Lisa’s Week In Television: 5/23/21 — 5/29/21


I didn’t watch much television this week. I was too busy watching movies! However, here’s some thoughts on what I did see:

Allo Alllo (PBS, Sunday Night)

Everyone’s trapped in a POW camp and having to pretend to be British airmen, incuding Yvette! However will they escape? At the end of Sunday’s episode, they were all still in the camp but I’m sure they’ll find a way out. This is one of the strangest shows that I’ve ever watched but, at the same time, I am eager to see how it all (eventually) works out.

American Idol (ABC, Sunday Night)

Yes, I watched all three hours of the finale on Sunday night. I’m not sure why because to say that I felt absolutely no emotional connection to this season of American Idol would be an understatement. Words cannot begin to express how little I cared about anything that happened over those three hours. Why was I watching? Was it nostalgia for a time when American Idol was a big deal? Was it just laziness on my part? Maybe I just wanted to see if I was correct in my prediction that Chayce Beckham would win because of the whole country music thing. I imagine all of those reasons are correct. I’m not going to think too much about it, to be honest. I was tired on Sunday night.

Anyway, Chayce Beckham did win so congratulations to him and congratulations to me for my above average predictive abilities. Yay!

Baywatch (Weekday evenings, H&I)

On Sunday, Baywatch started off with an episode in which a woman purchased a date with Mitch. Mitch took her sailing and, long story short, they ended up trapped on a deserted island. Fortunately, they were rescued by the end of the episode and they even found time to all in love. Yay! (By the way, Baywatch, Lina Wertmuller would like a word.) This was followed by an episode in which, due to a heat wave, the beaches were extra crowded and the lifeguards were extra busy. Complicating things was the President of the United States, who wanted to go jogging on the beach. Since this show was from the 90s, that means that the president was Bill Clinton. Yikes! Get that beach cleared!

Monday started off with an episode in which CJ’s mom came to visit the Baywatch crew and it turned out that she was being pursued by a murderous gambler. It was actually one of the silliest episodes of this show that I’ve ever seen. This was followed by a much better episode that featured all of the lifeguards competing for a chance to take part in an Ironman competition. Once again, the main goal was to defeat a group of arrogant Australians. What did Baywatch have against Australia? The episode ended with all of the lifeguards — American and Australian — diving underwater and lifting up a submerged car, which they then pushed out of the ocean and back onto the beach! It was just ludicrous enough to be brilliant.

Tuesday started off with yet another earthquake episode, along with a storyline about one of the new lifeguards posing for Playboy, which I assume was only included to help promote an issue of Playboy featuring that particular actress. It was dumb. This was followed by an episode in which lifeguards trained to become firefighters and firefighters trained to become lifeguard and …. well, sad to say, it was pretty dumb too. However, Mitch did spend sometime dealing with a man who thought he was a vampire. Way to give Baywatch Nights a shout out!

On Wednesday, the first episode featured Mitch nearly dying after swimming through polluted water. Fortunately, he survived and, in the second episode, he was named Bachelor of the Month and got to pose with a bunch of models. Meanwhile, Stephanie got married and Caroline and Logan realized that they were never, ever getting back together.

On Thursday, the recently married Stephanie died while trying to sail a boat through a sudden ocean storm. It was shamelessly melodramatic and yet, I’ll be damned if it wasn’t emotionally effective as well. Whatever else you may say about David Hasselhoff on this show, he could deliver even the cheesiest of lines with a surprising sincerity. Of course, the episode featuring Stephanie’s death and funeral was followed by an episode where Mitch was invited to appear on a television talk show and it also featured Jay Leno as a guest star. That’s Baywatch in a nutshell, tragedy followed by Jay Leno.

On Friday, the first episode featured a ghost helping Caroline save a drowning child. The second episode featured a bunch of rival gang members setting aside their differences to learn CPR. Both episodes were as clumsily handled as they sound.

Finally, on Saturday, there was an episode that mixed a teen suicide storyline with an unrelated plot concerning CJ and Cody discovering a mermaid. Yes, a real mermaid. “Finally!” Cody exclaimed, “we can prove that mermaids are real!” “No,” CJ said, “that wouldn’t be fair to the mermaids!” In the end, everything worked out and, in its weird way, it was classic Baywatch.

Gangs of London (Sunday, AMC)

Nine episodes of this, I’ve watched so far, and I still don’t have the slightest idea what’s going on. But I do appreciate it as an exercise in pure style and Colm Meaney is convincingly intimidating whenever he shows up in flashbacks.

Hill Street Blues (Weekday Mornings, H&I)

Oh, Hill Street. It’s amazing how quickly this show went downhill during its final days.

On Tuesday morning, the two episodes that aired seemed to share a common thread — i.e., no one at the Hill Street precinct was particularly good at their job. The first episode featured a mob boss getting held hostage while the Hill Street cops stood around and smirked. And believe me, I get it. He’s a bad guy. He’s a mob boss. But still, he was under police protection when he got grabbed so maybe instead of smirking about it, why not give some thought to how you totally screwed up a simple assignment? The second episode featured Norman Buntz getting his finger chopped off by a loan shark. I enjoyed that, mostly because Buntz is such an annoying character. “My shy’s got a soda connection,” he told Capt. Furillo at one point during the second episode. I nearly threw a show at the TV.

At the start of Wednesday’s episodes, Buntz had gotten his finger reattached. He arrested the loan shark who was responsible for doing the chopping but, Buntz being Buntz, he still ended up shooting the guy. While this was going on, Grace Gardner — an incredibly annoying character from an earlier season — was debating whether or not to become a nun and Patrolman Patrick Flaherty, a new character, was chasing after her with an annoying grin on his face. To be honest, the first episode of the morning was a bit of a mess. Fortunately, the second episode was much better. Capt. Furillo struggled to come to terms with his father’s suicide while Detective Belker had nightmares about the apocalypse. It was all surprisingly well-handled.

Thursday morning brought two frustratingly uneven episodes. The first found the precinct’s cops on the verge of a race war after a white cop shot his black partner. It turned out that it was all linked to a bigger corruption scandal. Sam McMurray played the white shooter. It was an interesting story but, as usual, things got bogged with an unrelated Lt. Buntz plotline and, in the end, it was hard not to feel that the show had handled the topics of systemic racism and police corruption far more effectively in the past. The second episode featured Joyce getting held hostage by a criminal and, as I’ve said before, I always find hostage episodes to be a bit of drag. As well, there was an unrelated plotline about Patrick Flaherty trying to recover a stolen radio, which would have been interesting if not for the fact that Flaherty’s a remarkably uninteresting character.

On Friday morning, the first episode featured several of the policemen going on a hunting trip and …. well, that was about it. The second episode featured a few of the cops having to work as garbagemen while Sgt. Howard Hunter had to deal with his former second-in-command, Jack Ballentine, who had gone crazy and was shooting at people from an upstairs window. As usual, both episodes had their moments but got bogged down with unrelated Norman Buntz action.

Saturday morning’s episodes hit a nadir for me, as far as this show is concerned. The first episode featured a wacky misunderstanding plot, as Buntz got it into his head that Joyce was cheating on Captain Furillo. The second episode found Buntz in charge of the precinct for the day and encouraging all of his officers to basically violate the civil rights of anyone who might be carrying even the most miniscule amount of weed. By the end of these two episodes, I found myself wondering if the writers during the final two seasons were getting paid based on the number of lines they gave to Norman Buntz because it’s hard to deny that the show went from being an ensemble show to being all about him.

Intervention (Monday Night, A&E)

I watched two episodes on Monday night. The first episode was about an alcoholic. The second one was about a woman addicted to fentanyl and cocaine. As I’ve stated in the past, I never have as much sympathy for the alcoholics as I do for the drug addicts. The first episode was about a former hockey player named Dan whose catch phrase was “Oh golly golly.” Good to have a catch phrase when you’re putting your family through Hell, I guess. The second episode was about Elizabeth, who had all sorts of family tragedies to blame for her addictions. Hopefully, they’re both doing better now.

King of the Hill (Hulu)

On Thursday night, I watched two episodes of the greatest show ever made at Texas. In the first episode, the Hills celebrated the millennium. In the second episode, Peggy wrote Bobby’s flag essay for him. These were two classic episodes from a classic show.

Moone Boy (Sunday Night, PBS)

Desperate to find a way to get to school quicker without having to cut into any of his precious sleeping time, Martin Moone tears down the shoddily constructed wall in his family’s backyard. He’s briefly a school hero, until Liam and Debra notice all of the students walking through their backyard. It was a funny episode. I especially enjoyed the scene where Martin’s imaginary friend, Sean Caution Murphy, explained that Martin created him because Martin himself is cautious and doesn’t like to take risks.

“And what did you name me?”

“Sean Murphy, the most common name in Ireland!”

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

Granville attempted to change his image by dressing up like some sort of weird mix of punk rocker and 70s disco king. He also ended up nearly hanging himself when his medallion got tangled up with the store’s singing. “Don’t just be hanging about!” Arkwright snapped at him. Granville survived, meaning that he could continue to spend many more miserable days working for his uncle and dreaming of freedom.

Seriously, Granville’s going to snap some day and it won’t be pretty.

Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)

Despite everyone telling him that Henry V is a much better subject, Shakespeare heads home to Stratford-Upon-Avon to work on a play about Henry VIII. Unfortunately, upon arriving, he discovers that his fearsome former school master is a Catholic! When Robert Greene and Kit Marlowe show up, Shakespeare has to figure out how to allow his teacher to conduct midnight mass without anyone noticing, Fortunately, Marlowe helps out by hiring a prostitute. It’s all a bit convoluted by funny. I’m Catholic and I laughed, largely because most of the jokes were at the expense of the Church of England.

Yes, Minister (Monday Morning, PBS)

Jim Hacker’s attempts to subsidize his local football club run afoul Sir Humphrey’s attempts to continue to subsidize the constituency’s little-visited art museum. I’ve often written about how Yes, Minister was a show that could appreciated by anyone because bureaucracy is a universal reality but all it takes is one episode centered around a football club to remind us that this is, at heart, a very British show. And, needless to say, a very funny one! Sir Humphrey, as usual, won the battle of the wills but Hacker still got some good publicity out of it. That’s the important thing.

Lisa’s Week In Television: 5/16/21 — 5/22/21


It was a busy week and yet, I still found time to watch what was probably too much television. Here are my thoughts for this week:

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

Trying to explain what happened on Sunday’s episode will not be easy but here goes. Having faked their deaths in the previous episode, the two British airmen were attempting to tunnel their way into a German POW camp. However, their tunnel ends up colliding with the tunnel of two other British airmen, who are attempting to dig their way out of the camp. In typical Allo Allo fashion, nearly every character on the show, whether British, German, or French, eventually ended up in the tunnel at the same time. When the tunnel collapses, everyone finds themselves in the POW camp. It was odd but funny, an enjoyably chaotic parody of movies like The Great Escape.

American Idol (Sunday Night, ABC)

I watched this week’s Final Four episode on the DVR and I have to admit that I fast forwarded through most of it. I just wanted to see who would make it into the top 3. Chayce, Willie, and Grace made it to the finale. Casey Bishop was eliminated. Because of the show’s weirdly rushed format, Casey didn’t get to say anything or even sing a goodbye song after being told that she had been rejected by America. Instead, the credits quickly flashed across the screen. It just didn’t feel right.

Of the final three …. well, I have no idea. In the past, it seems like Chayce would have won easily because of the whole country music thing but who knows? The judges seemed to really want the voters to pick Willie. Then again, the judges really just seemed to be going through the motions this season. There’s a real fear of being too negative. It’s not like the way it used to be when Simon hated everything and the other judges always seemed to be coming down from a coke binge.

Anyway, the finale is next week. I’m going to go ahead and predict that Chayce will win. I don’t know if I’m going to watch the finale or not. It’ll probably depend on what else is on at the time. (I refuse to set the DVR for the finale of a show that I know I’m going to forget about in two weeks.) It’s been a while since winning American Idol was really a big deal, to be honest. Maybe it would help if the show’s producers weren’t so determined to force everyone to sing sappy ballads.

Baywatch (Weekday Evenings, H&I)

The week in Baywatch got off to an extremely strange start on Sunday. The first episode featured Neely and Caroline competing for a modeling gig while Cody, Mitch, and Logan descended into the sewers to search for a mutant alligator. Neely got the gig and Mitch got the alligator. One thing that I did like about this episode is that the alligator was taken alive and donated to a zoo. The second episode featured a mysterious man trying to kill Logan, which led to Caroline wondering what it would be like if Charlie’s Angels were called in to save Logan’s life. Next thing you know, Caroline, Stephanie, and CJ were wearing wigs and bell bottoms and trying to solve the mystery of who was trying to kill Logan. Eventually, it was all revealed to be a dream. This was one of those meta episodes that Baywatch occasionally tried to do. Unfortunately, the show often struggled whenever it tried to be deliberately funny.

Monday was even stranger as the first episode opened with a bunch of lifeguard dragging a lifeless Hulk Hogan out of the ocean. Fortunately, they were able to bring Hogan back to life and, in order to thank them, Hogan and a bunch of wrestlers fought each other for charity. While that was going on, Stephanie was waiting to discover whether or not she had skin cancer. So, on the one hand, you had a very serious storyline about cancer and, on the other hand, you had a bunch of pro wrestlers yelling at each other on the beach. Fortunately, while Stephanie’s ultimate fate was left up in the air, the wrestlers raised enough money. Monday’s second episode featured Mitch sky-diving and this, of course, led to a lot of flashbacks to previous episodes, with some of the clips featured a totally different actor playing Mitch’s son because Baywatch was just like that. There were also some really weird green screen shots of David Hasselhoff with a bunch of fake clouds behind him. It also led to a lot of Hasselhoff voice over acting: “But if I’m unconscious, how can I know what’s happening? Am I dead?” (I may be remembering incorrectly but I thought this show already did a Mitch nearly dies while skydiving episode.) Fortunately, it turned out that Mitch’s death, much like the Charlie’s Angels episode, was just a dream.

On Tuesday, the first episode opened with Mitch trying to adopt a little girl who had never been on the show before. Eventually, I figured out that the episode was continuing a storyline that started on Baywatch Nights. In the end, Mitch did not go through the with the adoption and the little girl was sent to live with her grandparents in Iowa or Kansas or wherever it is that saintly grandparents tend to live. The second episode featured Mitch and Caroline trying to reunite a Vietnamese immigrant with her father. While they did that, CJ and Cody designed a special wheelchair so that a disabled friend would be able to roll across the sandy beach and experience the ocean firsthand. This led to a lot of shots of a sweaty, shirtless, and sexy David Chokachi handling a welding torch. Yum!

On Wednesday, the 1995 Baywatch “film,” Forbidden Paradise, was aired as a two-part episode. I reviewed it here.

Thursday started off with an odd episode, in which Stephanie discovered that she was cancer-free but, at the exact same moment she was getting her good news, a professional surfer was drowning and Logan was cheating on Caroline. It was a strangely philosophical episode but it did feature a surprisingly exciting rescue sequence. I think what made it work is that Michael Newman, who was an actual lifeguard, was the one doing the rescuing and you could tell that he actually knew what he was doing. The second episode featured Cody searching for Spanish gold and Newman, Logan, and Neely searching for a rat that was living in Baywatch headquarters.

Friday’s first episode started off with a new opening credits sequence that featured not only a bunch of new lifeguards but also the promotion of real-life lifeguard Michael Newman to the main cast. Yay, Newmie! The episode that followed featured Logan trying to make a movie about a killer shark and basically endangering everyone by filming with a real shark! At the end of the episode, Logan left Baywatch to become a director. Considering the number of people that Logan almost got killed during his time on the beach, I imagine the lifeguard were happy to see him go. The second episode found Mitch judging a beauty contest and having to deal with a new boss, Samantha Thomas (Nancy Valen).

Saturday’s episode featured an eccentric old man leaving CJ 4 millions dollars in his will and Hobie debating whether or not to get a tattoo. I have to admit that I didn’t pay much attention to it as I was preparing to host Saturday’s #ScarySocial live tweet.

The Brady Bunch (Sunday Morning, MTV)

I had this show playing in the background while I was cleaning around the house. I needed background noise to help me focus but I also needed something that I knew I would be in no danger of getting emotionally invested in. The adventures of America’s most annoying family fit the bill!

City Confidential (Thursday Night, Crime and Investigation)

The episode that I watched on Thursday night was about Boston and it told the story of a white man who claimed that two black carjackers had murdered his wife but who, it quickly became apparent, had actually committed the murder himself. With the city on the verge of a riot, he jumped off a bridge. It was a disturbing story and a far too common one.

Court Cam (Wednesday, A&E)

A&E’s stupidest reality show (and that’s saying something!) basically runs nonstop on Wednesdays. I watched two episodes on Wednesday afternoon and it was the typical collection of jocular judges, rude defendants, and teary-eyed victim statements, all breathlessly narrated by Dan Abrams. This show is basically like the 2021 version of those old “Totally Shocking Video” shows.

Fear Thy Neighbor (Saturday Afternoon, ID)

Fear Thy Neighbor is a true crime show that tells stories about neighbors who end up killing each other. On the one hand, it’s just as exploitive as it sounds. On the other hand, it does make you appreciate the neighbors who don’t try to kill each other. Whenever my neighbor gets on my nerves, I remind myself that at least he’s not one of the Fear Thy Neighbor neighbors.

Friends (Weeknights, Channel 33)

I watched Monday night’s episode. Monica was annoyed by Chandler’s fake laugh. Ross slept with the very annoying Janice. Chandler’s boss was played by the always-funny Sam McMurray. It was an okay episode, though I doubt it’s one they’ll discuss during the HBOMax reunion.

Gangs of London (Sunday nights, AMC)

I got caught up on Gangs of London this week, watching the three latest episodes (or, at least, the three latest episodes to be broadcast in the United States). I still struggle to follow the show and to keep track of who is working with who. That’s probably more due to me not watching on a regular basis than anything else. After watching the last three episodes, I’ve decided that Gangs of London works best as a parody of ultra-violent gangster epics. It’s all so over the top that it’s hard to believe that it was ever meant to be taken all that seriously.

One thing I did learn from watching the show is that Denmark apparently has a fearsome army. Who would have guessed?

Hill Street Blues (Weekday Mornings, H&I)

On Tuesday, the first episode of Hill Street Blues dealt with the aftermath of the murder of Officer Joe Coffey. Played by Ed Marinaro, Coffey had been a part of the show’s cast of characters since the first season and was at the center of many storylines. As such, you would think that the death of his character would be a big deal. Unfortunately, since Coffey had the misfortune of dying during the show’s sixth season, his death was mostly just an excuse for Lt. Norman Buntz to beat up a suspect and try to manipulate Coffey’s long-time partner into making an identification that she wasn’t sure about. The second of Tuesday’s episode featured more Norman Buntz drama as he found himself potentially being framed for the murder of another cop. Lindsay Crouse also joined the cast as a new police officer named Kate McBride who, in her first episode, got more screen time than people who had been there since the show began.

Wednesday’s first episode continued the trend of shining the spotlight on new characters as opposed to the old ones. Norman Buntz continued to threaten everyone he met. Kate McBride was accused of sexually harassing a prostitute and, though it turned out that the prostitute was lying, McBride did tell her partner, Lucy, that she was a lesbian. (The scene was so awkwardly handled that I was surprised McBride’s announcement wasn’t followed by a dramatic music cue.) Meanwhile, another new cop (played by a very young Chris Noth) tried to talk a man out of jumping off the ledge of a building. “Go ahead and jump but I don’t think you want to,” Noth said, right before the man jumped to his death. Whoops! The second episode of the morning found Detective Mick Belker reuniting with a former informant, Eddie, who died of AIDS at the end of the hour. The Belker/Eddie storyline was actually pretty effective and very well-acted by Bruce Weitz and Charles Levin. Unfortunately, it had to compete with space for scenes of Norman Buntz once again beating up suspects and Captain Furillo trying to decide whether or not to run for mayor. (The chief of police running for mayor makes sense and happens fairly frequently. But the captain of the city’s most notorious and troubled police precinct? It seems a bit less likely.)

The first of Thursday’s episodes featured Paul McCrane, who was suitable creepy as a serial killer who was captured by a group of angry citizens. This was also the last episode of season 6, as became obvious when the morning’s second episode featured completely different opening credits. (Jeff has warned me that Season 7 was even more Buntz-centric than Season 6. They probably should have renamed the show Hill Street Buntz.) The second episode featured an airplane crashing into the city, a briefcase full of cocaine getting stolen, and Buntz being held hostage. Buntz, it would seem, got held hostage quite frequently.

On Friday, the first episode featured Lt. Howard Hunter shooting a thief with a non-Department issued gun and being investigated by Internal Affairs as a result. As well, the public defenders office went on a work slow down to try to get better terms in a contract negotiation with the city. This led to Joyce Davenport getting into a physical altercation with a judge played by Jeffrey Tambor. It was actually a good episode, featuring a wonderful performance from James B. Sikking in the role of Hunter. The second episode, however, was a bit of a mess with the public defenders now on strike, Lucy introducing two new cops to life on the Hill, and Lt. Henry Goldblume abruptly going from being a bleeding heart liberal to being the type of cop who smirks while drawing a gun on a drug dealer. (The episode suggested that this was due to Buntz’s influence but Norman Buntz is exactly the type of cop that Goldblume hated just a few episodes ago. The real culprit was inconsistent writing.)

Finally, on Saturday, the first episode was another mixed bag. On the one hand, the episode featured a compelling storyline in which Capt. Furillio discovered that his recently-promoted, former second-in-command, Capt. Calletano, was struggling with running his new precinct. There was also a rather sweet moment where Assistant D.A. Irwin Bernstein admitted that he had a crush on Public Defender Joyce Davenport. However, there was also an incredibly icky storyline in which a new character, Officer Tina Russo, confessed that she had slept with a criminal (played by a youngish Chazz Palmenteri) while working undercover. And, of course, there was yet another largely pointless Norman Buntz storyline. The second episode was a mess. An old friend of Henry Goldblume’s got killed. (Doesn’t this happen every other episode?) Buntz glowered at everyone. Russo tried to defend her reputation even while the camera leered at her.

All in all, this show still has its moment but I’m glad that I’m nearly done with it.

Intervention (Mondays, A&E)

The first episode that I watched on Monday was a really old one, one that seems to get repeated rather frequently. Leslie is a soccer mom-turned-alcoholic whose children beg her to get help. As someone who grew up with an alcoholic parent, I have to admit that, whenever I see this episode, I have absolutely zero sympathy for Leslie. The episode aired in 2007 so her children are all adults now and I can only hope that they’ve managed to deal with the trauma that she put them through. Leslie did agree to go to rehab, though the show’s epilogue states that she relapsed a few times after getting treatment.

Leslie’s episode was followed by the story of Jason and Joy. Jason was a cocaine addict. His younger sister, Joy, was an alcoholic. As usual, I had more sympathy for the cocaine addict than I did for the alcoholic, which I guess suggests that I’m just biased against drunks. Fortunately, according to the episode’s epilogue, both Jason and Joy are now sober.

The third episode deal with hairstylist-turned-drug-addict Casey. To be honest, I cringed a bit when I saw that Ken Seeley was going to run her intervention because his interventions always seem to end in disaster. But, Casey actually agreed to get help for her addiction so yay! But the she left treatment early so boo! But then apparently, she got clean on her own so yay! As you can tell, the final three title cards were a real roller coater ride.

Later that night, I watched the two latest episodes of Intervention. Tim was a former MMA fighter turned addict. Shandra was an aspiring nurse turned addict. Both of them went to treatment, though Tim got kicked out after getting into a physical altercation with another patient. Let’s hope the best for them.

The Jetsons (Sunday Morning, MeTV)

I had this old cartoon playing in the background while I was cleaning the house on Sunday. George Jetson really was a whiny prick, wasn’t he?

Lauren Lake’s Paternity Court (Weekdays, Channel 33)

I watched two episodes on Tuesday because I’m a terrible person. Both episodes featured fairly trashy people so it was hard for me to really care about whether or not they stayed together.

Nobody drags out the relatively simple process of reading the results of a DNA test like Judge Lake.

Judge Lake: “Tell me about when you first got married….”

Actually, Judge Lake, why don’t you just open up the damn envelope and read the piece of paper inside?

Moone Boy (Sunday Night, PBS)

Sunday’s episode of Moone Boy centered around the Irish presidential election. It was nice to see that insane elections aren’t limited to the United States. At the end of the episode, Ireland elected it’s first woman president and Liam Moone helped to bathe the local fish monger. It’s a complicated story but the important thing is that everything worked out for the best.

The Office (All the Time, Comedy Central)

Product recall! Seriously, one of my favorite episodes ever. Michael calling that press conference is a classic Office moment. Angela’s inability to apologize is another great moment. I knew exactly what she was going through. I watched this episode of Thursday. It’s probably the 100th time I’ve seen this episode but I still laughed the whole time. It’s a classic.

On Friday, I watched three classic two-parters — Dunder Mifflin Infinity, Launch Party (“Lanch Party!?”), and Money. The scenes of Jim and Pam spending the weekend at Shrute Farms are some of my favorites from the entire series. (“Does Mose often have nightmares?” “Oh yes. Ever since …. the storm.”)

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

On Sunday night’s episode, Arkwright was concerned that an old school chum named Chalky White was going to steal away Nurse Gladys Emmanuel. Arkwright’s worries turned out to be unfounded. He should have been more concerned about the fact that Granville is obviously only a few more insults away from snapping and blowing up the store.

Philly D.A. (Tuesday Night, PBS)

On Tuesday, I watched two episodes of the PBS docuseries, Philly D.A. This is a series that follows Philadelphia D.A. Larry Krasner over the course of his first term. The blandly smug Krasner is a progressive who is determined to reform the culture of Philadelphia law enforcement. The series follows not only him but also his critics and the prisoners he’s released and the families who have been effected by the crime of those prisoners. Like Parking Wars, this is a series whose main message seems to be, “For the Love of God, stay out of Philadelphia.”

And really, it should be interesting but the series is so extremely one-sided that it comes across as being propaganda. It’s so obvious that the series is on Krasner’s side that you never feel like you can trust it to give you the whole story and I say this as someone who strong believes that the criminal justice system does need to be reformed. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, seeing as how this is a PBS production. Let’s just say that you’ll never see a similarly uncritical docuseries following the first term of a politician on the opposite side of the political divide.

(Interestingly enough, while I was watching this on Tuesday, Kraser was easily defeating a credible challenger in the city’s Democratic primary.)

Sabrina, The Teenage Witch (Sunday, Fuse)

Sabrina! Listen, I know that a lot of people enjoyed that Netflix series more than Case and I did but for me, the only true Sabrina is Melissa Joan Hart and the only true Salem is the one who could actually talk. I watched four episodes of Sabrina, The Teenage Witch on Sunday and they were all fun and, as opposed to the Netflix series, brightly lit.

Saved By The Bell (IFC, Monday Morning)

On Monday, I caught the infamous “All in the Mall” episode of Saved By The Bell. This is the episode in which the gang goes to the mall to buy tickets for the big U2 (?) concert but, because they’re stupid enough to trust Screech to be able to buy the tickets, everything gets screwed up. However, they do find a bag full of money. Unfortunately, two criminals want the money too! Or do they? It turns out that it’s all a set up for Totally Candid Video! The gang’s reward for appearing on the show? Tickets to the big U2 concert! Personally, I would have rather had the money.

Seinfeld (Channel 33, Weeknights)

On Monday’s episode, Elaine tried to put a clothing store out of business, Newman and Kramer competed to throw the bet millennium party (this episode was from the 90s, remember), and Jerry’s girlfriend of the week was played by Lauren Graham. It was a funny episode.

Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)

Alas poor William Shakespeare. All Shakespeare wants is a family coat of arms so that he and his father can be “posh” but the man who is in charge of handing out such honors is Robert Greene, who has always disliked the Shakespeares. Perhaps if Shakespeare can throw a successful dinner party for Kit Marlowe’s new best friend, a Moorish prince named Othello, he’ll be able to convince Greene that he deserves to be a gentleman. However, when Greene discovers that Othello has fallen in love with Kate, Greene plots to trick Othello into murdering (or, at the very least, attacking) Shakespeare. It’s all rather complicated (and, as usual, rather funny). Hopefully, someone will write a play about it.

Favorite moment from Sunday’s episode: Greene tricks Othello into thinking that Shakespeare has the handkerchief that Othello originally gave to Kate. Othello starts to lose his temper.

Greene: “Ah, the green-eyed monster….”

Othello: “Perhaps you’re right. Don’t want to jump to any conclusions.”

In the end, it’s revealed that Othello stole all of his amazing stories from Sir Walter Raleigh’s latest book and Kate breaks up with him. All’s well that ends well.

Yes, Minister (Sunday Night, PBS)

Even by the standards of Yes, Minster, Sunday’s episode was a dark and cynical one. Don’t get me wrong. It was funny but the laughter was somewhat uneasy. Jim Hacker discovered two things over the course of the episode. Number one, British-made weapons were being sold to Italian terrorists. Number two, there was nothing he could do about it. As Sir Humphrey explained it, telling the Prime Minister would lead to an inquiry and an inquiry would lead to the discovery of all sorts of government scandals and the end result would be the government falling, Jim losing his position, and the terrorists still receiving their weapons. In the end, even Jim decided that his career was more important than doing the right thing. At least in Jim’s case, he didn’t seem to be happy about it.

Halfway through this melancholy episode, Bernard asked Sir Humphrey if Jim was right about the civil service being amoral. Humphrey explained that, of course, Jim was right. The role of the civil service, Humphrey explained, was not to worry about right or wrong. The role of the civil service was to support whichever government happened to be in power. Having personal beliefs went against that. As I said, it was all pretty cynical but it was also definitely more believable than any of the good government propaganda that we tend to get here in the United States. Aaron Sorkin wishes he could have written something as effective as Sunday’s episode of Yes, Minister.

Zombie House Flipping (Saturday Morning, A&E)

No zombies. Not since The Floor is Lava have a I felt so deceived.

Lisa’s Week In Television: 5/9/21 — 5/15/21


As you can tell by looking below, I didn’t really watch a lot of television this week. That’s because I was busy watching movies and cleaning the house and organizing my books and my DVDs and my Blu-rays and then working on compiling my lists of all the movies that I’ve watched since 2007, which is a project that’s going to take at least a few months to complete. (Letterboxd is seriously addictive.) So, I watched far less television than usual and I guess that’s a good thing. I have to admit that I really didn’t miss it. To be honest, there was actually something liberating about not caring about it. That said, I’ll probably watch way too much TV next week. That’s just the way these things seem to go.

I also didn’t take a lot of notes about what I did watch. Unfortunately, I just didn’t have time to do so this week. So, my thoughts below are largely based on memory and, as you’ll see, some shows were more memorable than others.

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

“Listen carefully, I shall say this only once.”

The British airmen are still stuck in occupied France, the Germans are still trying to find the painting, and Rene is still just trying to find some time to focus on cheating on his wife. For reasons that are way too complicated to explain, the airmen had to fake their deaths this week. Apparently, people faking their deaths is something that happened pretty regularly on this show.

Anyway, this show continues to amuse me with its combination of humor both clever and low. For whatever reason, British sitcoms have always done better at portraying the humor of chaos than American sitcoms.

American Idol (Sunday Night, CBS)

Admittedly, it’s been like three years since I regularly watched this show so you’re going to have to excuse me for being annoyed about stuff that everyone else is probably already used to. Such as, it’s weird to me that there’s only one episode a week and that all of the voting is apparently done and over with in two hours. It definitely moves things along at a quicker pace than back in the old days but it still seems like whoever sings last is going to get screwed just by the fact that their supporters are going to have less time to vote. Of course, I’m foolishly assuming that people are actually casting their votes based on the night’s songs as opposed to who they’ve wanted to win since the show began.

I watched on Sunday. I felt bad for Arthur Gunn, who I felt should not have been eliminated. Later in the week, one of the people who did make it to the top 5 dropped out of the competition because of video that surface of him wearing a sheet when he was 13 years old. It was felt that he looked like he was pretending to be a member of the KKK, though his mother says that he was just pretending to be one of the killers from The Strangers: Prey By Night. So, I guess we’re down to the Top 4 now and American Idol will be ending a week early? Or will one of the previous eliminated singers get a second chance? I guess we’ll find out tomorrow!

I miss Vote for the Worst. They always provided such clarity in confusing times.

Baywatch (Weekday Evenings, H&I)

This week on reruns of Baywatch, the fifth season ended and the sixth season begun. David Charvet left the show and was replaced by David Chokachi, playing a swimmer-turned-lifeguard named Cody who my sister and I nicknamed “The Bulge” as soon as we saw him in the revised opening credits. Gena Lee Nolin also joined the cast, playing a bad girl lifeguard named Neely.

Though the cast may have changed, it’s still the same old Baywatch. The main theme of this show seems to be that no one should go to the beach because the beach is a seriously dangerous place. Every episode also features at least one drowning victim spitting up water after being revived by a lifeguard.

Season 6 did start with Mitch telling Stephanie that he was thinking of becoming a private investigator. Hello Baywatch Nights! Here’s hoping that H&I airs that show at some point in the future as well.

Hill Street Blues (Weekday Mornings, H&I)

As I mentioned last week, Jeff warned me that there was a massive drop-off in quality at the start of the 6th season of Hill Street Blues and my God, was he ever right. None of the episodes that I watched this week — all of which were from the sixth season — were particularly memorable. Some of them were actually rather regrettable. For some reason, it appears that, during season 6, the writers decided to abandon all of the established characters and instead devote their time to detailing the violent and sleazy adventures of Lt. Norman Buntz (played by Dennis Franz). Buntz is the type of fascistic cop who, in previous seasons, would have been portrayed as being a menace or an aberration. As such, it’s strange to see him now portrayed as being the center of the show. I’ve already spent a few months watching over a hundred episodes of this show and I’d like to see it all the way through to the end but I have to admit that the Norman Buntz Show doesn’t hold much appeal for me.

Intervention (Mondays, A&E)

On Monday afternoon, I watched two episodes of this A&E mainstay. In both cases, the interventions worked. One thing I noticed is that no one bothered to dress up for any of the interventions. One guy didn’t even bother to take off his backwards baseball cap. I’m just going to say right now that if anyone ever does any sort of intervention for me, they better make some sort of effort to look good. Don’t come to my intervention looking like it’s laundry day or something.

The Last Drive-In (Friday Nights, Shudder)

I caught the second half of this week’s Last Drive-In. (During the first half, I was hanging out with the #FridayNightFlix crew and watching Joe Don Baker in Mitchell.) The movie was an entertainingly gruesome film from 1981 called Dead & Buried. As always, Joe Bob Briggs was the perfect host.

Moone Boy (Sunday Night, PBS)

The Old Guys wrapped up last week so, in its place, PBS is now airing this sweet and funny Irish sitcom, which aired from 2012 to 2015. Chris O’Dowd plays Sean, who is the imaginary friend of 12 year-old Martin Moone, an imaginative boy whose drawings often come to life (or, at least, they do in his mind). In the first episode, Martin’s bike was stolen by two bullies and Martin’s father ended up bonding with the father of the two miscreants. It was a funny episode, well-acted by O’Dowd and, in the role of Martin, David Rawle.

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

This week, both Granville and Arkwright were miserable and lonely but, again, they avoided killing each other. Granville, however, did appear to give it some serious thought. In the end, he just left a small explosive device in the store. “Where does that boy go at night?” Arkwright wondered before nearly blowing his hand off.

The Rookies (Sunday Mornings, H&I)

Another Sunday, another two episodes of this old 70s cop show. I’m not sure why I’m still watching these episodes, beyond the fact that I’ve gotten into the habit. The opening credits are stylish and it’s always interesting to see how people dressed in 1973 but, for the most part, this is not a particularly interesting show.

The first episode featured Michael Ontkean having to prove that yet another shooting was justified. This is the third episode in which Ontkean’s character has had to justify shooting someone. Considering that he hasn’t even been a cop for more than a year (hence the title of the show), that’s somewhat disturbing. The second episode was something about the rookies trying to get the community to accept the presence of a camp for troubled and disturbed teenagers. It all worked out in the end. Ontkean didn’t have to shoot anyone for once.

Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)

Will got his theater but it nearly cost him a pound of flesh. Kate finally got a chance to act but failed to convince everyone that she was actually a man when she made the mistake of getting a vegetarian lunch. It all led to a courtroom drama and, fortunately, things worked out for the best. Will even got a new play out of all the drama. Upstart Crow continues to be a truly delightful discovery. (I should perhaps clarify that it’s a discovery for me. The show itself first aired in 2016 and had a dedicated fan base long before I came across it on PBS.)

Yes, Minister (Monday Morning, PBS)

On this week’s episode, Jim was placed in charge of transportation policy and quickly discovered that, as Sir Humphrey has often pointed out, it’s never good to be put in charge of anything. This seemed like a funny episode, if just because it was hard not to compare Jim’s distaste for transportation policy to the dorky (and kind of weird) enthusiasm that some people here in America currently have for debating infrastructure policy. Unfortunately, because the episode got off to a late start, my DVR did not record the last five minutes or so. I was not happy about that. Hopefully, Jim managed to push all of the transportation duties off on to someone else.

Lisa’s Week In Television: 4/11/21 — 4/17/21


“Girl, you watch too much television.” Someone said that to me once right before they cut me out of their lives and, I hate to admit it, but they may have been right. I probably do watch too much television. This upcoming week, my goal is to watch a bit less.

Anyway, now that I’ve acknowledged my television addiction, here’s what I watched this week:

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

“That stupid Englishman who thinks he can speak French is here!”

“Good moaning. I was pissing by and I have a massage from the Resistance.”

Allo Allo is a British sitcom from the 80s, which I just recently started watching on PBS. It takes place during World War II, in occupied France and, despite being made by the same people who did Are You Being Served?, it’s actually very funny. Essentially, it’s about Rene who owns a cafe and who keep getting dragged into the plans of the Resistance, the Germans, and the British airmen who are always hiding somewhere in the building. There’s also a running joke about the search for a valuable painting and the various forgeries of it that are floating around town. Last Sunday’s episode featured the Resistance holding a forgery of the painting for ransom. The humor was frequently crude and pretty much dependent upon the viewer knowing all of the pre-existing jokes but it was performed by a lively cast and it was hard not to laugh at the “stupid Englishman who thinks he can speak French.”

American Idol (ABC, Sunday and Monday Night)

As I said the last time that I wrote about this show, I’m not really that much into American Idol anymore. I do watch it on occasion but I wouldn’t necessarily say that I really pay that much attention. The whole show is rather bland and the refusal of the judges to risk their popularity by actually being brutally honest with the singers is a bit of drawback. I often just have the show on a background noise, barely aware of what’s actually happening while it’s on.

That said, I was as shocked as anyone when it was announced, on Monday, that Wyatt Pike had left the show. Why did Wyatt Pike leave? No one knows. In typical American Idol fashion, a vague statement was released that revealed next to nothing. It’s at times like this that I miss Vote For The Worst because that message board would have been on fire with speculation as to why Pike had left the competition. Of course, a lot of the speculation would have been a bit mean-spirited but that’s the internet for ya.

(I was devoted reader of Vote For The Worst but I never commented on the site because I knew, deep down, I was probably too nice to be a part of the community. I always agreed with the site when they trashed production for forcing the singers to sing out-of-date songs and for trying to manipulate the viewers by getting the judges to only praise production’s favorites. But I was also one of those “Can’t we all be happy for the singers?” types and I knew no one wanted to hear that. Still, as biting as some of the comments on the message boards could be, the site was always a valuable reminder not to take American Idol or any “reality” show too seriously.)

Anyway, I’d like to say that Wyatt Pike left because he didn’t want to have to sing whatever song Kara DioGuardi wrote for the finale but then I remembered that it’s been like 12 years since Kara was involved with American Idol and that tells you just how closely I follow the show.

America’s Most Wanted (Monday Night, FOX)

This week was the first season finale of the America’s Most Wanted reboot. It almost might be the finale of the show itself as it has apparently been struggling in the ratings. To be honest, the show’s mix of modern technology (like the CGI versions of the fugitives) and old school recreations of the crimes that the most wanted are accused of having committed has always felt a bit awkward.

Anyway, last night’s episode featured a murderous rapper named Maurice Nesbitt and an environmental terrorist, among others. As I watched the show, I was mostly hoping to hear that Raymond McLeod, the grotesque body builder who was profiled last week, has been captured. No such luck.

Baywatch (Weeknights, H&I)

Baywatch was consistently silly this week. Sunday featured an episode in which Mitch fell in love with a literal princess and it pretty much just got sillier from there. I guess these episodes are from the third season of the show and it appears that it was during this season that Baywatch went from being semi-serious to being so unserious that it occasionally bordered on the surreal. It’s hard not to feel that David Lynch could have worked wonders with Baywatch.

On Monday, things got even stranger as Mitch put on a fake mustache and Stephanie wore a blonde wig so that they could go undercover to capture a master criminal played by John O’Hurley of Seinfeld, Dancing With The Stars, and Family Feud fame. This was followed by an episode that opened with a murder but which was mostly made up of footage of David Hasselhoff playing basketball and Pamela Anderson being stalked by a nerdy newlywed.

Tuesday’s episodes, I didn’t pay much attention to. I was busy cleaning the house so they were mostly on as background noise. The first episode was something about criminals wanting to blow up a pier. Under normal circumstances, blowing up a pier would be a bad idea but these criminals wanted to blow up the pier while the governor was standing on it! The second episode was about Mitch’s father wanting him to take over the architectural firm. Apparently, Mitch’s parents thought that he was wasting his life on the beach. Of course, Mitch is in his early 40s and lives in a pretty big house so it’s kind of hard not to feel that maybe his parents should have had this conversation with him two decades earlier.

On Wednesday, the first episode featured Mitch hiring a sexy housekeeper named Elke. Hijinks ensued! The second episode featured Mitch having to deal with hundreds of UFO enthusiasts flooding the beach. During this episode, Mitch insisted that he didn’t believe in aliens or anything supernatural so I can only imagine that this was before Baywatch Nights. It’s always struck me as a bit odd that Mitch would battle vampires and demons at night and then, during the day, go back to being a laid back lifeguard. But I guess you do what you have to do. Maybe it’s a California thing.

Thursday’s episodes produced a good deal of tonal whiplash. The first episode was a rather grim story about two lifeguard being held hostage in their tower by a sociopathic criminal. I’ve noticed, on Baywatch, that the beaches were always attracting sociopaths and the lifeguards often seemed to end up getting held hostage. I guess it goes with the job but still, I would probably get freaked out after the third time it happened. I would probably look for another job, one that didn’t involve trying to enforce the law while wearing a tight bathing suit. The second episode of the night featured a non-lifeguard pretending to be a lifeguard in order to impress his mother and it was absolutely nothing like the first episode. The two episodes were so different that it was hard to believe that they both took place in the same television universe. Again, it’s hard not to feel that the show missed an opportunity by not asking David Lynch to direct an episode or two.

Friday’s episodes saw Mitch getting paralyzed during a rescue but he didn’t let that stop him from thwarting a hitman. By the end of the second episode, Mitch could walk again and the mafia had been defeated so yay!

Finally, Saturday’s episode featured a surprising amount of kickboxing, which apparently all of the lifeguards were totally into despite no one having mentioned anything about it in any of the previous episodes. There was also this plot about a sleazy French photographer trying to take Pamela Anderson away from the beach. He would have succeeded if not for a fact that a child conveniently had to be rescued from drowning. Having been reminded of why being a lifeguard is so important, Pamela was able to say, “Au revoir, creep.”

Couples Court With The Cutlers (Weekday mornings, Channel 33)

If you think you’re significant other is cheating on you, you can take them to Couples Court where Judges Keith and Dana Cutler will determine whether or not it’s true while a national audience watches and makes fun of you. This show is actually more enjoyable than most other court shows, just because the Cutlers are generally likable and their advice usually makes a little bit of sense. Still, it’s hard not to laugh whenever their grim-faced lie detector guy announces the results of the test as if he’s just returned from interrogating the Boston Strangler or something. In the past, the Cutlers have also used “voice analysis” to determine whether or not someone’s lying. I guess that’s what you do when you can’t afford to hire the polygraph guy for the entire week. “Voice analysis revealed that …. SHE IS NOT CHEATING!” Everyone can be happy with that.

Friends (Weeknights, Channel 33 and many other stations, not to mention HBOMAX)

On Thursday night, I watched the episode where Chandler was dating Rachel’s boss and, even though he couldn’t stand her, Chandler still couldn’t bring himself to break up with her because he was Chandler and he had issues with that sort of thing. It was a funny-enough episode but I guess it was filmed at a time when Matthew Perry was still doing drug because he looked distressingly thin and I actually found myself getting a little freaked out over how sickly he looked. I’m glad that he apparently got all of that worked out. As for the rest of the episode, I actually preferred the subplot, which featured Monica and Phoebe competing over who had the best dollhouse. Phoebe’s dollhouse was the most popular but it was also the most dangerous because it ended up bursting into flames towards the end of the episode.

Gangs of London (Sunday Night, AMC)

Gangs of London is a show that originally aired in the UK in 2020 and which is now airing here in the States on AMC. On Friday, I finally got to watch the first two episodes and it’s really not bad. In fact, it’s actually pretty good. It’s stylish and it’s violent and it does, at times, test how much patience one has for scenes of men glaring at each other but it’s also very well-acted and it makes great use of its gritty London locations. So far, the show has dealt with the aftereffects of the assassination of the man (played by the great Colm Meany) who, for 20 years, ruled over London’s underground. Now, his family is trying to maintain their power while everyone else is looking to move in on their territory. One of the most interesting themes of the show is that the majority of London’s crime families are international in nature. Just as the world has changed, so has the nature of organized crime. These aren’t just a bunch of London hoodlums fighting over an alley or a block. Instead, these are mobsters from all over the world, all fighting for control of a major city. It’s a complicated but definitely compelling show. I will continue to set the DVR for it.

Hell’s Kitchen (Thursday Night, FOX)

On Thursday night, the final two chefs were revealed. Next week, Mary Lou will be going up against Kori in the finale. Mary Lou better win, especially since Declan deserved Kori’s spot. Go, Mary Lou, go!

Hill Street Blues (Weekday Mornings, H&I)

Jeff introduced me to this show last year and I’ve been setting the DVR for it ever since. Hill Street Blues originally aired in the early 80s. It was the first of the big ensemble dramas, following a bunch of cops and detectives as they patrol a really depressing and unnamed city. It’s very much a show of its time but it’s mix of humor and tragedy is surprisingly effective even if it is sometimes dated and the show was really well-written. The characters are especially interesting. Alcoholic detective JD La Rue is my favorite! This week, I noticed that the story editor was Mark Frost, who later collaborated with David Lynch on Twin Peaks. As odd as it may seem, it’s easy to see how the gritty toughness of Hill Street Blues led to the surreal and dream-like drama of Twin Peaks. They’re both ensemble show that require viewers to actually pay attention and think for themselves.

Kung Fu (Wednesday Night, The CW)

I kind of watched the second episode of Kung Fu. I have to admit that I occasionally found myself struggling to remain interested in it. It’s just such a CW show and, as a result, it’s a bit predictable at times. That said, Olivia Liang is doing a great job in the role of the lead character and it still feels like the show has the potential to become something special. Personally, I find the family drama to be way more interested than all of the mystery surrounding the death of Nicky’s shifu. I especially like the relationship between Nicky and her sister. It feels real. Olivia Liang and Shannon Dang are basically the two main reason to give Kung Fu a chance.

The Last Drive In (Friday Night, Shudder)

Joe Bob and Darcy and the iguana are back! The third season of The Last Drive-In started on Friday. The first film that they showed was Mother’s Day and I missed it because I was busy hosting the Friday Night Flix live tweet. However, I did catch the second film that they showed, Lucio Fulci’s The House By The Cemetery. Needless to say, I had a great time watching one of Fulci’s best films. Joe Bob was as likable as ever. His special guest was Eli Roth. On the one hand, I felt the Eli tended to ramble a bit too much (I wanted to get back to the movie!) but, at the same time, his love of the horror genre always came through. It was fun, that was the important thing. I have to say thank you to my friend Jason for correctly guessing and letting me know that Joe Bob was about to show a Fulci film.

Lauren Lake’s Paternity Court (Weekday mornings, Channel 33)

No one can needlessly drag out the reading of paternity results quite like Lauren Lake. It’s almost like a very sadistic style of performance art, the way she tortures the people in her court by getting them at their most vulnerable and then slowly opening the envelope and very precisely and slowly reading every single word of the results. “These results were prepared by DNA Diagnostics, a subsidy of the Rand Company of New Haven, Connecticut, a division of Petrolli Incorporated of Newark, New Jersey and they read as follows. In the case of….” GET ON WITH IT, JUDGE!

The Masked Singer (Wednesday, FOX)

On the one hand, The Masked Singer is an entertainingly strange show and it’s usually fun to try to guess who the celebs under the masks are. On the other hand, it’s hosted by an anti-Semite and one of the judges is an anti-Vaxxer. As I watched the show on Wednesday, I found myself wondering how Jenny McCarthy has managed to more or less get a free pass despite the undoubtedly large role she played in popularizing the anti-vaccine movement. And then you’ve got Nick Cannon, who was ranting about the Rothschilds just a few months ago, serving as the show’s host. My advice would be to replace Jenny McCarthy with …. well, someone who doesn’t have a history of putting people’s lives at risk. And then replace Nick Cannon with Joel McHale and Robin Thicke with Mark McGrath. (Ken Leong, of course, is more than welcome to stay.) Seriously, this is an entertaining show so it would be nice to be able to watch it without feeling guilty about it later.

Speaking of Mark McGrath, he was eliminated this week. He was the Orca.

The Office (All The Time, Comedy Central)

Monday evening, I watched Basketball and Hot Girl from Season 1 and The Dundies from season 2. I rarely drink but when I do, I’m a lot like Pam at the Dundies.

The Old Guys (Sunday Night, PBS)

On Sunday’s episode, one of the old guys finally moved out and got his own flat. Unfortunately, it turned out that he was miserable living without his best friend and housemate so, eventually, he moved back in and everything got back to normal. It was a bit predictable but it was still a cute episode. The flat had an alarm system that was so sensitive that anyone who visited basically had to crawl across the floor to prevent it from going off. That was fun to watch.

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

Arkwright and Granville made it through another episode without killing each other, though both clearly wanted to. It’s a bit of a depressing show but I guess we should be happy no one died.

Protection Court (Weekday mornings, Channel 33)

Protection Court is a reality court show where we watch as people request that the judge grant a restraining order against abusers and stalkers. It’s a disturbing show. Speaking as someone who knows firsthand what it’s like to be stalked, watching this show on Monday morning brought back all of that fear and dread. I’m not really sure why I was watching in the first place.

Rebel (Thursday nights, ABC)

Rebel is a show about a paralegal who gets results not through any real knowledge of the law but instead by yelling at people until they give her whatever she wants just so she’ll go away. We’re supposed to like her but the show is so heavy-handed and the character is such a scold that you actually end up feeling sorry for the heartless corporations. You’re like, “Really? You polluted that river? Well, at least you’re not yelling at me right now.” The main problem with the show is that the main character is actually nicknamed “Rebel,” which …. I mean, yeah whatever. What a waste of Katey Sagal’s talents.

The Rookies (Sunday Morning, H&I)

This Sunday, the first episode of The Rookies featured Michael Ontkean shooting and killing a suspect who he thought was shooting at him. It later turned out that the suspect was unarmed and was instead carrying a camera that apparently sounded like a gun. I don’t know, it was weird. On the one hand, the episode did a good job of showing how a tragedy like this could happen and Michael Ontkean gave a good performance as someone haunted by a terrible mistake. On the other hand, this episode was from 1972 and was so firmly on the side of the cops that it’s hard to watch it today without cringing a little. It’s not so much that the episode justified the shooting as much as it didn’t even seem to entertain the thought that any rational person could possibly believe that Ontkean had been too quick to fire his weapon.

The second episode was incredibly silly, largely because it featured Roddy McDowall as a professional hitman trying to take out an informant in the most unnecessarily complicated way possible. If you were trying to assassinate someone before they went into the witness protection agency, would you kidnap a cop, hold him hostage at a public airport, and demand that the informant be turned over to you so that you can kill him? That’s what McDowall does! Like seriously, this guy is supposedly the best assassin in the world and that’s the best plan that he can come up with! Needless to say, it doesn’t work out for the bad guys but still, anything from the 70s that features Roddy McDowall as a villain is going to be entertaining.

Seinfeld (Weeknights, Channel 33 and a host of other channels, as well was Hulu)

The episodes that I watched on Thursday was a Christmas episode. Elaine was dating a creepy communist named Ned. Kramer was working as a department store Santa, or at least he was until he got too political. “Hey,” a little kid yelled, “This guy’s a commie! Commie! Commie! Traitor to our country!” That made me laugh. Finally, Jerry raced an old acquaintance from middle school and he beat him by cheating. That made me laugh too.

The Serpent (Netflix)

I reviewed The Serpent here.

Tough as Nails (Wednesday Night, CBS)

The second season of Tough as Nails, the bizarre reality show about blue collar people competing to see who can be the first to complete various blue collar tasks, came to an end this week. I guess Scott won and good for him. He got $200,000 and a truck.

Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)

Upstart Crow is a British sitcom, one that imagines the life of William Shakespeare, his friends, his family, and his co-workers. Shakespeare is a pompous social climber with a neurotic side. His co-workers are constantly trying to take advantage of him. His family can’t understand why he won’t ever just write normal and simple dialogue. His friends are, for the most part, idiots. His wife doesn’t respect him and his landlady’s daughter, Kate, is determined to use him to become an actress despite the fact that women are not allowed to appear on stage. Each week, Shakespeare struggles with a new play (or, occasionally a sonnet) and his struggles are usually used as a way to satirically comment on modern events.

PBS just started airing Upstart Crow at the start of this month. Right now, they’re on the first series, which originally aired in 2016. Personally, I’m growing to really like it. It’s a fun show, one that’s rewarding for students of Shakespeare and for those who love a mix of high satire and lowbrow comedy. Like a good Shakespeare play, it appeals to both the nobility and the plebeians. I especially enjoy the performances of David Mitchell as Shakespeare and Gemma Whelan as Kate.

My favorite joke so far has been the portrayal of Christopher Marlowe as a vapid self-promoter who frequently steals Shakespeare’s plays and tries to pass them off as his own. Take that, Marlovians!

The Voice (Monday Night, NBC)

I’m always a little bit surprised by the fact that I always set the DVR for this show because it’s not like a really pay that much attention to it while I’m watching. I think I just like the fact that it’s so ludicrously overcomplicated, what with the battles and the judges stealing people and the judges saving people and it’s always kind of fun to see how silly the judges get when its time to play up all the drama.

Add to that, I like Blake Shelton. I like Nick Jonas. It’s nice that Carson Daly has a job.

Yes Minister (Monday Morning, PBS)

I got a bit of a scare last week when it appeared that PBS was going to stop showing Yes, Minister and instead start showing — ugh — Are You Being Served in its place. Fortunately, it turned out that it was just an error in the guide and Yes, Minister did indeed air Monday at midnight.

(Actually, it started about six minutes late, due to ‘Allo ‘Allo and Open All Hours running late.)

This week’s episode was …. well, it was okay. It was about Jim Hacker’s attempts to bring more women into the civil service and Sir Humphrey’s old school panic regarding the prospect. On the one hand, the episode did a good job of showing the extent that an “old boys club” will go to keep women from advancing. There was a great scene in which all of the heads of the various departments said that they fully supported equal opportunities for all people before then giving increasingly flimsy excuses for why they personally wouldn’t be promoting any women. But then the show itself ended with a woman turning down a promotion because she didn’t want to be viewed as just being a diversity hire and that felt a bit like a cop out. Still, the episode had many funny lines and three great performances from Paul Eddington, Nigel Hawthorne, and Derek Fowlds.

I’ve recently discovered that Yes, Minister eventually became Yes, Prime Minister and I’m certainly hoping that PBS will show those episodes as well. It would certainly be preferable to Are You Being Served.

Lisa’s Week In Television: 4/4/21 — 4/10/21


Another busy week so, once again, I’m running behind on watching some things that I really want to watch. Hopefully, I’ll get caught up with shows like The Walking Dead, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and The Serpent during this upcoming week!

American Justice (CIN, Monday Morning)

I watched two episodes of this old true crime series on the Crime and Investigation Network. One episode was about teacher Pamela Smart convincing her students to murder her husband. The other was about a crazed Texas deputy who murdered a woman with whom he was obsessed. The most memorable thing about the episodes was the very precise and dramatic narration of Bill Kurtis. Kurtis sounded like a such a stereotypical anchorman that he became oddly fascinating to listen to. Discovering that there were journalists who actually sounded like a comedian doing an imitation of a journalist felt a bit like stumbling across Bigfoot after watching a movie about the Abominable Snowman.

America’s Most Wanted (Fox, Monday night)

The revival of America’s Most Wanted is entertaining in its tabloid-like way and it might even lead to the capture of some bad people. That said, it’s hard for me not to worry about the idea of the show eventually being used to track down people who have criticized the government or who have been accused of thought crimes. As dramatic as that might sound, that is the way our culture seems to be heading.

Until then, though, I really hope that this week’s episode leads to the capture of grotesque bodybuilder Raymond McLeod, who apparently murdered his girlfriend five years ago.

Baywatch (H&I, weekday evenings)

On Sunday’s episode, Billy Warlock got hit on the head and ended up fantasizing that he was starring in an episode of Gilligan’s Island. That was seriously the entire episode and you know what? It was actually kind of cute. It was an episode in which Baywatch acknowledged that it was silly show and not meant to be taken seriously. It fit into my thesis that Baywatch was meant to be a satirical. Of course, that episode was immediately followed by an episode in which David Hasselhoff was trapped underneath an old shipwreck. That episode took itself very seriously and was full of flashbacks to previous episodes, forcing me to consider that the Gilligan episode might have just been an outlier.

Monday’s episodes did little to settle the question as to whether or not Baywatch was meant to be taken seriously. The first episode featured Shauni (Erika Eleniak) freaking out after thinking that one of her friends had been eaten by a shark. It was all very dramatic and it too featured flashbacks to previous episodes and it ended up with a very important message about not pressuring your daughter to the extent that she ends faking her own death while swimming around Shark’s Cove. (That’s a rather ominous name for any part of the beach.) That would seem to suggest that Baywatch took itself seriously. The second of Monday’s episodes featured a beach bum/poet who discovered a stolen jewelry box on the beach. The poet was such a silly character that it was hard to believe that anyone involved could have taken that episode’s script seriously. In other words, when it comes to the Is Baywatch Serious Or Not debate, Monday’s episodes constituted yet another draw.

Tuesday’s episodes led to another draw. The first episode featured Hasselhoff breaking into the headquarters of a multinational corporation to track down evidence that they were polluting the bay. It also featured a character who was a lifeguard-turned-environmental activist and it took itself very seriously. The 2nd episode, however, featured an illegal poker game and a B-plot in which Billy Warlock stood up to his girlfriend’s snobby family. It also featured Erika Eleniak dramatically announcing, “He’s a lifeguard!” when someone tried to stop Billy Warlock from giving CPR to a woman who had drowned. The 2nd episode, again, seemed to suggest that the show was in on the joke.

Wednesday’s episodes broke the tie, with both episodes being ludicrous enough that it was hard not to believe that the show had to be at least a little bit aware of how silly it was. The first episode featured a gypsy fortune teller. The second featured David Charvet battling evil surfers. At the same time, the 2nd episode also featured Alexandra Paul as Stephanie, a woman from Mitch’s past, and Hasselhoff acted the Hell out of being shocked to see her. Based on Wednesday’s episodes, it would seem Baywatch did not take itself as seriously as David Hasselhoff did.

Thursday’s episodes — well, who knows? You had a two parter that started with Mitch getting all weepy over a dead uncle but you also had a subplot about the search for a lost gold mine. And, to top it all off, you had Pamela Anderson, Nichole Eggert, and David Charvet all showing up for the first time. (Though all three were in Wednesday’s episode, it appears that H&I showed the episodes out-of-order.) Who knows what to make of all that?

Friday’s episodes both dealt with Nicole Eggert and David Charvet struggling to make it through rookie school and they were both silly enough to make me think that Baywatch was in on the joke. Saturday, however, featured not only a native American activist with magical powers but it also ended with a PSA about the dangers of huffing inhalants. It seemed to be taking itself pretty seriously, even if no one else was.

In the end, all I can surmise is that Baywatch took place in a strange dream world where everyone was in on the joke but they still took the joke literally.

Court Cam (Wednesday Night, A&E)

With the cancellation of Live P.D., Court Cam is A&E’s newest way to 1) exploit people during the worst moments of their lives and 2) justify keeping Dan Abrams under contract. This show is made up of courtroom footage, all breathlessly narrated by Abrams. A typical episode will feature several stories. There’s usually one story that ends in a brawl. There’s at least one sarcastic judge story. There’s at least one story where the defendant begs for mercy. It’s all pretty exploitive and, of course, it’s also fully on the side of the system as opposed to the people living under it.

“But Lisa, if you hate the show so much, why do you watch it?”

Each episode is only 30 minutes long and it passes the time. Plus, occasionally, they’ll show footage from DFW and I’ll spot someone I know.

The District (Weekday Nights, H&I)

Last week, I said that the main appeal of this old show was watching Craig T. Nelson somehow find a way to overact in every single scene in which he appeared. It turns out that appeal is actually kind of limited. On Tuesday morning, as I watched Nelson’s Jack Mannion violate the Constitutional rights of suspects and browbeat everyone who works for him, I realized that the act was no longer particularly amusing so I think I’m done with The District for now.

The Drew Barrymore Show (Weekdays, Syndication)

I caught an episode on Tuesday. I was depressed for hours afterwards. Drew used to be so cool and now she’s hosting a talk show for people find Ellen DeGeneres to be too challenging.

Kung Fu (Wednesday Night, The CW)

I wrote about Kung Fu and my mixed reaction to pilot over at SyFyDesigns.

The Old Guys (Sunday Night, PBS)

This is a British sitcom that aired in the UK in 2009 and 2010. In America, it just recently started airing on PBS. It’s about two …. well, old guys. Tom (Roger Lloyd-Pack) and Roy (Clive Swift) are old and they are housemates and they’re both in love with Sally (Jane Asher). This Sunday’s episode was called “the triple date” and it found the two men competing to see who could go on a date with Sally, who apparently didn’t realize she was on a date with either of them. It was amusing, largely due to the performance of Jane Asher and the two men. Sadly, both Lloyd-Pack and Swift have since passed away.

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

This is an incredibly depressing British sitcom about two men and a grocer’s shop. Arkwright, the older of the two, is always trying to cheat people out of their money. His nephew, Granville, always appears to be on the verge of walking into the middle of traffic. The show originally aired in the 70s and 80s and, in America, it’s pretty much a PBS mainstay. I have to admit that I don’t usually pay much attention to the show when it’s on. I usually just watch it because it’s the lead-in to Yes, Minister and there’s not really much else on at 11:30 on Sunday night. That said, the few times I have really paid attention to it, I’ve found it to be well-acted if a bit grim. The bits where Arkwright has to deal with the customers are occasionally amusing.

Don’t even ask me what happened during this Sunday’s episode. I think Granville was in love but he knew it would never work out because he was stuck in a go-nowhere life. By the end of the episode, he appeared to be borderline catatonic due to the overwhelming misery of his existence. It was hard not to feel bad for him.

The Rookies (Sunday Morning, H&I)

I’m still setting the DVR to record this old 70s cop show. Though the storylines are predictable cop stuff (albeit from the point of view of idealistic rookies as opposed to cynical veterans), it’s still pretty interesting if you’re just looking for a show with some early 70s flavor.

This week’s episode featured special guest star Lou Gossett, Jr. as a criminal-turned-preacher. The older cops suspected that he was just running a scam. The Rookies — Georg Stanford Brown and Michael Ontkean — felt that he was sincere in his desire to reach people and atone for his past. In the end, the show left it somewhat ambiguous as to just how sincere Gossett was. Gossett gave an excellent performance as the preacher and the show actually treated his congregation of hippies with a bit more respect than you might expect from an early 70s cop show.

The SAG Awards (Sunday Night, TBS)

This year, the televised SAG Awards were handed out in an hour and there weren’t any awkward attempts at either comedy or political pontification. To be honest, it was probably the best awards show that I’ve seen so far this year. Here’s hoping the Oscars pay attention to how SAG did it.

Shipping Wars (Vice, Sunday afternoon)

I wrote about Shipping Wars a few years ago. I watched two episodes on Sunday, though I mostly just had them on for background noise. The people involved in the show are always too angry and their customers are always too unlikeable for me to really spend too much time really paying attention to Shipping Wars.

The first episode featured Jen delivering bottled water to hurricane victims in Louisiana while Roy delivered a boat and acted like a jackass. It was typical Roy behavior, which made him entertaining to watch even though you wouldn’t want to actually have a conversation with him. When Roy suddenly died in 2014, Shipping Wars brought on a handful of people to try to replace him but none of them could. Certainly not Dusty! Don’t even get me started on freaking Dusty.

The second episode featured more of Roy being a jackass, this time as he transported a Cadillac to a 50s diner. It also featured Robbie and Chris transporting a deactivated nuclear missile. It would have been more fun if it had been an active missile but still, just the strangeness of that situation explains why Shipping Wars was briefly a popular show.

Storage Wars (A&E, Tuesday Night)

I watched four episodes. None of the storage lockers had any cursed amulets and dead bodies inside of them. I was disappointed.

Tough As Nails (CBS, Wednesday Night)

This reality competition show doesn’t really make a lot of sense to me. Two teams, made up of blue collar, salt-of-the-Earth workers, compete to see which team can be the first to complete various blue collar tasks, like cleaning windows on an office building or installing drywall. It seems like the show would be more interesting if it was like middle-management types and low-level executives having to do the hard work while being instructed and judged by construction works and plumbers.

Still, I watch almost every week, just because the show is hosted by The Amazing Race’s Phil Keoghan. Love ya, Phil!

Wipeout (TBS, Sunday Night)

So apparently, this is a thing again. Wipeout is a game show where teams make money if they can manage to cross an obstacle course without falling or dying. It used to be on ABC, where every episode ended with John Henson saying, “Big balls,” with a creepy smile on his face. Now, it’s on TNT and it’s hosted by John Cena, who just can’t quite match Henson when it comes to being creepy.

Anyway, on Sunday night, they reaired the first episode of the reboot. It aired after the SAG Awards. I have to admit that I mostly just had it on for background noise. Every time I looked up at the TV, people were either jumping on top of or falling off of big rubber balls. I imagine the reboot will probably run until 2060 and I’ll never watch another episode.

Yes Minister (Monday Morning, PBS)

Well, sadly enough, this week’s episode of Yes, Minister is the last one that’s going to be aired on my local PBS station for a while. Next week, Yes, Minister is being replaced by …. ugh …. Are You Being Served? Imagine, going from one showing one of the wittiest and most intellectually engaging sitcoms of all time to showing a hundred episodes of Are You Being Served?

Fortunately, this week’s episode was a great one. It featured both Paul Eddington’s Jim Hacker and Nigel Hawthorne’s Sir Humphrey testifying at a committee meeting about cutting government waste. For once, Hacker actually got the better of Sir Humphrey. Both Eddington and Hawthorne, both of whom are sadly no longer with us, gave brilliant comedic performances. It was a joy to watch.

(UPDATE: I wrote the above on Monday afternoon. When I checked on Tuesday morning, the guide had been changed and apparently, Yes, Minister is going to continue to air on PBS! So, I guess the listing for Are You Being Served was an error. I also checked with KERA.org and found no plans to replace Yes, Minister with Are You Being Served so, hopefully, all that frustration was for nothing! I’ll find out for sure on Monday at midnight, I suppose.)

Watched But Not Reviewed:

  1. American Idol (Sunday and Monday Nights on ABC)
  2. ‘Allo ‘Allo (Sunday Night on PBS)
  3. Hell’s Kitchen (Thursday Night on Fox)
  4. Hill Street Blues (Weekday mornings on H&I)
  5. House Hunters (Tuesday Night, HGTV)
  6. House Hunters International (Tuesday Night, HGTV)
  7. Law & Order: Organized Crime (Thursday Night, NBC)
  8. Law & Order: SVU (Thursday Night, NBC)
  9. The Masked Singer (Wednesday Night, FOX)
  10. Temptation Island (Tuesday Night, USA)
  11. Upstart Crow (Sunday Night on PBS)
  12. The Voice (Monday Night on NBC)

The Previous Week In Television

Lisa’s Week In Television: 3/28/21 — 4/3/21


Twonky

Welcome to the first ever edition of Lisa’s Week In Television!  Because of the holiday weekend, there’s a lot of streaming shows that I haven’t gotten a chance to watch yet.  And I will also admit that I watched a lot of old TV shows over the previous few days.  Then again, I always end up watching a lot of old shows, if just because I always enjoy seeing how people dressed and spoke in the past.

American Idol

American Idol (Sunday and Monday Night, ABC)

I was recently trying to remember when the last time was that I was emotionally invested in American Idol and I think it was way back in 2007.  That would be the sixth season.  I thought Blake Lewis was totally adorable and I was actually really upset when he lost to Jordin Sparks.  That’s nothing against Jordin.  At the time, I just had a weakness for beat boxers.

Ever since then, American Idol has mostly been background noise to me.  It’s one of those things that I watch out of habit and it’s rare that I ever pay that much attention to it while it’s on.  When the show started, it was always interesting to see how brutally frank Simon Cowell could be but, after Simon left, no one was willing to play the villain and the show’s gotten rather bland as a result.

Anyway, on Sunday and Monday’s episodes, the judges announced the top 24 singers.  I have no idea who any of these people are.  I just know that none of them will ever win my heart quite like Blake Lewis performing Time of the Season.

Baywatch

Baywatch (Weekday Evenings, H&I)

Yes, the show about lifeguards is now airing on H&I.  Hopefully, Baywatch Nights will eventually follow.  There’s always been a lot of debate about whether or not David Hasselhoff is self-aware in the style of William Shatner or if he actually took Baywatch seriously.  Having watched a few episodes of the show, I still have no idea.  On the one hand, Hasselhoff certainly seemed to be taking thing very seriously.  On the other hand, how could anyone actually take a show like Baywatch seriously?  I mean, you would have to have somewhat of a satricial spirit to just be involved with the show, wouldn’t you?

Speaking of taking Baywatch seriously, Tuesday’s episode featured Danny Trejo as the father of a gang member.  Trejo wanted his son to stay in the gang and was upset when Billy Warlock tried to recruit him into a lifeguard program instead.  However, when Trejo subsequently fell in the ocean just to be saved by his own son, everyone learned an important lesson.

City Confidential

City Confidential (Sunday Afternoon, CI)

This show, which originally aired on A&E 20 years ago, is actually two shows in one.  The first half of every episode always deals with the history and culture of an American city.  The 2nd half always deals with some crime that happened in that city and which, we’re told, changed that city forever.  Each episode was narrated by actor Paul Winfield, who always sounded somewhat amused no matter how heinous a crime he was describing.

I watched two episodes, one about Milwaukee and one about Carlsbad, New Mexico.  My family briefly lived in Carlsbad when I was growing up so I found that episode to be interesting.  What can I say?  I have a weakness for true crime shows hosted by sardonic narrators.

Distirct

The District (Weekday Mornings, H&I)

The District is a fairly predictable cop show that aired for four seasons at the start of the century.  I had totally forgotten about it until I stumbled across it on H&I during a bout of insomnia.  It’s about Jack Mannion (Craig T. Nelson), the hyperactive police commissioner for Washington D.C.  Pretty much the only interesting thing about the show was Craig T. Nelson’s frequently bizarre lead performance.  Nelson’s not exactly a low-key actor to begin with and The District cast him as a frequently married, show tune loving cop who enjoyed yelling at people.  The show’s producers basically gave Nelson a license to overact and he took full advantage of it.  With each episode, you think that Nelson can’t possibly go more over-the-top and, with each episode, he proves you wrong.

Tuesday’s episode featured him crashing a meeting of the Washington D.C, city council and, when he felt they weren’t paying attention to him, climbing up on a desk so that he could better yell at them.  Later, when Mannion had to interrogate a young child who had witnessed a crime, he got her to answer his question by having a tea party with her.  That’s Jack Mannion for ya!

Hell's Kitchen

Hell’s Kitchen (Thursday night, FOX)

Even though I’m not really a huge fan of yelling at or insulting people, I’ve always liked Hell’s Kitchen.  Some of it is because of those moments (which usually happens towards the end of the season) when Gordon Ramsey reveals that he’s not quite as fearsome as he pretends to be.  (He actually does seem to get emotionally invested once there’s only 6 or 5 chefs left.)  Plus, since I can’t cook, I guess I find it interesting to watch people who actually can.  This latest season, which is drawing to a close, has been one of the better seasons.  Myself, I’m totally cheering on Mary Lou!  Go, Mary Lou!  You got this!

King of the HIll

King of the Hill (Hulu)

This is still the best and most authentic TV show ever made about Texas.  Watching it today, it’s also a nice alternative to the more mean-spirited programming of Seth MacFarlane.  Let it never be forgotten the Fox cancelled King of the Hill to make room for The Cleveland Show, of all thing.  Fortunately, King of the Hill can currently be watched at any time on Hulu.

Saturday morning, my sisters and I watched three episodes while we were preparing for the day — the episodes where Hank goes down Aisle 8A, where Hank goes to New Orleans, and where Dale thinks he’s rabid.  We agreed that Boomhauer is one of the greatest characters of all time.

law & Order

Law & Order: Organized Crime (Thursday Night, NBC)

I reviewed the first episode of Law & Order: Organized Crime here.

Law & Order: SVU (Thursday Night, NBC)

I used to watch SVU religiously when I was in high school and college.  However, as I got older, I kind of lost interest. That said, I did watch it this week because Elliott Stabler (played by Chris Meloni) was making his first appearance on the show since leaving 8 seasons ago.  Thursday’s episode also served as a backdoor pilot, of sorts, for Law & Order: Organized Crime.

The episode was …. okay.  The mob stuff was predictable but it was nice to see that Chris Meloni and Mariska Hargitay still had their old chemistry.  That said, Stabler seemed to be even more tightly wound than he did during his time as a regular on SVU and that’s really saying something as Stabler always seemed like the cop mostly likely to beat a suspect to death during interrogation.  (Of course, Stabler’s wife was injured by a car bomb and later died during the episode so Stabler had good reason for being wound up.)

A lot of people on twitter freaked out over the fact that no one on the show was wearing a mask.  Calm down, people, it’s a TV show.

Love Boat

The Love Boat (Weekday Evenings, Decades TV)

Ah, The Love Boat.  If there’s any show from the 70s and 80s that deserves a revival, it’s probably this one.  Movie and television veterans play the passengers of a weekly cruise, falling in love and taking part in other hi-jinks.  Every episode that I’ve ever seen of The Love Boat has been charmingly silly and, quite frankly, I think that’s what we need more of in the world.  Add to that, the cruise ship industry took a hit with the pandemic.  A Love Boat revival might help revive it.

Monday’s episode featured Zsa Zsa Gabor and a bunch of people who I didn’t recognize but who all appeared to be having a great time on the boat.  Zsa Zsa was determined to win back her ex, even though he was planning on marrying someone else.  The other stories dealt with a kleptomaniac who kept accidentally stealing stuff and a TV actor who feared that he would never be able to live up to his heroic image.  In the end, for all the passengers and crew, love won.

Wednesday’s episode was a Christmas episode from 1980.  Dorothy Lamour was one of the passengers.  Father and son entertainers ran into each on the boat after having not spoken to each other for years.  A stowaway pretended to be the child of a wannabe womanizer.  In the end, for all the passengers and crew, love won.

My Evil Sister

My Evil Sister (Sunday Afternnon, CI)

I watched this on Crime and Investigation on Sunday morning.  As the youngest of four sisters, it’s hard for me not to be intrigued by the fact that there’s so many evil sisters out there that they could actually produce an entire TV series about them.  The episode I saw featured two stories, one about a sister who killed her lazy sister and then tried to frame local drug dealers and the other about a girl who shot her adopted sister because she felt her sister was keeping her from being popular in high school.  Scary stuff!  I’m glad my family likes me!  (I say this as I nervously glance over my shoulder.)

The Office

The Office (Comedy Central)

I watched a few episodes of The Office on Thursday and Friday.  I always feel like I’m taking a risk whenever I watch The Office on Comedy Central because there’s always a chance that they’ll be showing episodes from Seasons 8 or 9.  Fortunately, on Thursday and Friday, they were showing episodes from Season 5.  Jim and Pam hadn’t gotten unbearably smug yet.  Andy and Angela weren’t quite as cartoonish as they would later become.  Best of all, Michael was still on the show so I got to watch him once again fall in love with Holly Flax.  Though The Office was pretty uneven after the third season, the few episodes of season 5 were all gems.

parking_wars

Parking Wars (Monday Morning on A&E)

I wrote about this annoyingly addictive show a few years ago.  I watched two episodes of the show on Monday morning, as I was getting ready for my day.  Even though I mostly had it on for background noise, I still couldn’t help but think about how this show, which aired its last original episode nearly ten years ago, feels like the perfect show for the current era.  A bunch of self-righteous bureaucrats make life difficult for their fellow citizens and, whenever they’re challenged on it, they respond with a bunch of “If you had followed the rules” bullshit.  Watching this show always makes me want to park in front of an expired meter and then rip up the ticket.

The Rookies

The Rookies (Sunday Morning, H&I)

The Rookies is a cop show that aired from 1972 to 1976.  H&I just recently started showing the show.  It airs on Sunday morning at 2 in the morning.  I decided to set the DVR to record the show, just because it was a show that I’d never heard of.  I’m like a cat when it comes to being curious about stuff.

Anyway, The Rookies is about three cops who are …. can you guess it? …. rookies!  One is black.  Two are white.  One has a wife, the other two single.  Whenever they drive their car around the city, 70s wah wah music plays in the background.  From what I’ve seen so far, it’s pretty much a standard cop show.  One of the cops is played by Michael Ontkean, so it’s possible to view the show as being a prequel to Twin Peaks, if you’re so inclined.

I watched Sunday’s episode off of the DVR.  The first episode featured a criminal turning into an informant and putting his life at risk.  In the 2nd episode, Ontkean was shot in the back and had to undergo an experimental surgery to regain the ability to walk.  The stories were, in no way, surprising but it was a chance to experience how people talked and dressed in 1972.

Rome Chariot

Rome’s Chariot Superstar (Monday Morning, Smithsonian Channel)

This docuseries took a look at the ancient Roman chariot races.  It was actually pretty entertaining.  I enjoyed the descriptions of life in ancient Rome and, even better, they showed how to build and steer a chariot!  As I’ve said many times on the site, I’m a history nerd.  I love stuff like this.

sbtb

Saved By The Bell (Sunday Morning, MeTV)

Ah, Saved By The Bell, the oddly popular and incredibly dated high school sitcom from the early 90s.  Don’t ask me to explain why Saved By The Bell remains so watchable, despite being terrible in almost every way.  It’s just a part of the culture and, perhaps more importantly, there’s never been an extended period of time when it hasn’t been on TV somewhere.  One of the many places where it can currently be found is as a part of MeTV’s Sunday morning lineup.  I always seem to end up watching it, even though the show makes me cringe in so many ways.

For instance, on Sunday morning, I watched three separate episodes.  First off, I watched the infamous Running Zack.  This is the incredibly problematic episode where the blonde, blue-eyed, and very pale Zack Morris discovers that he’s a direct descendant of the Native American Chief Joseph and he responds to this news by putting on an elaborate headdress and then giving a speech to his class.  It’s really …. not good.  Zack, however, does subsequently win the big track meet.  If I remember correct, his Native American heritage was never again mentioned on the show.

Running Zack was followed by a far more entertaining episode, Jessie’s Song.  This is the “I’m so excited, I’m so excited, I’m so scared” episode, in which Jessie gets hooked on caffeine pills.  Everyone always laughs about the scene where Jessie freaks out but I think the extremely 80s music video is even more memorably weird.

Jessie’s Song was followed by The Fabulous Belding Boys, in which Mr. Belding’s supercool brother, Rod, showed up as a new substitute teacher at Bayside.  After getting all of his students excited about going rafting for the senior class trip, Rod ditched them all for two stewardesses.  Fortunately, Mr. Belding stepped up and took Rod’s place, showing Zack what being a hero is all about.  This is actually one of the few episodes of Saved By The Bell that actually works as something more than camp, with the normally underappreciated Dennis Haskins getting a chance to show what he could actually do with some halfway decent dialogue.

YesMinister

Yes, Minister (Monday Morning on PBS)

This is a BBC series, which originally aired back in the 80s.  It’s about a government minister named Jim Hacker (Paul Eddington) and two civil servants, Sir Humphrey (Nigel Hawthorne) and Bernard (Derek Fowlds), and their efforts to help Hacker run his department while also making sure that Hacker doesn’t actually accomplish anything.  It’s a hilarious show, one that Jeff recently introduced me to.  Even though the show is very British and 40+ years old, it’s still easy to see parallels between the show’s portrayal of the British government and the realities of Washington, D.C.  I guess bureaucracy is universal.

This show airs on Monday, usually at midnight.  I always set the DVR for it, though I’ve lately been staying up to watch it just because PBS is so inconsistent about keeping to their posted start and stop times.  Back in February, when Texas got hit by that winter storm, an episode of Yes, Minister was the last thing that I watched before the rolling blackouts began.

This week’s episode found Jim Hacker going to a farm for a photo op and essentially screwing everything up.  The show is at its best when it pokes fun at Hacker’s self-righteousness by revealing him to be just another clueless politician and this episode did just that.  (In all fairness, though, Hacker also consistently means well and, occasional pompousness aside, actually is the type of person you would want in office.)  Though the show may be an old one, it’s kind of what we need right now in the Age of Big Government.

Watched But Not Reviewed:

  1. ‘Allo ‘Allo (Sunday Night on PBS)
  2. America’s Most Wanted (Monday Night on Fox)
  3. Fear Thy Neighbor (Saturday Afternoon on ID)
  4. Hill Street Blues (Weekend Morning on H&I)
  5. The Killer Beside Me (Saturday afternoon on ID)
  6. The Masked Singer (Tuesday and Wednesday on Fox)
  7. Open All Hours (Sunday Night on PBS)
  8. Temptation Island (Tuesday Night on USA)
  9. Tough as Nails (Wednesday Night on CBS)
  10. The Voice (Monday Night on NBC)
  11. Your Worst Nightmare (Saturday afternoon on ID)

2016 in Review: 10 Good Things I Saw On Television In 2016


Of all my 2016 in review posts, this is probably going to be the most difficult for me to write.

Last year, when I tried to write about some of the good things that I saw on television in 2015, I started things by confessing that I hadn’t been watching as much television as usual and that I was having a hard time coming up with a worthwhile list.

Well, in 2016, I watched even less television than I did in 2015.  And what I did watch, I usually didn’t care much for.  2016 was dominated by that stupid presidential election and it didn’t take me long to discover that watching too much television would result in me having to sit through hundreds of political commercials.  When it came to watching television, I spent a good deal of 2016 clicking on the mute button.

Of course, I watched all of the reality shows, but even that was largely because I was contracted to write about them at the Big Brother Blog and Reality TV Chat.

I also spent a good deal of time watching classic films on TCM.  I live tweeted most of the movies that premiered on Lifetime and the Lifetime Movie Network.  I did the same during those rare occasions that a new movie showed up on SyFy.

But, beyond that, I found myself with less reason than usual to watch television.  Maybe I’m maturing.  Maybe my tastes are changing.  Maybe I’ve just grown bored with TV in general.  Or, perhaps, 2016 was just a really bad year.

Who knows?

Still, with all that in mind, here are a few good things that I saw on television in 2016!

1) American Crime Story: The People v. OJ Simpson

The television event of the year!  I watched every episode and I was absolutely enthralled.  This brilliantly acted show is probably destined to be remembered as the only worthwhile project that Ryan Murphy was ever involved with.

(“But Lisa, what about American Horror Story…”  American Horror Story sucks.  Don’t even get me started on Scream Queens…)

2) Veep continued to be the most brilliant comedy on HBO.

I know that some people felt that Veep wasn’t as strong this season as it had been in previous seasons.  Well, those people can go to Hell.  Veep is not only a brilliant comedy but it’s also probably the most realistic political show on TV.  Considering the cult-like adoration that voters have for their candidates and towards the government in general, the unrepentant cynicism of Veep provided a much-needed wake up call to the brainwashed masses.

3) Speaking of Veep

Without a doubt, this was the best campaign commercial of 2016:

4) Stranger Things

Thank you, Netflix!

5) Agent Carter

The 2nd season of Agent Carter was just as wonderful, stylish, and empowering as the first.  Of course, the show as promptly canceled, leaving us with just a grand total of 18 episodes.

6) Speaking of cancellations…

American Idol finally came to an end!  Don’t get me wrong.  Like a lot of people, I used to be enthralled by American Idol.  For the first few seasons, I watched every episode.  I voted nearly every week.  I got really emotionally involved.  But, especially over the last few seasons, American Idol was becoming more and more irrelevant.  It soon came to represent everything that people like me hate about cultural conformity.  Vote For The Worst ceased operations, leaving me without a safe place to talk about how annoying it was whenever anyone would use that Hallelujah song for an audition.  A steady stream of boring judges didn’t help either.  American Idol finally came to an end last season.  I watched the final episode.  I can’t remember who won.

7) Bates Motel Continued To Take Brave Risks

Occasionally frustrating, sometimes infuriating, and often quite brilliant, Bates Motel remained one of the most consistently fascinating shows on television.

8) Vinyl crashed and burned

It may seem petty to describe a dramatic failure as being something good that I saw on television.  But, seriously, Vinyl was such a hubris-fueled trainwreck that it was impossible not to feel a little Schadenfreude as it fell apart.

9) Westworld

The anti-Vinyl.

10) The unicorn was saved.

According to Case, the life of a unicorn was saved when People of Earth was renewed for another season.  Yay!

unicorny

unicornlives

Tomorrow, I’ll continue my look back at 2015 with my ten favorite non-fiction books of the year!

Previous Entries In The Best of 2016:

  1. TFG’s 2016 Comics Year In Review : Top Tens, Worsts, And Everything In Between
  2. Anime of the Year: 2016
  3. 25 Best, Worst, and Gems I Saw In 2016
  4. 2016 in Review: The Best of SyFy
  5. 2016 in Review: The Best of Lifetime
  6. 2016 in Review: Lisa Picks the 16 Worst Films of 2016!
  7. Necromoonyeti’s Top Ten Albums of 2016
  8. 2016 In Review: Lisa Marie’s 14 Favorite Songs of 2016

6 Trailers For Clint Jun Gamboa


As I type this, I am soooooooooooooooooooooooo ticked off.  I just finished watching Thursday’s episode of American Idol and I now know that Clint Jun Gamboa did not make the final 13.  Before trying out for this season of American Idol, Gamboa worked on the soundtrack for the infamous Tommy Wiseau film The Room.  That’s right, the man who wrote “Crazy” and “Baby You And Me,” will not be competing for a chance to be the next American Idol.  That’s just wrong.  What’s even worse is that they sent Gamboa on his way without ever once acknowledging The Room.  They could have at least given him a plastic spoon.

So, Clint Jun Gamboa, if you’re reading this, this latest edition of Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse and Exploitation Trailers is dedicated to you.  Le monde est chié, Gamboa. Bonne chance.

1) A Boy And His Dog (1975)

Because it’s for Clint, let’s start out with a trailer for a classic, 1975’s A Boy and His Dog.  Clint, if you’re feeling down — well, I don’t know you well enough to know if this movie will help or not.  It’s kinda one of those you either get or you don’t. 

2) Hi, Mom (1970)

Yes, I know.  The title makes it sound like a prequel to the Room.  “Oh hai, mom.”  Actually, it’s just a very early film from director Brian DePalma.  The movie also stars a very young and very unknown Robert De Niro.

3) The Harrad Experiment (1973)

This is one of those films that I’ve got on DVD but I need to rewatch it so I can review it.  I do remember that the DVD transfer was so bad that it actually started out with one of those “this is made from the best copy we could find — it’s not our fault!” messages. 

4) Two Thousand Maniacs (1964)

Yes, here is the trailer for the groundbreaking exploitation film from Herschel Gordon Lewis.  Clint, this blood feast is for you.

5) Shriek of the Mutilated (1974)

I’ve got this one on DVD though I haven’t managed to stay awake through the entire film yet.  But I just love that title.

6) Mad Doctor of Blood Island (1969)

Sadly enough, the Perfectly Sane, Kinda Boring Doctor of Blood Island was located just a block away but everyone was too busy with the mad doctor to notice.

Stay supple, Clint!