Saturday, May 31, 2008
The Boondocks: The Complete Second Season (Sony, $49.95) brings fans another season of the television version of Aaron McGruder's former newspaper comic strip. Much like the comic strip, the Adult Swim TV series takes on many controversial issues and handles them in a humorous manner. Except, of course, the TV series takes on the issues in an outlandish, crude, sometimes offensive, and always extremely controversial manner. The second season is no exception to this rule, and is in fact even more crude and offensive than the first season--but that is what makes the show so great.
In this season, we get to see what true jealousy is like when Sarah gets to meet Usher in "Tom, Sarah and Usher." We learn how Granddad reacts when a rapper moves in to the neighborhood in "The Story of Thugnificent." Granddad meets a hot woman that is a little bit (or a lot) crazy in "Attack of the Killer Kung-Fu Wolf-Bitch." The house becomes full of some of Granddad's relatives after Hurricane Katrina in "Invasion of the Katrinians." In "The S-Word," Riley gets called the n-word by a teacher and chaos ensues. Additionally, we even get two episodes that were so outrageous and controversial that they couldn't even be aired on cable television. In "The Hunger Strike," Huey takes a stand against BET based upon how he views the network as causing destruction to black people. In "The Uncle Ruckus Reality Show," Uncle Ruckus discovers that he really is black after all, and BET decides to make a reality show about it. Obviously Aaron McGruder has a point to make about BET... and it doesn't look like Adult Swim will air that point of view! Additionally, the season contains many guest stars, including Snoop Dogg, Tichina Arnold, Lil' Wayne, Cedric the Entertainer, Fred Williard, Busta Rhymes, and Tavis Smiley.
The episodes are all presented in widescreen and they look and sound great, as one would expect. The episodes are totally uncensored, so don't be surprised to see the unexpected. As if the episodes aren't good enough, there are plenty of bonus features on the set too. There aren't quite as many as there were for the first season, but still plenty. The set contains audio commentaries on four of the episodes, and video introductions on the two banned episodes. There is a "Behind the Boondocks" featurette, which, as it sounds, goes behind the scenes of the series to show what it is like creating the series. In "Trouble in Woodcrest?," we get to see some "behind-the-scenes" trash-talking between cast members. Another special feature--one that I won't even mention the name of--talks about the n-word and the use of it on the show. Actually, it doesn't even talk about it, it is just a bunch of clips of the voice actors saying it while recording the script. You'll hear the n-word in it, a lot, as you do on the TV show. Next, there is a series of special features for the cast members, where we learn more about who they are. They have these for John Witherspoon, Cedric Yarbrough, Regina King, Gary Anthony Williams, Gabby Soleil, and Jill Talley. And what Sony DVD set would be complete without Minisodes? We have two, from Married... with Children and Spiderman.
Overall, this is a great set and fans are sure to enjoy it, as will those that just enjoy humorous and controversial TV. Sony seems to do a great job on this series in regards to quality and bonus features, and the DVDs are much more enjoyable to watch than the episodes as aired on TV.
-- Reviewed by skees53
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Friday, May 30, 2008
Now Chris has launched a website! It is a new retro-reality web zine located at www.Retroality.TV. The premiere "issue" includes exclusive and revealing interviews with the ever-ass-kicking Wonder Woman herself, Lynda Carter, as well as The Brady Bunch's "youngest one in curls," Susan Olsen.
The site also links to his recent health magazine interviews with Mario Lopez, Hulk Hogan, Leeza Gibbons, reality star/actor/fitness cover model Greg Plitt and his Bob Barker/Barker's Beauties Radar.com exposé.
And he attempts tongue-in-cheek humor in the feature "Ascot Hot," which salutes the "man scarf" as seen on TV adorning Mr. Howell, Mr. Furley, Scooby Doo's Freddy and Daphne, Bea Arthur, Ellen DeGeneres, Conrad Bain and, most recently, American Idol's rockin' (and oh-so-robbed) Michael Johns.
Chris says, "Wonder Woman, Maude, Michael Johns and Conrad Bain--on the same web site! Really, is there any reason to surf the web now? Methinks not."
The site will be fully functional by July, so please bookmark it and check back in coming weeks for more retroality fun!
The site also announces that Chris Mann has a John Ritter book in the works! It will be about the late actor's brilliant life and legacy with interviews with many of his family members and colleagues. The book sounds great and Chris will find a lot of success with it, I'm sure. I personally can't wait for it! In addition, Chris also has a Price is Right book in the works. Chris is certainly keeping busy and we wish him the best! We will keep you up to date on his various projects. Once again the website is www.Retroality.TV ... check it out, it is great (and interesting!) right now and will be even better when it fully launches in July!
And you can listen to Chris promote the website on WGN Radio AM720 in Chicago this Sunday night at 11:05pm CT (12:05am ET/9:05pm PT) or you can listen online if you're not in Chicago at www.wgnradio.com. He will be on Nick Digilio's show, produced by Andy Hermann. Both Nick and Andy are also friends of ours and Chris'. Andy is a big Three's Company fan.
Harvey Korman, the tall, versatile comedian who won four Emmys for his outrageously funny contributions to the sketch comedy The Carol Burnett Show from 1967-1978 and played a conniving politician to hilarious effect in the 1974 movie Blazing Saddles, died yesterday. Korman died at UCLA Medical Center after suffering complications from the rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm four months ago, his family said. He had undergone several major operations.
Before The Carol Burnett Show, Korman had guest appearances on various series such as Hennesey, The Danny Kaye Show, The Red Skelton Show, Surfside 6, Perry Mason, Dennis the Menace, Hazel, Gidget, The Lucy Show, The Jack Benny Show, F Troop, and The Munsters. In 1965 he landed the role as the voice of The Great Gazoo on the last season or two of The Flintstones. He appeared in the 1966 big screen movie The Man Called Flintstone as well, voicing various characters. Then in 1967 he signed on with CBS for The Carol Burnett Show. Korman's claim to fame was playing the perfect straight man to the outrageous slapstick comedy of the other actors in the cast, but mainly Burnett and fellow cast member Tim Conway. They, and the fourth member of the variety show's core ensemble, Vicki Lawrence, spoofed a number of iconic films and television series throughout the show's run. During the show, in 1976 Harvey appeared on the very first Love Boat movie in 1976. Guest stars included Florence Henderson, Tom Boslet, Don Adams, Hal Linden, Gabe Kaplan, Dick Van Patten and Cloris Leachman.
After Carol Burnett ended, he had his own show called The Harvey Korman Show in 1978 on ABC opposite Christine Lahti. It didn't last long. He joined his former Carol Burnett star Tim Conway on his show The Tim Conway Show in 1980. That show was also short-lived. In 1982 he played Ed in the CBS TV movie Eunice opposite Carol Burnett and Vicki Lawrence, both from Carol Burnett Show. Eunice was the film which led to the series Mama's Family in 1983. Vicki Lawrence starred in the series and Carol Burnett and Harvey Korman made a handful of guest appearances as Eunice and Ed. His other guest appearances include The Love Boat (4 times from 1982-85), The Golden Palace, Garfield & Friends, Burke's Law, Ellen, Suddenly Susan, ER, and Diagnosis Murder. In 1986 he returned to series television in the short-lived CBS comedy Leo & Liz in Beverly Hills. His big screen work includes Blazing Saddles, Huckleberry Finn, Americathon, Trail of the Pink Panther, Curse of the Pink Panther, The Flintstones, Jingle All the Way, and Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas.
He will be deeply missed. Let's hope there is a Carol Burnett Show marathon somewhere on TV soon. We will let you know if there is one or any Korman tributes. Mr. Korman was 81.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Now WGN is also planning more theme weeks. The '70s week is the first of many to come. They tentatively have an '80s week planned for July and we could see ALF, Family Ties, and more shows. So stay tuned to that when it is announced! Casey Kasem will be announcing during promos and voice-overs for the theme weeks and the regular Sunday block...how cool!
We will certainly let you know if more of these shows join the actual line-up...so far WKRP is the only one joining the line-up that has aired during a theme week. I wouldn't be surprised though if Newhart is in the '80s week and IF they have a '50s week, The Honeymooners could air in that. And once again all this is not available for the local WGN in Chicago. This is for the national WGN only, the cable version.
Also, the national WGN was called Superstation WGN for many years, but this past Monday they changed their name to WGN America. So, from now on I'll refer WGN to WGN America. The new name and logo was introduced this past Monday and also with the slogan "TV You Can't Ignore." According to the Chicago Tribune, WGN America's new "eyes" logo, which resembles the one used for much of the '90s by cable's The Movie Channel, was the inspiration of Tribune Co. Chief Innovation Officer Lee Abrams. The former radio consultant wanted the channel to look more like an album cover. It resembles the eyes of the woman on Duran Duran's "Rio" album, but Abrams said he was just trying to help the channel break from traditional TV.
Sean Compton, a former Clear Channel exec recruited to tend to Tribune TV programming, meanwhile is repackaging reruns (WKRP, etc) and old movies (Rocky movies, etc) and giving away prizes via WGNAmerica.com, the new website. By the end of the summer, the plan is to introduce an original program. And within 18 months or so, Compton hopes the nation will barely recognize the channel.
We leave you tonight with a reminder. Tonight is the last of the regular season show's, as Lost will ends its season with an all-night event. At 8pm an encore of the previous episodes will air with bonus footage followed by the game changing two-hour season finale from 9-11pm on ABC. It should do big. Only other new programming on the night is summer reality series: So You Think You Can Dance on Fox from 8-10 and Last Comic Standing on NBC from 8:30-10:30pm. Sitcom wise, NBC will wraparound The Office repeats around Comic at 8 and 10:30pm. CBS will encore Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother from 8-9pm. But you should be getting Lost tonight! After tonight, the summer season will really begin since the regular season scripted series will come to an end until the new season.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Family Matters will then air regularly, Sunday through Thursday at 8:30 p.m. & 11:00 p.m. and Friday & Saturday at 12 a.m. (all times ET/PT) starting Monday, June 30 on Nick at Nite!
But before that, sit dad down on the couch this Father's Day as George Lopez plays host to a nightlong marathon honoring our favorite Nick at Nite fathers...Tim, George and Philip. Tune in Father's Day evening (Sunday, June 15) starting at 9pm!
To see the complete Nick at Nite June 2008 schedule and higlights, including the episodes for the Father's Day stunt and Family Matters marathon, click HERE! "As days go by, it's the bigger love of the family."
Earle H. Hagen, the Emmy Award-winning television composer who wrote the memorable theme music for The Andy Griffith Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, I Spy and other classic TV programs, has died. He died Monday night at his home in Rancho Mirage, CA with wife, Laura at his side. He had been ill for several months.
Mr. Hagen had been writing TV themes since 1953. He was a fixture of TV hits in the '60s writing TV themes for many popular series. In addition to the ones he was really famous for, he wrote the themes for Make Room for Daddy, Dobie Gillis, That Girl, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., Mayberry RFD, The Mod Squad, Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer, The New Perry Mason, Eight is Enough and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.
He won an Emmy in 1968 for Outstanding Achievement in Musical Compositionfor I Spy. But it was The Andy Griffith Show theme song that people most remember him for. In fact, the famous whistling is done by Mr. Hagen himself! So you can hear him in each episodes before it starts.
Mr. Hagen will certainly be missed as his TV theme songs will live on forever. He was 88.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
ION Television announced today that it will launch the highly-acclaimed, hit series, ER, on its primetime schedule Monday, June 9 with a four-day marathon of back-to-back episodes featuring guest stars who have either won or been nominated for Emmy Awards.
The network will showcase television's longest-running medical drama, which has earned more Primetime Emmy Award nominations than any other program in history, with three episodes from 8pm–11pm on June 9, 10 and 11, and two episodes from 8pm to 10pm on June 12.
ER will then air in its regular timeslot Monday through Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET/PT, beginning Monday, June 16. Also joining ION Television's primetime schedule with a special sneak preview on Thursday, June 12 at 10pm will be The Dead Zone immediately following the conclusion of the ER marathon. It will air directly before ER in regular airing, Monday through Wednesday at 9pm ET/PT beginning Monday, June 16.
Media Rights Capital and The CW announced their Sunday night primetime programming block for the upcoming fall 2008-09 broadcast television season. The strategic alliance between the two companies will launch with a one-hour narrative reality show, one half-hour family comedy and two one-hour long dramas. The Sunday night block will begin at 6:30 p.m., taking advantage of the traditional family viewing night and expanding the reach of the evolving network.
The block begins in September and will be as follows every Sunday on The CW:
6:30PM In Harm's Way – A reality show that looks at lives of people doing dangerous jobs. Executive Producer is Craig Piligian (Dirty Jobs, American Chopper, Survivor).
7:30PM Surviving Suburbia – Half-hour comedy about a family and their new neighbors. Kevin Abbott is Executive Producer (Roseanne, Grace Under Fire, Reba, My Name is Earl).
8:00PM Valentine, Inc. – One-hour drama/comedy about an agency that finds lost loves, true loves and mends broken hearts. Kevin Murphy is Executive Producer (Reaper, Desperate Housewives).
9:00PM Easy Money – One-hour drama about a family that runs a high-interest loan business. Executive Producers are Andy Schneider and Diane Frolov (Northern Exposure, The Chris Isaak Show, The Sopranos).
MRC and the CW will announce Sunday programming for the 5-6:30 p.m. time slot in the near future. MRC has other shows in production as well, such as the sitcom Book of Murphy.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Other marathons include TV Land's I Love Lucy marathon from 8am-7pm, USA Network will celebrate with a NCIS marathon from 6am-7pm, while MTV tries to bring some life back to NBC's new American Gladiators with a marathon from 9am-8pm.
It wouldn't be a holiday without a Law & Order or CSI marathon would it? Law & Order will get a marathon on TNT from 10am-11pm while CSI gets its holiday marathon on Spike TV from 9am-9pm. Spin-off CSI: Miami is airing on A&E from 8am-9pm. Sorry no marathon for CSI: NY on Spike, since CSI is getting one.
FX will head back to the '70s with a marathon of the sitcom That '70s Show from 9am-8pm. Sticking to the '70s, the classic game show Match Game will get a marathon on GSN from 9am-3pm. It will feature contestants from America's Armed Forces, including the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. Star celebrity panelists Joyce Bulifant, Bill Cullen, Richard Dawson, Fred Grandy, Jack Klugman, Jimmy Walker, Charles Nelson Reilly, Brett Somers and the late Dick Martin (see our story below), among others.
And if you're in Los Angeles, KTLA will have a Graduation Marathon with lots of classic sitcoms, as I mentioned before...such as Balki graduating on Perfect Strangers and Alex on Family Ties. Sha-la-la-la!
Relive the same day over and over again on the addictive drama Day Break on TV One from 8am-6am.
Various movie marathons are on TBS, Lifetime, Hallmark Channel and other cable channels.
Other marathons include History's MonsterQuest from 8am-8pm and G4's 11am-1am Cops marathon.
Dick Martin, the zany half of the comedy team whose Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In took television by storm in the 1960s, making stars of Goldie Hawn and Lily Tomlin and creating such national catch-phrases as "Sock it to me!" has died. Mr. Martin died Saturday night just after 6 p.m. of respiratory complications at a hospital in Santa Monica.
Laugh-In became an instant hit for NBC in 1968 with its anarchic energy, vaudevillian schtick and eccentric performances. Laugh-In forever changed the variety show format and heavily influenced later programs such as Saturday Night Live. The show lasted through 1973.
After Laugh-In, he went on to become one of television's busiest directors after splitting with Dan Rowan in the late 1970s. He still acted on series before and after Laugh-In though...he guest starred on series such as The Lucy Show, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, Coach, Blossom, Baywatch, Diagnosis Murder and Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place. But directing was his big trademark after Laugh-In. He directed episodes of various series including The Bob Newhart Show, Archie Bunker's Place, Flo, Family Ties, Mama's Family, Newhart, The Bradys, Bob, and In The Heat of Night. So, he directed Bob Newhart in all of his series. He was also a staple of game shows such as Password Plus, Super Password, Tattletales, Celebrity Sweepstakes, and Match Game.
We hope TV Land or another network honors him with a tribute marathon of Laugh-In or his best directorial work on The Bob Newhart Show. I'm sure GSN will put together a game show tribute marathon for him. We will let you know if whatever happens.
He will certainly be missed. He was 86.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
May 2008 Sweep Ratings (April 24-May 21, 2008):
Households: CBS 6.8/11, ABC 6.3/11, Fox 6.1/10, NBC 3.9/7, The CW 1.7/3, MNT 0.8/1
Total Viewers: CBS 10.66 million, Fox 10.01 million, ABC 9.68 million, NBC 5.95 million, The CW 2.66 million, MNT 1.19 million.
Adults 18-49: Fox 3.8/11, ABC 3.1/9, CBS 2.8/8, NBC 1.9/5, The CW 1.1/3, MNT 0.5/1
Week 35 Analysis: Week 35 goes through tonight, but the season ended Wednesday, with Fox on top the final three days of May sweep/07-08 season. ABC still had Betty/Grey's finales on Thursday, so through the first four days, they are second. Last week, week 34, CBS edged ABC for number one in HH and viewers again, as Fox was third in both categories, but not by much. Fox had the lead in 18-49. ABC was second, while CBS was third in 18-49 and NBC was an uncompetitive fourth in everything.
On Monday, ABC was on top with Dancing with the Stars doing 19.22 million for 65 minutes for the final Monday airing, up from the week before. The Bachelorette two-hour premiere did a solid 8.08 million...so if it is close to that this summer, ABC will be happy. CBS started with season finale of its sitcoms and leading it off was The Big Bang Theory at 7.34 million, down week to week, the season finale of How I Met Your Mother followed and built on that and did 7.99 million...down from previous week, #1 sitcom Two and a Half Men followed and closed its season with 14.7 million ... up from previous week. Closing the sitcom block was the season finale of Rules of Engagement at 12.29 million, also up a lot from previous week. Season finale of CSI: Miami closed the night for CBS at 16.26 million...up a ton from previous week. Fox aired the season closer of Bones to start off the night and it did a solid 10.3 million, up from the previous week and following at 9pm was the season finale of House doing 16.36 million, also up over a million week to week. NBC was in the bottom with American Gladiators at just 4.03 million for 90 minutes, down even from previous week, and Dateline NBC closed the night off with 5.85 million, for the second half of the night. The CW had the finale of Gossip Girl doing 3.0 million, up from previous week and the finale of One Tree Hill perked up to 3.23 million, up from previous week...these two shows will air again together in the fall.
On Tuesday, Fox was on top thanks to Idol at 27.06 million at 8pm, up nearly 3 million week to week. At 9pm Fox aired a new Hell's Kitchen and it did solid with 11.44 million...up a tad from previous week. ABC was next with a repeat of Monday's Dancing with the Stars doing 8.74. Then at 9pm, it was the two-hour live season finale of Dancing with the Stars: The Results and it did 20.12 million, down from the fall's finale by a bit, as Kristi Yamaguchi wins it all! CBS was next with the two-hour season finale of NCIS at 16.52 million, this show is a very quiet big hit, followed by the now canceled Shark with 10.27 million, as it aired its series finale. NBC was in the gutter again as a new Most Outrageous Moments at 8pm did just 3.95 million, just like previous week and a repeat followed with 3.99 million, down a tad week-to-week. A repeat of Law & Order: SVU followed with just 3.88 million at 9pm (that was nearly down three million from previous week), and another Law & Order: SVU followed at 10pm with just 5.76 million. NBC seriously needs help. The CW aired a repeat of Reaper at 1.56 million, followed by the season finale of Reaper at a solid 2.53 million, as it went up from previous week.
On Wednesday, it was Fox on top again. American Idol Results closed the season as David Cook won it all with 31.66 million for the two-hour finale. CBS was next with Price is Right Primetime at 8pm and did 7.59 million, up actually week to week and Criminal Minds and CSI: NY closed its season with the finals and they did 13.15 and 11.83 million, but the latter was down a tad week to week. NBC was next with two repeats of Law & Order starting the night off with just 5.4 and 5.05 million and the season finale of Law & Order followed with 8.57 million, up a bit from previous week. ABC was next with two repeats of Lost at just 3.03 million...too bad the season finale couldn't air on this night, as Thursday, May 29 seems to far out, but production issues couldn't make it possible. Damn strike. Closing the night for ABC was the season finale of Boston Legal at 6.47 million on its own...so not its fault it was not good. The CW had a repeat of Farmer Wants a Wife at 1.61 million, followed by an original episode of Farmer Wants a Wife at 1.86 million, down slightly from the previous week. MyNetworkTV aired a new Under One Roof starring Flavor Flav and it did 1.04...up over a million for the first time in 3 weeks. Season officially ends after this night!
On Thursday, the TV summer season started. But ABC still had two season finales to air. We don't have final numbers yet though. Ugly Betty finale and the two-hour Grey's Anatomy finale obviously won the night for ABC, as Grey's built on each half-hour and had its best outing since returning from the strike. Lost will have its two-hour season finale this Thursday. Fox did solid for the season premiere of the summer series So You Think You Can Dance?. NBC did better from 8-9:30 than usual with Deal Or No Deal airing instead of the sitcoms and the season premiere of summer's Last Comic Standing didn't do much. CBS aired repeats all night, as CSI did very below number for a repeat at 9pm.
Like usual, no Friday finals yet. CBS won though with reoeats of Ghost Whisperer and NUMB3RS. It was a worse Friday than usual. Saturday ratings had the NBA Playoffs on ABC so decent, while CBS's original movie couldn't get above 1.0 18-49 rating (prelim).
Tonight will be repeat filled, as the season is over and tomorrow is Memorial Day. So no one will be watching TV probably. NBA Playoffs on TNT will probably be the best draw of the night at 9pm along with NASCAR on Fox.
As for the week, since Thurs-Sun is primarily repeats, I think Fox will have enough to win the week. ABC will be 2nd likely after a strong Thursday.
This coming week sees more summer programming and repeats, but you'll find the season finales of According to Jim and Lost, too. But after this week, it is all over for regular season series.
Last Sunday Sitcoms (counts for week of May 12-18)
- Everybody Hates Chris (The CW) - The season finale did 1.48 million, up from the previous week. Not bad...but was doing better on Mondays...will be Fridays at 8 next fall.
- Aliens in America (The CW) - The last episode did 1.28 million, also up week to week.
- The Game (The CW) - The season finale did 1.66 million, up from the previous week...moving to Fridays at 8:30 next fall.
- Girlfriends (The CW) - A repeat did 1.2 million, on par really, but down a tad from previous week.
- The Simpsons (Fox) 2 episodes - Season finale did just 6.19 million...up a bit from previous week..but this is way too low. Earlier at 7:30 a repeat did only 3.79 million....up just a bit from previous week.
- King of the Hill (Fox) 2 episodes - A repeat at 7pm did just 2.68 million, up a bit from previous week. Season finale at its normal time of 8:30 did 5.4 million...up from previous week, but still way low.
- Family Guy (Fox) - A repeat did 6.18 million...while that is not good, it was a repeat and nearly beat the others on Fox.
- American Dad (Fox) - Just 5.64 million for the season finale...but its lead-in was a repeat once again, but the episode was down a bit from previous week.
- The Office (NBC) 4 episodes - 4 repeats did pathetic. 2.72, 2.65, 2.79 and 3.14 million...don't understand why they repeated them the last few weeks.
- The Big Bang Theory (CBS) - 7.34 million tuned in for the season finale, down from previous week sadly.
- How I Met Your Mother (CBS) - 7.99 million for the season finale, down a million from previous week which had Britney.
- Two and a Half Men (CBS) - 14.7 million for the finale, up a good margin over the previous week.
- Rules of Engagement (CBS) - 12.29 million for the season finale, up even a better margin over the previous week. Factor? No Deal on NBC and no Samantha on ABC.
- Under One Roof (MyNetworkTV) - 1.04 million, over a million yes, but should be doing a bit better. This is no House of Payne.
Airing tonight (Sunday) are a mix repeats of sitcoms on The CW from 8-10.
Summing it up. Two and a Half Men & Rules of Engagement, were impressive for the week. Everything else was OK (How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory) or just plain old terrible (Under One Roof, Aliens in America).
We will have a full 2007-08 season (Sept. 24-May 21) wrap-up with complete final numbers soon.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
CHiPs - The Complete Second Season (Warner Home Video, $39.98)
Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox return as Ponch and Jon, and the action and fun are ready to roll in 22 road-ripping episodes. Also returning: Robert Pine as amiable Sgt. Getraer. Strap on helmets and goggles for a deadly chain-reaction crash, the appearance of a pesky TV-news crew, Ponch's disco dancing, Halloween patrol and a caped biker daredevil. Remember: safety first. And always signal before turning.
CHiPs, an acronym for California Highway Patrol, premiered on September 15, 1977 on NBC. A total of 139 episodes were produced over the show's six seasons. Other season two cast members included Lew Saunders as Officer Gene Fritz, Brodie Greer as Officer Barry Baricza and Paul Linke as Officer Arthur Grossman. Joining the cast in season two were Brianne Leary as Officer Sindy Cahill and Lou Wagner as police mechanic Harlan Arliss. CHiPs finished in 25th place in ratings with a 20.3 rating for the second season. Notable second season guest stars included Christopher Knight, Danny Bonaduce (making the first of two appearances), Marvin Kaplan, Regis Philbin, Lauri Hendler, Robbie Rist, Tony O'Dell, Jenilee Harrison, Ike Eisenmann, Ken Kercheval, Randi Oakes (who would join the cast in season 3 as Officer Bonnie Clark), Ned Glass, Jenny O'Hara, Markie Post, Michael Conrad, Tom Poston and Robert Donner.
The cover art features a publicity photo of Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox. The "CHiPs" logo is in light blue near the center. The Complete Second Season is in a badge in the upper left corner. On the back of the box, there is another publicity still of Wilcox and Estrada and a small screenshot of Estrada, Wilcox, Pine, Linke and Leary. There is a synopsis of the set, listing of the special features and the DVD specs listed. They have arrows like the season 1 packaging, which I wasn't a big fan of last time. Instead of 3 slim cases like season 1, there are only 2 this time so the packaging is a bit thinner. Each slim case holds two discs in embedded plastic holders. Since discs 1-3 are double-sided, there are no photos on them. Disc 4, with the special features, has the "CHiPs" logo in light blue and a lime green background. Episode titles, writing and directing credits, original airdates and short summaries are provided on the front and back of the slim cases.
The main menus feature the same photo and the CHiPs logo as the cover art, although part of Erik Estrada is cropped out. The updated CHiPs season two theme song with a disco beat plays in the background for 1:09 and then loops. There are options to Play All of the episodes and a Languages section. Unlike season 1, there are no separate episodes menu. The episode titles are listed vertically in green text. A yellow badge is next to the episode or option you highlight. It turns lime green upon your selection. Erik Estrada is featured on the Languages menu. Chapter stops are available within the episodes, but there are no separate menus for scene selections.
With these episodes being around 30 years old, the video and audio quality is about what you would expect given the show's age. I would say the quality is on par or slightly improved from the season one set. These episodes look a little better than what I remember seeing on TNT and TBS during the 1990's. Since the show was shot on film, there is a lot of dirt, debris and other digital artifacts. While all the episodes are certainly watchable and enjoyable, I think they probably could have been cleaned up a bit more with some digital remastering. Nearly all of the episodes have running times of around 48 and 1/2 minutes in length. Only "Trick or Treak" runs a minute shorter at 47:34. Hopefully there is nothing edited out of the episode. The total running time of all the episodes is 1,066 minutes. On the Languages menu, you can choose from English, Español and Português. Subtitles are available in English (for the hearing impaired), Français, Español and Português. The bonus material is not rated and may not be subtitled. For the closing logo enthusiasts, there is the Rosner Television logo embedded on the credits followed by the M-G-M lion. The audio is your basic 1970's mono track. I didn't notice any major problems. Composer Alan Silvestri wrote the music for most of the second season episodes.
Special features are found on disc four. There is really only one new special feature with new interviews with Erik Estrada and members of the real CHP (California Highway Patrol). They list "The Greatest Adventures of CHiPs" as a special feature, although this was just a regular feature-length special episode. It is basically just a flashbacks episode.
The Real CHiPS (15:26) - This new featurette has interviews with Erik Estrada and members of the CHP. Lieutenant Greg Hammond, Officer Aaron Braahsma, Officer Adriana McNurlin, Public Affairs Officer Alex Delgadillo, Sergeant Shawn Holloway and Officer Kris Ulibarri are interviewed. They talk about the history of the CHP, the high failure rate and the difficulty in becoming a member of the CHP, the dangers and stresses of the job, making traffic stops and the difficulty in riding a motorcycle. Erik Estrada visits the CHP Central Station where they shot the show (although it is a new structure and the offices have since been demolished) and gives a tour. They show the reporting writing room, the keys rack, Sergeants room, training room and briefing room. They discuss the differences between the BMW motorcycles that they currently use with the Kawasaki 100's they used on the show. Ponch and Jon made it look so easy on the show but watching this featurette will give you a new appreciation of all the hard work they do on the job.
"The Greatest Adventures of CHiPS" (1:37:04) - A Sustained Superior Achievement Award for the guys has fellow CHPers remembering Ponch and Jon's exploits, as flashbacks recount the coolest cases of Seasons One and Two. This episode aired on May 12, 1979. This is certainly the most least rerun episode of the series. TNT and TBS never aired it for a number of years. It is basically just a flashbacks episode, but it is fun to watch.
Final Comments: Everything was better about the second season of CHiPs. There was more action and stunts, better storylines, an updated theme song with a disco beat and better music, and more notable guest stars. They had the right mix of action, drama and comedy. It is too bad that Brianne Leary was only on the show for one season. She was cute and charming.
This is another pretty good release that is priced affordably. I'm not a fan of the double-sided discs that can scratch easily, but at least they are releasing full seasons and not those half season sets. This would be a better set with 3 slimcases and 6 single-sided discs. It is great that Erik Estrada has participated in the special features on both seasons, but where is the rest of the cast? Hopefully with a new feature film starring Wilmer Valderrama as Ponch expected to be released in early 2009, we will see the third season available at that time with the involvement of other cast members.
-- Reviewed by Todd
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If you are a fan of the second season music, you might want to check out Film Score Monthly's CD release by composer Alan Silvestri.
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Friday, May 23, 2008
WGN Brings Back '70s Classics for Retro TV Week, Includes Kotter, WKRP, Taxi; NBC Fall Premiere Dates
Each series will air from 8-10pm ET (5-7pm PT) on WGN cable. These programs will NOT air on the local WGN (CW9) in Chicago...so sorry Chicago, but you guys get a lot of classic TV on other stations anyway.
We are told more classic TV is on the way to WGN...so please stay tuned to us! We will let you know when we know! But for now enjoy the first four episodes of these five classic '70s sitcoms!
NBC unveiled the Fall 2008 series premiere dates for new programs and returning favorites including a three hour launch (clip show and two-hour premiere) of the return of drama Heroes on Monday, September 22, the Thursday night debut of the new comedy Kath & Kim (9:30 p.m. ET) on October 9. America's Toughest Jobs, the new extreme competition series, will debut with a two-hour premiere this Fall on Friday, September 12 (8-10 p.m. ET). In addition, the new drama series premieres include Knight Rider on Wednesdays starting September 24 (8-9 p.m. ET), My Own Worst Enemy on Mondays starting September 29 (10-11 p.m. ET) and Crusoe on Fridays starting October 17 (8-10 p.m. ET).
Here are the full premiere dates for this Fall:
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 12
America's Toughest Jobs -- Series premiere (8-10 p.m.) then 8-9pm starting Friday, September 19 for five weeks; then moves to 9-10 p.m. starting Friday, October 24
(Deal or No Deal will air Fridays at 9 starting Sept. 19 through Oct. 10.)
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22
Heroes -- Clip show (8-9 p.m.) followed by the Season premiere (9-11 p.m.)
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit -- 10 p.m.
(Summer series America's Got Talent airs 8-10pm and will conclude early in the fall, then The Biggest Loser: Families will return at a later date.)
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24
Knight Rider -- 8 p.m.
Lipstick Jungle -- 10 p.m.
(Summer series America's Got Talent Results airs at 9pm and will conclude early in the fall, then Deal or No Deal will return at a later date.)
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 25
My Name Is Earl -- one-hour premiere (8-9 p.m.)
The Office -- one-hour premiere (9-10 p.m.)
ER -- 10 p.m.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 29
Chuck -- 8 p.m.
My Worst Own Enemy -- 10 p.m.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 3
Life -- 10 p.m.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 9
Kath & Kim -- 9:30 p.m.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 17
Crusoe -- two-hour premiere (8-10 p.m.) then moves to 8:00 p.m. starting Friday, October 24
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 30
30 Rock -- 8:30 p.m.
(Preceding the premiere of 30 Rock will be three consecutive weekly Saturday Night Live special election editions of SNL Thursday Night Live at 8:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, October 9, 16 and 23.)
Thursday, May 22, 2008
TV Land Names Vanessa Williams TV Land Awards Host, Honorees Include Golden Girls, Roseanne; New Biography Episodes of Scott Baio and Pee-Wee
The network also announced that this year's show will honor Mike Myers, Garry Marshall, Roseanne, The Golden Girls and Jonathan Winters among others. The show will tape on Sunday, June 8 at The Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, CA and will premiere on TV Land on Sunday, June 15 at 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. ET/PT
The TV Land Awards is the network's annual salute to the best and brightest in the world of entertainment. This year, the show will feature reunions of some of the most iconic casts from TV, showcase rousing musical performances and the always-popular television show parody, and for the first time ever, honor favorites in movies. Additional honorees will be announced shortly, including the TV Land Future Classic Award.
Among the awards announced today are:
THE LEGACY OF LAUGHTER AWARD
This is presented to performers who are funny and then funny and then funny again. They create timeless comedy by mixing the strange and the familiar, bringing to life characters, stories and moments that are both comically absurd, and, at some level, completely real. This year's recipient is Mike Myers. Last year, this award was presented to Lucille Ball for her awe-inspiring work, which continues to serve as an inspiration and a guiding force.
THE LEGEND AWARD
This award is presented to an entertainer who has stood the test of time and ranks among the most memorable and celebrated in TV and movie history. TV Land will honor Garry Marshall as this year's recipient.
THE PIONEER AWARD
Given to performers who have distinguished themselves by pushing back the frontiers of the media and bringing true originality to the world of entertainment, this year's Pioneer award is bestowed upon Jonathan Winters.
This award is presented to a series whose influence is still felt and evident in television today; a show that carved our new territory, redefining elements of the genre and opening new pathways for others to follow. TV Land will honor Roseanne as this year's recipient.
THE POP CULTURE AWARD
This award is presented to a show that has crossed the line from television series to pop culture phenomenon. This year's honoree is The Golden Girls.
More awards will be announced soon.
The Biography Channel will air two all-new Biography episodes next week. On Wednesday, May 28, 2008 at 10:00 PM, Biography: Scott Baio will air.
He was a teen idol best known for his characters Chachi Arcola on Happy Days and short-lived spin-off Joanie Loves Chachi and Charles on the hit 1980s sitcom Charles in Charge. Scott Baio's good looks, charm and wit helped him maintain success "post-Chachi" as an actor, producer and director...but fame like that of "Chachi" is hard to come by twice. A playboy, who virtually haunted Hugh Hefner's mansion, dating countless centerfolds in addition to blonde bombshells Pamela Anderson and Heather Locklear, Baio has made a comeback with the reality show, Scott Baio is 45...and Single and its spin-off Scott Baio is 46...and Pregnant. Tune in next Wednesday at 10!
Then on Thursday, May 29, 2008 at 10:00 PM, Biography: Pee-wee Herman will air. He was everyone's favorite grown-up kid until he was arrested for indecent exposure. This profile looks at the rise and fall and rise again of the career of Paul Reubens. After starting out in a comedy troupe that included Will Ferrell, Reubens created the enormously popular Pee-wee Herman character in the late 1970s. After drawing critical praise for Pee-wee's two movies and TV show, Reubens's career nearly ended when he had his run-in with the law. But he put himself back on track with non-Pee-wee characters, and is now returning to Pee-wee's world with the movie, Pee-wee's Playhouse, now in production.
Tune in next Wednesday and Thursday at 10pm for these two all-new Biography episodes on The Biography Channel!
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
All of these shows are from Paramount Television, a division of CBS. So that is how shows like Family Ties (NBC), Beverly Hills 90210 (Fox), and The Love Boat (ABC) are on the CBS.com website.
ION announced that ION Life, its digital network dedicated to active living and personal growth, has reached agreements to add two compelling series to its program lineup. In the network's first commissioned production from NFL Films, ION Life will present the new series, Stories of the NFL, that takes a behind-the-scenes look at the inspirational stories and lives of NFL players on and off the field. The series will air daily on ION Life at 8 p.m., starting Monday, June 2. No, it will NOT air on the regular ION Television.
ION Media Networks has also secured the rights to The 50 Greatest Moments at Madison Square Garden (MSG), an Emmy Award-winning documentary series from MSG Network presenting some of our most celebrated moments in the world's most famous arena. Episodes will air on ION Life, and ALSO simultaneously as part of ION Life's channel showcase presentation on the ION Television Network, on Sundays at 6 p.m., beginning June 15 for 10 straight weeks.
We still have an interview coming with ION Television, so we hope to bring that to you this week. Our questions were submitted, now we are just awaiting the responses. It will be part of our on-going "Seven Questions" series. You won't want to miss this!
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
TV Land has also made a summer announcement, but we knew all of it already basically. Things heat up this summer on TV Land as the network dedicated to serving the entertainment needs of people in their 40s and 50s adds new original programs, classic television favorites, iconic movies and specially themed programming all summer long. TV Land kicks its original production into high gear with the premiere of two new originals, its annual awards special and the return of a TV Land original favorite. She's Got the Look, with host Kim Alexis, showcases women 35 plus as they vie for a modeling contract with Wilhelmina Models Inc. and a photo spread in SELF Magazine premieres on June 4.
The sixth annual TV Land Awards celebrates the best of all things -- TV, music and motion pictures -- premieres June 15.
Family Foreman gives viewers an inside look on how former heavyweight boxing champion George Foreman and his extensive family live their everyday lives, joins TV Land on July 16.
Fan favorite Myths and Legends returns for a second season on August 27 and answers persuasive questions about pop culture icons from the world of television, arts and music.
Additionally TV Land will expand its roster of classic TV offerings -- both on-air and online -- with the addition of proven television favorites Mad About You, Murphy Brown and Hogan's Heroes all join in in June, with various stunts throughout the summer.
Read the full TV Land Summer Press Release.
We shall be back with more news...come on back, yall here?
Monday, May 19, 2008
WPIX's 60th Anniversary Marathon and Special, Sex and the City Movie Special/Stunt; KTLA Celebrates Graduation with Classic TV
On Saturday, June 14, WPIX will showcase various TV shows/sitcoms that they have aired the last 60 years with a retro day marathon! The festivities start at 12 noon and end at 9pm. We will see back-to-back episodes each of Little Rascals, Abbott & Costello, The Three Stooges, The Adventures Of Superman, Get Smart, My Favorite Martian, I Dream Of Jeannie, The Odd Couple, and the station's all-time favorite The Honeymooners.
We will confirm all that when the official announcement is made, so this is all tentative until then. We will bring you more details, such as episode info, when it is official.
Finally, a retro marathon is not all that will be done! WPIX will create a new one-hour special looking back at the history of WPIX. The WPIX 60th Anniversary Special will be hosted by Jim Watkins & Kaity Tong, of WPIX news. Among the items on the special are: WPIX's sign-on and early years, sports & children's programming, news & local events, movies & syndicated reruns, The Yule Log, promotions campaigns, the web, and The WB & The CW.
KTLA (CW5) in Los Angeles also celebrated their 60th anniversary last fall. They had a much bigger retro marathon, featuring 60 hours of classic TV that they have aired. I don't think they had an on-air special, though.
Continuing news on WPIX, they will have a Sex and the City special and the top three episodes voted by viewers stunt this coming Saturday (May 24) in anticipation of the new movie coming out May 30. Join CW11/WPIX for a special night of sizzle, sex, and the city that inspired it all. At 8pm, get an in-depth look at Sex and the City the Movie with the women (and men) who changed the way we look at fashion, relationships, sex and New York City.
Then watch the 3 most popular episodes of Sex and the City when WPIX counts them down starting at 8:30pm. Visit cw11.com to vote for your favorite episodes then watch the 3 with the most votes immediately after the 8pm airing of the special Bringing Sex Back.
Sex and the City episodes air regularly Monday-Saturday at Midnight on WPIX.
We mentioned KTLA earlier, now we have some current news on KTLA! KTLA (CW5) will celebrate graduations on Memorial Day with a classic TV marathon! On Monday, May 26, 2008, KTLA (CW5) is celebrating Graduation with a Commencement Marathon from 10am-3pm PT of classic TV stars such as The Beaver, Balki, Alex P. Keaton, Greg Brady, and Theo Huxtable!
You're invited to the Commencement Ceremonies of:
Jethro Bodine The Beverly Hillbillies at 10:00am PT
Theodore Cleaver Leave It To Beaver at 10:30am PT
Balki Bartokomous Perfect Strangers at 11:00am PT
Greg Brady The Brady Bunch at 11:30am PT
Betty Anderson Father Knows Best at 12:00pm PT
Mallory Keaton Family Ties at 12:30pm PT
Mike Seaver Growing Pains at 1:00pm PT
Alex P. Keaton Family Ties at 1:30pm PT
Theodore Huxtable The Cosby Show at 2:00-3:00pm PT
You all can get WPIX and KTLA via satellite if you're not in the New York or Los Angeles area.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Households: Fox 8.1/12.7, CBS 7.5/12.0, ABC 7.0/11.2, NBC 4.7/7.5, The CW 1.9/3.0, MNT 0.7/1.2
Total Viewers: Fox 13.48 million, CBS 11.67 million, ABC 10.55 million, NBC 7.26 million, The CW 2.84 million, MNT 1.09 million.
Adults 18-49: Fox 4.9/13.1, ABC 3.3/8.7, CBS 3.1/8.2, NBC 2.6/6.8, The CW 1.3/3.4, MNT 0.4/1.2
Analysis: Week 34 is once again a close three-way race so far, with CBS, Fox and ABC all neck-and-neck through Thursday. Fox has leadership this time in all categories, but it is still close. CBS is second in HH/viewers, while ABC is second in 18-49. NBC is fourth in everything in a disastrous season. Last week, week 33, CBS edged ABC for number one in HH and viewers again, as Fox was third in both categories, but not by much. Fox had the lead in 18-49. ABC was second, but not far behind and CBS was third in 18-49 just by a hair, while NBC was an uncompetitive fourth in everything. 1.9 18-49 rating for NBC in sweeps? Worse that the previous week's 2.0 even.
On Monday, ABC was on top with Dancing with the Stars doing 18.47 million for 92 minutes, up a tad from the week before. Performance finale is tomorrow, so it should spike up more. The hit sitcom Samantha Who had its season finale with a solid 10.24 million, up from the previous week. The Bachelor: London Calling also had its season finale and it did a solid 8.85 million, almost up 2 million from the previous week. CBS started with sitcoms and leading it off was The Big Bang Theory at 7.79 million, up a bit week to week, a new How I Met Your Mother followed and built on that and did 8.93 million...up from previous week (thanks to Britney Spears), #1 sitcom Two and a Half Men followed with 13.82 million ... up a tad from previous week. Closing the sitcom block was Rules of Engagement at 10.62 million, also up a tad from previous week. So the sitcoms all were up week to week. A new CSI: Miami closed the night for CBS at 13.92 million...but down a bit from previous week. Fox aired a new Bones to start off the night and it did a solid 9.68 million, up a lot from the previous week (one week it goes up a lot, one week it goes down a lot it seems) and following at 9pm was House doing 15.02 million, also up over a million week to week. NBC brought back a second season of American Gladiators and it bombed big time at just 4.99 million for two hours, not a strong show at all it seems, and Medium closed the night off with 8.73 million, down from previous week thanks to the horrific lead-in. The CW had a new episode of Gossip Girl doing 2.71 million, up from previous week and a new One Tree Hill at 2.72 million, up from previous week...these two shows seem compatible with each other.
On Tuesday, Fox was on top thanks to Idol at 24.77 million at 8pm, up 3 million week to week. after a low performance the week before. At 9pm Fox aired a new Hell's Kitchen and it did solid with 11.31 million...up a tad from previous week. CBS was next with a new episode of NCIS at 14.88 million, up from previous week, followed by the now canceled Shark with 10 million, but the 2.0 18-49 is not good...both down week to week a bit. A special Criminal Minds repeat followed at 10pm with 8.37 million. ABC was next with two new episodes of the durable sitcom According to Jim doing 4.22 and 4.45 million. Then at 9pm Dancing with the Stars: The Results did a solid 16.99 million, down from previous week (which was episode #100) as Marissa got the book...the finals are now set: Kristi, Jason and Cristian. Who will win? My bet is Kristi. ABC closed the night at 10pm with the series finale of Women's Murder Club at 7.91 million, down a tad from previous week. NBC was bad again from 8-10pm as a new Most Outrageous Moments at 8pm did just 3.95 million, down a bit from previous week and a repeat followed with 4.05 million, on par week-to-week. A repeat of Law & Order: SVU followed with 6.21 million at 9pm (that was nearly up three million though from previous week), while a new Law & Order: SVU at 10pm drew 11.5 million ... up a million from the previous week, but still below normal. The CW aired a new Beauty & The Geek at just 1.68 million, up a tad from previous week and a new Reaper did 2.08 million, down week to week.
On Wednesday, it was Fox on top again. American Idol Results did 24.86 million...up two million from previous week. From 8-9pm Fox aired the season (and series for Back) finales of sitcoms 'Til Death and Back to You doing 5.9 (down a tad from previous week) and 7.06 million (up slightly from previous week). So Back to You has aired its last show. CBS started with Price is Right Primetime at 8pm and did 7.23 million, down a bit week to week and Criminal Minds and CSI: NY were all-new and they did 12.88 (same as previous week) and 11.86 million, down week to week. NBC was next with Deal or No Deal starting the night off with just 7.22 million for a two-hour episode...down from previous week a bit and the original Law & Order followed with 8.46 million, also down a bit from previous week. ABC was next with new episodes of Wife Swap and Supernanny at 6.28 and 5.89 million...latter was up week to week. Closing the night for ABC was Boston Legal at a solid 7.8 million on its own. The CW had the season finale of Top Model at 4.75 million, up week-to-week, and new series Farmer Wants a Wife did just 1.96 million, down from the previous week. MyNetworkTV aired a new Under One Roof starring Flavor Flav and it did 990,000 viewers...below 1 million once again, but up a tad at least.
On Thursday, CBS and ABC shared leadership. For CBS a CSI repeat at 8pm started the night off with 7.6 million and the season finale of CSI followed with 18.06 million (on par week to week) while the season finale Without a Trace closed the night off with 14.54 million, down a bit week to week. ABC started the night off with a new Ugly Betty at 8.46 million (up from previous week), a new Grey's Anatomy did 15.55 million but won the 9pm hour with a 6.1 18-49 rating. Two-hour season finale this week. Lost was next as the show did 10.96 million and a solid 4.9 18-49 rating, both up from previous week. Two-hour finale on May 29, a week from this Thursday. Fox was next with Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? doing 8.42 million, up from previous week and Don't Forget the Lyrics! followed with 6.65 million, up week to week but still seems below normal. NBC was next, with the one-hour season finale of My Name is Earl doing 7.17 million, so of course up week to week from the half-hour episode and The Office also closed its season with an one-hour episode at 8.21 million, also of course up week to week since that was just a half-hour. The finale of ER did just 8.43 million, but up from previous week. CW aired a new Smallville at 3.85 million, down a bit from previous week, and Supernatural was new too at 3 million, up week to week.
Like usual, no Friday finals yet. CBS won though with new episodes of Ghost Whisperer, Moonlight, and NUMB3RS. ABC was next with the two-hour season finale of America's Funniest Home Videos helped ABC. NBC was out of the picture with the horrific numbers for the American Gladiators two-hour encore from Monday. Why repeat it NBC, why? Saturday ratings were not available to us.
Tonight will be a battle between ABC and CBS, but ABC's two-hour season finales of Desperate Housewives & Extreme Makeover: Home Edition will dominate for ABC. CBS will be a solid second with 60 Minutes & 43rd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, probably a solid second in viewers and a distant second in 18-49. NBC has Dateline at 7pm, but then they have four repeats of The Office which will do terrible from 8-10pm. Fox will have season finales of its animated comedies from 8-10pm (except Family Guy...that ended May 4), so they will beat NBC probably.
As for the week, I believe it will be like week 33... a toss-up in HH & viewers, as CBS, ABC or Fox can win it. CBS is my bet. Fox has 18-49 locked I think, with ABC second. NBC will be 4th in everything as its struggles continue.
This coming week sees May sweeps end on Wednesday. So we have the finales of American Idol and Dancing with the Stars coming, along with others like the CBS Monday comedies. But even after sweeps we will see finales, like Ugly Betty and Grey's Anatomy this Thursday and Lost the following Thursday. So TV isn't over after Wednesday yet.
Last Sunday Sitcoms (counts for week of April 28-May 4)
- Everybody Hates Chris (The CW) - All-new episode did 1.27 million, up a bit from the previous week. Moving to Fridays at 8 next fall. Will it do better or worse?
- Aliens in America (The CW) - A new episode did 1.14 million, also up a bit week to week, but this show has been canned for next season.
- The Game (The CW) - A new episode did 1.58 million, up from the previous week...moving to Fridays at 8:30 next fall.
- Girlfriends (The CW) - A repeat did 1.25 million, slightly down from previous week...too bad The CW will not air a real finale.
- The Simpsons (Fox) 2 episodes - A new episode did just 6.08 million...down from previous week. Earlier at 7:30 a repeat did only 3.75 million....up a bit from previous week.
- King of the Hill (Fox) 2 episodes - A repeat at 7pm did just 2.4 million, on par from previous week. A new episode at its normal time of 8:30 did 5.04 million...down from previous week, way low.
- Family Guy (Fox) - A repeat did 5.81 million.
- American Dad (Fox) - Just 5.67 million for a new episode...but its lead-in was a repeat.
- The Office (NBC) 3 episodes - 3 repeats did pathetic. 2.41, 2.5 and 2.66 million...hey it went up a bit each episode at least. Four episodes tonight will do bad too.
- The Big Bang Theory (CBS) - 7.79 million tuned in for a new episode...up a bit from previous week...season finale tomorrow night.
- How I Met Your Mother (CBS) - 8.93 million...up from previous week...Britney helped, but not as much as last time.
- Two and a Half Men (CBS) - 13.82 million for a new episode, up a tad week to week.
- Rules of Engagement (CBS) - 10.62 million...up also a bit from previous week.
- Samantha Who (ABC) - Season finale did 10.24 million...up from previous week.
- According to Jim (ABC) 2 episodes - Two all-new episode against Idol did 4.22 and 4.45 million...not good, but not a bomb either.
- 'Til Death (Fox) - 5.9 million for the season finale, down a tad from previous week...and Fox has renewed it for next season, primarily because it is more younger than Back to You.
- Back to You (Fox) - 7.06 million for its series finale...up a bit week to week. Should have been doing higher since Idol is on before it.
- Under One Roof (MyNetworkTV) - Just 990,000 viewers...under 1 million again.
- My Name is Earl (NBC) - 7.17 million for the one-hour season finale, not bad.
- The Office (NBC) - 8.21 million for the one-hour season finale...18-49 went up too to a 4.2 rating.
Airing tonight (Sunday) are a mix of new and repeats of sitcoms on The CW from 8-10, and Fox's animated comedies are new from 8-10 (repeats 7-8p and 9p). NBC has a special The Office repeats from 8-10pm.
Summing it up. Two and a Half Men, Rules of Engagement, Samantha Who?, The Office & How I Met Your Mother were impressive for the week. Everything else was OK (My Name is Earl, The Big Bang Theory) or just plain old terrible (Under One Roof, Aliens in America).
Saturday, May 17, 2008
MonsterQuest - The Complete Season One (A&E Home Video, $39.95)
The search is on for earth's most elusive and mysterious monsters! Each episode of MonsterQuest launches an expedition to uncover a famous mystery creature. Scientists use modern technologies like DNA testing and digital photo analysis to evaluate decades of physical and photographic evidence, while field researchers search for the beast itself. Bigfoot, aquatic dinosaurs, giant squid, mutant canines, man-eating catfish, and more will be investigated like never before.
MonsterQuest: The Complete Season One includes all 13 original episodes on 4 DVDs. The set comes in steelbook packaging. The cover art features the MonsterQuest logo with the eyes of a mysterious beast in the background. In the top right corner, there is the History logo. On the back of the case, there is a short synopsis of the series, a listing of the episodes and the DVD specs. The four discs are held in two embedded plastic holders. Discs 1-2 and 3-4 overlap each other.
Unfortunately, there are no episode summaries listed anywhere on the packaging. It would have been nice if they included a sheet or booklet. Here are the episodes you are getting. Episode summaries are courtesy of the official site. Running times are noted in the parentheses.
America's Loch Ness Monster (44:44) - Does a giant prehistoric creature lurk in Lake Champlain? Locals call it Champ. Generations of eyewitnesses rumor to have seen the creature, a dinosaur like animal, 15-25 feet long most resembling the extinct plesiosaur. Examine the mystery surrounding Lake Champlain as specially designed cameras search for the monster. Existing photographic evidence will also be put to the test.
Sasquatch Attack? (44:49) - Does Canada have its own Bigfoot? Owners of a fly-in fishing cabin report attacks by an unknown creature. Can DNA tests on blood and tissue from the alleged beast reveal its true identity? The test results will surprise you. One-part history, one-part science and one part monster, discover the truth behind these beasts and take a scientific look at legendary creatures around the world. The best evidence available will be examined, from pictures and video, to hair and bones. Scientists will be brought in to tell viewers what the evidence reveals. Ultimately the evidence will reveal the truth....or in some cases continue the mystery.
Giant Squid Found? (44:50) - Is the legend of the Kraken, a tentacled beast as large as a whale, based on myth or a real creature? Take an expedition to the Sea of Cortez, Mexico where fishermen regularly claim to encounter large schools of giant squid. Watch as squid expert Scott Cassel uses lures with built-in cameras in an attempt to video a Kraken-sized squid 1,000 feet below the ocean. What Cassel and his team discover will make history. One-part history, one-part science and one part monster, discover the truth behind legendary creatures.
Birdzilla (44:50) - Native Americans have long revered huge birds called Thunderbirds. There was a rash of giant bird sightings in Illinois, Texas and Alaska back in the 1970's. A giant bird with a 15-foot wingspan allegedly attacked a small child in Illinois. Could there really be a giant bird or is it mass hysteria? Take a scientific journey and follow the many eyewitnesses' accounts across the country and examine the most compelling evidence.
Bigfoot (45:20) - Bigfoot has been sighted in Washington State more than any other place on earth. Join an all-female expedition as they try to lure a Bigfoot within range of their cameras. The 1967 Patterson footage will be reexamined using digital microscopes that could reveal details that might prove if the beast is real or a hoax.
Mutant Canines (44:49) - Something strange is killing Fido. In 2006, a number of pets were killed in Maine and Minnesota by a beast locals describe as a mutant--one of these creatures was hit by a car. The body of this strange looking creature will be DNA tested to see what it really is. Two expeditions will be launched to trap other dog killers still at large.
Lions in the Backyard (45:19) - Mountain lions do occasionally attack humans, and when they do it makes headlines across the country. However, it has been reported that people are seeing something else--attacks by large black cats. Pictures and law enforcement encounters prove a big black cat is out there, while it resembles a mountain lion, there is no such thing as a black mountain lion. From Texas to Minnesota to West Virginia, follow the eyewitness accounts and physical evidence of these demon cats. Bones from a carcass that eyewitnesses claim was a huge black cat will be put to the DNA test.
Gigantic Killer Fish (45:18) - Are monster fish lurking in freshwater lakes and rivers? From the Arctic Circle to the Amazon, follow an expedition to find the biggest and nastiest giant fresh water fish, from catfish large enough to swallow children whole to trout as large as a boat. Scientists will deploy giant lures and underwater cameras in a search for monster fish.
Swamp Beast (44:52) - Are the vast swamps of Louisiana and Florida hiding a beast? The locals believe so and call it, "The Swamp Creature." It is said to be 7-feet tall with red hair and a rotten egg smell. The beast even has a nickname--The Skunk Ape. For the first time, bloodhounds will be used to track the elusive creature, and sexual ape pheromone chips will be used to guide the bloodhounds to their prey. Scientists will be brought in to tell viewers what the evidence reveals.
Russia's Killer Apemen (44:54) - In 2006, The New York Times revealed a sinister plan by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin to create monsters by crossing humans with apes. Travel to Russia to find out if this was true and if so how far did he get? Take a look at the many efforts, both by man and Mother Nature, to combine the strength of apes with the intelligence of man. This real Frankenstein story involves everything from head transplants in the U.S. to cases of ape on human attacks.
Unidentified Flying Creatures (45:18) - For decades, cameras have been capturing images of a flying, torpedo-like creature so fast it cannot be seen with the naked eye. Some think it is a military weapon; others believe it may be a creature from another dimension known as "Rods." Super high-speed photography, physics and even a wind tunnel experiment will be used to shed light on what these images are.
The Real Hobbit (45:17) - MonsterQuest travels to the interior of Sumatra, in Indonesia, looking for what locals call the Orang Pendak, translated as: Man of the Woods. Could this strange mystery ape, with its human face, be a surviving ancestor to the Flores Man, dubbed the Real Hobbit in 2004, when skeletal remains were found on the neighboring island of Flores? An expedition is launched deep within the rain forest, where locals claim to see the creature with regularity...and they find footprints of an unknown upright walking beast. Will camera traps reveal its identity?
American Werewolf (44:48) - The werewolf is a centuries-old legend based on myth, not a real animal. However, local eyewitnesses in Wisconsin and Michigan report seeing a dogman--a tall hairy man-beast. Professional hunters and trackers armed with tranquilizer guns will be deployed in an area of recent sightings to find this creature. For the first time polygraphs and hypnosis will be used on eyewitnesses with astonishing results.
When you first insert a disc, they show about 15 seconds of the opening credits with the instrumental theme and no narration. This leads to the main menu where they have the mysterious beast's yellow eyes and the show logo. The episode titles are listed vertically in white at the bottom. The highlighted episode you choose is in yellow and turns gray upon your selection. This takes you to another sub-menu where there is a drawing of the creature that is featured in the episode and a listing of the scene selections. You can choose a scene individually or use the "Play All" button to view the entire episode.
As you would expect for a series that just aired in recent months, the video and audio quality is outstanding. The episodes are presented in widescreen. Most of the on location shooting and interviews look excellent. Some of the submitted video varies depending on the source. The audio is a Dolby Digital 2.0 track. Closed captioning is available on all of the episodes. The total running time is approximately 10 hours, 11 minutes.
The bonus Behind the Scenes featurette runs nearly 16 minutes and can be found on Disc 4. This extra includes deleted/expanded scenes and some behind the scenes/making of footage. I would have to loved to see some more in-depth featurettes and audio commentaries, but this was interesting to see. One of my major complaints about the show is that do a lot of recapping after coming back from commercial breaks. They could have included some of this footage originally.
Behind the Scenes (15:54) is broken up by episode:
Sasquatch Attack (2:30) - A young crew member recounts a story about a Bigfoot attack in Canada. I remember seeing this footage as a promo on the official site, but it didn't make the final broadcast.
The Swamp Creature (1:58) - Research/Historian Christopher L. Murphy answers the question of where are the Bigfoot bones.
Bigfoot (2:26) - A film crew is attacked while shooting an interview. Pretty spooky.
Giant Squid Found (2:37) - The full version of the footage captured with the Humboldt squid cam.
Birdzilla (1:49) - Producer Doug Hajicek discusses the making of a bird attack.
American Loch Ness (2:52) - Stormboarding's James Lyne and Rachael Miller are on Lake Champlain near Thompson's Point.
Mutant Canines (1:40) - An extended version of a 911 phone call in Washington state in 1996. This call was used at the start of the Bigfoot episode.
Final Comments: I've had an interest in cryptozoology since I saw some segments on Unsolved Mysteries many years ago. These MonsterQuest episodes go into a lot more detail. I like how they mixed the history, science and evidence to make an entertaining hour of television. In my opinion, the most interesting episodes on this set are the Bigfoot related programs. There seems to be the most evidence that Bigfoot could be out there.
Overall, this a pretty decent release. If you missed the episodes the first time around, you can catch up with them on DVD. This set could have benefited from more bonus material and audio commentaries for the die-hard fans. Watch the second season premiere on "Hogzilla" on Wednesday, May 28 at 9pm/8c on History!
-- Reviewed by Todd
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Monday, July 6
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