Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 1/1/23 — 1/7/23


As the first week of January comes to a close, here’s some thoughts on what I watched!

Abbott Elementary (Wednesday Night, ABC)

Abbott Elementary returned this week with a sweet episode in which we got to see that Melissa actually is a really good teacher and that Jacob has no idea how to do a podcast.  I have to admit that I cheered a little when, at the end of the episode, Melissa revealed that, due to the contest rules being poorly written, her “classroom” had indeed won the reading competition.

The Circle (Netflix)

The Circle was back with four more episodes on Wednesday.  Marvin destroyed his game by trying to be a player while Billie-Jean and Shubham ended up getting eliminated.  (Shubham did not help himself by losing his temper while answering a “savage question.”)  I want to like Raven but the whole “everything about Raven is perfect” narrative makes it difficult.  At this point, my favorites are Tom and Xanthi & Brett.  I also have to say that I found Sam to be a lot more likable this week than I did last week.

Hell’s Kitchen (Thursday Night, FOX)

Hell’s Kitchen returned and we have finally reached my favorite part of the season, when Chef Ramsay starts to show his softer and more encouraging side and the remaining chefs finally get a chance to show how good (or bad) they can be.  Abe got sent home but he also get some words of encouragement.  That was nice.  I actually like all of the remaining chefs but it’s hard not to feel like its pretty obvious that Alex is going to win.

Law & Order (Thursday Night, NBC)

Law & Order returned with a new episode and this week and — yeesh!  After several episodes that were generally intelligent, well-done, and not too heavy-handed, this week’s episode felt like a parody of Law & Order.  This week’s murder victim was a undocumented immigrant who had been sent to New York City from Texas so, of course, we had to spend a lot of time listening to the cops talk about how heartless the governor of Texas was.  It always amuses me how this show always features a bunch of blue collar cops suddenly talking like MSNBC analysts.  I wonder if the show will do a future episode about the Democratic governor of Colorado sending people to New York?  I kind of doubt it.

Anyway, it turned out the murderer was a real estate mogul who was obviously meant to be a stand-in for one of the Trump kids.  In order to convict him, the prosecutors had to get testimony from a woman who worked in his office but — are you ready for this? — the woman was also an undocumented immigrant!  As soon as she testified, she was deported back to Lebanon.  After 20+ episodes, Sam was finally allowed to get upset about something and show a hint of personality.  Whatever else you might say about this episode, it’s nice that Sam finally got some hint of a backstory.  Up until last night, she was one of the most underwritten characters in the history of this show.

The show certainly tried to tug at the heart strings with this episode but it was so just so heavy-handed and clumsily written that it had the opposite effect.

Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street (Netflix)

This is Joe Berlinger’s latest Netflix true crime docuseries.  Over the course of four episodes, Berlinger explores the story of Bernie Madoff.  When I started watching, I was skeptical because I really didn’t feel that there was much left to be said about Bernie Madoff but both Berlinger and the show did a good job of explaining not only what Madoff did but also how he was able to get away with it for so long.  Along with taking a look at Madoff’s life, the film also examined the people that he hurt (including his two sons, both of whom emerge as tragic figures).

One thing that I did learn is that, while Madoff did handle accounts for a lot of famous and rich people, the majority of his clients were just normal people who were looking for someone to handle their retirement funds.  These people were victimized twice, both by Madoff and then by the government regulators.  Despite the fact that none of these people knew about Madoff’s crimes, many of them lost their homes and were driven into bankruptcy when they were ordered to help pay back the money that Madoff had stolen.

The film features a lot of footage of the now-deceased Madoff being interviewed in prison.  Even imprisoned and shunned by his family, Madoff still didn’t seem to feel that he had done anything wrong.  This is probably the first Madoff documentary that has really convinced me that Bernie Madoff really was as evil as everyone says.

Night Flight (Night Flight+)

On Friday night and Saturday morning, I watched the Parts 3 and 4 of Night Flight’s 1983 New Year celebration.  The music was good.  The stand-up comedians were bad.  A surprisingly coherent Ozzy Osbourne was interviewed about whether or not he had actually bitten the head off of a bat.  He said it was an accident and assured the interviewer that the rabies shots were not fun.

Tough as Nails (Wednesday Night, CBS)

The blue collar reality show is back.  To be honest, this show would be more interesting if it was office workers and executives being forced to do things like build buildings and unclog drains.  But whatever.  I like Phil Keoghan as the host.  Just as with The Amazing Race, he seems to genuinely care about the people competing.

The Twilight Zone (Sunday and Monday, SyFy)

On New Year’s Day, SyFy had their annual Twilight Zone marathon!  I watched a few episodes, in between watching movies and doing other things.  I caught the Monsters Are Due On Maple Street and the one where Burgess Meredith breaks his reading glasses and realizes that he’ll never be able to read another book.  Unfortunately, I did not catch the one with William Shatner and the Gremlin on the wing.

I watched a few more episodes on Monday.  Again, I missed the Gremlin on the wing but I did see the one with the guy who was dreaming about being on death row.  That’s personal favorite of mine.

Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 11/13/22 — 11/19/22


I’ve been on vacation this week.  Here’s what I watched.

(Yes, that’s not my best intro but seriously, I’m tired.  I always take some time by myself after my birthday so that I can reflect on the year and plan the next one.  It’s a tradition that is the result of having watched too many movies and read too many books about women who retreat to a lake house for a holiday and achieve enlightenment or, at the very least, write a really great book.  Unfortunately, that always seems to work better in movies than in real life.  In real life, I’ve spent a good deal of time inside because the average temperature this week has been close to freezing.  As a result being stuck inside for hours at a time, my original plans of watching next to no television and only going online to host my weekly live tweets were quickly abandoned.  When I did go outside, I got caught out in the rain more than once and I also banged up my knee and probably nearly broke my neck when I tripped over a tree root while exploring the surroundings.  The sun has occasionally peeked through the clouds, mostly just to remind me of the fact that I cannot tan to save my life.  I’m now catching a cold, and I’m no closer to being enlightened than I was before.  This has not been my best-planned getaway, though it will make a great book someday.  Anyway….)

Abbott Elementary (Wednesday Night, ABC)

“RALPH!”

This episode will always be remembered for the broken eggs and Barbara’s reaction to the way one of the mothers dressed.  However, I think this episode deserves to be remembered for the brief moment when Ava has a serious conversation with Barbara about that mother.  I always like the episodes where we discover that Ava actually does kind of care about her job and other people.

The Amazing Race (Wednesday Night, CBS)

I wrote about the latest episode of The Amazing Race here!

California Dreams (YouTube)

Being stuck inside, I watched a few episodes of California Dreams so that I could write and schedule a few reviews in advance.

City Guys (Tubi)

Being stuck inside, I watched a few episodes of City Guys so that I could write and schedule a few reviews in advance.  Hmmm …. that sounds familiar.

Graffiti Rock (YouTube)

I watched the only episode of this 80s dance show on YouTube on Friday night.  A young Debi Mazer and an adorable Vincent Gallo were amongst the dancers!  It was fun to watch.

The Greatest American Hero (Weekday evenings, ACE TV)

This is an early 80s show about a klutzy teacher (William Katt) who is gifted a red suit by a group of aliens.  The suit turns the teacher into a superhero but, because the aliens didn’t give him any instructions, he’s not really sure how all of his powers work.  He fights crime with his girlfriend (Connie Selleca) and a drunk FBI agent (Robert Culp).  One of his student was played by a very young and handsome Michael Pare.

I watched an episode on Thursday while I was having dinner.  The teacher battled criminals while preparing for an IRS audit.  It was actually a pretty cute show.  William Katt was as likable here as he was as poor, doomed Tommy Ross in the original Carrie.

Hell’s Kitchen (Thursday Night, FOX)

It was a good dinner service but Chef Ramsey still had to send someone home.  At least he was polite about it this week.  I’m really liking this season of Hell’s Kitchen.  I could honestly see any of the chefs winning.

Law & Order (Thursday Night, NBC)

This week’s episode of Law & Order dealt with a murder that was linked back to Iraq War burn pits.  Considering that Price and Mouron are the two most self-righteous prosecutors in the history of this franchise (and that’s saying something!), I was cringing a bit at the thought of them relitigating the Iraq War.  But this episode was actually fairly well-handled.  I never would have expected that Cosgrove and Shaw would become my two favorite characters on this show but they’ve managed to do it.  I think that’s because Cosgrove and Shaw does their job without complaining, whereas Price always has some moral dilemma going on.  Seriously, McCoy needs to bring in somebody new.

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

Stabler’s going to give himself a heart attack if he’s not careful.  CALM DOWN, STABLER!

Law & Order: SVU (Thursday Night, NBC)

The squad was hunting a serial rapist and murderer who targeting transgender women.  Greg Grunberg played one of the victims’s father, an NYPD detective who was not comfortable with his child’s identity and who was trying to hide evidence that would have confirmed that she was transgender.  Eventually, however, he did the right thing and handed over the evidence that allowed the D.A. to get a conviction.  Grunberg, as always, gave a good performance.

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

On a chilly and rainy Monday morning, I watched a two-part episode of the original, 1980s Magnum P.I.  Magnum and his friends were being stalked by a KGB agent named Ivan.  The episode ended with Magnum executing Ivan in cold blood.  Ivan totally deserved it.

Night Flight (Night Flight Plus)

Friday night, I watched two episodes of this 80s entertainment digest.  One episode was about the early days of rap and while the other episode that profiled Sade.

Survivor (Wednesday Night, CBS)

I wrote about the latest episode of Survivor here!

Too Close For Comfort (Weekday Afternoons, Antenna TV)

This is an old 80s sitcom, about a grouchy old man who lived on the second floor of a San Francisco townhouse.  His daughters lived on the first floor.  A bizarre manchild lived on the third floor.  This show has been on Tubi for a while and also on Antenna TV.  On Tuesday, after spending the first part of the day hiking and trying to meditate, I decided to unwind by shuffle dancing to The Chemical Brothers.  Then, after that, I collapsed in front of the television and watched two episodes of this show on Antenna TV.

In the first episode, the grouchy old man and his wife were shocked to discover that a runaway girl named Sam was living with the manchild.  Sam explained that she had run away from home because her father was overprotective and didn’t understand her and wouldn’t let her go out with her friends.  The problem was that the actress playing Sam appeared to be nearly 40 years old so it was difficult to sympathize with her.  I mean, just get a job and move out if you can’t take it.  You’re an adult.  Anyway, the grouchy old man explains to Sam that her father loved her and Sam went home.  Yay!

This was followed by an episode in which the manchild and one of the daughters graduated from college.  The manchild got a job as a mall security guard.  Good for him.

The Twilight Zone (Weeknights, MeTV)

On Tuesday night, I watched The Obsolete Man.  In this episode, an authoritarian government official ordered a man to commit suicide.  Before dying, the man revealed the official to be a coward.  The official was then ripped apart by his former supporters.  This is usually described as being one of the more heavy-handed episodes of original Twilight Zone but, in this time of general government overreach, there was something satisfying about watching the smug government representative get outsmarted.

Lisa Marie’s Week In Television 1/2/22 — 1/8/22


As the first week of 2022 comes to a close …. I have yet to watch the fourth season of Cobra Kai!  What’s up with that?  Oh well, I’ll watch it next week.  This week, I was busy.  Next week, I’ll ignore everything else I need to do and watch TV.  How is that not a good plan?

Anyway, here’s what I watched this week:

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

After being gone for a month due to pledge programming, Allo Allo returned to the PBS line-up on January 2nd.  Having escaped from the hospital, Rene returned to the café and dealt with Michelle’s latest scheme to get the airmen out of France.  It involved hiding them in a hollow bomb that would be dropped over England.  The only problem is the Resistance needed a place to hide the bombs.  Michelle, of course, volunteered Rene’s cafe.

While I continue to laugh at Crabtree’s mangled French, I also find myself looking forward to the every scene involving LeClerc and his attempts to disguise himself.  “It is I, LeClerc.”

The Amazing Race 33 (Wendsenday Night, CBS)

I wrote about the premiere of The Amazing Race here!

The Bachelor (Monday Night, ABC)

Big goofy Clayton is the new Bachelor.  Big goofy Jesse Palmer is the new host.  Honestly, we need more of a break between installments of this franchise.  Anyway, Monday’s episode featured Clayton meeting the girls and, of course, sending one of them home on the first night because she wasn’t there for the right reasons (plus, she was like sloppy drunk).  It was such an obvious set up.

Dexter: New Blood (Sunday Night, Showtime)

I reviewed the latest episode of Dexter: New Blood here!

Joe Millionaire (Thursday Night, Fox)

On this dating reality show, a group of women are competing to end up with one of two men.  One of the men is a millionaire.  The other isn’t!  The twist is that the women don’t know which is which.  Unfortunately, the viewers do know and that takes a lot of the fun out of the show.  It would be a lot more enjoyable if we were guessing along with the women.  Instead, we know that the farmer is actually very wealthy and the dude who looks like a European prince is actually a construction worker.

(To be honest, this show seems more like a parody of a reality show than an actual show.)

The first episode of this new edition of Joe Millionaire aired on Thursday.  One of the women was sent home because she followed one of the men on social media.  The show handled this development as if it was the most serious thing ever.  I guess sending one random person home on the first day is going to be a new dating show ritual.  Anyway, Joe Millionaire was pretty stupid.  The men were boring.  The women were boring.  The host is also the butler at the mansion where everyone is staying.  There was a lot of nonsense over whether or not everyone was there for the right reason.  (What is the right reason when it comes to stuff like this?)  Who cares?

I’ll probably watch it, though.  I just won’t talk about it on twitter.  It’ll be our little secret, my dear readers.  Sound good?

The Love Boat (Sunday Evening, MeTV)

The Love Boat and its enthusiastic crew completed their cruise to Alaska.  Everyone learned an important lesson about being too competitive and the importance of following one’s heart.  Yay!  Needless to say, it was a pretty silly show but sometimes, it’s good to watch something silly.

And Love …. won’t hurt anymore….

The Office (All The Time, Comedy Central)

I watched a few episodes from the fourth season on Thursday.  Michael hanging out in New York with Ryan was good.  The dinner party remains a classic.  I had to change the channel once we got to the one where Jim was playing golf with the client and, for some stupid reason, he brought along Kevin and Andy.  It never felt right whenever the show featured Jim actually working.

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

After being off the air for the month of December due to pledge programming, Open All Hours has returned to the PBS lineup.  On Sunday’s episode, Arkwright longed for Nurse Gladys Emmanuel while Granville continued to stew in resentment.  I don’t blame Granville.  It couldn’t have been easy being a 40 year-old stockboy.  I always find myself wondering what Granville did to get sold into indentured servitude in the first place.

Shipping Wars (Tuesday Morning, A&E)

A&E is now showing the old, original episodes of Shipping Wars in the morning and new episodes at night.  I have yet to watch any of the new episodes, mostly because the old episodes got so annoying after Roy died that I can’t imagine that the new episodes could be any better.

Anyway, on Tuesday, I mostly had the show on for background noise.  I did notice that one episode featured a bunch of people pointing guns at Roy.  It was presented as being a very dramatic situation but if Roy was really going to be shot, I kind of doubt that Shipping Wars film crew would be allowed to just hang out while it was happening.  Eventually, it all turned out to be an elaborate prank.

Another episode featured Jen basically destroying a butter sculpture that she had been hired to deliver.  Apparently, this was no prank.  On the original Shipping Wars, Jen ruined nearly every delivery she was supposed to make.  It’s kind of odd that people kept hiring her.

The Twilight Zone (Sunday, SyFy)

SyFy completed its Twilight Zone marathon on Sunday.  I caught two of the marathon’s final episodes, both of which were from the season when the show had an hour running time instead of 30-minute.  The hour-long Twilight Zones tend to be uneven.  The first episode I watched was about a ship that came across as possibly haunted submarine.  It would have been an enjoyably creepy 30-minute episode but, at an hour, there was just too much obvious padding.  The second episode featured a young Dennis Hopper as a Neo-Nazi loser who finds success after a mysterious benefactor takes him under his wing.  The identity of the benefactor was obvious from the start (it rhymed with Jitler) but Hopper’s odd and unhinged performance made this episode memorable.

U.S. Figure Skating Championships 2022 (Saturday afternoon, NBC)

USA!  USA!  USA!

Lisa Marie’s Week In Television — 12/26/21 — 1/1/22


Happy 2022!  I spent most of this holiday week visiting my sister Megan and her family.  That’s been a bit of a Bowman holiday tradition since 2008.  We watched a lot of TV.  We both love Saved By The Bell and California Dreams so that shouldn’t be too much of surprise.  Anyway, there’s much to share this week so let’s get right into what I watched during the final week of 2021!

The Bold and the Beautiful (Weekday afternoons, CBS)

This used to be my show!  Of course, it’s been a while since I’ve regularly watched The Bold and the Beautiful but, on Wednesday, I decided to tune in just to see what was happening.  People were discussing their relationships and talking about fashion while getting ready for New Year’s.  Brooke is still on the show.  I might start setting the DVR in 2022.

The Brady Bunch (Sunday Morning, MeTV)

I watched two episodes.  First, Greg wanted to drop out of high school to pursue a career as a major league pitcher.  He was talked out of it.  Is there nothing that the Brady kids weren’t good at?  What an annoying family!  This was followed by an episode in which Marcia promised she could get Davy Jones to play her high school dance and somehow, she pulled it off because everything always worked out for Marcia.  Jan, on the other hand….

California Dreams (DVD)

Megan and I watched a few episodes of this classic 90s NBC sitcom on Friday morning.  It’s kind of our New Year’s tradition.  We both agreed that Lorena and I have a lot in common.  We also watched Tony perform that “Next big thing” song of his.  He’s so funky!

Dance Moms (Wednesday, LRW)

LRW did a Dance Moms marathon on Wednesday.  I watched a few episodes that morning and it made me realize how much I miss this show.  It also brought back a lot of memories for me personally, though my mom was never as crazy as the moms on this show.  I wonder if Maddie ever returns Abby’s calls.

Since the show aired on LRW, I got to see all those old “real women” commercials that Lifetime used to air, like the one with the woman talking about the time she scolded her mom for saying she needed a man to explain something to her.  “You know, that was her generation, ha ha ha.”  All I know is that you just made fun of your mother on national television.

Days of Our Lives (Weekday Afternoons, NBC)

It’s been a while since I’ve watched any of the daytime dramas but my sister Megan informed me that a character on Days of Our Lives had been possessed by the devil since September so, on Tuesday, I decided to watch to see what that was like.  From what I saw of it, it looked like a lot of fun.  With Marlena tied to her bed and speaking in a gravelly demon voice, everyone was getting ready for the exorcism.  “We’re not dealing with your mom,” one character explain, “We’re dealing with …. it.”  “You shut your mouth or you’re going to get a face full of holy water!” someone else declared.  A priest entered the bedroom and Marlena’s daughter said, “You’re a priest again?”  Meanwhile, Patch dressed up as Santa Claus, which was charming in its own weird way.  Fortunately, everything worked out in the end.  These are indeed the days of our lives.

Dexter: New Blood (Showtime, Sunday Night)

I wrote about the latest episode of Dexter here!

Football Game: Bills vs. Patriots (Sunday Afternoon, CBS)

I watched this on Sunday morning with my sisters.  I have to admit that I didn’t pay much attention but I do remember that everyone wanted the Bills to win so I felt obligated to cheer for the Patriots.  I don’t remember who actually won, though.  Football games are really, really long.

Football Game: Cowboys vs. Football Team (Sunday Night, NBC)

I watched this game with my sister Megan and her husband, John.  They got really excited whenever the Cowboys scored.  I felt bad for Football Team.  I figure that it has to suck to be a member of Football Team because everyone they meet is probably like, “Who do you play for?” and when the player says, “Football team,” everyone probably replies, “I know, but which one?”  What I’m saying here is that these guys need a real name if they’re going to succeed.  For example, the Cowboys pretty much destroyed Football Team on Sunday.  I thought the Cowboys were seriously going to score a 100 points before the game ended.  Poor generic Football Team.

General Hospital (Weekday Afternoons, ABC)

I watched an episode on Wednesday.  Too much talk, not enough hospital.

Hang Time (YouTube)

Hang Time was basically Saved By The Bell except it centered around a high school basketball team in Indiana.  It aired from 1995 to 2000 on NBC and it was never that good but it lives on because every episode has been uploaded to YouTube.  NBC is pretty aggressive about taking down unauthorized SBTB uploads but they don’t seem to care much about Hang Time.

Anyway, early Wednesday morning, I forced Megan to watch an episode because I wanted her to hear one line that always amused me.  The episode opened, as they often did, with a basketball game.  However, for this game, the main characters (including a very young Anthony Anderson) were forced to spend the entire game on the bench while the backup players hit the court and …. uhm, lost.  In fact, they lost bad.  It turned out the main characters were being punished for getting fake IDs and driving drunk.

About 15 minutes into the episode, one of the backup players is injured but when he limps over to the baseline or the sideline or whatever they call it in basketball, he yells at the coach that he wants to keep playing because, unlike some people, “I CARE ABOUT THE TEAM!”  And then coach sends him back into the game despite the fact that the he can barely walk!  For some reason, that’s always made me laugh.  The coach taught his players a lesson by forcing someone who did nothing wrong to play injured.  What a guy!

The Love Boat (Sunday Afternoon, MeTV)

The Love Boat and another ship traveled to Alaska, where the captains competed to see who was the best.  Apparently, it was a promotional gimmick but the competition turned personal when the son of the rival captain decided that he would rather work on the super mellow Love Boat as opposed to his father’s boat.  Anyway, it was silly but Alaska looked lovely.  Plus, Sonny Bono was on the episode as some sort of hyper corporate guy.

The Office (Weekdays, Comedy Central)

Comedy Central did an Office marathon this week.  On Monday, I watched a few episodes from season 2.  They kept me happy as I wrote 2,300 words on Monster, one of the most depressing movies ever made.  (Look for that review on Monday!)  Then, on Tuesday, I watched a few episodes from season 3 while I was writing another 2,000 words about the making of The Godfather Part III.  (Look for that post on Monday as well!)

By the time Wednesday rolled around, Comedy Central had started on season 5, which is when the show started to get uneven and, not coincidentally, Ed Helms’s role started to get larger.  However, there were still some classic episodes during season 5, like the Golden Ticket episode and The Michael Scott Paper Company arc.  Those also just happened to be the episodes that I watched.

By Thursday, we were into season six and …. eh.  Season six is when Jim and Pam started to get a bit insufferable in their smugness and there was that whole weird thing where Jim was briefly co-manager.  Megan and I watched the Gossip episode and The Meeting episode and we both agreed it was actually kind of rude of Jim to go behind Michael’s back with his whole co-manager idea.  We then did a little shopping.  When we came back, we caught my two favorite episodes of that season — Scott’s Tots and The Shareholder’s Meeting. 

Hey there, Mr. Scott, whatcha going to do?  Whatcha going to do?  Make our dreams come true!

Parking Wars (Weekday Mornings, A&E)

On Thursday morning, I forced Megan to watch an episode of Parking Wars with me, just so she could understand what I’m always complaining about.  For 30 minutes, as we watched the action in Detroit and Philadelphia, I said, “See?  This is totally how fascism comes to be accepted!”  Megan said she agreed with me, though I think she may have just been saying that …. which is fine!  Just as long everyone agrees.

Sabrina, The Teenage Witch (Fuse, Monday Morning)

Sabrina felt that all of her academic accomplishments were being taken for granted so she cast a spell which caused everyone to go crazy over every little thing she did.  Needless to say, an important lesson about humility was learned.

As far as I’m concerned, this is the only show about Sabrina, The Teenage Witch that matters.  Talking Salem for the win!

Saved By The Bell: The Junior High Years (a.k.a. Good Morning Miss Bliss) (Netflix)

At December 26th, at midnight, my sister Megan and I sat down and watched six episodes of Saved By The Bell.  Well, we didn’t actually just spend 2 and a half hours watching them.  We were talking and cleaning and laughing and doing other things.  But still, we had the show on and we did occasionally pause long enough in all of our other activities to see what was going on.

The episodes that we watched were from the infamous Junior High years.  That was when the show aired on the Disney Channel and it was set in Indiana and Slater, Kelly, and Jessie were not on the show.  Instead, the show centered around Miss Bliss (Hayley Mills), a British widow who somehow ended up teaching social studies at a junior high in Indiana.  At the time, the show was called Good Morning, Miss Bliss.  Good Morning, Miss Bliss was canceled after 13 episodes but was then relaunched on NBC, with Zack, Screech, Lisa, and Mr. Belding all somehow relocating to California.  The Miss Bliss episodes could probably be written off as non-canon, if not for the fact that many of them were re-aired as episodes of Saved By The Bell, with special introductions in which Zack would say, “This is from when we were in junior high.”  It didn’t make any sense but Saved By The Bell just didn’t care.

Anyway, the first episode of Good Morning, Miss Bliss featured Zack lying to a girl about the fact that he was only in the 8th Grade.  The girl was played by a very young Carla Gugino, who went on to do much better things with her career.  Anyway, Zack learned an important lesson about lying but apparently not important enough to inspire Zack to actually be honest in any future episodes.

The 2nd episode that we watched featured a love letter that kept getting read by the wrong people.  Mr. Belding thought Miss Bliss was in love with him.  Miss Bliss thought Belding loved her.  Lisa thought …. ugh, I’m getting a headache just thinking about it.  The most interesting thing about this episode is that the whole stupid plot was later reused in one of the Tori episodes of regular Saved By The Bell.

The third episode that we watched was one of my favorites of the Miss Bliss episodes.  Miss Bliss teaches her students about the stock market by investing some of her own money in a stock of their choosing.  However, Zack desperately needs money so he invests the money in potatoes.  Miss Bliss is furious when she finds out and yells at everyone, which was fun because Miss Bliss was always a bit too perfect to be believed so it was nice to see that, deep down, she was a neurotic mess.  Fortunately, she forgave everyone by the end of the episode.

Episode #4 features Zack’s friend Nikki refusing to dissect a frog.  Miss Bliss took Nikki’s side but was still upset when Nikki stole all of the frogs.  Meanwhile, Mr. Belding was panicking because he thought another school was trying to recruit Miss Bliss so he let Miss Bliss have anything that she wanted.  However, Mr. Belding soon realized he was mistaken and promptly took everything back.  TAKE THAT, MISS BLISS!

Episode #5 left Megan and I totally confused.  Zack was upset because Miss Bliss was dating his father.  The divorce of the Morrises had been hard on Zack and, as a result, Zack was totally acting out.  What’s weird is that Zack’s parents were NOT divorced in the high school episodes of Saved By The Bell.  It’s almost as if the writers just didn’t care.

Finally, Episode #6 featured Screech getting targeted by the school bully.  However, it turned out that the bully was just upset because he was illiterate.  That would have upset me too.  Having learned a valuable lesson about bullying, Megan and I decided we had watched enough Saved By The Bell for that morning.

On Monday morning, we watched the remaining 7 Miss Bliss episodes.  Again, we didn’t just watch.  We talked and laughed and made plans while the show played in the background.  To be honest, we probably paid even less attention on Monday than we did on Sunday.  By this point, we’ve both got every episode of this stupid show memorized so it’s not like we really had to focus to know what was going on.

Episode #7 was a school dance episode.  I guess, technically, it was the first ever SBTB dance episode.  Mr. Belding was worried about a fight breaking out at the dance.  A first actually did break out at the dance between Zack and his loser friend, Mickey.  Mickey liked a girl but she liked Zack.  Fortunately, Miss Bliss was there to save the day.

In Episode #8, Zack got out of taking a midterm by releasing Screech’s pet rats in the school.  Megan and I found the idea of a school closing down because of rats to be hilarious.  Seriously, I’ve seen rodents running around college campuses, ducking from classroom to classroom.  Anyway, due to Zack’s selfishness, it appeared that Miss Bliss would miss out on her chance to be named Teacher of the Year.  Fortunately, everyone teamed up to help her because, of course, the entire school revolved around keeping her happy.

In Episode #9, Zack and his other other loser friend, Nikki, teamed up for a class project but Zack expected her to do all the work.  (Boooo!)  It led to a rift in their friendship but Zack fixed it all by apologizing in front of the entire class.  Megan and I both agreed that was probably an awkward experience for all the other students who were forced to sit through it.

Episode #10 found the junior high in the midst of a prank war.  Who pranked Miss Bliss and ruined her ugly sweater!?  Everyone thought it was Screech and the class held a mock trial as opposed to just burning him at the stake.  Screech was acquitted and it turned out that he was actually framed by Miss Bliss, who wanted to teach the class about the jury system.  Neither Megan nor I cared much for this episode and we agreed that it was proof that Miss Bliss was a terrible teacher who didn’t really consider what being forced through a mock trial could do to a young student’s psyche.

Episode #11 was the silliest episode of all.  It turned out that Miss Bliss’s former student, Colleen Morton, was now a pop star named …. STEVIE!  Zack made a bet with everyone that he could get a kiss from Stevie.  He did get a kiss, but it was from Colleen.  It was only later that Zack figured out that Colleen and Stevie were one in the same!  Zack lost the bet, even though he was being honest about having been kissed by her.  So, I guess the lesson here is that Saved By The Bell took place in a post-truth world.

Episode #12 featured Zack pledging to some sort of weird ninth grade fraternity.  The frat demanded that Zack mistreat all of his friends and then, after Zack had lost everyone’s friendship, they revealed they were just playing a joke on him.  For some weird reason, Miss Bliss was the principal while Mr. Belding taught home room.  At first, everyone thought that Miss Bliss was both the perfect principal and the perfect teacher but then it turned out that Miss Bliss didn’t actually bother to get permission from the school board for any of the “good” things that she did and all of her solutions backfired.  TAKE THAT, MISS BLISS!

Finally, we ended things with the 13th and final episode of the Miss Bliss years.  Miss Bliss’s mentor showed up at the school and helped to teach her class.  His unorthodox methods were frowned upon by Mr. Belding.  Personally, I think Belding had a point but whatever.  The important thing is that Megan and I survived all 13 episodes.

Silk Stalkings (Tubi)

I decided to binge all 8 seasons of the stylish 90s crime show, Silk Stalkings.  This show also airs on one of the retro channels, ZLiving.  It was a stylish show about rich people doing bad things, often while undressed.  The first few seasons starred Rob Estes and Mitzi Kapture as Chris and Rita, two detectives who worked together to solve crimes and who generated endless amounts of sexual tension.

My sister Megan and I watched the pilot on Monday.  Chris and Rita investigated the murder of a model. Not surprisingly, the pilot was mostly about introducing Chris and Rita and establishing that they were attractive people who would be worth watching.  The pilot did a good job of just that.  Estes and Kapture had obvious chemistry from the start.  Even overly cutesy things — like calling each other “Sam” — were charming when they did it.  A good deal of time was devoted to Rita recovering from an aneurism, with gave the audiences a chance to see just how much Chris cared about his partner.  It was sweet, even if I have to agree with Rita that Chris was being a bit overprotective.  After the pilot, Megan and I watched two more episodes.  Chris and Rita investigate an old rich man who was shooting snuff films in his private sex dungeon and Rita came to terms with the tragic details of her father’s death.  And then, a rich car salesman was found floating in the ocean.  Fortunately, Chris and Rita were able to bring his very attractive killers to justice!

On Tuesday, we watched an episode in which Chris and Rita solved the murder of a wealthy (naturally) man who was killed on a golf course by an assailant who wielding a meat hook!  AGCK!  It was a grisly case but the important thing is that everyone involved was attractive.  Rita got shot towards the end of the episode.  She survived but Megan and I were still like, “Awwwwww!” when Chris got all worried about it.  This was followed by a fun episode in which Chris and Rita investigated the murder of a Congressman.  You might be surprised to learn that investigating the death of a politician involves talking to a lot of half-naked people. Chris and Rita (especially Chris) were up for the job!  This episode also featured a cute little subplot where Chris tried to help Rita deal with her insomnia.  Rita had a big poster that simply read, “ART!” in her bedroom.

The first episode that we watched on Wednesday featured Chris and Rita investigating the murder of a half-naked,rich woman.  This led to a scene in which they arrested a naked man who, standing in his hot tub, announced that “I heard you would need a semen sample.  I was just getting warmed up for you.”  Meanwhile, Chris reconnected with an ex-girlfriend who was now working as a stripper.  Reconnecting, in this case, meant spending a lot of time at the beach.  It was a fun episode.  The second episode found Chris and Rita investigating the murder of a sleazy tabloid publisher.  Of course, if this show had been made today, he would have just owned a clickbait factory and his death would have been live-streamed.  Chis was also upset that Rita had a date with a guy that she barely knew.  The date, of course, led to wild limo sex because seriously, what else are you going to do in a limo?

We got things started on Thursday with an episode about a decadent socialite who was drowned in her own pool.  Chris and Rita eventually discovered that the killer was a psycho named James who, ironically enough, also ended up dying in a pool.  Of course, James killed himself by jumping into the water while holding a sander.  We then watched an episode featuring Chris and Rita investigating a murder that had been committed by a bunch of frat boys.  Megan and I both agreed that frat boys were the worst!

The Steve Wilkos Show (Weekday Morning, Channel 33)

Hey, Steve Wilkos!  Giving lie detector tests and changing lives!  Good for you, Steve!  I watched your show on Wednesday morning because I was waking up and getting ready for my day and I was basically too busy to change the channel!  Get the Hell off my stage!

The Tribe (Pluto TV)

The Tribe is a British/New Zealand co-production that ran for five seasons in the last 90s and the early aughts.  It takes place in a future in which all of the adults have been killed by a mysterious virus, leaving behind only children and teenagers who have all formed “tribes,” and who are having to grow up in a world ruled by fear and anarchy.  A friend of mine has been recommending this show to me for a while.  One of my New Year’s resolutions was to finally check it out!

And that’s what I did.  On Saturday morning, around 2 a.m., I watched the first episode on Pluto.  It was pretty good.  It quickly set up the premise and introduced the characters.  Actually, it did quite a bit in just 25 minutes.  After meeting in an abandoned city, the main tribe took refuge in a mall.  Meanwhile, on the outside, a group of teenagers drove around in a cop car, the siren wailing ominously.  It was was an intriguing opening and, after watching the first episode, I decided that The Tribe would be one of the shows that I would binge over the course of 2022.

The Twilight Zone (Saturday and Sunday, SyFy)

I got a few episodes of SyFy’s annual Twilight Zone marathon.  On Saturday, I saw Burgess Meredith break his glasses.  I saw the one with the hitch-hiker who kept saying, “Going my way?”  And I saw one of my absolute favorite episodes, The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street.  On Sunday, the highlight included Twenty-Two (“Room for one more!”), Peter Falk playing Castro in The Mirror, The Hunt (in which a man realizes that only Hell would refuse to allow dogs), The Bard (in which Shakespeare met Burt Reynolds), and The Changing of the Guard with the great Donald Pleasence!

The Young and the Restless (Weekday mornings, CBS)

Because I had so much fun with Days of Our Lives on Tuesday, I decided to watch The Young and The Restless on Wednesday.  Unfortunately, the episode of Y&R that I saw was a bit dry, with a lot of scenes of people standing around and talking about a lawsuit.  It was kind of boring but at least everyone looked good!

Horror Scenes That I Love: Anthony Sends Dan To The Cornfield in The Twilight Zone


“You’re a very bad man!”

Today’s horror scene that I love comes not from film but from television.  In this episode of The Twilight Zone (entitled “It’s A Good Life”), the citizens of a rural community have to go out of their not to upset a rather unpredictable six year-old.

What happens when you upset little Anthony Fremont?

Take a look:

Written by Rod Serling and directed by James Sheldon, this episode originally aired on November 3, 1961.

Horror Film Review: Twilight Zone: The Movie (dir by John Landis, Steven Spielberg, Joe Dante, and George Miller)


1983’s Twilight Zone: The Movie is meant to be a tribute to the classic original anthology series.  It features four “episodes” and two wrap-around segments, with Burgess Meredith providing opening and closing narration.  Each segment is directed by a different director, which probably seemed like a good idea at the time.

Unfortunately, Twilight Zone: The Movie is a bit of a mess.  One of the episodes is brilliant.  Another one is good up until the final few minutes.  Another one is forgettable.  And then finally, one of them is next too impossible to objectively watch because of a real-life tragedy.

With a film that varies as wildly in tone and quality as Twilight Zone: The Movie, the only way to really review it is to take a segment at a time:

Something Scary (dir by John Landis)

Albert Brooks and Dan Aykroyd drive through the desert and discuss the old Twilight Zone TV series.  Brooks claims that the show was scary.  Aykoyd asks if Brooks wants to see something really scary.  This is short but fun.  It’s tone doesn’t really go along with the rest of the movie but …. oh well.  It made me jump.

Time Out (dir by John Landis)

Vic Morrow plays a racist named Bill Connor who, upon leaving his local bar, finds himself transported to Nazi-occupied France, the deep South, and eventually Vietnam.

How you react to this story will probably depend on how much you know about its backstory.  If you don’t know anything about the filming of this sequence, you’ll probably just think it’s a bit heavy-handed and, at times, unintentionally offensive.  Twilight Zone often explored themes of prejudice but Time Out just seems to be using racism as a gimmick.

If you do know the story of what happened while this segment was being filmed, it’s difficult to watch.  Actor Vic Morrow was killed during filming.  His death was the result of a preventable accident that occurred during a scene that was to involve Morrow saving two Vietnamese children from a helicopter attack.  The helicopter crashed, killing not only Morrow but the children as well.  It was later determined that not only were safety protocols ignored but that Landis had hired the children illegally and was paying them under the table so that he could get around the regulations governing how many hours child actors could work.  It’s a tragic story and one that will not leave you as a fan of John Landis’s, regardless of how much you like An American Werewolf in London and Animal House.

Nothing about the segment feels as if it was worth anyone dying for and, to be honest, I’m kind of amazed that it was even included in the finished film.

Kick The Can (dir by Steven Spielberg)

An old man named Mr. Bloom (Scatman Crothers) shows up at Sunnyvale Retirement Home and encourages the residents to play a game of kick the can.  Everyone except for Mr. Conroy (Bill Quinn) eventually agrees to take part and, just as in the episode of the Twilight Zone that this segment is based on, everyone becomes young.

However, while the television show ended with the newly young residents all running off and leaving behind the one person who refused to play the game, the movie ends with everyone, with the exception of one man who apparently became a teenager istead of a kid, deciding that they would rather be old and just think young.  That really doesn’t make any damn sense but okay.

This segment is unabashedly sentimental and clearly calculated to brings tears to the eyes to the viewers.  The problem is that it’s so calculated that you end up resenting both Mr. Bloom and all the old people.  One gets the feeling that this segment is more about how we wish old people than how they actually are.  It’s very earnest and very Spielbergian but it doesn’t feel much like an episode of The Twilight Zone.

It’s A Good Life (dir by Joe Dante)

A teacher (Kathleen Quinlan) meets a young boy (Jeremy Licht) who has tremendous and frightening powers.

This is a remake of the classic Twilight Zone episode, It’s A Good Life, with the difference being that young Anthony is not holding an entire town hostage but instead just his family.  This segment was directed by Joe Dante, who turns the segment into a cartoon, both figuratively and, at one point, literally.  That’s not necessarily a complaint.  It’s certainly improvement over Spielberg’s sentimental approach to the material.  Dante also finds roles for genre vets like Kevin McCarthy, William Schallert, and Dick Miller and he provides some memorably over-the-top visuals.

The main problem with this segment is the ending, in which Anthony suddenly reveals that he’s not really that bad and just wants to be treated normally, which doesn’t make much sense.  I mean, if you want to be treated normally, maybe don’t zap your sister in a cartoon.  The teacher agrees to teach Anthony how to be a normal boy and again, what the Hell?  The original It’s A Good Life worked because, like any child, Anthony had no conception of how adults felt about him.  In the movie version, he’s suddenly wracked with guilt and it’s far less effective.  It feels like a cop out.

Still, up until that ending, It’s A Good Life worked well as a satire of the perfect American family.

Nightmare at 20,000 Feet (dir by George Miller)

In this remake of Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, John Lithgow steps into the role that was originally played by William Shatner.  He plays a man who, while attempting to conquer his fear of flying, sees a gremlin on the wing of his airplane.  Unfortunately, he can’t get anyone else on the plane to believe him.

Nightmare at 20,000 Feet is the best of the four main segments.  It’s also the one that sticks closest to its source material.  Director George Miller (yes, of Mad Max fame) doesn’t try to improve on the material because he seems to understand that it works perfectly the way it is.  John Lithgow is also perfectly cast in the lead role, perfectly capturing his increasing desperation.  The one change that Miller does make is that, as opposed in the TV show, the gremlin actually seems to be taunting John Lithgow at time and it works wonderfully.  Not only is Lithgow trying to save the plane, he’s also trying to defeat a bully.

Something Scarier (dir by John Landis)

Dan Aykroyd’s back as an ambulance driver, still asking his passenger if he wants to see something really scary.  It’s an okay ending but it does kind of lessen the impact of Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.

 

Horror on TV: The Twilight Zone 3.24 “To Serve Man” (dir by Richard L. Bare)


“It’s a cookbook!”

During the month of October, we like to share classic episodes of horror-themed television.  That was easier to do when we first started doing our annual October horrorthon here at the Shattered Lens because every single episode of the original, black-and-white Twilight Zone was available on YouTube.  Sadly, that’s no longer the case.  In fact, there is exactly one episode of the original Twilight Zone on YouTube.

Fortunately, that episode is a classic.  In 1962’s To Serve Man, an alien (Richard Kiel) comes to Earth and invites people to return to his home planet with him.  He leaves behind a book.  When everyone learns that the title of the book is To Serve Man, they excitedly decide that the book must be an instruction manual on how to help mankind.  The truth, as we learn in the episode’s classic finale, is something a little bit different.

Here’s the episode!  Watch it before YouTube yanks it down.

(This episode originally aired on October 2nd, 1962.  It was directed by Richard L. Bare from a script by Rod Serling.  It was based on a short story by Damon Knight.)

Enjoy!

Halloween Book Review: The Twilight Zone Companion by Marc Scott Zicree


Up until a few years ago, every episode of the original Twilight Zone was available on YouTube.

That always made me really happy in October because, really, what better way to end each day of the Halloween month than by watching a classic episode of The Twilight Zone, right?  To Serve Man, The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street, It’s A Good Life, that episode with William Shatner freaking out on the plane and that other one with the guy entering his bedroom only to discover a lion waiting to eat him, these were all great episodes to watch in October!

Sadly, once Hulu started carrying Twilight Zone, all of the old episodes got yanked off of YouTube.  And now that the Twilight Zone is on Netflix, there’s no way the show will ever show up YouTube again.  We can still watch the episodes, of course.  Even if you don’t have Netflix for some reason, SyFy does regular marathons of the original show and, of course, there’s the Jordan Peele revival for those who watch old episodes of the Twilight Zone and say to themselves, “This is good but I just wish it was a little more heavy-handed.”

Well, I may not be able to embed any episodes this October but I can recommend that you order Marc Scott Zicree’s The Twilight Zone Companion, which is an indispensable guide to the original show.  Every episode is covered, with credits, plot synopsis, and anecdotes about the production.  Since a lot of important directors, actors, and writers did at least a little bit of work on Twilight Zone, the anecdotes are all very interesting and very much worth reading.  Even more importantly, Zicree takes a look at the life of Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling and also some of the key people involved behind the scenes.  The tragic story of Charles Beaumont will move you to tears.

So, if you’re a fan of the original show, you need this book!  Order it and enjoy!

Here’s The Super Bowl Teaser for Jordan Peele’s The Twilight Zone!


Did you know there’s a new Twilight Zone coming out?

Yes, again.

There’s actually been quite a few Twilight Zone revivals but this latest one involves Jordan Peele, who is a certified superfan of the show.  I mean, Get Out basically was a feature length Twilight Zone episode and Us was apparently inspired by the show.

Plus, the new Twilight Zone is going to be online which, in theory, means a bit less censorship.  That’s always a good thing.

Here’s the Super Bowl spot for Jordan Peele’s Twilight Zone!

Horror on TV: The Twilight Zone 3.24 “To Serve Man” (dir by Richard L. Bare)


“It’s a cookbook!”

During the month of October, we like to share classic episodes of horror-themed television.  That was easier to do when we first started doing our annual October horrorthon here at the Shattered Lens because every single episode of the original, black-and-white Twilight Zone was available on YouTube.  Sadly, that’s no longer the case.  In fact, there is exactly one episode of the original Twilight Zone on YouTube.

Fortunately, that episode is a classic.  In 1962’s To Serve Man, an alien (Richard Kiel) comes to Earth and invites people to return to his home planet with him.  He leaves behind a book.  When everyone learns that the title of the book is To Serve Man, they excitedly decide that the book must be an instruction manual on how to help mankind.  The truth, as we learn in the episode’s classic finale, is something a little bit different.

Here’s the episode!  Watch it before YouTube yanks it down.

(This episode originally aired on October 2nd, 1962.  It was directed by Richard L. Bare from a script by Rod Serling.  It was based on a short story by Damon Knight.)

Enjoy!