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


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

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

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

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

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

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

American Idol (Sunday Night, CBS)

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

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

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

Baywatch (Weekday Evenings, H&I)

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

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

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

Hill Street Blues (Weekday Mornings, H&I)

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

Intervention (Mondays, A&E)

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

The Last Drive-In (Friday Nights, Shudder)

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

Moone Boy (Sunday Night, PBS)

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

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

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

The Rookies (Sunday Mornings, H&I)

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

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

Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)

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

Yes, Minister (Monday Morning, PBS)

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

Lisa’s Week In Television: 5/2/21 — 5/8/21


Another week, another list of television programming. Here’s a few thoughts on what I watched this week:

9-1-1 and 9-1-1: Lone Star (Monday Night, FOX)

I watched both of these shows this week and yet, I don’t remember a damn thing about them. If you don’t remember a show, did it actually air?

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

This week, the latest daring plan to get the British airmen out of France came to naught. The plan was to use a lawn mower motor to power an antique airplane. Rene said it wouldn’t work and, not surprisingly, it didn’t. I will admit that I laughed so hard at the end of this rather frantic episode that I nearly fell off the living room couch.

Baywatch (Weekdays, H&I)

Life on the beach continues!

On the first of Sunday’s two episodes, Kathleen Kinmont played an FBI agent who went undercover as a lifeguard. Unfortunately, despite the fact that she was supposed to be keeping an eye on the girlfriend of an escaped convict, she was also expected to do lifeguard stuff. This led to some conflict with Mitch. For the record, Mitch was right in that it made absolutely no sense for an FBI agent to pretend to be a lifeguard. The second episode of the night featured a phony treasure hunt, one that attracted real crooks and brought chaos to the beach! Jeff Garlin appeared as a radio DJ who fell in love with CJ. Both episodes were thoroughly silly, though the one with the FBI agent was a smidgen less silly because Kathleen Kinmont appeared to be taking her role more seriously than Jeff Garlin took his.

Monday’s first episode was an odd one. Apparently, there was some sort of weird “red dust wind” blowing over the California coast and, as a result, everyone on the beach was a little bit stranger than usual. Geraldo Rivera guest-starred as a man whose fiancé was secretly in love with Mitch. (In order to get her to fall out of love with him, Mitch took her on a date and acted like a dorky jackass. It didn’t work.) Meanwhile, John O’Hurley (of Seinfeld, Family Feud, and Dancing With Stars fame) played desperate father who was searching for his daughter. This was followed by an episode the featured jet ski training and plenty of beach volleyball action. I’ve noticed that every season of Baywatch featured at least one episode that featured someone getting jet ski training.

Tuesday brought us a Christmas-themed two-parter. Santa’s elves took a vacation on the beach. Hobie befriended yet another homeless girl. Mitch tried to help a homesick lifeguard. And Pamela Anderson fell in love with a priest but sadly, his commitment to God came first. “Y’know,” he told her, “we’re in the same business, saving lives.”

On Wednesday, Logan married a rich widow so that he could get his green card and then, during the second episode, Stephanie was held hostage by an environmental terrorist. It’s amazing how often the lifeguards ended up getting held hostage. I would probably be so traumatized after being held hostage just once that I would look for a new job. These lifeguards somehow manage to handle it happening on a twice-a-month basis.

On Thursday, Mitch asked Tracy to marry him, just to discover that she only had two weeks to live. He spent those weeks trying to make her as happy as possible. The second episode dealt with Mitch trying to recover from Tracy’s death. These episodes were surprisingly effective. Baywatch‘s total lack of irony and willingness to embrace the melodrama really paid off.

The first of Friday’s episodes found Mitch coming to terms with having never lived up to the expectations of his dead father. This was followed by an episode in which Logan needed Stephanie’s help to keep him from being deported back to Australia. In the end, it all worked out and everyone had fun. That’s the important thing.

On Saturday, CJ’s blind ex-boyfriend showed up and help Mitch break up yet another crime ring. This time the master criminal was played by Richard Lynch, who appeared to be having fun. Again, that’s the most important thing!

Court Cam (Wednesdays, A&E)

Dan Abrams’s replacement for Live PD continued the A&E reality show tradition of exploiting people’s misery. I had the show on while I was cleaning the house on Wednesday and I still feel awful about it.

Friends (Weekdays, Channel 33 and HBOMax)

During the episode that I watched on Tuesday night, Rachel and Monica got new jobs while Ross, Chandler, and Joey spent a night hitting the clubs and discovered that they weren’t young anymore. If I remember correctly, it seems like this was something that happened rather frequently on Friends. That said, I enjoyed this episode more than the one I watched a few weeks ago because Matthew Perry looked much healthier.

Hill Street Blues (Weekday Mornings, H&I)

Tuesday morning’s episodes of Hill Street Blues started with Public Defender Chapman (played by future 3-time Oscar winner Frances McDormand) getting fired from her job when it was discovered that she was hooked on cocaine. Meanwhile, Gina (played by future Oscar nominee Jennifer Tilly) was gunned down in a restaurant while having dinner with her boyfriend, Lt. Henry Goldblume (Joe Spano). The episode that followed that found Goldblume going a bit off the deep end as he obsessively investigated Gina’s murder. It’s was all very well-acted by Joe Spano, even if you do have to wonder if there anyone who worked on the Hill who did not, at some point during their service, see a friend or a loved one gunned down in front of them. Judging from what I’ve seen of the show, it was apparently a fairly regular occurrence.

Wednesday morning started off with an episode in which massive police corruption was uncovered, Henry finally started to properly grieve for Gina, and Captain Furillo admitted that he had started drinking again. It also featured an appearance from James Cromwell, speaking in an exaggerated Irish accent, in the role of an animal trainer. The second episode, however, had an entirely new credits sequence, one that featured some new faces in the cast, and — even more importantly — no longer featured half of the cast from the previous episode. In other words, a new season had begun! According to Jeff, I’ve now entered season 6 of Hill Street Blues, which is when the show starts to go downhill. So, we’ll see how long I stick with it, I guess. Anyway, the second episode took place at night and featured a now fully recovered Henry getting held hostage by a militant cult leader, who was played by Yaphet Kotto.

Thursday morning saw two episodes dealing with the death of Officer Harry Garibaldi. Played by Ken Olin, Harry was a regular during the pervious season but his disappearance from the opening credits left little doubt that he would not survive being stabbed by a bookie. Of course, the show still milked the question of whether or not Harry would die for all the drama that it could. (The main problem, of course, is that Harry was never a particularly likable character to begin with.) Kiel Martin, who was consistently one of the best actors on the show, had an amazing scene after Harry died, in which his character, recovering alcoholic J.D. LaRue, had a complete meltdown.

When I watched Friday morning’s episodes of Hill Street Blues, I came to understand what Jeff meant about this season being the beginning of the end. The first episode featured the arrest of Harry Garibaldi’s murderer. The suspect, who only confessed because he had suckered Furillo into giving him an immunity deal, was then gunned down by Harry’s father. So, yes, the murderer was dead but unfortunately, Harry’s father was going to prison for life. In previous episodes, this would have led to some serious reflection on the part of the characters. However, this time,, everyone just shrugged off the fate of Harry’s father. The bad guy was dead and nothing else mattered. The second episode featured a mentally ill man who thought he was the movie character Rambo. It was all fun and games until he tragically died at the end of the episode. Again, this is a trick that Hill Street Blues played so often that, from the minute the guy showed up, I knew what was going to eventually happen to him. If you’re quirky during the first half of an episode of Hill Street Blues, you’ll be dead by the end of the second half.

Things continued to go downhill during the first of Saturday’s episodes as a new character, Lt. Norman Buntz (played by Dennis Franz), went on a personal vendetta against a petty thief. Buntz eventually ended up executing the thief during a liquor store robbery. Previously, Hill Street Blues would have held a character like Buntz in contempt but, during this new season, apparently the show’s moral compass was reset. The first episode of the morning also featured Detective Neal Washington getting shot for what seemed to be the 100th time. I have to admit that I didn’t pay much attention to the second episode, beyond noting that Michael Richards (a.k.a. Karmer from Seinfeld) was playing a crook. Otherwise, life on the Hill suddenly felt far less interesting than it did at the start of this week.

Judge Jerry (Weekdays, Syndication)

Jerry Springer is a TV judge now! Nobody in the courtroom fights or yells. In fact, due to COVID, the gallery is empty and all of the cases are “virtual.” Somehow, Jerry comes across as being even more sleazy when he’s being respectable than he did when he was hosting his circus of a talk show.

The Office (All the Time, Comedy Central)

On Tuesday, I watched several episodes from season 4. I started with Dinner Party and I ended with Goodbye Toby. As a result, I had both Hunter’s song and Michael’s rendition Goodbye Toby stuck in my head for several hours. I’ve also spent this week telling random people, in my best Holly Flax voice, “Kevin, I’m really proud of you!”

The Old Guys (Sunday Night, PBS)

This week, Tom’s daughter nearly married Sally’s son. It didn’t work out, naturally. The main theme of this episode seemed to be that old people are clueless about new technology but that young people are just stupid in general. As with the previous episodes that I’ve seen, the jokes weren’t extremely clever but they were very well-delivered by Jane Asher, Clive Swift, and Roger Lloyd-Pack. Apparently, this was also the last episode of The Old Guys and, starting this Sunday night, PBS will be airing a different British sitcom in its place.

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

On this week’s episode, Arkwright continued to abuse Granville and Granville continued to hate every moment of his existence. This is one bleak show.

The Rookies (Sunday Morning, H&I)

H&I aired two episodes of this old 70s cop show on Sunday morning. I watched both but I only remember one. It dealt with an older cop being driven crazy by the stress of the job and the feeling of being underappreciated. The Rookies were able to talk him down.

Saved By The Bell (Sunday Morning, MeTV)

I watched two episodes of this classic show on Sunday morning. The first episode featured Zack skipping school because he was apparently too exhausted after the summer to handle class. It was his mother’s idea. On the one hand, I could full sympathize with skipping school but, on the other hand, who asks for permission beforehand? I guess that’s what happens when you’re making a show about high school in which the lead character is expected to be both a rebel and a role model. Anyway, the various members of the Saved By The Bell cast came by to visit Zack and they thought about everything that happened over the summer. Is there anything more creatively bankrupt than a clip show?

The second episode was the one where Zack and Slater get into a physical brawl in the school hallway because they both like the same girl. This episode is a personal favorite of mine. If Belding hadn’t intervened, Slater would have totally kicked Zack’s ass.

Seinfeld (Weeknights, Channel 33 and Hulu)

I watched an episode on Tuesday night. Elaine was confused by her new boyfriend’s love for the song Desperado. George was confused the fact that the local cult was willing to brainwash everyone but him. Jerry destroyed a valuable chest of drawers and Kramer nearly killed some tourists. It made me laugh. That said, at the end of the episode, it was kind of implied that Elaine’s boyfriend died because the ER doctor was distracted by the song Witchy Woman. That was dark!

Storage Wars (Tuesday Night, A&E)

To be honest, the only reason I watched the two latest episodes was to see if there was any new Brandi/Jarrod developments. There were not. In fact, Jarrod was not in any either of the episodes and Brandi was only in one. Unfortunately, neither of the episodes were that interesting. With the exception of Ivy, I’ve never cared much for any of the replacement buyers who have shown up on the show over the years. I like the old crew — Barry, Hester, Darryl, and Bradi & Jarrod. Oh well. The past is the past.

Unsolved Mysteries (Netflix)

On Wednesday, Case, Leonard, and I watched an episode about a group of people from the same Massachusetts town who all say that they were abducted by aliens in 1969. As a passionate skeptic when it come to all things paranormal, my theory is that hippies spiked the town’s drinking water with LSD.

Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)

While traveling back to Stratford, Shakespeare and his friends run into three witches who provide him with three cryptic prophecies. Later, Shakespeare fears that he may have accidentally killed his neighbor, a Scotsman named MacBuff. Haunted by guilt and what he mistakenly believes is a ghost, Shakespeare is relieved to eventually to discover that MacBuff did not die. Shakespeare resolves to write a comedy about the whole thing. This was another brilliantly funny episode.

The Voice (Monday Night, NBC)

On Monday night, the show took a look back at the “road to lives.” I didn’t pay that much attention but still, I wish everyone the best of luck. (Come to think of it, I also didn’t pay much attention to 9-1-1 and 9-1-1: Lone Star when I watched them on Monday. What was going on at the start of the week that had me so distracted? Hopefully, whatever it was, I resolved it.)

Yes, Minister (Monday Morning, PBS)

This week’s episode was brilliant. After finding out that a defense contract had been rewarded as a result of bribery, Jim was determined to reveal the truth regardless of the consequences. Then, he discovered that his wife had accepted a very expensive present from the same contractor and he quickly changed his mind. Last week featured Jim getting the better of Humphrey. This week, things got back to normal as Humphrey and Bernard got the better of Jim (even though it was kind of Bernard’s fault that Jim’s wife received the potentially problematic present in the first place). Paul Eddington’s performance in this week’s episode, alternating between self-righteous pomposity and desperate sputtering, was a work of comedic genius. Despite the fact that this show is older than I am, Yes, Minister is definitely my favorite of the shows that I currently watch on a regular basis.

Lisa’s Week In Television: 4/18 — 4/24


Jeff and I finally got to go to the lake this week! This was something we had been planning on doing since Valentine’s Day. Our plans were originally put on hold by the big winter storm and then after that, we decided to wait until Spring Break was over so that we could have some peace and quiet.

We went up to the lake on Monday and, though we have a TV up here, we decided to watch it as little as possible. As a result, there’s not a lot listed below but that’s okay. Sometimes you need a break from all of that!

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

Bit of a disjointed episode this Sunday but Allo Allo appears to have been a show that was at its best when everyone was scrambling around for various reasons. Herr Flick was looking for the painting. The Resistance stole a lawnmower engine. Rene just tried to keep things calm at the café. It was a funny episode, even if I did find it next to impossible to follow what was actually going on.

Baywatch (Weeknight, H&I)

Because I was on vacation, I only watched Sunday’s episodes of Baywatch this week and I have to admit that I was busy packing at the time so I didn’t really pay much attention. The first episode featured David Hasselhoff being stalked by a psychotic Australian lifeguard. Oddly enough, the first season of Baywatch also featured a self-centered Australian lifeguard, who Hasselhoff was constantly reprimanding. You have to kind of wonder what Baywatch had against Australian lifeguards.

The second episode featured Mitch’s son falling in love with a terminally ill girl. That was sad but, then again, that also seems like something that happened fairly frequently on Baywatch. There was one episode, if I remember correctly, where Mitch’s son fell in love with a homeless girl and then another where he was in love with a babysitter who was being stalked by a gangster or something like that.

The drama never ends on the beach.

The Floor Is Lava (Netflix)

I watched three episodes of this silly Escape Room-style game show on Netflix. Then I realized that the contestants weren’t actually falling in real lava and I lost interest.

Hell’s Kitchen (Fox, Thursday Night)

Even though we had a general no network TV rule in effect for most of the week, Jeff and I did watch the finale of Hell’s Kitchen on Thursday. Unfortunately, the supercool Mary Lou lost to the superbland Kori. I’m guessing Kori won because she’s older and has more experience than Mary Lou but it was still an extremely disappointing way for an otherwise good season to end.

The Old Guys (Sunday Night, PBS)

On Sunday’s episode, the old guys were extremely excited when Sally had to temporarily move in with them while some work was being done at her house. They even bribed the man who had been hired to do the work to drag things out so that Sally would have to stay with them for more than a week. Unfortunately, it didn’t really work out as Sally found the old guys to be too formal and the old guys were upset by Sally’s habit of blurting out the news after reading it online, therefore spoiling the 10 O’clock News. Finally, the old guys tried to finish the work on Sally’s house themselves and things got screwed up even further. As usual, the performances of Jane Asher, Roger Lloyd-Pack, and Clive Swift did a lot to make up for a generally predictable storyline.

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

Another episode, another 30 minutes of waiting for Granville to snap and kill Arkwright. This time, Arkwright deliberately misspelled the word “special” to encourage people to come into the shop. Granville looked like he was on the verge of snapping but he stopped himself at the last minute.

The Rookies (Sunday Morning, H&I)

This week’s episodes were a bit boring. The first one dealt with four cops going undercover at a singles complex to catch a serial killer. Unfortunately, the identity of the killer was revealed during the first minute of the show so there wasn’t much suspense. The second episode featured Andy Robinson (he played the Scorpio Killer in Dirty Harry, which came out a year before The Rookies started to air) as a criminal trying to harass the wife of one of the police officers. One of the things that I’ve noticed about The Rookies is that each episode is self-contained. There’s no continuing storylines, like we’ve come to expect from television shows today. Instead, every episode is some new, huge drama that will last an hour and will never be mentioned again. The main characters are continually getting shot at, kidnapped, and threatened but apparently, it has absolutely no effect on their psychological well-being. It’s good to be them, I guess.

Saved By The Bell (Sunday morning, MeTV)

A girl named Christy wanted to join the wrestling team! GASP! Zack helped to get her a spot on the team but then got embarrassed when she beat up two Valley High bullies who were giving him a hard time. Jessie went from supporting Christy to condemning her when she thought Christy was trying to seal away Slater. Fortunately, by the end o the episode, everyone had learned a valuable lesson and had become a better person. Christy was never seen again.

South Park (Sunday Morning, Comedy Central)

The gang went to the rain forest and discovered that it totally sucked! I know people who actually find this episode to be incredibly offensive. Personally, I think it’s hilarious because being trapped in the rain forest probably does suck.

Unsolved Mysteries (Netflix)

On Wednesday, me, Case, and Leonard live tweeted an episode of Netflix’s Unsolved Mysteries. It was about whether or not people in Japan were being haunted by ghosts following the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. It started out a bit depressing but, by the end of it, it was actually rather touching and life-affirming. Personally, though, I don’t believe in ghosts.

Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)

William Shakespeare was nearly humiliated by his rival, Robert Greene, and Kit Marlowe stole another play. All in all, it was just another day in Elizabethan London.

Yes, Minster (Monday Morning, PBS)

Poor Jim Hacker! On this week’s episode, Jim again tried to cut back on government waste and Sir Humphrey again conspired to keep him from doing that. This time, Sir Humphrey’s scheme was to distract Hacker by telling him about the sorry state of the UK’s nuclear fallout structures. Jim went on another crusade, one that was going well until he accidentally insulted the Prime Minister during a television interview. The thing that makes Yes, Minster such an interesting show is that you’re natural inclination is to be on Jim Hacker’s side (he means well) but, at the same time, there’s something delightfully entertaining about watching Sir Humphrey thwart all of those good intentions.

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


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

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

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

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

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

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

American Idol (ABC, Sunday and Monday Night)

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

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

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

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

America’s Most Wanted (Monday Night, FOX)

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

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

Baywatch (Weeknights, H&I)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gangs of London (Sunday Night, AMC)

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

Hell’s Kitchen (Thursday Night, FOX)

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

Hill Street Blues (Weekday Mornings, H&I)

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

Kung Fu (Wednesday Night, The CW)

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

The Last Drive In (Friday Night, Shudder)

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

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

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

The Masked Singer (Wednesday, FOX)

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

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

The Office (All The Time, Comedy Central)

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

The Old Guys (Sunday Night, PBS)

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

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

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

Protection Court (Weekday mornings, Channel 33)

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

Rebel (Thursday nights, ABC)

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

The Rookies (Sunday Morning, H&I)

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

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

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

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

The Serpent (Netflix)

I reviewed The Serpent here.

Tough as Nails (Wednesday Night, CBS)

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

Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)

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

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

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

The Voice (Monday Night, NBC)

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

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

Yes Minister (Monday Morning, PBS)

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

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

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

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

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


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

American Justice (CIN, Monday Morning)

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

America’s Most Wanted (Fox, Monday night)

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

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

Baywatch (H&I, weekday evenings)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Court Cam (Wednesday Night, A&E)

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

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

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

The District (Weekday Nights, H&I)

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

The Drew Barrymore Show (Weekdays, Syndication)

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

Kung Fu (Wednesday Night, The CW)

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

The Old Guys (Sunday Night, PBS)

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

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

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

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

The Rookies (Sunday Morning, H&I)

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

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

The SAG Awards (Sunday Night, TBS)

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

Shipping Wars (Vice, Sunday afternoon)

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

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

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

Storage Wars (A&E, Tuesday Night)

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

Tough As Nails (CBS, Wednesday Night)

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

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

Wipeout (TBS, Sunday Night)

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

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

Yes Minister (Monday Morning, PBS)

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

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

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

Watched But Not Reviewed:

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

The Previous Week In Television

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


Twonky

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

American Idol

American Idol (Sunday and Monday Night, ABC)

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

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

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

Baywatch

Baywatch (Weekday Evenings, H&I)

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

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

City Confidential

City Confidential (Sunday Afternoon, CI)

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

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

Distirct

The District (Weekday Mornings, H&I)

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

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

Hell's Kitchen

Hell’s Kitchen (Thursday night, FOX)

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

King of the HIll

King of the Hill (Hulu)

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

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

law & Order

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

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

Law & Order: SVU (Thursday Night, NBC)

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

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

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

Love Boat

The Love Boat (Weekday Evenings, Decades TV)

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

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

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

My Evil Sister

My Evil Sister (Sunday Afternnon, CI)

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

The Office

The Office (Comedy Central)

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

parking_wars

Parking Wars (Monday Morning on A&E)

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

The Rookies

The Rookies (Sunday Morning, H&I)

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

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

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

Rome Chariot

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

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

sbtb

Saved By The Bell (Sunday Morning, MeTV)

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

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

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

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

YesMinister

Yes, Minister (Monday Morning on PBS)

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

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

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

Watched But Not Reviewed:

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