NBC’s “Cliff Hangers!” 1979 failed genre TV show!

It’s 1979, and the National Broadcasting Company – who for many decades was the predominant force in primetime television dramas and comedies – was sputtering.  The network, mired in third place behind ABC and CBS, tried everything they could to draw an audience.  Put McLean Stevenson in a sitcom about a radio talk show host? …

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“Can I buy a vowel? Does Y count as a vowel today?”

Yesterday morning.  Woke up.  One eye on my cell phone, sifting through all the Facebook messages.  And there it was.  A message that Wheel of Fortune would hold tryouts for their game show at Saratoga Harness.  Yeah, I know, Saratoga Casino and Hotel, but it’s Saratoga Harness to me, if you’ve got a problem with…

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Why should I care about NBC’s new drama “The Inbetween”?

It seems to be a very over-used TV trope.  Someone can speak to the dead, and the dead can answer back.  Yeah, it’s only been done on network TV just once or twice … Ghost Whisperer, Medium, Tru Calling, Pushing Daisies, Dead Like Me, heck we could go back to the days of Topper and…

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Liz Bishop, you broke my heart.

One of the most important aspects a television viewer can expect from his or her local news broadcasts is trust.  Trust from the anchorpeople who will provide the viewer with the news.  News as free from bias or slant as is possible. Over the weekend, a video clip showing the newscasters and anchorpeople at Sinclair…

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A Steven Bochco Retrospective

Steven Bochco passed away yesterday at age 74.  For a generation of television viewers, he was a visionary in television drama.  He experimented with new techniques and storylines, he created new aesthetics in drama, and changed the way we watched prime time television forever. Today’s blog post shows many of Bochco’s greatest television programs –…

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You want steamed hams? I got your steamed hams right here…

It seemed such an innocuous little television skit.  Two minor characters on The Simpsons, Principal Seymour Skinner and his boss, Superintendent Chalmers, have a little three-minute storyline in an episode called “22 Short Films About Springfield.”  In the storyline, Skinner invites Chalmers to dinner, then discovers that the dinner is burning.  Rather than tell Chalmers…

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Is “Phoenix Five” the cheapest sci-fi show ever made?

We live in a time when special effects in motion pictures and in television have really advanced beyond anything we could ever previously imagine.  Realistic worlds.  Spectacular alien beings.  Awesome plotlines thaqt draw millions of fans to message boards and to Internet fan sites for discussion and discourse. Back in the 1960’s and 1970’s, you…

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Wait, wait … NBC’s Timeless is coming back this week?

Last year, four of the major broadcast networks debuted time-travel programs.  Two were based on movie properties – ABC’s Time After Time (H.G. Wells chases Jack the Ripper to modern-day New York), and the CW’s Frequency (modern-day police detective communicates with father from 20 years ago through ham radio).  One was a comedy, Fox’s Making…

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