Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 7/31/22 — 8/6/22


Yes, I watched a lot of old TV shows this week.  I was doing some work around the office and the retro channels always seem to keep me focused.

Here are this week’s thoughts on what I saw!

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

Fortunately, the attempted execution of Rene and Edith failed and they were safely returned to Nouvion.  Unfortunately, before they got back to their café, the Resistance attempted to run the business and thoroughly screwed things up.  Meanwhile, realizing that the war not going particularly well for them, the German occupiers made plans to leave France and perhaps relocate some place with a warmer climate.  While all of this went on, Officer Crabtree continued to wish everyone a “Good Moaning,” because Officer Crabtree was a professional.

The Bachelorette (Monday Night, ABC)

This week’s episode was extremely awkward to watch, with Rachel feeling insecure when compared to Gabby and the bachelors themselves not being particularly sensitive about the situation, but at least Meatball was given a second chance.  Seriously, this entire franchise will be redeemed if Rachel ends up getting engaged, even if it’s just temporarily, to Meatball.

Better Call Saul (Monday Night, AMC)

I am so worried about what’s going to happen to Jimmy/Saul/Gene!  During this week’s episode, we flashed back to Saul first meeting Walt and Jesse and then we flash forwarded to Gene treating Buddy and Jeff in much the same way that Walt used to treat Jesse.  Especially after Gene’s phone call to Kim, I’m starting to worry that Gene is becoming just as self-destructive as Walt was at the end of Breaking Bad.  Considering that there’s only a few episodes left before this show ends, that’s not a good development for those of us who are hoping that Jimmy/Saul/Gene gets some sort of a happy ending.

Big Brother 24 (Everyday, CBS and Paramount+)

I’m writing about the latest, surprisingly entertaining season of Big Brother at the Big Brother Blog!  This week, Nicole was voted out and proved to be as delusional on her way out and she was on her way in.  Even after Julie Chen explained to her why she had been targeted and voted out, Nicole still didn’t get it.

The Challenge (Wednesday Night, CBS)

This week, yet another former member of Big Brother 23‘s Cookout was eliminated.  Azah is out of the game, leaving Kyland as the last member of the Cookout standing.  Considering what happened when Kyland was voted out of the Big Brother House, it somehow seems cosmically appropriate that he’s managed to survive the Challenge while the other members of his former alliance have been eliminated.  That said, I hope Derek X. wins the show.

CHiPs (Weekday Afternoons, Charge TV)

I watched two episodes of this 70s motorcycle cop show on Monday.  Both episodes were pretty much the same.  There was a big accident on the freeway.  There was a lot of motorcycle cop action.  There was some pretty California scenery.  The bass-driven theme song is the main thing that I remember about the two episodes.  The show was bland but the music was great.

Diff’Rent Strokes (Weekday Afternoons, Rewind TV)

Diff’Rent Strokes is one of those old sitcoms that I’ve heard a lot about but I’ve never really watched, just because everything I’ve ever heard about it just made it sound like a pretty stupid viewing experience.  That said, I did need some background noise on Monday so, when I saw that the show was now on Rewind TV, I decided to catch two episodes.

In the first episode, old Mr. Drummond attempted to go camping with his new stepson but things got complicated when his stepson’s biological father also decided to tag along.  In the second episode, Mr. Drummond decided to do the Undercover Boss thing by working in one of his factories.  He discovered that he wasn’t popular with his workers and that he needed to pay them more.  Surprisingly, no one saw through his disguise, despite the fact that it only consisted of a fake mustache that didn’t even match his hair color.  It was all pretty dumb.  For a rich man, Mr. Drummond lived in a really boring penthouse.  Like seriously, if you’re that rich, update your décor.

Family Ties (Weekday Afternoons, Rewind TV)

I used two episodes of this very 80s sitcom for background noise on Monday.  On the first episode, Elyse (the mother of the family at the center of the show) was struggling with her conscience about whether or not she should fire a recently divorced but extremely annoying employee.  It was kind of obvious that Elyse needed to fire her but Elysa was a former hippie and, as a result, had no idea how to wield authority.  On the second episode, an impossibly young Michael J. Fox had to babysit his bratty younger sister.  He took her to a poker game.  She got annoyed with being treated like an afterthought and wandered off.  Luckily, everything worked out in the end and lessons were learned all around.

Fantasy Island (Monday Morning, GetTV)

I watched two episodes of the original Fantasy Island on Monday morning but I have to admit that I was half-asleep during both of them.

The first episode featured two fantasies.  In the serious fantasy, a jazz trumpeter went back in time to New Orleans so that he could play with his idols.  In the comedic fantasy, a woman and the two men who were in love with her got stranded on an island in the Bermuda Triangle.  The goofier of the two men was played by football player Joe Namath.  His performance here was better than his performance in C.C. and Company but not by much.

In the second episode, the main fantasy dealt with a private detective who wanted to solve a case with Humphrey Bogart.  The guy playing Bogart did a passable imitation.  The other fantasy featured Michelle Phillips as a woman who wanted to be “the most famous equestrian in history.”  She thought this would mean that she would be famous but instead, the Island took her words literally and she was transformed into Lady Godiva.  First off, why did the island take her words literally when it didn’t do that for anyone else?  And secondly, is Lady Godiva really the most famous equestrian in history?  Oh well, the important thing is that everyone learned a lesson.

Full House (Sunday Evening, MeTV)

I watched two episodes of this show on Sunday and I’m sure I lost at least two brain cells as a result.  The first episode featured Uncle Joey auditioning to be the voice of a cartoon chipmunk or something like that.  Frankie Avalon was the episode’s special guest star.  Remember Frankie’s cameo in Casino?  “I have 8 children.  It was my pleasure.”  This was followed by an episode in which Aunt Becky told Danny that DJ was sneaking out of the house to hook up with her boyfriend.  DJ got mad and said, “I thought you were my friend!”  Poor DJ.  I don’t blame her for wanting to escape the Full House.

Ghost Whisperer (Weekday Mornings, Start TV)

I watched an episode on Monday.  Melinda was (understandably) concerned that Aiden was now seeing and talking to ghosts.  When the ghost of a girl who had recently died of Leukemia insisted on taking Aiden on a journey through town, Melinda had to track them down and find out what the girl wanted.  Fortunately, since this was Ghost Whisperer and not Medium, things worked themselves out.

Hart to Hart (Monday Morning, GetTV)

In this very 80s detective show, a fabulously rich married couple (played by Robert Wagner and Stephanie Powers) traveled the world, spent a lot of money, and occasionally solved mysteries.  Their loyal chauffer was Max, played by the gravelly voiced Lionel Stander.

I watched two episodes of Monday morning.  In the first episode, the Harts were taking part in a car race in Greece.  A Greek tycoon wanted to kill off Jonathan Hart so that he could take over Jonathan Hart Industries.  Fortunately, he didn’t succeed.  If he had, I imagine they would have had to change the title of the show.  The second episode featured a mysterious woman who claimed to Jennifer Hart’s half-sister.  Needless to say, Jonathan did some investigating and it turned out that there was more to the story.

Anyway, the two episodes that I saw were kind of dull plotwise but I did enjoy the show’s shameless celebration of money and glamour.  It was all very 80s.

Inspector Lewis (YouTube)

I watched an episode with my TV Mysteries friends on Tuesday night.  A buried body was discovered.  Hathaway and Lewis investigated.  Lewis was in a notably cranky mood in this episode and even dismissively referred to one woman as being “Miss Marple.”  My theory is that Lewis had a drinking problem.  Usually, Hathaway was able to cover for him but this week, Lewis just lost control.

King of the Hill (Hubi)

Early Friday morning, I watched the episode in which Hank and his undefeated softball team took an exhibition game against the Ace of Diamonds and His Jewels just a bit too seriously.  “Believe to achieve.”

Kojak (Monday Morning, GetTV)

Kojak is a show from the 70s, about a bald homicide detective who calls people baby and who sucks on lollipops.  Kojak was played by Telly Savalas, who was also Blofeld in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and the Devil in Lisa and the Devil.

The episode that I watched on Monday morning was the first episode that I had ever actually seen of this show, though I had read about it in the past.  In this episode, Ruth Gordon played a psychic who had been having dreams in which she saw women being murdered.  Luckily, Kojak was there to eventually capture the killer.  Neither Gordon nor Savalas were particularly subtle performers and, in this episode, they both seemed to enjoy competing to see who could best steal every scene that they shared.  Add to that, the killer was played by Andy Robinson, who also played Scorpio in Dirty Harry.  It was kind of entertaining to watch.

Magnum P.I. (Weekday Mornings, Charge TV)

On Monday, I watched an episode of the original 80s Magnum, P.I.  Magnum’s friend T.C. was in a coma.  Magnum had to figure out why T.C.’s helicopter crashed.  Luckily, the mystery was solved and everyone survived.  The Hawaiian scenery was lovely.

Medium (Weekday Morning, Start TV)

On Monday’s episode, Allison had a dream about a courtroom shooting and also discovered that she wasn’t the only psychic offering up her abilities to the legal system.

Mike Judge’s Beavis and Butt-Head (Paramount+)

I watched the first two episodes of this show on Thursday night, immediately after the Nicole eviction on Big Brother.  I laughed and I cringed.  Beavis and Butt-Head don’t look like they use deodorant so that worries me.  You can read Jeff’s review of the show here!

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

It’s been a few months since I last watched Open All Hours.  I checked it out this week.  Arkwright was cheating his customers and Granville was consumed with resentment.

Traffik (DVD)

I watched Traffik on Wednesday and Thursday and I wrote about it here.

Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 7/17/22 — 7/23/22


This was a relax and get healthy sort of week for me.  I didn’t watch much but I enjoyed what I watched.

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

I finally got a chance to check back in with Allo Allo this week, having missed the last few episodes due to my focus on the potential Emmy nominees.  To my shock, I discovered that both the Italians and the British airmen had left Nouvion.  The war continued however, with both the communist Resistance and the other Resistance trying to capture Lt. Gruber and Col. Von Strom under the impression that they were actually Hitler and Goering.  It was all a bit complicated, to be honest.  Michelle has become my favorite character because “I shall repeat this only once” is just a badass way to start a conversation.

The Bachelorette (Monday Night, ABC)

As long as the “meatball enthusiast” makes it to the end, this will be a successful season.  I don’t know, I think I liked this franchise more before everyone started talking about “Bachelor Nation” and all that nonsense.  Now that everyone’s in on the joke, it’s just not as much fun.

Better Call Saul (Monday Night, AMC)

Kim left Jimmy and Jimmy finally appears to have completed his transformation into Saul Goodman.  To be honest, this is how I always figured the final episode of Better Call Saul would go.  However, there’s still four episodes left in the series.  Now, it wouldn’t surprise me if the final episode deal with Jimmy’s life after fleeing New Mexico but what’s going to happen in the other three?

Big Brother (All week, CBS and Paramount Plus)

What a week for Big Brother fans!  Due to the Congressional hearings (which have been a bit hit on Twitter but apparently nowhere else), Thursday’s live eviction show was preempted.  At first, CBS said that Big Brother would instead air on Friday.  Then, for some reason, they decided to just do a two-hour special on Sunday.  CBS also initially announced that the feeds would be down for four days, from Thursday until after Sunday’s show.  After the people who actually pay money to have those feeds complained, CBS relented and the feeds come back on Thursday night …. which, of course, now means that everyone knows what is going to happen on Sunday.  It’s just another example of what a disorganized mess this season has been so far.

So, we all know that Pooch (yes, that was his name) was voted out of the house and that Turner (yes, that’s his name) is the new HoH.  And we know that Michael and Brittany are on the block and the plan is to backdoor Taylor.  Hey, I don’t have to watch the show on Sunday now!

Anyway, I wrote about all of this at the Big Brother Blog.  I was kind of looking forward to having four days off, to be honest with you….

The Challenge (Wednesday Night, CBS)

Go, Tyson, go!  Sorry, I’m still struggling to get into this show but Tyson’s a Survivor so I’ll cheer for him.

City Homicide (Weekday Nights, DigiTV)

This is an Australian show that I discovered on Thursday, when I came across it on DigiTV.  Basically, it’s CSI, just with Australians instead of Americans.  The episode that I watched dealt with a murder at a public school.

Full House (Sunday Afternoon, MeTV)

Having married Aunt Becky, Jesse attempted to move out of the Full House.  Michelle demanded that Jesse return so, of course, that’s what Jesse did and Becky cheerfully agreed to spend the rest of her life living in the attic and helping Danny raise his daughters.  This was followed by an episode where Michelle gave her pet goldfish a bath and KILLED it!  I’m sorry, Michelle was a little demon child.

Ghost Whisperer (Weekday Afternoons, Start TV)

I watched an episode of Ghost Whisperer on Monday.  It had been a while since I last watched this show.  As much as I love Ghost Whisperer, I was a little bit disappointed to discover that Monday’s episode was from that really weird story arc where Jim died but then possessed someone else’s body.  This particular episode ended with Jim coming back to life but I have to admit that, for the rest of the series, I was always confused as to whether or not everyone knew he was Jim or if they thought he was Sam.  That said, I still enjoyed watching the episode because it was Ghost Whisperer.

Medium (Weekday Afternoons, Start TV)

On Monday, after watching Ghost Whisperer, I watched an episode of Medium, which was basically the super serious version of Ghost Whisperer.  The medium (played by Patricia Arquette) found out that her brother had psychic powers as well!  Medium was never quite as much fun as Ghost Whisperer but Patricia Arquette and Jake Weber were an adorable couple.

The MLB All-Star Game (Tuesday Night, AMC)

I watched this very long baseball game with my sister, mostly as a way of making up for making her watch a film called Blood Game two weeks ago.  Her team won so I was happy for her, even though I wish both teams could have won.  Everyone should be a winner!

Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 10/31/21 — 11/6/21


I spent the first week after Halloween in a state of exhaustion.  That’s the way it usually is after a successful horrorthon.  I got a lot of work done at the office.  I had the TV on for background noise for quite a bit of the time.  Here’s what I watched:

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

With the colonels being held hostage by the Communist Resistance, Michelle came up with a great plan to solve the problem!  Rene could simply rob a bank!  After all, Michelle said, they had access to the greatest safe cracker in all of France.  LeClerc looked confused until he realized she was talking about him.  Rene attempted to refuse but soon found himself in a bank, holding a torch while LeClerc attempted to break into the safe.  It all led, of course, to an explosion.  Monsieur Alphonse was upset that some of his money was set on fire to provide light in the vault.  Who can blame him?  Meanwhile, Officer Crabtree kept asking Michelle and Rene if there done “ribbing the bonk.”  I laughed.

The Bachelorette (Tuesday Night, ABC)

Michelle sent Jamie home, which was good.  But then she canceled the Cocktail Party, which …. eh.  The whole “I’m going to cancel the cocktail party and go straight to the Rose Ceremony” thing has become the biggest Bachelorette cliché move.  It’s right up there with questioning whether someone is on the show for the right reasons.

Baywatch Hawaii (Prime)

Running for two seasons, from 1999 to 2001 (wow, two centuries!), Baywatch Hawaii was an attempt to reenergize the fading popularity of Baywatch by moving all of the lifeguard action to a new state.  Mitch (David “The Hoff” Hasselhoff) left California for Hawaii, where he started a new branch of Baywatch.  JD (Michael Bergin), Jessie (Brooke Burns), and Newman (MICHAEL NEWMAN!) came with him and were joined by a group of new lifeguard trainees.  Of the new cast members, a very young Jason Mamoa played an impetuous lifeguard named …. Jason.

Having binged the original Baywatch earlier this year, I figured that I might as well watch the two seasons of Baywatch Hawaii, just so I could get the complete story.  Luckily, both seasons are on Prime.

On Thursday, I watched the first four episode and they weren’t particularly good.  The Hoff looked extremely bored and really wasn’t in much of the show.  Instead, most of the action revolved around Sean (Jason Brooks), the hardass instructor brought in to train the new lifegaurds and turn them into a team.  Every episode, Sean threatened to send someone back to the mainland and, each time, the lifeguards proved themselves at the last minute.  The first episode opened with the Hoff having an existential crisis in Hawaii, one that was solved when he saved a little girl from drowning.  The second episode featured Sean yelling at the new recruits while the Hoff saved the exact same little girl from suffering a case of secondary drowning at her birthday party.  This was followed by an episode where a new lifeguard named Dawn joined the team and immediately started scheming to seal JD away from from Jessie.  Finally, in episode #4, Jason was nearly sent home for being too “self-reliant,” which didn’t make much sense to me but whatever.  In all four episodes, the Hawiiaian scenery was lovely and everyone had an aesthetically pleasing body and really, that’s the main concern with a show like this.

On Friday, I watched episodes 4 through 8.  Sean yelled at the lifeguards.  Jason struggled to learn how to work as a member of a team.  Dawn kept trying to steal everyone’s boyfriend. So far, this has been a pretty repetitive show.  The same could be said of the original Baywatch but that show often seemed to be cheerfully aware of how silly it was whereas Baywatch Hawaii took itself a bit too seriously.  The 8th episode did feature the return of Hobie.  The Hoff was upset when he discovered that 1) Hobie was marrying a girl that the Hoff had never met and 2) Hobie was apparently embarrassed to introduce the Hoff to the wealthy parents of his wife-to-be.  Embarrassed by the Hoff!?  Say it ain’t so, Hobie!  It all worked out in the end, though. The Hoff saved a wedding photographer who fell in the ocean and Hobie and his girlfriend decided to put off getting married and instead just decided to live together in sin.  My aunt would be very disappointed in them.

Classic Concentration (Weekday Afternoons, Buzzr)

This was an old game show, in which contestants tried to match the pictures that were hiding under the squares.  I watched two episodes on Wednesday and it was actually kind of a fun show.

Cold Case (Weekday Afternoons, Start TV)

On Monday’s episode, the Cold Case Squad investigated why Lilly never seemed to wash her hair.  No, actually, they investigated a 1962 murder that had been disguised to look like a murder.  Seriously, though, what was up with Lilly’s hair?

Court Cam (Wednesday Evening, A&E)

I watched two episodes on Wednesday evening.  One featured a defendant who told the judge to go “<bleep> yourself” and I have to say that the A&E censorship beeps are so loud that they can actually give you a headache after a while.

Crossing Jordan (Weekday Afternoons, Start TV)

I watched two episodes on Monday but, for the most part, I just had the show on for background noise.  In the first episode, Jordan and her team of quirky coroners were outraged over prison conditions.  In the second episode, Jordan and the gang were outraged over a religious cult.  There was a lot of quirky outrage.

Day of the Dead (Friday Night, SyFy)

Eh.  It’s not really a bad show but, after watching three episodes this week to get caught up, I kind of feel that Day of the Dead is just not going to be for me.  It’s hard to say why I don’t particularly care for it.  The anti-fracking stuff is a bit too on-the-nose but, then again, George Romero wasn’t exactly subtle when it came to making his political points in the latter Dead films either.  I think my main problem is that we’re four episodes in and it’s still doesn’t seem as if the show has established any sort of narrative momentum.  So, I think I’m done with Day of the Dead for now.

Dennis The Menace (Weekday Mornings, Antenna TV)

I kind of watched two episodes of this show on Tuesday morning.  I say “kind of” because I only had the TV on in the office for background noise and Dennis was such a sociopathic little brat that I really couldn’t bring myself to pay that much attention to him.  Poor Mr. Wilson!

Fear the Walking Dead (Sunday Night, AMC)

Read my thoughts here!

Ghost Whisperer (Weekday morning, Start TV)

I watched an episode at Monday while I was at work.  After a college student was scared into a coma, Melinda had to determine if it was the work of Bloody Mary or if it was just a ghost who needed help crossing over.  This episode was from the Jay Mohr years so it had all of this weird sexual tension between Rick and Melinda, despite Melinda being married to Jim.

Hazel (Weekday Mornings, Antenna TV)

On Tuesday, I used two episodes of this maid-centered, old sitcom for background noise.  In one, Hazel raised money to repair a broken vase.  In the next one, she helped out a gardener who was in danger of getting fired.  Hazel really needed to get a life outside of work.

I Dream of Jeannie (Weekday Afternoons, Antenna TV)

On Tuesday, I had two episodes on for background noise.  One featured Jeannie’s dog causing chaos.  The other featured Jeannie ruining the marriage of Major Nelson’s commanding officer.  How many lives did Jeannie ruin during her reign of terror?

The Love Boat (Sunday Evening, MeTV)

I wrote about the special Halloween episode of The Love Boat here!

Match Game ’76 (Weekday Mornings, Buzzr)

I watched two episodes of this old game show on Wednesday.  Two contestants tried to match answers with a group of angry-looking alcholics.  The entire set looked like it reeked of gin, cigarettes, and skunk weed.

Match Game/Hollywood Squares Hour (Weekday Mornings, Buzzr)

This was a weird game show from the 80s.  Basically, it’s 30 minutes of the Match Game, followed by 30 minutes of Hollywood Squares with the same contestants and minor celebs taking part in both.  I kind of watched an episode of Wednesday morning but, to be honest, the show was mostly just background noise while I organized the office.

Medium (Weekday Mornings, Start TV)

I caught an episode on Monday, while I was at work.  Alison solved the case of a young woman who was pushed off a cliff.  Alison and her incredibly understanding husband also wondered whether they should warn a friend that Alison had foreseen him having a fatal heart attack.  The low-key and serious approach of Medium provided a clear contrast to the more sensationalistic approach of Ghost Whisperer.  But Ghost Whisperer was a much more fun show to watch.

The Office (Sunday Night, Comedy Central)

Jim and Pam badgered Danny Cordray over why Danny didn’t ask Pam on a second date.  This episode is a good example of how unlikable Jim and Pam became after they got married.

One Step Beyond (YouTube)

Check out the episode that I watched here.

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

Granville sadly wondered if he would ever marry.  Arkwright told him he was too young to worry about such things, despite the fact that Granville appears to be nearly 50.  No wonder Granville is losing his grip on reality.

Saved By The Bell (Sunday Morning, MeTV)

No sooner had I recommended that people watch the Mystery Weekend episode for Halloween than MeTV aired it.

Survivor 41 (CBS, Wednesday Night)

I wrote about the latest episode of Survivor here!

Unforgettable (Weekday Afternoons, Start TV)

On Monday’s episode, Carrie and Al investigated a murder in upstate New York.  It reminded Carrie of her sister’s murder, mostly because Carrie has total recall and everything reminds her of her sister’s murder.  To be honest, I think if I had watched this show when it originally aired, I probably would have liked it.  The photographic memory aspect is interesting and Poppy Montgomery and Dylan Walsh are likable in the lead roles.

Walking Dead: World Beyond (Sunday Night, AMC)

Saved by the Dead remains an entertaining-enough show.  I’m still not sure what’s going on but I do enjoy all of the annoyed and rebellious attitudes.

Lisa’s Week In Television: 9/26/21 — 10/2/21


If it seems like I watched an excessive amount of old TV shows this week, that’s because I did.  While I was working this week, I kept the TV turned to the retro channels.  The only exception to that rule was on Friday when I watched three daytime dramas.  For the most part, these shows served as background noise while I was making plan for this year’s Horrorthon but, at the same time, I have to admit that I do kind of like occasionally watching the old TV shows.  I’m a history nerd and, at their best, those shows are like stepping into a time machine and seeing the way people used to dress, talk, and, for better or worse, think.

This week also saw the end of Big Brother, which means that I can now devote all of my time to horror films.  Yay!

With all that in mind, here’s my week in television:

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

With the Germans and the Italians holding a conference to determine their plans for invading England, it falls on Rene to discover their plans to send that information to the Resistance, via the use of a homing duck.  Yes, a duck.  There’s probably worse ways to do it, to be honest.  I know that the ducks in our neighborhood are pretty resilient.  Needless to say, Rene complained quite a bit but still did what he had to do.

Bachelor in Paradise (Tuesday Night, ABC)

Ivan had to leave the show because he snuck out of his room during lockdown and tried to see one of the future contestants.  This show certainly does have a lot of rules for something that is essentially just a second-rate knock-off of Paradise Hotel.

Bewitched (Weekday Afternoon, Antenna TV)

I watched two episodes of this classic sitcom while doing some work around the office on Tuesday.  Unfortunately, both episodes were from the Dick Sargent years.  (I prefer the episodes with Dick York’s hapless Darrin to the episodes that feature Dick Sargent flying into a rage every few minutes.)  The first episode features Sarena causing trouble, which was fun.  The second episode featured Endora casting a hex on Darrin, which was fun if just because Darrin was such a pain in the ass that he certainly deserved it.

Big Brother (24/7, Paramount Plus and CBS)

It’s over!  I wrote about the show and big finale over at the Big Brother Blog!

The Bold and the Beautiful (Weekday Afternoons, CBS)

Last year, when the COVID lockdowns first kicked in, I got sucked back into the world of the daytime dramas.  However, up until this week, it had been a few months since I had watched any of them.  I guess I just got bored with them.  That said, this Friday, I decided to check in with a few of them, just to see what was going on.

The Bold and the Beautiful remains my favorite, just because it’s so self-aware and intentionally over the top.  This Friday’s episode featured a lot of people having heated discussions and it was fun to watch.  The drama, the eye rollings, the flaring nostrils, the little smirks — Hell, I might have to start setting the DVR for these shows again!

CHiPs (Weekday Afternoon, Charge!)

I watched two episodes of this 70s cop show on Thursday.  The show itself was pretty bland but the California scenery was lovely and that opening theme music really gets stuck in your head.  They knew how to work a bassline in the 70s.

Cold Case (Weekday Afternoon, Start TV)

Remember this show?  Cold Case followed the adventures of Lily (Kathryn Morris), the deathly pale cold case detective who never seemed to wash her hair.  On Wednesday, I watched an episode in which Lily and the cold case squad investigated the murder of a woman who made a tape for a dating service shortly before her death.  As always, the show started off on an interesting note but then got unbearable once Lily and the gang started doing their thing.

Crossing Jordan (Weekday Afternoons, Start TV)

On this crime show, Jill Hennessy played Jordan, a coroner who investigated crimes for some reason.  This was one of those overly quirky crime shows that aired in the aughts, so naturally Jordan has a crew of odd co-workers and a potential boyfriend played by Jerry O’Connell.  Fortunately, Miguel Ferrer was also on the show, lending it all some much needed gravitas.

I watched two episodes on Wednesday.  In the first one, Jordan researched the darkest corners of the internet.  (GASP!)  It was interesting to watch, just because the episode was made before Twitter and Facebook really became things.  This was followed by an episode in which Jordan investigate the death of corporal who had gone AWOL from Afghanistan.  Crossing Jordan was always at its worst when it tried to be political.

Considering how annoying I found this show to be, both during its original run and in reruns, I’m kind of surprised I watched two episodes.  Was I just too lazy to change the channel?  It’s possible.

CSI: Miami (Weekday Mornings, Charge!)

I don’t care what anyone says.  Between David Caruso putting on the sunglasses and Emily Proctor’s Southern accent, CSI: Miami was the best of the various CSIs.  I watched two episodes on Thursday.  The first one dealt with a man who died at a race track and it was okay but kind of forgettable.  The second one dealt with the mysterious world of the internet and there’s nothing I love more than when CSI: Miami explores the dark web!  While the team explored the internet, Horatio protected his niece from a killer and did that thing where he delivered one-liners in an extremely serious voice.  It was fun!

Dennis The Menace (Weekday Afternoons, Antenna TV)

Dennis the Menace?  More like Dennis the sociopath!  I watched two episodes on Tuesday.  When Dennis wasn’t harassing Mr. Wilson, he was making everyone else’s life a living Hell.  GO AWAY, YOU LITTLE BRAT!

Friday the 13th: The Series (YouTube)

Getting to discover old shows like this is one of the truly fun things about our annual horrorthon at TSL.

General Hospital (Weekday Afternoons, ABC)

Oh my God, Sonny might still be alive!  On Friday, I watched this show for the first time in months and I was immediately reminded of why I love General Hospital, despite the fact that I find the title to be misleading.  The show features nonstop drama, much of it revolving around gangsters named Sonny who know how to fake their own death.

Ghost Whisperer (Weekday Mornings, Start TV)

As I’ve written in the past, I love Ghost Whisperer!  The episode that I watched on Wednesday featured a ghost leading Melinda to a munitions dump that was full of unexploded bombs.  I don’t believe in ghosts but, if they did exist, I would hope they would be willing to confide in me as easily as they do Melinda.

I Dream of Jeannie (Weekday Afternoons, Antenna TV)

I watched two episodes of this old show on Tuesday, while I was doing some work around the office.  The first episode featured Jeannie’s sister trying to steal away Major Nelson.  The 2nd featured a con artist (played by Milton Berle) trying to outsmart Jeannie! Oh no!  The 2nd episode took place in Hawaii, which was nice.  I loved visiting Hawaii.

Hazel (Weekday Mornings, Antenna TV)

Hazel is an old sitcom about a live-in maid who insists on trying to run everyone’s life.  On Tuesday, I had the TV in the office tuned to Antenna TV and, as a result, two episodes of Hazel served as background noise while I worked.  In one episode, Hazel’s employer was convinced that the neighbors were interfering with his TV reception.  In the second episode, Hazel came to the defense of a friend who was accused of being a corporate spy.  I felt bad for Hazel, who apparently didn’t have much of a life outside of work.

Knight Rider (Weekday Afternoons, Charge!)

I’ve often heard of this old show but Thursday was the first time that I ever watched an episode.  In fact, I watched two episodes.  Youngish David Hasselhoff driving a car that talks in the voice of Mr. Feeney?  What’s not to love!?  Actually, to be honest, it seemed like the type of show that would get pretty boring once the novelty wore off.  The car was cool, though.  The first episode featured the Hoff and the car saving a building from detonation.  The second found the Hoff driving the car in a race and protecting a journalist.  In both cases, everything turned out for the best.

McHale’s Navy (Weekday Mornings, Antenna TV)

This was an old sitcom about a bunch of sailors in the Navy.  It was obviously made at a time when America was not at war because you wouldn’t trust any of these people to be able to handle a combat situation.  Ernest Borgnine played the McHale of the title.  I had the show on for background noise while I was doing some work around the office on Tuesday.  Antenna TV aired two episodes but I didn’t pay much attention to either one.  One featured a chimpanzee.  The other featured McHale trying to run a beauty contest.  Ernest Borgnine seemed to be having fun.

Medium (Weekday Afternoon, Start TV)

Medium was the serious version of Ghost Whisperer, starring Patricia Arquette instead of Jennifer Love Hewitt.  It will always be interesting to me that Patricia basically spent the first decade of this century starring in Medium and filming Boyhood on the weekends.  Anyway, Medium was always a bit too dour for me but Patricia Arquette and Jake Weber both gave good performance every week that the show aired.  It was a show for grown-ups, one that unfortunately aired when I was anything but.

Start TV always shows Medium after Ghost Whisperer, which makes it impossible not to compare the two shows.  On Wednesday, I watched an episode in which Patricia developed a sensitivity to light.  She started wearing sunglasses but whenever she put them on, everyone that she saw would have a number on their head that states how many days they have left to live.  AGCK!  Actually, by Medium standards, this was a fun episode.

Moone Boy (Sunday Night, PBS)

PBS’s airing of Moone Boy came to a touching end with two final episodes on Sunday.  The first featured Dessie trying to open a Catholic book shop.  It soon became popular with people of all religions, including Scientologists!  The second episode featured the death of Martin’s grandfather and the return of his grandfather’s imaginary friend, George Gershwin (played by Paul Rudd).  It was the a very, very sweet episode, one that took an honest but humorous look at aging, maturing, and death.  The final scene brought tears to my mismatched eyes,  What a good show!  I’m glad I got to see it.

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

I didn’t really pay much attention to this episode but I’m pretty sure a dog ordered Granville to go on a rampage.  I’m a little bit worried about Granville, to be honest.  He seems to let things get to him.

Survivor (Wednesday Night, CBS)

You can read my thoughts on the latest episode of Survivor here!

Talking Dead (Sunday Night, AMC)

Talking Dead was a bit bland this week, which was a shame considering how good the latest episode of The Walking Dead was.  For the record, the guests were superfan Yvette Nicole Brown and, via satellite, Lauren Ridloff.

That Girl (Weekday Afternoons, Antenna TV)

On Tuesday afternoon, I had the TV in the office tuned to Antenna TV, largely because I had a lot of work to do and retro sitcoms are often the perfect background noise.  Among the shows that aired were two episodes of That Girl, which is a show that I had heard of but never watched before.  Marlo Thomas plays Anne Marie, an actress.  I appreciated the fact that Anne and I share a middle name.

Anyway, I didn’t really pay much attention to the two episodes that aired.  I had a lot of work to get done.  The first episode featured Anne dealing with a potential audit from the IRS and it was nice to see that people in the 70s hated the IRS as much as I hate them right now.  The second episode featured Anne Marie trying to encourage a singer who was planning on becoming a nun.  In both cases, everything worked out for the best.

Three’s Company (Weekday Afternoons, Antenna TV)

I watched two episodes of this very 70s sitcom on Tuesday.  I should admit that I only had it on for background noise while I was finishing up some work so I didn’t pay much attention to it.  I’ve seen a few episodes of this show over the year and I’ve never really seen the appeal.  I’m just like, “Just explain what really happened and get on with your life!”

Anyway, the first episode features James Cromwell — yes, that James Cromwell — as a vice cop who thought Chrissy was a prostitute so he came back to the apartment to arrest her but Jack thought he was just a jerk so he punched him and then Cromwell tried to arrest everyone but then Mr. Roper said that Jack was gay so Cromwell let him go because it would be too embarrassing to admit that he got punched out by a gay guy.  God, that was exhausting.  This was followed by an episode where everyone thought the apparently asexual Mr. Roper was having an affair because every character on the show was an idiot.

Unforgettable (Weekday Afternoon, Start TV)

On this show, Poppy Montgomery played a detective who had the ability to remember every single thing she had ever seen or heard.  It was a really interesting premise and Poppy Montgomery was a good series lead but the show was never as interesting as it should have been.  The episode I watched on Wednesday featured Poppy and Dylan Walsh transporting a witness down to Florida.  It was a pretty basic show but Poppy and Dylan had an enjoyable chemistry.

The Walking Dead (Sunday Night, AMC)

This week’s episode was pretty good and I wrote about it here!

The Young and the Restless (Weekday Afternoons, CBS)

After having not watched the show for a month, I watched Friday’s episode.  There was a lot of talking.  Mariah and Tessa were debating whether or not start a family.  Victoria and Nick’s rivalry was threatening to ruin a wedding.  As usual, there were a lot of restless people on the show.  I enjoyed it.  I like watching attractive, rich people argue.

In conclusion …. actually, this post is already over 2,000 words long so we probably don’t need a conclusion.  It was a good week!

12 Good Things I Saw On Television In 2020


What to say about television in 2020?

It’s hard to come up with much, largely because there really wasn’t a whole lot of television to watch.  With the pandemic shutting down several productions and even knocking out stuff like the Olympics, network television was even more of a wasteland than usual.  As far as the major networks were concerned, 2020 was a year of rerurns and overproduced celebrity-themed game shows.

I’m sure that some would say that the presidential election livened things up and I have to admit that I did enjoy snarking on Michael Bloomberg, Tom Steyer, and MJ Hegar, all three of whom seem to be competing to see whose campaigns could put out the most cringe-worthy commercials possible.  But, with Trump on one side and Biden on the other, there was little about this election that was enjoyable to watch.  Indeed, I’ve reached the point where just thinking about hearing someone say, “Fake news” or “Come on, man,” makes me want to throw something across the room.

Even my old reliables failed me this year.  Survivor halted production.  The Amazing Race and Big Brother both featured the least likable cast imaginable.   It’s hard to get excited when bullies are winning your favorite shows.

As usual, the streaming services did a bit better than the networks but, in the end, it feels as if I spent most of 2020 watching the retro channels.  Whenever the real world got too stressful, annoying, or stupid, I would go out to my private office and I’d watch a channel like MeTV, AntennaTV, ForwardTV*, or maybe even CoziTV.  To be honest, it really didn’t matter what old shows they were showing.  All that mattered was that watching those shows of the past provided an escape from all the bad stuff happening in the present.  They provided non-threatening background noise and there’s something to be said for that.  They’re televised time capsules, perfect for a history nerd like me.

(*To be honest, I’m not sure that there really is a network called ForwardTV.  I do know that I frequently watch Ghost Whisperer on one of the retro channels and I’ve never actually caught the name of the channel.  Maybe it’s ForwardTV.  Who knows?)

So, this year, my list of good things that I saw on TV is going to be shorter than usual.  Who knows?  It could be for the best.  I usually watch too much TV as it is.

  1. A Teacher

This miniseries, about a teacher who has an affair with a student and how it continues to determine the shape of their lives long after the affair ends, was an unusually intelligent and thought-provoking show.  As the teacher and the student, Kate Mara and Nick Robinson both gave realistic and empathetic performances.

2. Bad Education

One of the best films of the year premiered on HBO.  On the one hand, it’s sad to think that the film would have been eligible the Oscars if it had only been bought by Netflix.  On the other hand, though, it’s totally possible that more people saw it on HBO than would have seen it otherwise.  Hugh Jackman didn’t win an Emmy and he’s not going to get an Oscar but he still gave one of the best performances of 2020.

3. Michael Bloomberg blowing it during his first Democratic Debate

Considering how obnoxious and ever-present his commercials were (“Mike will get it done!”), there was something deeply satisfying about watching this smug technocrat totally blow it when he actually found himself on live TV and having to deal with actual human beings.  There wasn’t much to enjoy as far as politics went in 2020 but seeing Bloomberg get booed after trying to explain away all of the HR complaints against him was a joy.

4. Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult

There were two high-profile NXIVM series last year.  HBO had The Vow, which was a lengthy series that was produced by a bunch of former NXIVM members and which tried to make the director of What The Bleep Do We Know into some sort of hero.  Seduced, meanwhile, was an honest look at life in the cult, one that pulled no punches and which made The Vow look worse and worse with each episode.

5. Saved By The Bell: The Reboot

The Saved By The Bell reboot turned out to be a 100 times better than it had any right to be.

6. 9-1-1: Lone Star

This show is a guilty pleasure for me, I’ll admit it.  On the one hand, it does a fairly good job of capturing the feel and attitude of my homestate.  On the other hand, I don’t know that there’s as many volcanoes in Texas as this show seems to think.  No matter, though!  It’s over-the-top and fun.

7. The Mandalorian

I’m not even into Star Wars and even I had to admit that The Mandalorian was pretty damn cool.  I’m among the many people who started watching for Baby Yoda and who stuck around because the show itself turned out to be so unexpectedly entertaining.

8. Better Call Saul 

Saul Goodman never lets us down.

9. The Queen

Neither does Queen Elizabeth.

10. Ghost Whisperer Reruns

And neither does Melinda!  Eve when she’s appearing in reruns airing on Hulu and whatever ForwardTV actually is.

11. Coronation Sreet

They have a ton of episodes on Hulu!  Considering that it often seemed as if I might never get to leave the country again, there was something nice about being able to go on Hulu and watch something as British as this show.

12. I learned to appreciate the Daytime Dramas

When you’re working from home in the middle of a pandemic, there’s something oddly comfortable about turning on the TV and seeing something like the Bold and the Beautiful or General Hospital.  Those shows are always there, they’re always dealing with same stuff that it’s been dealing with for decades, and they are also the shows most likely to get interrupted by a breaking news alert.  So, as long as I turn on the TV at 12:45 and I see The Bold and the Beautiful instead of Norah O’Donnell looking somber, I know that the day’s probably going to be crisis-free.

TSL Looks Back at 2020:

  1. Lisa Marie’s Top 8 Novels of 2020 (Lisa Marie Bowman)
  2. Lisa Marie’s Top 8 Non-Fiction Books of 2020 (Lisa Marie Bowman)
  3. Lisa Marie’s 20 Favorite Songs of 2020 (Lisa Marie Bowman)
  4. Lisa Marie’s 16 Worst Films of 2020 (Lisa Marie Bowman)
  5. My Top 20 Albums of 2020 (Necromoonyeti)
  6. 25 Best, Worst, and Gems That I Saw In 2020 (Valerie Troutman)
  7. Top 10 Vintage Collections (Ryan C)
  8. Top 10 Contemporary Collections (Ryan C)
  9. Top 10 Original Graphic Novels (Ryan C)
  10. Top 10 Ongoing Series (Ryan C.)
  11. Top 10 Special Mentions (Ryan C.)
  12. Top Ten Single Issues (Ryan C)

Guilty Pleasure No. 39: Ghost Whisperer


Once upon a time, there were two shows about women who could speak with the dead.

One show ran from 2005 to 2011.  It starred a future Oscar winner and, over the course of its run, it was nominated for a bunch of Emmys.  It may have never been a huge hit but it received decent ratings and, even more importantly, it was a critically acclaimed.  The show claimed to be based on fact and it took a low-key, procedural approach to its stories.

The second show ran from 2005 to 2010 and it starred a multiple Golden Globe nominee and it was never nominated for any major Emmys.  (The first season, however, did receive a Teen Choice nomination.)  Like the first show, it was never exactly a big hit, though it did have a loyal audience.  Whereas the first show was acclaimed by critics, the second show was routinely dismissed.  If the first show was subdued and low-key, this second show took the exact opposite approach.

The first show was called Medium.

The second show was called Ghost Whisperer.

I watched both of them and I can tell you that both had their strengths and their weaknesses.  Medium was, at time, genuinely creepy and Patricia Arquette gave an admirably serious performance.  At the same time, the show was often so serious that it was a bit of a drag to watch.  You may have believed that Arquette could talk to the dead but you never really bought into the idea that they would want to talk to her or anyone else on the show.  In short, Medium was good but it wasn’t much fun.

Ghost Whisperer, on the other hand…

Listen, I’m not even going to pretend that Ghost Whisperer was a great show.  It was a frequently silly and over-the-top show.  Jennifer Love Hewitt played Melinda Gordon, who lived in Grandview, New York and who owned an antique shop called — I kid you not — Same As It Never Was Antiques. The dead would come to Melinda because they still had feelings that needed to be resolved on Earth before they could cross over into the afterlife.  Sometimes the ghosts were in denial.  Sometimes they were rude, violent, and scary.  Sometimes they were just mildly quirky.  But they always ended up happy that Melinda was able to find a way for them to move on.  Over the course of five seasons, the show developed both the quirkiness of the town and the mythology behind the ghosts themselves.  We learned about the Watchers and the Shadows and the Shinies and the Book of Changes.  We also learned a bit about Melinda’s history.  Season 3 ended with Melinda helping her deceased father go into the light and you better believe I cried.

If Medium was an often dour, somber, and deliberately frumpy show, Ghost Whisperer was bright, fun, and unapologetically glamorous.  While poor Patricia Arquette always seemed to be carrying the entire weight of the world on her shoulders, Jennifer Love Hewitt always appeared to be having a blast playing Melinda.  While she may not have been as good as an actress as Patricia Arquette, Jennifer Love Hewitt always brought just enough natural enthusiasm to the role that she could make even the most hackneyed of dialogue believable.  When I looked over some of the reviews of Ghost Whisperer’s first season, the immediate thing that I noticed was that many of the critics (in particular, the male critics) were obsessed with pointing out that Jennifer Love Hewitt was continually dressed and filmed in such a way to emphasize her breasts, as if there’s some sort of crime in being proud of what you have.  But for me, as someone who shares the struggle of trying to find cute clothes for big boobs, it was empowering that Melinda didn’t hide her body, her personality, or her beliefs.  As played by Hewitt, Melinda was confident,  outspoken, and unapologetic.  Yes, she dressed a certain way.  Yes, she looked a certain way.  Yes, she believed that she could help ghosts cross over.  And if anyone had a problem with it, so what?  Melinda was a role model who never really got her due.  If I ever find myself speaking to ghosts, I hope that I handle it half as well as Melinda did.

Ghost Whisperer ended in 2010 and Medium ended in 2011.  Medium may have been nominated for more awards but guess which one I’ll always make a point to watch in syndication?

Previous Guilty Pleasures

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