lucas, written by Alvin Sapinsley)

Peter Lacland (George Maharis) sits in a doctor’s office and asks Dr. Ravadon (Ray Milland) to remoe his right hand.  Peter explains that his right hand has a mind of its own and that it keeps trying to kill everyone who Peter comes into contact with.  Peter explains that his hand has been possessed!

There’s a surprisingly large number of stories out there about possessed hands.  The Hand of Borgus Weems doesn’t necessarily bring anything new to the genre and it gets a bit bogged down with its flashback structure but it’s still an enjoyably creepy little segment, featuring good performances from George Maharis and Ray Milland.  Possessed hands are also creepy, no matter what.  Like The Boy Who Predicted Earthquakes, it also has an effective ending, which is quite a contrast to the often insubstantial conclusions of Night Gallery’s first season.

Phantom Of What Opera?  (written and dir by Gene Kearney)

This is a short, 4-minute comedic story — a skit really — featuring Leslie Nielsen as the Phantom of the Opera and Mary Ann Beck as Christine. This version starts out like a typical Phantom segment, with the Phantom kidnapping Christine, taking her down to the dungeon, and telling her never to remove his mask.  Christine, of course, removes his mask while he’s playing the organ just for him to then discover that she’s also wearing a mask.  It all leads to love and a happy ending!  It’s kind of a sweet segment, actually.

So the 2nd season of Night Gallery got off to a pretty good start!  Would future episodes continue the trend?  We’ll find out soon as I continue to watch Night Gallery.

Previous Night Gallery Reviews:

  1. The Pilot
  2. The Dead Man/The Housekeeper
  3. Room With A View/The Little Black Bag/The Nature of the Enemy
  4. The House/Certain Shadows on the Wall
  5. Make Me Laugh/Clean Kills And Other Trophies
  6. Pamela’s Voice/Lone Survivor/The Doll
  7. They’re Tearing Down Tim Riley’s Bar/The Last Laurel

TV Review: Night Gallery 1.6 “They’re Tearing Down Tim Riley’s Bar/The Last Laurel)


The first season of Night Gallery came to a conclusion on January 20th, 1971.  Though the first season was undoubtedly uneven, it did end on a high point.  The first segment in the 6th episode, They’re Tearing Down Tim Riley’s Bar, is widely considered to be the best episode of Night Gallery and one of Rod Serling’s best teleplays.  It also brought Night Gallery one of it’s few Emmy nominations when it was nominated for Outstanding Single Program of the year.  (It lost to The Andersonville Trial, a theatrical adaptation that was produced for PBS.)

They’re Tearing Down Tim Riley’s Bar (dir by Don Taylor, written by Rod Serling)

They’re Tearing Down Tim Riley’s Bar tells the story of Randy Lane (William Windom).  In 1945, Sgt. Randy Lane returned home from serving in World War II, a war hero who had a wonderful future ahead of him.  He had just gotten married.  He had just gotten a good job at an up-and-coming company called Pritzker Plastics.  When he came home, the first place he went was Tim Riley’s Bar, where his father and the other bar patrons toasted him and told him to look forward to the future.

Twenty-five years later, the middle-aged Randy Lane is looking at his life and asking, “Is this as good as it gets?”  He’s now a sales director at Pritzker Plastics but his boss (John Randolph) doesn’t appreciate him, his assistant (Bert Convy) is plotting to steal his job, and the only person who seems to care about him is his sympathetic secretary (Diane Baker).  Randy’s wife died in 1952, while Randy was out of a sales call.  Randy now lives alone.  Even his neighborhood bar — Tim Riley’s Bar — has closed and been abandoned.  With the bar schedule to be torn down, Randy wonder what happened to all of the promise and happiness of the past.

When Randy goes by the deserted bar and looks through the front window, he’s shocked to see all of his old friends and his father waving at him.  But when Randy rushes into the bar to join them, he discovers the bar is deserted.  Later, Randy is at work when suddenly, he sees Pritzker Plastics the way it was back in 1948.  Even later, when he enters his house, he finds himself standing in a hospital hallway in 1952, once again getting the news that his wife has died.

In many ways, They’re Tearing Down Tim Riley’s Bar is an atypical Night Gallery segment.  Though there are hints of the supernatural throughout the story, it’s hardly a work of horror.  Instead, it’s a rather melancholy meditation on aging, disappointment, and regret.  Is the past forever lost?  Can things ever be as good as they once were?  These are the questions that are raised in this well-directed and well-acted segment.

The Last Laurel (dir by Daryl Duke, written by Rod Serling)

Clocking in at 8 minutes, The Last Laurel is yet another segment about a bitter man (in this case, Jack Cassidy) who suspects that his wife (in the case, Martine Beswick) is cheating on him with his doctor (in this case, Martin E. Brooks) so he teaches himself a supernatural skill in order to get revenge.  In this case, it involves astral projection.  Not surprisingly, it ends with a twist that’s pretty much dependent on one of the characters doing something extremely stupid.

The Last Laurel is well-acted but predictable.  It’s not bad but, especially when compared to something like They’re Tearing Down Tim Riley’s Bar, it feels rather insubstantial.  It feels like filler.

The first season of Night Gallery came to an end with an excellent episode.  Starting tomorrow — season 2!

Previous Night Gallery Reviews:

  1. The Pilot
  2. The Dead Man/The Housekeeper
  3. Room With A View/The Little Black Bag/The Nature of the Enemy
  4. The House/Certain Shadows on the Wall
  5. Make Me Laugh/Clean Kills And Other Trophies
  6. Pamela’s Voice/Lone Survivor/The Doll

TV Review: Night Gallery 1.5 “Pamela’s Voice/Lone Survivor/The Doll”


The fifth episode of Night Gallery originally aired on January 13th, 1971.  It featured three stories, each one of which was introduced by Rod Serling walking through a darkened museum.

Pamela’s Voice (dir by Richard Benedict, written by Rod Serling)

Jonathan (John Astin) kills his wife, Pamela (Phyllis Diller), because he’s sick of listening to her shrill voice.  However, it turns out that not even death can stop Pamela.  While Jonathan is staring at a coffin, he starts to hear Pamela’s voice.

At first, you might think that this is going to be one of those stories where it’s going to turn out that the murderer has been driven made by his crimes and he’s imagining being taunted by his victim.  But then Pamela makes an post-death appearance herself and the story reveals it’s final twist.

For the most part, Pamela’s Voice is entertaining.  Both John Astin and Phyllis Diller give such eccentric performances that their fun to watch even if the majority of the audience will be able to guess this segment’s big twist.

Lone Survivor (dir by Gene Levitt, written by Rod Serling)

This wonderfully atmospheric story opens in 1915, with the crew of the Lusitania discovering a man (John Colicos) floating in a lifeboat.  The lifeboat is from the Titanic and the man, who claims to be a crewmember of that doomed ship, is wearing a dress, leading the ship’s doctor to assume that the man survived the sinking of the Titanic by pretending to be a woman and stealing someone else’s rightful spot in the lifeboat.

At first, his rescuers are skeptical.  If the man was indeed a survivor of the Titanic, that would mean that he had spent the past three years floating in that lifeboat?  How could the man have survived?  And, assuming that he is telling the truth about the ship that he came from, what has now brought him to the Lusitania?  Could the man possibly be a German spy?  After all, World War I has just broken out and the sea is no longer as safe as it once was….

Lone Survivor is an example of this often uneven show at its best.  It’s a genuinely creepy short film, one that ends on a frightening and rather sad note.  Lone Survivor is the tale of man trying to escape both his own guilt and the whims of fate and discovering that neither can be easily conquered.  In the main role, John Colicos gives a wonderfully intense and haunted performance.

The Doll (dir by Rudi Dorn, written by Rod Serling)

“Our painting is called The Doll,” Rod Serling says as he introduces this one, “and it’s one that you better not play with.”  Truer words were never spoken!

In this one, British Col. Hymber Masters (John Williams) returns home from India and discovers that his niece (Jewel Branch) has a new doll.  Someone mailed the doll to her.  Everyone assumed that Col. Masters sent the doll but he actually had nothing to do with it.  Masters is not happy to see his niece carrying around that doll and it makes sense when you consider just how ugly the doll is.  I mean, this is one creepy doll!

It turns out that the Masters was correct to be concerned because the doll was sent by Pandit Chola (Henry Silva), who holds Masters responsible for the death of his brother.  The doll has been sent to take revenge….

The Doll is another triumph, largely because the doll itself is so creepy that it looks like something that sprung straight out of a nightmare.  John Williams does a good job playing the well-meaning if somewhat stuffy colonel and Henry Silva is well-cast as the villain of the piece.  This segment deserves a lot of credit for taking a fanciful story and playing it totally straight.

The fifth episode of Night Gallery is a triumph.  After a run of uneven episodes, this episode is consistently creepy and entertaining.  For this episode, at least, Night Gallery lived up to its potential.

Previous Night Gallery Reviews:

  1. The Pilot
  2. The Dead Man/The Housekeeper
  3. Room With A View/The Little Black Bag/The Nature of the Enemy
  4. The House/Certain Shadows on the Wall
  5. Make Me Laugh/Clean Kills And Other Trophies