Monday, September 26, 2022

TV: The reboot that never should have happened

As the 20th century drew to a close and the 21st began, it seemed as though film inspiration had been completely exhausted as one bad movie based on a TV show opened (and quickly closed) at one theater after another.  There was S.W.A.T., there was I SPY,  THE MOD SQUAD, INSPECTOR GADGET, THE AVENGERS (no, not the MARVEL superheroes), LAND OF THE LOST, BEWITCHED, VERONICA MARS, THE DUKES OF HAZARD, STARSKY & HUTCH, THE HONEYMOONERS, It was so bad that one of the few successful TV shows turned into a film, 2000's CHARLIE'S ANGLES, mocked the mining for false gold by opening inside an airplane where the inflight film was T.J. HOOKER: THE MOVIE.

3 JESS



This soil degradation continues in the world of film but this effort also sprouts up on TV.  The most recent nightmare is QUANTUM LEAP and it's also the most confusing.

Not in terms of narrative, but due to its very existence.  We're not trying to get ontological or anything.

We're just noting that no one needed a reboot of this middling show.

If it was needed, the point would be to bring back Scott Bakula who starred in the original.  (Dean Stockwell can't come back to the show because he passed away last year.)  But Bakula passed on being an elder statesman for this new show.  As a star project, that would have been another reason to test the waters with a reboot.  


Someday, Raymond Lee might be a star but he's not at present.  Yes, he's appeared in a lot of projects -- mostly middling projects and then there's TOP GUN: MAVERICK in which he's the 16th billed actor.  But he's never carried a hit and, judging by early ratings, this reboot is not going to change that.


It's his fault he took the lead (maybe he needed the money) but it's not his fault the show's performed so poorly.

ROSEANNE was a number one show in it's original run.  That it would be a hit (and it was) when it was revived was not surprising.  


But rebooting QUANTUM LEAP?

The show was out of date when it premiered.  It was the last of the hour long shows without a continuing plot line.  These episodic programs were all the rage in the fifties and sixties and seventies and eighties.  It was a bit like an anthology series but with regular characters subbing for 'hosts' each episode.  As we've long noted, MTM's HILL STREET BLUES changed everything for prime time's non-soap opera series.  It introduced continuing elements to TV drama.  That hooks the viewers and can keep them coming back.  Reboot showrunner Martin Gero doesn't get it as demonstrated both in the first three episodes that we've watched and in the statements Grio makes to the press -- such as, "The greatest thing about the show is that it's almost like a different TV show every week."



NBC's original QUANTUM LEAP was not ROSEANNE.  It wasn't even SMALL WONDER.  It was a show that aired in the 80s and 90s when there was no streaming and when there were fewer channels.  The NBC show had competition from ABC, CBS, FOX and PBS.  That's really it.  USA and TNT and TBS weren't doing original scripted programming.  The same year that QUANTUM LEAP premiered on NBC (1989), LIFETIME got its first original series when they picked up Blair Brown's THE DAYS AND NIGHTS OF MOLLY DODD from NBC.


Back then, you either videotaped the program when it aired or you watched it when it aired and there wasn't a great deal of competition for eye balls -- certainly, nothing like today.

At the end of each year, QUANTUM LEAP was one of the least watched programs.  It never made it above number 53 on Nielsen's yearly rankings.  

So we're dealing with a show that, even when new, wasn't watched by many and a program with a format that's woefully out of date.  

You really have to wonder about the sanity of the suits at NBC who decided this was a show to bring back.  

No surprise, the reboot is flopping in the ratings and most of The Water Cooler set is (rightly) sneering at it.  They should be sneering at the NBC executives who were stupid enough to put this reboot on the air.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Truest statement of the week

And perhaps in the wealthy social circles inhabited by the writers of the Times, it is no exaggeration to state that these sentiments are in the air: These people spend their evenings watching TV shows like Bridgerton, fantasize about themselves as royalty and are extremely impressed by the medieval rituals being observed with great solemnity across the Atlantic.

It is not teachers, autoworkers, nurses or railroad engineers in America or anywhere else who are “consumed with fascination by the royal family.” The Times’ writers should speak for themselves! It is the parasitic layers saturated with money—the oligarchs and their corporate, financial, military, government and academic hangers-on for which the Times speaks—which grasp at privilege and clamor for authority and respectability, for whom the monarchy represents an icon at the pinnacle of their social outlook: a shameless state-sanctioned celebration of hereditary privilege and of the inequality between social classes. It is these layers that resent their American drivers, waiters and maids for failing to treat them with the kind of deference they may imagine that their wealthy counterparts enjoy abroad.

In the final analysis, in the Times’ attacks on the American Revolution and Civil War, followed by its prostration before the institution of the monarchy, deeper processes and contradictions are reflected.

 

-- Tom Carter, "The 1619 Project and the New York Times’ glorification of the monarchy" (WSWS).

 

 

 

Truest statement of the week II

In throwing itself on its knees in front of institutionalized hereditary privilege, the Times recalls the words of Mark Twain: “Unquestionably the person that can get lowest down in cringing before royalty and nobility, and can get most satisfaction out of crawling on his belly before them, is an American. Not all Americans, but when an American does it he makes competition impossible.”

Perhaps realizing they had overdone it, the Times editors published a somewhat defensive article on September 14 under the title “Was Elizabeth the Queen of America?” (This article appeared after World Socialist Web Site managing editor Niles Niemuth wrote on September 9: “Was Elizabeth America’s Queen? … I recall a distinct break with aristocracy some 250 years ago.”) In this article, the Times acknowledged that “Americans fought for freedom from the British crown” but placed the blame on the American population for being “consumed with fascination by the royal family after the queen’s death on Thursday.”

This excuse turns reality upside down. The Times and the rest of the US media establishment have been force-feeding the population with monarchist propaganda ever since the news arrived of the queen’s death—but according to the Times, this is supposedly the fault of readers for reading it, not of the newspapers for cramming it down their throats.

 

-- Tom Carter, "The 1619 Project and the New York Times’ glorification of the monarchy" (WSWS).

 

 

A note to our readers

Hey -- 

Tuesday.   


Let's thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:


The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,\

Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,

C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen, 
Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.



And what did we come up with?

 

 

 Peace,


-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.

 

 

 

Climate change is here

 

TV: Fall TV has arrived

Summer turns to fall and new programs show up on TV and streaming services.  Possibly so many new shows that important events on existing shows get overlooked?  Let's start with the new.
 
3 JESS
 

PEACOCK hasn't had a great deal of luck with scripted programming.  Most of it has been British shows that they've tried to pass off as original to PEACOCK or embarrassments like BRAVE NEW WORLD.  But they have had some success -- QUEER AS FOLK, MCGRUBER and ONE OF US IS LYING.  With VAMPIRE ACADEMY, they can add one more to their shows worth watching.  

Episodes one through four dropped last week and that was good because Julie Plec and company are laying the groundwork for a long run.  Plec is responsible for THE VAMPIRE DIARIES, LEGACY and, most importantly THE ORIGINALS.  Plec has overseen long running shows because of her attention to characterizations and plot points.  She knows how to build audience interest.  That should make her a strong asset for PEACOCK.

Should.

But PEACOCK thinks a season is ten episodes.  Episodes five through ten will air weekly on Thursdays.  Is there a reason, other than NETFLIX envy, that PEACOCK is going for ten episode seasons?  Plec should be able to handle it and have a tight season but she really works best on a larger canvas.  

She's got a strong cast -- especially Daniela Nieves as Lissa -- and this feels like a show that's not just marking time -- unlike so many shows that debuted last fall on THE CW.  



Season two of FATE: THE WINX SAGA also reels you in -- sadly, it's only seven episodes and WINX is petty much gone in the blink of an eye.  Before that happens, Bloom (Abigail Cowen) grows stronger and the characters grow deeper.  That's especially true of Terra (Eliot Salt) who has a season of self-reflection and self-realization.  But it's true also of Andreas (Ken Duken) who becomes so much more than he was last season and so many others.  

While time flies by quickly on both VAMPIRE DIARIES and FATE: THE WINX SAGA, it seems to drag on when it comes to MONARCH, FOX news series starring Susan Sarandon.  Susan's not the problem -- killing her off in the first episode might be.  She's the only one in the cast who pulls you in.  The cast isn't bad -- and the actors may grow into their roles -- but no one else is really able to lead.  There's also the problem Mike noted, they haven't cast the show well.  A new show needs the audience to easily follow the various characters.  But when you've cast dark haired men in the younger parts, you risk people confusing Luke (Joshua Sasse) with Cliave (Adam Croasdell) or even Ace (Inigo Pascual) as they try to sort through who's who.  This could be avoided by casting, for example, a bald man in the role, or a blond, or giving someone a brush cut, or a redhead.

Joshua Sasse will probably stand out quickly if the show lasts because he's the one who has mastered a role.  A drama -- especially a soap opera -- often requires the actor and the writers feeling out a role.  So we're not slamming the rest of the cast.  But Sasse has already mastered what's been served up on the written page.  Maybe the writers can toss his character something to make Luke someone will root for?  At present, he's the son who's not appreciated by his father.  Because he's gay? If only.  They haven't even come up with a reason for the detachment/estrangement.  

Susan will return for flashbacks and other things but her character is dead.  What was the point?  BLUE SKIES did something similar with Ryan Phillippe; however, Ryan's character was brutally murdered in the first episode while he attempted to solve a mystery that all the characters swirled around. And David E. Kelley set this up wonderfully.

MONARCH let you know Susan's character had cancer in the first episode and her death wasn't surprising as a result.  You might have been shocked that they'd kill off Susan in the first episode, but that was it.  She had cancer, she was dying.  We knew that much.  Equally true, when Alfred Hitchcock killed off Janet Leigh at the start of PSYCHO, he still had Anthony Perkins in the cast.  MONARCH really has nothing.

Trace Adkins isn't bad as Albie.  He hits the right notes.  He doesn't do much else.  That's partly due to writing.  The show is just starting but it's starting with bad writing, really bad writing.  That's evident in the way episode one drags on (as does episode two) and it's evident in the characters -- none seem to have been thought out in terms of writing.  

Back to Plec, she thought out the characters, she thought out the plot points and she cast well.

MONARCH may have cast well -- it might not have -- but it's hard to tell when they've supplied the actors with so little.  

We heard the show was being critically trashed and that did surprise us until we watched.  Episode one would have tanked without Susan.  Episode two does tank.  

What could save this soap opera?  Maybe bringing on Heather Locklear.  We're not joking.  Trace Adkins needs a strong actress to work with -- a Heather Locklear, a Michael Michele.  An Amber Valletta would tank the show as surely as she tanked BLOOD & OIL.

Trace is the one we really feel sorry for.  Opposite Sarandon, he could have shined.  Now he'll end up in some sort of Katey Sagal relationship.  No, Dan doesn't fit with Katey's Louise and he never will.  

Sara Gilbert is out of control.  Her thirst for power saw her work to stab Roseanne Barr in the back and, in the process of her power grab, she destroyed her marriage.  We don't blame her wife for leaving.  We'd already noted her how pathetic Sara was.  She didn't come out until 2010.  Despite having two children with her partner by 2004.  Pathetic and disgusting.  

You're in the closet and you're a parent -- twice over -- with your female partner?

You're not just asking your partner to hide in the closet with you, you're asking your children too as well.

Sara is pathetic and disgusting.  She had a fit when Darlene was the source of a joke in season ten of ROSEANNE -- she didn't like Dan and Roseanne laughing about how Darlene might be gay.

And that, by the way, is the attitude that ended her marriage.  She's pathetic.  She doesn't want people to think of her as gay.  So she won't let Darlene be gay and she's avoided playing gay characters as an adult.  She has internalized homophobia and then some.  This season, the show goes on without Michael Fishman whom Sara fired.  DJ is gone. Roseanne's gone.  Pretty soon, it'll be just her and Katey -- playing Darlene and Lousie as gal pals -- but not lovers. 

Sara Gilbert and her homophobia are aided by a garbage press and that's never more true than when it comes to SCREEN RANT.

Last week, Cathal Gunning was again lying at SCREEN RANT.  ABC, he lied, fired Roseanne Barr.  No, they didn't.

They didn't have the power too.

They cancelled her show, that's all they could legally do.

They then trashed her in the press, claimed she had destroyed all these lives.  It was too late, they insisted, for the crew to get new jobs.  All the series were locked in.  So they were without jobs because of mean old Roseanne.  They then made promises, if she'd let them have the characters.

That's how they got THE CONNERS.  It's not now, and never has been, as popular as ROSEANNE.  But it had a built in audience and has made a ton of money for ABC because they stole it from Roseanne.

This is not a minor issue.  Louis CK lost his show because of his actions.  He was not then asked to sign away his creations.  No man ever is.  No woman has been before.  What they did to Roseanne was outrageous.

And uncalled for.  ABC heads should roll.  

If you missed it, ROSEANNE is a hit on COZY and it on many streamers -- that's all ten seasons. 

Twitter was outraged but the American people weren't.  That's because most could handle a joke that bombed.  And most grasped that Roseanne Barr wasn't a racist -- she had a life and a body of work to back that up -- unlike Sara Gilbert.




Sara stole the show.  And it's a minor hit because Sara's a minor talent.  She hasn't taken it anywhere.  She hasn't added to it.  She's made the generic White cast TV show while pretending that Roseanne was a racist.  The racist -- and the homophobe -- is Sara.  That's why Sandra Bernhard was brought back as Nancy on season ten of ROSEANNE (TV's first recurring lesbian who wasn't a joke) but never showed up on THE CONNERS.

ROSEANNE was a groundbreaking show.  THE CONNERS?  Sara Gilbert's destroyed the sitcom and made it run of the mill.

Roseanne supported Donald Trump, that's not a crime.  She's an extreme Zionist -- also not a crime.  She attempted a joke that didn't go over -- again, not a crime.

And people used it to destroy her.  Powerful people.  And they emotionally blackmailed her to get control of her show.

Those facts are disappeared for now but they will be huge in the future.  And Sara Gilbert will have to answer for what she did.  It will be attached to her for as long as anyone remembers her.  She's a backstabber who immediately moved to attack Roseanne so she and ABC could steal the show from her.  

There's no excuse for what she did.  And there's no excuse for the embarrassment that is THE CONNERS -- a tired show that makes MAYBERRY RFD seem revolutionary.  


Book Talk

court
 
Dona: Book talk time.  We had two book reviews recently.  Ruth covered Stan Saul's BECOMING RICHARD PRYOR and Isaiah covered Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey are the authors of  THE COMIC BOOK HISTORY OF ANIMATION: TRUE TOON TALES OF THE MOST ICONIC CHARACTERS, ARTISTS AND STYLES!   Isaiah, let me start with you and your review was "The Comic Book History of Animation: True Toon Tales of the Most Iconic Characters, Artists and Styles!"  You referred to the drawings.  Was this a visual book?

Isaiah: Yes and the fact that you have to ask makes it clear I wasn't clear enough.  They're covering the history of animated films and they've done it as a comic book.  

Dona: So an animated racy cartoon back in 1928? 

Isaiah: That was a shocker.  The year is not clear outside of the book.  It may be a year different.  But I looked it up and it was the case.  But I did change the title of that cartoon.  The book had a different title and I could not find it on Google so I went with the title that I could fine repeatedly.  

Dona: And the man just walks around poking his thing in.

Isaiah: Yep.  Ends up in a cactus tree at one point.  That's not in the book, that's what I found out while researching.

Dona: We always think we're the racy ones and that it was so quiet before we came along.  Clearly, that's not the case.  Ruth, you covered a biography, "BECOMING RICHARD PRYOR," and you liked it?

Ruth: I am torn.  I wish I hadn't read it.  

Dona: It made it harder for you to enjoy Richard Pryor?

Ruth: It did.  I don't care about his sleeping with whomever -- the book does note that he publicly stated he had slept with a man.  And not Marlon Brando, this was a male prostitute he grew up with and Richard spoke about it publicly at a charity event.  But Richard sleeping with someone -- even a married woman or man -- I have no negative judgements.  For me, the issue was the violent beatings of women.  It is really hard for me to resolve that.  Trust the art, not the artist, right?

Dona: Stan asked me to tell you he really liked what you wrote regarding the barriers that Richard faced in terms of casting.

Ruth: I honestly would not have thought about that were it not for Ava and C.I. tackling the subject.  But they really did open my eyes --

Dona: Stan's too.  He wanted me to link to their "TV: First Ladies and Martha Mitchell ."

Ruth: And they're right.  It is racism when they have a certain level of African-American male character -- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Barack Obama, etc. -- and they refuse to cast an African-American in the role but instead cast a British actor.  They do not go out of their way to, for example, enlarge the scope of the characters that they will allow Samuel L. Jackson to play.  Richard Pryor became box office and deserves praise for that.  But they really did keep him as a type.  And Eddie Murphy followed -- a huge box office star -- and the studios catered to him because he was so huge but even so they only allowed him to stretch a little bit more than they did Richard.

Isaiah: I read the book, by the way, to see what bothered Ruth and it bothered me as well.  For example, Richard and his wife Shelley have Sammy Davis Jr. and his wife over.  Richard starts beating Shelley at the table, during dinner.  And the next day, Sammy and his wife send flowers about how that's not the Richard they know or something.  There is a lot of looking the other way, a lot of smoothing over and a lot of justifying.  And I am not trying to attack Sammy Davis Jr.  I don't know what I would have done, in 1960-whatever, if that had happened in front of me at a friend's home.  Today?  We know about spouse abuse.  Back then, I don't want to try to guess.  It was awkward and it was painful.  And, Ruth, it did harm the way I look at Richard Pryor.  I understand your reaction completely.

Dona: Ruth, you note that it's probably not a book for big fans of Richard Pryor.

Ruth: I don't feel it is.  I picked it up thinking I would enjoy it because I love Richard Pryor.  But I did not enjoy the book.  Well written and great for digging deep but I didn't plan on that.  I had a question for Isaiah.

Isaiah: Shoot.

Ruth: On your review, you were emphasizing the things covered in the book you read that were not so obvious, right?

Isaiah: Yes.  I could have written a ton about Walt Disney, for example, that we already know but what would the point be.  The racy film, for example, was completely new to me and that's why I included it in my review.

Dona: Isaiah, Ruth wants more book coverage -- even like what we did in 2020 where it was at least one book a week.  How do you feel about that?

Isaiah: I don't know about that much -- not sure I could do that much.  But I am glad that Ruth, Rebecca and Marcia continue to cover books.  

Dona: I am too. 

Hypocrite said what?

We're not Bernie-stans.  We do believe he would have made a much better president than Joe Biden but we're not in love with him and we don't really want him to run again -- especially not after the way he caved in March of 2020.  


But we'll note if he's right about something.  And if he's unfairly attacked?


Yeah, we'll defend him.


Joseph Zeballos-Roig and Bryan Metzger (BUSINESS INSIDER) report:

Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia griped on Tuesday about bipartisan opposition to his plan to streamline construction of fossil fuel and clean energy projects, assailing it as a form of vengeful politics.

"I've been around a long time in state politics and federal politics," Manchin said at a Tuesday press conference. "I've never seen stranger bedfellows than Bernie Sanders and the extreme liberal left siding up with the Republican leadership in the caucus."


Wait a second, the craven politician who repeatedly runs to the Republicans to make deals and alliances is trashing Bernie for working across the aisle?

Manchin About Image


Charles Haymaker Tweets:

Bernie Sanders is blocking manchin’s fossil fuel buys and manchin has accused Bernie being in bed with repubs. Name calling fools. Manchin acts like a 6 yo.
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Manchin Accuses Bernie Sanders of “Revenge Politics” for Rejecting...
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Exactly. 





2022 deaths

Each year, people are born and people die.  Reader Troy Montgomery e-mailed noting that many community sites note passings and thought we could keep a running link page on that.  That's a good idea.  We'll try to include this in future editions this year as sites cover additional deaths.  You'll note a lot of links go to Ruth because she tends to cover passings more than anyone else in the community.  The list may not be complete and the only order for the first twelve is the order of what we remembered while we were doing this -- the order we remembered the deaths in. 

 

 

1) Sally Kellerman -- see Ruth's "Sally Kellerman"

 

 2) Ronnie Spector -- see Betty's "Ronnie Specter," Ruth's "Ronnie Spector" and C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot"


2) Naomi Judd -- see Kat's "Grace Slick, Naomi Judd," "One more time honoring Naomi Judd" and "Naomi Judd"

 

3) Sidney Poitier -- see Betty's "A great actor passed -- not a great person, not a great lover, not a great activist"

4) Ray Liotta -- see Ruth's "Ray Liotta"


 5) Peter Bogdanovich -- see Stan's "Peter Bogdonavich"


6) Andy Fletcher -- see Kat's "Andy Fletcher"

 

7)  Bo Hopkins -- see Ruth's "Bo Hopkins"

 

8) William Hurt -- see Ann's "Not sure if I believe Marlee Matlin now"

 

9) Meat Loaf -- see Kat's "Meat Loaf"

 

10) Howard Hessman -- see Ruth's "Howard Hessman"

 

11) Rosa Lee Hawkins -- see Ruth's "Rosa Lee Hawkins"

 

12) Dwayne Hickman -- see Ruth's "Dwayne Hickman"

 

13) William Hart -- see Ruth's "William Hart of The Deflonics has passed away


14) Mark Shields -- see Ruth's "Mark Shields"

 

15) Nichelle Nichols -- see Ruth's "Nichelle Nichols


16)  Bob Rafelson -- see Ruth's "Bob Rafelson has passed away"

 

17) Olivia Newton John -- see Kat's "Olivia Newton-John," "Have You Never Been Mellow and a buried treasure," "More on Olivia" and "Olivia Newton-John,"  Marcia's "ONJ" and "Olivia Newton-John"

 

18)  Lamont Dozier -- see Ruth's "Lamont Dozier grabbed our hearts through our ears"

 

19) Anne Heche -- see Marcia's "Yes, you belabored the issue long enough (and Anne Heche will be missed)," Rebecca's "anne heche and robin griggs - 2 another world cast members pass away ," and C.I.'s "Walking and Talking (12/12) Movie CLIP - I Love Yo."

 

 20) Jean-Luc Godard -- see Stan's "Jean-Luc Godard"

 

 

Fireside Chat with Matt Hoh and Margaret Kimberley

Margaret Kimberley Tweets:


Join me and on Thursday, 9/22 at 8pm eastern time.
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Matt Hoh for Senate
@MatthewPHoh
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Please join @freedomrideblog and me for a conversation this Thursday! us02web.zoom.us/webinar/regist
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This edition's playlist

 

 1) Harry Styles' HARRY'S HOUSE.

 

2)  Diana Ross' THANK YOU.

 

3) The Pretenders' THE SINGLES.

 

4) Chrissie Hynde's STOCKHOLM.  

 

5) Diana Ross' THE BOSS

 

6) Rod Stewart's OUT OF ORDER.

 

7) George Ezra's GOLD RUSH KID.

 

8) Aretha Franklin's WHO'S ZOOMIN' WHO?


9) Adele's 30

 

10) Chase Rice's THE ALBUM.

 

 

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