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

Here’s The Trailer For Loki!


Like many people, I was broken-hearted when it appeared that Tom Hiddleston’s Loki was killed during Avengers: Infinity War. Then I was happy to see that he came back (in a fashion) in Avengers: Endgame! As for the upcoming Disney+ series featuring Loki …. well, let’s just watch the trailer and patiently wait for June 11th, shall we?

It looks good to me but, of course, you knew I was going to say that. I’m among those who feels that Tom Hiddleston can do no wrong so I’m going to be happy to see him in just about everything. Does this series make Loki the first Marvel villain to get his own MCU vehicle? Good for him. Who doesn’t love Loki?

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)

TV Mini-Review: Law & Order: Organized Crime 1.1 “What Happens In Puglia”


I used to watch Law & Order: SVU religiously. I thought Benson and Stabler were obviously in love, though I also knew that there was no way that Stabler would ever cheat on his wife. I enjoyed listening to Munch’s conspiracy theories and his weird little trivia factoids. I loved Finn’s way with a quip and even boring old Captain Cragen didn’t bother me too much. I enjoyed the show, even if I did occasionally call it Law & Order: SUV by accident. Eventually, though, the show’s relentlessly grim atmosphere and subject matter started to get to me and, a few years ago, I stopped regularly watching.

However, I did make it a point to watch this week’s episode of SVU because Elliott Stabler (Chris Meloni) was returning for the first time since both the character and the actor left the show at the end of its 12th season. Stabler returned in order to investigate who was responsible for the explosion that killed his wife. He not only reunited with Benson (and it was nice to see that Meloni and Mariska Hargitay still had their old chemistry) but he also attempted to redeem himself and his reputation. Stabler previously left the NYPD under a cloud of suspicion. Having committed six shootings in the line of duty, he could either submit himself to a full psychological analysis and take an anger management class or he could quit. He chose to quit. Anyone who thinks that it’s extreme to quit your job rather than learn to control your anger obviously never saw Elliott Stabler in action. Stabler was basically fueled by nonstop anger.

When Stabler was on Law & Order: SVU, he was the epitome of the cop who took every case personally. On the one hand, you liked him because Meloni gave a good performance and you could tell that he was trying to control his demons. On the other hand, you always knew that there was a decent chance that he was going to end up beating a suspect to death during an interrogation. It sometimes made him a bit frightening. At times, Stabler’s eyes would narrow and he would get that look on his face and you knew that anyone who cut him off in traffic was probably going to get intentionally rear-ended. He was a road rage incident waiting to happen. Tonight, when Stabler returned to SVU, it quickly became apparent that years of retirement hadn’t done much to calm him down. Admittedly, he had every reason to take this particular case personally but you still got the feeling that, even if his wife hadn’t been murdered, Stabler would still have been looking for an excuse to shoot someone.

I imagine he’ll probably get that excuse soon enough because Thursday’s episode of SVU served as a crossover with the first episode of Law & Order: Organized Crime. Organized Crime is the sixth entry in the Law & Order franchise (the seventh if you count that strange True Crime show) and it’s the first new one since Law and Order: Los Angeles came and went in 2010. This latest entry follows Stabler, who is now once again a detective with the NYPD and who is working with the Organized Crime task force. The first episode found Stabler launching an investigation into Richard Wheatley, a mob heir-turned-businessman who was played by Dylan McDermott. Since McDermott was listed in the opening credits, I assume the entire first season is going to be about Stabler investigating him and trying to take him down.

The first episode of Law & Order: Organized Crime was flawed but watchable. The scenes with Stabler, whether he was comforting his children or investigating a crime or trying to convince his boss that he wasn’t a loose cannon, were all strong. From the minute Meloni showed up, I was reminded of how compelling he was on SVU. Meloni brings a tough authenticity to even the most clichéd of dialogue and, even though he’s obviously quite a bit older now than he was a regular on SVU, Meloni hasn’t lost a step when it comes to portraying Elliott Stabler. The show acknowledged that Stabler, with his “I am the law” attitude, is a bit out-of-place in today’s culture. Stabler, like the Law & Order franchise itself, is going to have to figure out how to adjust to the times.

I was a bit less enthusiastic about both the character of Richard Wheatley and Dylan McDermott’s performance in the role. If Wheatley’s going to be a season-long villain, he’s going to need to develop a few more quirks and nuances beyond loving his children and killing his father. McDermott seemed almost bored with the role, suggesting none of the charisma that one would expect from someone who can convince that world that he’s a legitimate businessman while, at the same time, controlling the New York drug trade. Whealtey seemed like just a generic bad guy and he’s going to have to be more than that if he’s going to be a truly worthy opponent for Elliott Stabler. Hopefully, Wheatley will become more interesting as the show progresses.

That said, the first episode worked well-enough. It was well-directed by Fred Berner and it had more visual flair than I was expecting from a Law & Order spin-off. The scene where Stabler goes to a deserted amusement park to meet with an informant was especially well-done and atmospheric, with the lights of the boardwalk providing a perfectly spooky compliment to what Stabler discovered.

I’ll set the DVR. The first episode wasn’t perfect but I’m still intrigued enough by Meloni’s return to see where this 6-episode series goes.

Here’s The Latest Teaser For The Falcon and The Winter Soldier!


Here’s the latest teaser/trailer for The Falcon and The Winter Solider.  This show will begin streaming on March 19th, at which point we’ll see if it’s destined to become a pop culture phenomena like WandaVision or if it’s going to go the route of Netflix’s Marvel shows.

Judge for yourself:

Here Are The 2020 Annie Nominations!


The annual Annie Awards honor the best in animation.  The winners will be announced on April 16th and you can find the nominees below:

Best Feature
Onward, Pixar Animation Studios

Soul, Pixar Animation Studios

The Croods: A New Age, DreamWorks Animation

The Willoughbys, Netflix Presents A BRON Animation Production in association with Creative Wealth Media

Trolls World Tour, DreamWorks Animation

Best Indie Feature
A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, Studiocanal and Aardman present in association with Anton Capital Entertainment, an Aardman Production for Netflix

Calamity Jane, Maybe Movies

On-Gaku: Our Sound, Rock’n Roll Mountain, Tip Top, GKIDS

Ride Your Wave, Science SARU / GKIDS

Wolfwalkers, Apple / GKIDS

Best Special Production
Baba Yaga, Baobab Studios

Libresse / Bodyform -#WombStories, Chelsea Pictures

Nixie & Nimbo, Hornet

Shooom’s Odyssey,Picolo Pictures

The Snail and the Whale, Magic Light Pictures

Best Short Subject
Filles Bleues, Peur Blanche, Miyu Productions

KKUM, open the portal

Souvenir Souvenir, Blast Production

The Places Where We Live (Cake), FX Productions and FX

World of Tomorrow Episode Three: The Absent Destinations of David Prime, Don Hertzfeldt

Best Sponsored
Erste Group ‘Edgar’s Christmas’, Passion Animation Studios

Max & Maxine, Hornet

The Last Mile, Nexus Studios

There’s a Monster in my Kitchen, Cartoon Saloon, Mother

Travel the Vote, Hornet

Best TV/Media – Preschool
Buddi, Episode: Snow, Unanico Group

Muppet Babies, Episode: Wock-a-bye-Fozzie, Oddbot/Disney Junior

Stillwater, Episode: The Impossible Dream / Stuck in the Rain, Apple / Gaumont / Scholastic

The Adventures of Paddington, Episode: Paddington Digs a Tunnel to Peru, Blue-Zoo Animation Studio and Nickelodeon Animation Studio

Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum: I am Madam President, Episode: I am Madam President, 9 Story Media Group, Brown Bag Films

Best TV/Media – Children
Hilda, Episode: Chapter 9: The Deerfox, Silvergate Media for Netflix

Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Episode: Finale Part 4: Rise, Nickelodeon Animation Studio

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, Episode: Heart Part 2, DreamWorks Animation

Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Episode: Shattered, Lucasfilm Animation

Victor And Valentino, Episode: The Lonely Haunts Club 3: La Llorona, Cartoon Network Studios

Best TV/Media – General Audience
Close Enough, Episode: Logan’s Run’d/Room Parents, Cartoon Network Studios

Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal, Episode: Coven Of The Damned, Cartoon Network Studios

Harley Quinn, Episode: Something Borrowed, Something Green, Eshugadee Productions in association with Warner Bros. Animation

Rick and Morty, Episode: The Vat of Acid Episode, Rick and Morty LLC

The Midnight Gospel, Episode: Mouse of Silver, Titmouse Animation for Netflix

Best Student Film
100,000 Acres of Pine, Student director: Jennifer, Alice Wright School: The Animation Workshop

Coffin; Student directors: Yuanqing Cai, Nathan Crabot, Houzhi Huang, Mikolaj Janiw, Mandimby Lebon, Théo Tran Ngoc; School: Gobelins, l’école de l’image

La Bestia; Student directors: Marlijn Van Nuenen, Ram Tamez, Alfredo Gerard Kuttikatt; School: Gobelins, l’école de l’image

Latitude du printemps; Student directors: Sylvain Cuvillier, Chloé Bourdic, Théophile Coursimault, Noémie Halberstam, Ma?lis, Mosny, Zijing Ye; School: Rubika

O Black Hole!, Student director: Renee Zhan, Student producer: Jesse Romain, School: National Film and Television School, UK

Best FX for TV/Media
Fast & Furious: Spy Racers, Episode: Sirocco Fire Explosion, DreamWorks Animation; Chris Browne, Brand Webb, Russell Richardson, Ardy Ala, Reggie Fourmyle

Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, Episode: Welcome to Jurassic World, DreamWorks Animation; Emad Khalili, Ivan Wang

Lamp Life, Episode: Lamp Life, Pixar Animation Studios; Greg Gladstone, Keith Daniel Klohn, Matthew Wong

Tales of Arcadia: Wizards, Episode: Killahead, Part Two, DreamWorks Animation; Greg Lev, Igor Lodeiro, Brandon Tyra, Cui Wei, Ma Xiao

Transformers: War For Cybertron Trilogy (Siege), Episode: Episode 6, Rooster Teeth Productions for Netflix; Masanori Sakakibara

Best FX for Feature
Over the Moon, Netflix Pearl Studio; Ian Farnsworth, Brian Casper, Reinhold Rittinger, Zoran Stojanoski, Jennifer Lasrado

Soul, Pixar Animation Studios; Tolga Göktekin, Carl Kaphan, Hiroaki Narita, Enrique Vila, Kylie Wijsmuller

The Croods: A New Age, DreamWorks Animation; Amaury Aubel, Domin Lee, Alex Timchenko, Andrew Wheeler, Derek Cheung

Trolls World Tour, DreamWorks Animation; Zachary Glynn, Landon Gray, Youxi Woo, John Kosnik, Doug Rizeakos

Wolfwalkers, Apple / GKIDS; Kim Kelly, Leena Lecklin, Frédéric Plumey, Almu Redondo, Nicole Storck

Best Character Animation – TV/Media
Alien Xmas, Netflix Presents Fairview Entertainment / Sonar Entertainment / Chiodo Bros. Productions; Kim Blanchette

BoJack Horseman, Episode: Good Damage, Tornante Productions, LLC for Netflix; James Bowman

Cosmos: Possible Worlds, Episode: Vavilov Starburns Industries; Dan MacKenzie

Hilda, Silvergate Media for Netflix; David Laliberté

Lamp Life, Episode: Lamp Life, Pixar Animation Studios; Lucas Fraga Pacheco

Best Character Animation – Feature
Onward, Pixar Animation Studios; Shaun Chacko

Soul, Pixar Animation Studios; Michal Makarewicz

The Croods: A New Age, DreamWorks Animation; Rani Naamani

The Willoughbys, Netflix Presents A BRON, Animation Production in association with Creative Wealth Media; Andrés Bedate Martin

Wolfwalkers, Apple / GKIDS; Emmanuel Asquier-Brassart

Best Character Animation – Live Action
The Christmas Chronicles 2; Production Company: Netflix Presents A 26th Street Pictures / Wonder Worldwide Production; FX Production Company: Weta Digital; Nick Stein, Caroline Ting, Sebastian Trujillo, David Yabu, Paul Ramsden

The Mandalorian; Production Company: Lucasfilm; FX Production Company: Image Engine; Nathan Fitzgerald, Leo Ito, Chris Rogers, Eung Ho Lo, Emily Luk

The Umbrella Academy 2; Production Company: UCP for Netflix; FX Production Company: Weta Digital; Aidan Martin, Hunter Parks, Craig Young, Viki Yeo, Krystal Sae Eua

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made; Production Company: Walt Disney Pictures; FX Production Company: Framestore; Anders Beer, Marianne Morency, Hennadii Prykhodko, Sophie Burie, Cedric Le Poullennec

Best Character Animation – Video Game
League of Legends, Riot Games, Inc.; Jose “Sho” Hernandez, Lana Bachynski , Christopher Hsing, Matthew Johnson, Jason Hendrich

Marvel’s Spider-Man Miles Morales, Insomniac Games; Brian Wyser, Michael Yosh, Danny Garnett, David Hancock

Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Moon Studios Xbox Game Studios iam8bit; Jim Donovan, Warren Goff, Boris Hiestand, Kim Nguyen, Jason Martinsen

The Last of Us Part II, Naughty Dog; Jeremy Yates, Eric Baldwin, Almudena Soria, Michal Mach, August Davies

Best Character Design – TV/Media
Amphibia, Episode: The Shut-In!, Disney TV Animation; Joe Sparrow

BNA, Episode: Runaway Raccoon, Trigger / Netflix; Yusuke Yoshigaki

Craig of the Creek, Cartoon Network Studios; Danny Hynes

Looney Tunes Cartoons, Warner Bros. Animation; Jim Soper

The Owl House, Episode: Young Blood, Old Souls, Disney Television Animation; Marina Gardner

Best Character Design – Feature
Soul, Pixar Animation Studios; Daniel López Muñoz

The Croods: A New Age, DreamWorks Animation; Joe Pitt

The Willoughbys, Netflix Presents A BRON Animation Production in association with Creative Wealth Media; Craig Kellman

Trolls World Tour, DreamWorks Animation; Timothy Lamb

Wolfwalkers, Apple / GKIDS; Federico Pirovano

Best Direction – TV/Media
Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal, Episode: Plague of Madness; Cartoon Network Studios; Genndy Tartakovsky

Great Pretender, Episode: Case 1_1, Los Angeles Connection Production I.G. for Fuji Television Network and Netflix; Hiro Kaburagi

Mao Mao: Heroes of Pure Heart, Episode: Mao Mao’s Nakey, Titmouse Inc / Cartoon Network Studios; Michael Moloney

Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Episode: Battle Nexus NYC, Nickelodeon Animation Studio; Alan Wan

The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse, Episode: Hard to Swallow, Disney Television Animation; Eddie Trigueros

Best Direction – Feature
Calamity Jane, Maybe Movies; Rémi Chayé

Over the Moon, Netflix Presents a Netflix/Pearl Studio Production / a Glen Keane Productions Presentation; Glen Keane

Ride Your Wave, Science SARU / GKIDS; Masaaki Yuasa

Soul, Pixar Animation Studios; Pete Docter, Kemp Powers

Wolfwalkers, Apple / GKIDS; Tomm Moore, Ross Stewart

Best Music – TV/Media
Blood of Zeus, Episode: Escape or Die; Powerhouse Animation Studios for Netflix; Paul Edward-Francis

Mira Royal Detective, Episode: The Great Diwali Mystery, Wild Canary / Disney Junior; Amritha Vaz, Matthew Tishler, Jeannie Lurie

Star Trek: Lower Decks, Episode: Crisis Point, CBS’s Eye Animation Productions, Titmouse; Secret Hideout; and Roddenberry Entertainment; Chris Westlake

Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Episode: Victory and Death, Lucasfilm Animation; Kevin Kiner

The Tiger That Came to Tea, Lupus Films; David Arnold, Don Black

Best Music – Feature
Onward, Pixar Animation Studios; Mychael Danna, Jeff Danna

Over the Moon, Netflix Presents a Netflix/Pearl Studio Production / a Glen Keane Productions Presentation; Steven Price, Christopher Curtis, Marjorie Duffield, Helen Park

Soul, Pixar Animation Studios; Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Jon Batiste

The Willoughbys, Netflix Presents A BRON Animation Production in association with Creative Wealth Media; Mark Mothersbaugh, Alessia Cara, Jon Levine, Colton Fisher

Wolfwalkers, Apple / GKIDS; Bruno Coulais, Kíla

Best Production Design – TV/Media
Baba Yaga, Baobab Studios; Glenn Hernandez, Matthieu Saghezchi

Shooom’s Odyssey, Picolo Pictures; Julien Bisaro

The Adventures of Paddington Episode: Paddington and Halloween, Blue-Zoo Animation Studio and Nickelodeon Animation Studio; Negar Bagheri

To: Gerard, DreamWorks Animation; Raymond Zibach

Trash Truck, Glen Keane Productions for Netflix; Eastwood Wong, Sylvia Liu, Elaine Lee, Tor Aunet, Lauren Zurcher

Best Production Design – Feature
Onward, Pixar Animation Studios; Noah Klocek, Sharon Calahan, Huy Nguyen, Bert Berry, Paul Conrad

Soul, Pixar Animation Studios; Steve Pilcher, Albert Lozano, Paul Abadilla, Bryn Imagire

The Willoughbys, Netflix Presents A BRON Animation Production in association with Creative Wealth Media; Kyle McQueen

Trolls World Tour, DreamWorks Animation; Kendal Cronkhite Shaindlin, Timothy Lamb

Wolfwalkers, Apple / GKIDS; María Pareja, Ross Stewart, Tomm Moore

Best Storyboarding – TV/Media
Archibald’s Next Big Thing, Episode: Baritone Tea Part 1, DreamWorks Animation; Ben McLaughlin

Big City Greens, Episode: Cheap Show, Walt Disney Television Animation; Kiana Khansmith

Looney Tunes Cartoons, Warner Bros. Animation; Andrew Dickman

Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge, Warner Bros. Animation; Milo Neuman

Shooom’s Odyssey, Picolo Pictures; Julien Bisaro

Best Storyboarding – Feature
Earwig and the Witch, Studio Ghibli; Goro Miyazaki

Over the Moon, Netflix Presents a Netflix/Pearl Studio Production / a Glen Keane Productions Presentation; Glen Keane

Soul, Pixar Animation Studios; Trevor Jimenez

The Croods: A New Age, DreamWorks Animation; Evon Freeman

Wolfwalkers, Apple / GKIDS; Guillaume Lorin

Best Voice Acting – TV/Media
Dragons Rescue Riders, Episode: Hunt for the Golden Dragon, DreamWorks Animation; Jeff Bennett (Erik the Wretched)

It’s Pony, Episode: Episode 107, Blue-Zoo Animation and Nickelodeon Animation Studio; Jessica DiCicco (Annie)

Phineas and Ferb the Movie Episode: Candace Against the Universe, Walt Disney Television Animation & Disney Plus; Ashley Tisdale (Candace)

Tales of Arcadia: Wizards, Episode: Our Final Act, DreamWorks Animation; David Bradley (Merlin)

ThunderCats ROAR!, Episode: ThunderSlobs, Warner Bros. Animation; Patrick Seitz (Mumm-Ra, Tygra)

Best Voice Acting – Feature
Earwig and the Witch, Studio Ghibli; Vanessa Marshall (Bella Yaga)

Onward, Pixar Animation Studios; Tom Holland (Ian Lightfoot)

Over the Moon, Netflix Presents a Netflix/Pearl Studio Production / a Glen Keane Productions

Presentation; Robert G. Chiu (Chin)

The Croods: A New Age, DreamWorks Animation; Nicolas Cage (Grug)

Wolfwalkers, Apple / GKIDS; Eva Whittaker (Mebh Óg MacTíre)

Best Writing – TV/Media
Big Mouth, Episode: The New Me, Netflix; Andrew Goldberg, Patti Harrison, Andrew Goldberg

Craig of the Creek, Cartoon Network Studios; Jeff Trammell, Tiffany Ford, Dashawn Mahone, Najja Porter

Fancy Nancy, Episode: Nancy’s New Friend, Disney Television Animation; Krista Tucker, Andy Guerdat, Matt Hoverman, Laurie Israel, Marisa Evans-Sanden

Harley Quinn, Episode: Something Borrowed, Something Green; Eshugadee Productions in association with Warner Bros. Animation; Sarah Peters

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, Episode: Heart Part 2, DreamWorks Animation; Noelle Stevenson

Best Writing – Feature
A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, Studiocanal and Aardman present in association with Anton Capital Entertainment, An Aardman Production for Netflix; Mark Burton, Jon Brown

Onward, Pixar Animation Studios; Dan Scanlon, Jason Headley, Keith Bunin

Over the Moon, Netflix Presents a Netflix/Pearl Studio Production / a Glen Keane Productions Presentation; Audrey Wells

Soul, Pixar Animation Studios; Pete Docter, Mike Jones, Kemp Powers

Wolfwalkers, Apple / GKIDS; Will Collins

Best Editorial – TV/Media
Cops and Robbers, Lawrence Bender Productions for Netflix; Brandon Terry, Ezra Dweck, Del Spiva

Hilda, Episode: Chapter 9: The Deerfox, Silvergate Media for Netflix; John McKinnon

If Anything Happens I Love You, Gilbert Films / Oh Good Productions for Netflix; Peter Ettinger, Michael Babcock

Lamp Life, Episode: Lamp Life, Pixar Animation Studios; Serena Warner

To: Gerard, DreamWorks Animation; James Ryan

Best Editorial – Feature
A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, Studiocanal and Aardman present in association with Anton Capital Entertainment, An Aardman Production for Netflix; Sim Evan-Jones, ACE, Adrian Rhodes

Calamity Jane, Maybe Movies; Benjamin Massoubre

Onward, Pixar Animation Studios; Catherine Apple, Anna Wolitzky, Dave Suther

Soul, Pixar Animation Studios; Kevin Nolting, Gregory Amundson, Robert Grahamjones, Amera Rizk

The Willoughbys, Netflix Presents A BRON Animation Production inassociation with Creative Wealth Media; Fiona Toth, Ken Schretzmann, ACE

Here Are The Golden Globe Winners!


Supporting Actor, Motion Picture — Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah

Supporting Actor, Television — John Boyega, Small Axe

Actress, TV Music or Comedy — Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek

Motion Picture, Animated — Soul

Actor, TV Limited Series or Movie — Mark Ruffalo, I Know This Much Is True

Screenplay, Motion Picture — Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Actress, TV Series, Drama — Emma Corrin, The Crown

Original Song, Motion Picture — lo Si, The Life Ahead

Original Score, Motion Picture — Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Jon Batiste, Soul

Actor, TV Series, Musical or Comedy — Jason Sudeikis, Ted Lasso

TV Series, Musical or Comedy — Schitt’s Creek

Actress. Musical or Comedy Film — Rosamund Pike, I Care A Lot

Actor, TV Series, Drama — Josh O’Connor, The Crown

Foreign Language Film — Minari

TV Series, Drama — The Crown

Supporting Actress, Film — Jodie Foster, The Mauritanian

Supporting Actress, TV Drama — Gillian Anderson, The Crown

Actress, TV Limited Series or Made-For-Television Film — Anya Taylor-Joy, The Queen’s Gambit

Limited Series or TV Movie — The Queen’s Gambit

Actor, Motion Picture Drama — Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Director, Motion Picture — Chloe Zhao, Nomadland

Motion Picture Comedy — Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Actor, Motion Picture Comedy — Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Actress, Motion Picture Drama — Andra Day, The United States vs. Billie Holliday

Motion Picture Drama — Nomadland

Here Are The 2020 Critics Choice Awards Nominations


The 2020 Critics Choice Award nominations were announced yesterday.  On the one hand, I like the fact that they nominated a lot of stuff because I love big, long lists.  On the other hand, it’s debatable how much this is really going to influence the Oscars.  For instance, if there were only 5 best actor nominees, it would be a big deal that Ben Affleck finally picked up some deserved recognition for his performance in The Way Back.  However, since there are 8 nominees, it’s probably going to get overlooked.

Anyway, here are the nominees.  There’s a lot of them.  Mank did surprisingly well.

Film Awards

BEST PICTURE
Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
Mank (Netflix)
Minari (A24)
News of the World (Universal Pictures)
Nomadland (Searchlight Pictures)
One Night in Miami (Amazon Studios)
Promising Young Woman (Focus Features)
Sound of Metal (Amazon Studios)
The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix)

BEST ACTOR
Ben Affleck – The Way Back (Warner Bros.)
Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal (Amazon Studios)
Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
Tom Hanks – News of the World (Universal Pictures)
Anthony Hopkins – The Father (Sony Pictures Classics)
Delroy Lindo – Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)
Gary Oldman – Mank (Netflix)
Steven Yeun – Minari (A24)

BEST ACTRESS
Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
Andra Day – The United States vs. Billie Holiday (Hulu)
Sidney Flanigan – Never Rarely Sometimes Always (Focus Features)
Vanessa Kirby – Pieces of a Woman (Netflix)
Frances McDormand – Nomadland (Searchlight Pictures)
Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman (Focus Features)
Zendaya – Malcolm & Marie (Netflix)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Chadwick Boseman – Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)
Sacha Baron Cohen – The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix)
Daniel Kaluuya – Judas and the Black Messiah (Warner Bros.)
Bill Murray – On the Rocks (A24/Apple TV+)
Leslie Odom, Jr. – One Night in Miami (Amazon Studios)
Paul Raci – Sound of Metal (Amazon Studios)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (Amazon Studios)
Ellen Burstyn – Pieces of a Woman (Netflix)
Glenn Close – Hillbilly Elegy (Netflix)
Olivia Colman – The Father (Sony Pictures Classics)
Amanda Seyfried – Mank (Netflix)
Yuh-Jung Youn – Minari (A24)

BEST YOUNG ACTOR/ACTRESS
Ryder Allen – Palmer (Apple TV+)
Ibrahima Gueye – The Life Ahead (Netflix)
Alan Kim – Minari (A24)
Talia Ryder – Never Rarely Sometimes Always (Focus Features)
Caoilinn Springall – The Midnight Sky (Netflix)
Helena Zengel – News of the World (Universal Pictures)

BEST ACTING ENSEMBLE
Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)
Judas and the Black Messiah (Warner Bros.)
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
Minari (A24)
One Night in Miami (Amazon Studios)
The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix)

BEST DIRECTOR
Lee Isaac Chung – Minari (A24)
Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman (Focus Features)
David Fincher – Mank (Netflix)
Spike Lee – Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)
Regina King – One Night in Miami (Amazon Studios)
Aaron Sorkin – The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix)
Chloé Zhao – Nomadland (Searchlight Pictures)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Lee Isaac Chung – Minari (A24)
Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman (Focus Features)
Jack Fincher – Mank (Netflix)
Eliza Hittman – Never Rarely Sometimes Always (Focus Features)
Darius Marder & Abraham Marder – Sound of Metal (Amazon Studios)
Aaron Sorkin – The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix)

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Paul Greengrass & Luke Davies – News of the World (Universal Pictures)
Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller – The Father (Sony Pictures Classics)
Kemp Powers – One Night in Miami (Amazon Studios)
Jon Raymond & Kelly Reichardt – First Cow (A24)
Ruben Santiago-Hudson – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
Chloé Zhao – Nomadland (Searchlight Pictures)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Christopher Blauvelt – First Cow (A24)
Erik Messerschmidt – Mank (Netflix)
Lachlan Milne – Minari (A24)
Joshua James Richards – Nomadland (Searchlight Pictures)
Newton Thomas Sigel – Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)
Hoyte Van Hoytema – Tenet (Warner Bros.)
Dariusz Wolski – News of the World (Universal Pictures)

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Cristina Casali, Charlotte Dirickx – The Personal History of David Copperfield (Searchlight Pictures)
David Crank, Elizabeth Keenan – News of the World (Universal Pictures)
Nathan Crowley, Kathy Lucas – Tenet (Warner Bros.)
Donald Graham Burt, Jan Pascale – Mank (Netflix)
Kave Quinn, Stella Fox – Emma (Focus Features)
Mark Ricker, Karen O’Hara & Diana Stoughton – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)

BEST EDITING
Alan Baumgarten – The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix)
Kirk Baxter – Mank (Netflix)
Jennifer Lame – Tenet (Warner Bros.)
Yorgos Lamprinos – The Father (Sony Pictures Classics)
Mikkel E. G. Nielsen – Sound of Metal (Amazon Studios)
Chloé Zhao – Nomadland (Searchlight Pictures)

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Alexandra Byrne – Emma (Focus Features)
Bina Daigeler – Mulan (Disney)
Suzie Harman & Robert Worley – The Personal History of David Copperfield (Searchlight Pictures)
Ann Roth – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
Nancy Steiner – Promising Young Woman (Focus Features)
Trish Summerville – Mank (Netflix)

BEST HAIR AND MAKEUP
Emma (Focus Features)
Hillbilly Elegy (Netflix)
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
Mank (Netflix)
Promising Young Woman (Focus Features)
The United States vs. Billie Holiday (Hulu)

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Greyhound (Apple TV+)
The Invisible Man (Universal Pictures)
Mank (Netflix)
The Midnight Sky (Netflix)
Mulan (Disney)
Tenet (Warner Bros.)
Wonder Woman 1984 (Warner Bros.)

BEST COMEDY
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (Amazon Studios)
The Forty-Year-Old Version (Netflix)
The King of Staten Island (Universal Pictures)
On the Rocks (A24/Apple TV+)
Palm Springs (Hulu and NEON)
The Prom (Netflix)

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Another Round (Samuel Goldwyn Films)
Collective (Magnolia Pictures)
La Llorona (Shudder)
The Life Ahead (Netflix)
Minari (A24)
Two of Us (Magnolia Pictures)

BEST SONG
Everybody Cries – The Outpost (Screen Media Films)
Fight for You – Judas and the Black Messiah (Warner Bros.)
Husavik (My Home Town) – Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (Netflix)
Io sì (Seen) – The Life Ahead (Netflix)
Speak Now – One Night in Miami (Amazon Studios)
Tigress & Tweed – The United States vs. Billie Holiday (Hulu)

BEST SCORE
Alexandre Desplat – The Midnight Sky (Netflix)
Ludwig Göransson – Tenet (Warner Bros.)
James Newton Howard – News of the World (Universal Pictures)
Emile Mosseri – Minari (A24)
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross – Mank (Netflix)
Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, and Jon Batiste – Soul (Disney)

Bad Education

Television Awards

BEST DRAMA SERIES
Better Call Saul (AMC)
The Crown (Netflix)
The Good Fight (CBS All Access)
Lovecraft Country (HBO)
The Mandalorian (Disney+)
Ozark (Netflix)
Perry Mason (HBO)
This Is Us (NBC)

BEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Jason Bateman – Ozark (Netflix)
Sterling K. Brown – This Is Us (NBC)
Jonathan Majors – Lovecraft Country (HBO)
Josh O’Connor – The Crown (Netflix)
Bob Odenkirk – Better Call Saul (AMC)
Matthew Rhys – Perry Mason (HBO)

BEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Christine Baranski – The Good Fight (CBS All Access)
Olivia Colman – The Crown (Netflix)
Emma Corrin – The Crown (Netflix)
Claire Danes – Homeland (Showtime)
Laura Linney – Ozark (Netflix)
Jurnee Smollett – Lovecraft Country (HBO)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Jonathan Banks – Better Call Saul (AMC)
Justin Hartley – This Is Us (NBC)
John Lithgow – Perry Mason (HBO)
Tobias Menzies – The Crown (Netflix)
Tom Pelphrey – Ozark (Netflix)
Michael K. Williams – Lovecraft Country (HBO)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Gillian Anderson – The Crown (Netflix)
Cynthia Erivo – The Outsider (HBO)
Julia Garner – Ozark (Netflix)
Janet McTeer – Ozark (Netflix)
Wunmi Mosaku – Lovecraft Country (HBO)
Rhea Seehorn – Better Call Saul (AMC)

BEST COMEDY SERIES
Better Things (FX)
The Flight Attendant (HBO Max)
Mom (CBS)
PEN15 (Hulu)
Ramy (Hulu)
Schitt’s Creek (Pop)
Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)
What We Do in the Shadows (FX)

BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Hank Azaria – Brockmire (IFC)
Matt Berry – What We Do in the Shadows (FX)
Nicholas Hoult – The Great (Hulu)
Eugene Levy – Schitt’s Creek (Pop)
Jason Sudeikis – Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)
Ramy Youssef – Ramy (Hulu)

BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Pamela Adlon – Better Things (FX)
Christina Applegate – Dead to Me (Netflix)
Kaley Cuoco – The Flight Attendant (HBO Max)
Natasia Demetriou – What We Do in the Shadows (FX)
Catherine O’Hara – Schitt’s Creek (Pop)
Issa Rae – Insecure (HBO)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
William Fichtner – Mom (CBS)
Harvey Guillén – What We Do in the Shadows (FX)
Daniel Levy – Schitt’s Creek (Pop)
Alex Newell – Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist (NBC)
Mark Proksch – What We Do in the Shadows (FX)
Andrew Rannells – Black Monday (Showtime)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Lecy Goranson – The Conners (ABC)
Rita Moreno – One Day at a Time (Pop)
Annie Murphy – Schitt’s Creek (Pop)
Ashley Park – Emily in Paris (Netflix)
Jaime Pressly – Mom (CBS)
Hannah Waddingham – Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)

BEST LIMITED SERIES
I May Destroy You (HBO)
Mrs. America (FX)
Normal People (Hulu)
The Plot Against America (HBO)
The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix)
Small Axe (Amazon Studios)
The Undoing (HBO)
Unorthodox (Netflix)

BEST MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Bad Education (HBO)
Between the World and Me (HBO)
The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel (Lifetime)
Hamilton (Disney+)
Sylvie’s Love (Amazon Studios)
What the Constitution Means to Me (Amazon Studios)

BEST ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION
John Boyega – Small Axe (Amazon Studios)
Hugh Grant – The Undoing (HBO)
Paul Mescal – Normal People (Hulu)
Chris Rock – Fargo (FX)
Mark Ruffalo – I Know This Much is True (HBO)
Morgan Spector – The Plot Against America (HBO)

BEST ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Cate Blanchett – Mrs. America (FX)
Michaela Coel – I May Destroy You (HBO)
Daisy Edgar-Jones – Normal People (Hulu)
Shira Haas – Unorthodox (Netflix)
Anya Taylor-Joy – The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix)
Tessa Thompson – Sylvie’s Love (Amazon Studios)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Daveed Diggs – The Good Lord Bird (Showtime)
Joshua Caleb Johnson – The Good Lord Bird (Showtime)
Dylan McDermott – Hollywood (Netflix)
Donald Sutherland – The Undoing (HBO)
Glynn Turman – Fargo (FX)
John Turturro – The Plot Against America (HBO)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Uzo Aduba – Mrs. America (FX)
Betsy Brandt – Soulmates (AMC)
Marielle Heller – The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix)
Margo Martindale – Mrs. America (FX)
Winona Ryder – The Plot Against America (HBO)
Tracey Ullman – Mrs. America (FX)

BEST TALK SHOW
Desus & Mero (Showtime)
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (TBS)
The Kelly Clarkson Show (NBC/Syndicated)
Late Night with Seth Meyers (NBC)
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (CBS)
Red Table Talk (Facebook Watch)

BEST COMEDY SPECIAL
Fortune Feimster: Sweet & Salty (Netflix)
Hannah Gadsby: Douglas (Netflix)
Jerry Seinfeld: 23 Hours to Kill (Netflix)
Marc Maron: End Times Fun (Netflix)
Michelle Buteau: Welcome to Buteaupia (Netflix)
Patton Oswalt: I Love Everything (Netflix)

BEST SHORT FORM SERIES
The Andy Cohen Diaries (Quibi)
Better Call Saul: Ethics Training with Kim Wexler (AMC/Youtube)
Mapleworth Murders (Quibi)
Nikki Fre$h (Quibi)
Reno 911! (Quibi)
Tooning Out the News (CBS All Access)

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)