Friday, June 18, 2021

Fri-Yay: Master of None Pivots Genres in Season 3; Highway to Heaven Event Movies Coming to Lifetime; Remembering Frank Bonner of WKRP in Cincinnati

It's time for another edition of Fri-Yay! That means we will take a look back on some sitcom happenings in recent days or weeks or other fun sitcomy stuff. It's a sitcom lover's paradise! Happy Fri-Yay!

Master of None

by Vincent

After a several year wait, the third season of Master of None arrived on Netflix a few weeks ago. Master of None's third season looked very different than its first two, though, as the series now centers around Lena Waithe's character Denise, and her relationship with her wife. Additionally, the show took a far more serious and somber tone in Season 3, marking one of the more intense genre shifts of a show in recent times.

To be fair, Master of None was never really a straight sitcom at all, or even a strictly comedy series. It was always an artful mix of comeic moments, drama and self-realization. But it was far more comedic in Seasons 1 and 2, offering many moments of pure and genuine comedy. Season 3 features very few examples of this (to the point where I'd say straight up dramas like Breaking Bad, Mad Men or The Sopranos may very well have more comedic moments), and although I did enjoy the relationship aspects, I found myself feeling like the show could've stood to be a little lighter. Lena Waithe and Naomi Ackie are great, and sold their relationship well. But the endless drama did make the season a bit of a slog at times, with some admittedly great moments. Overall, Master of None Season 3 is a decent way to spend an afternoon or evening, but if you're expecting the sharp comedy mixed with dramatic moments of Seasons 1 and 2, you may be disappointed.


Jill Scott and Barry Watson

Lifetime is offering an inspiring new take on a beloved classic with the greenlight of the event movie series Highway to Heaven starring Grammy® winner Jill Scott (First Wives Club), who also Executive Produces, as the new angel Angela who comes down to Earth to help people in crisis. It also stars Barry Watson (7th Heaven/The Loudest Voice) as Junior High School principal Bruce to whom Angela reveals her true identity. In cooperation with Cindy Landon and the Michael Landon Estate, the wheel of movies are inspired by the highly-rated 80s drama that ran over 100 episodes between 1984 – 1989. With a constant theme throughout of love and kindness, the reboot aims to inspire hope and community as it addresses contemporary social and emotional issues, this time with a female angel as the anchor of the movie series. This marks a reunion for Lifetime and Jill Scott, who previously starred in the Emmy® nominated Flint centered on the water crisis, the all-African American reboot of Steel Magnolias and Sins of the Mother. Barry Watson also returns to Lifetime for his first non-holiday movie role for network, having previously starred in A Very Nutty Christmas and The Santa Con.

Lifetime's Highway to Heaven follows Angela (Jill Scott), an angel sent back to Earth by God, to help others in need. In the premiere movie, Angela assumes the role of a temporary school counselor and finds herself working alongside the principal Bruce (Barry Watson) as she intervenes in the lives of a troubled student Cody (Ben Daon, The Astronauts) and his father Jeff (Robert Moloney, Riverdale/You Me Her) after the tragic loss of Cody's mother, Melissa (Ashley Ross, A Series of Unfortunate Events). As Angela seemingly works miracles with Cody and Jeff, Bruce is in disbelief when he learns of the divine nature of Angela's work. The first movie installment of the Highway to Heaven series is produced by Rain Productions and Propagate for Lifetime. Jonathan Baruch and Rob Wolken executive produce for Rain Productions; Ben Silverman, Howard T. Owens, Gregory Lipstone and Rodney Ferrell executive produce from Propagate; Howard Braunstein is executive producer; Jill Scott and Shawn Gee also executive produce. Stacey K. Black directs from an original script by executive producer/writer Cathryn Humphris and award-winning playwright Angelica Chéri. Cindy Landon and Wayne Lepoff are executive producing on behalf of Michael Landon's estate.

Frank Bonner

Actor and television director Frank Bonner, who was best known for his role as sales manager Herb Tarlek on WKRP in Cincinnati, has died. He died on June 16 at his home in Laguna Niguel, California, of complications from Lewy body dementia. Mr. Bonner was 79.

Bonner's early television drama guest appearances included The Young Lawyers, Mannix, Nichols, The F.B.I., Hawkins, Emergency!, Cannon (2 episodes), Police Woman, Most Wanted and Man from Atlantis. His early sitcom guest appearances included Nancy in 1970 and Love, American Style in 1974.

He starred as Herb Tarlek on the 1978-1982 CBS sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati. Herb Tarlek is the boorish, tasteless and vain sales manager at WKRP, who is sometimes referred to as "Little Guy" to Mr. Carlson's "Big Guy". He often wears loud plaid suits, with his belt matching his white shoes. Bonner also directed six episodes of the series from 1980 to 1982. The cast included Gary Sandy, Gordon Jump, Loni Anderson, Richard Sanders, Tim Reid, Jan Smithers and Howard Hesseman.

Bonner starred as Father Robert Hargis on the 1988-1990 ABC sitcom Just the Ten of Us. Father Robert Hargis is the affable headmaster of St. Augustine's Academy, an all-boys private Catholic school in Eureka, California. Bonner also directed eight episodes of the series. The cast included Bill Kirchenbauer, Deborah Harmon, Heather Langenkamp, Jamie Luner, Brooke Theiss, JoAnn Willette Matt Shakman, and Heidi Zeigler.

The New WKRP in Cincinnati

He reprised the role of Herb Tarlek on the 1991-1993 first-run syndicated sitcom The New WKRP in Cincinnati. Gordon Jump (Arthur Carlson) and Richard Sanders (Les Nessman) also reprised their roles from the original show, while Howard Hesseman reprised the role of Dr. Johnny Fever on a recurring basis (four episodes in the first season, then five in season two). Bonner also directed seven episodes of the series. The cast included Mykel T. Williamson (Mykelti Williamson), Kathleen Garrett (1991-1992), Michael Des Barres (1991-1992), Tawny Kitaen (who also sadly recently died on May 7), Hope Alexander-Willis (1991-1992), Lightfield Lewis (1991-1992), Wendy Davis (1991), John Chappell, Marla Jeanette Rubinoff and French Stewart (1992-1993).

Some of his sitcom guest appearances included The Facts of Life (as Garth Kiley in The Facts of Life Goes to Paris), Gimme a Break! (2 episodes), The Love Boat, Newhart, New, Love American Style (1986), Punky Brewster, Night Court (2 episodes), Harry and the Hendersons, Evening Shade, The Mommies, Saved by the Bell: The New Class (4 episodes as Mr. Harrington and 1 episode as Mr. Spalding) and City Guys.

Bonner directed all 105 episodes of the 1997-2001 NBC Saturday morning sitcom City Guys. Some of his other sitcom directing credits included Family Ties, Frank's Place, The Van Dyke Show, Who's the Boss?, Head of the Class (2 episodes), The Famous Teddy Z (2 episodes), Evening Shade, You Take the Kids, Harry and the Hendersons (11 episodes), Fudge, The Mommies (4 episodes), Campus Cops, Saved by the Bell: The New Class (4 episodes) and USA High (19 episodes).

He had a recurring role as Det. R.T. Mooney in five episodes of the ABC police drama Sidekicks in 1986. Some of his other drama guest appearances included Fantasy Island, Legmen, Simon & Simon, Matt Houston, Crazy Like a Fox, Scarecrow and Mrs. King (3 episodes), Blacke's Magic and Murder, She Wrote.

Mr. Bonner did a wonderful job with his role as Herb Tarlek. He was a classic character with his humor and loud plaid suits. We thank him for his work as both an actor and as a director of many sitcom episodes. He will be greatly missed.

Share your memories on our WKRP in Cincinnati message board. View photos in our galleries.

Ned Beatty

We also remember character actor Ned Beatty. He was best known for his work in more than 160 films, but he also starred in two short-lived sitcoms and had a recurring role as Ed Conner on Roseanne. He died at his home in Los Angeles of natural causes on June 13. Mr. Beatty was 83.

Beatty's early television drama guest appearances included The Waltons, The Marcus-Nelson Murders (TV movie pilot for Kojak), The Rockford Files (3 episodes), Lucas Tanner, Gunsmoke, Petrocelli, The Rookies, Hawaii Five-O, The Streets of San Francisco, Delvecchio and Lucan. He appeared as Colonel Hollister in the 1975 M*A*S*H episode "Dear Peggy."

Szyszynk

He starred as Nick Szysznyk on the short-lived 1977-1978 CBS sitcom Szysznyk, which ran for two seasons and 15 episodes (4 unaired). Nick Szyszynk was a retired marine who takes a new job as playground supervisor at the Northwest Community Center in a poor neighborhood in Washington, D.C. The cast included Olivia Cole, Susan Lanier (2 episodes), Leonard Barr, Jarrod Johnson, Barry Miller, Scott Colomby and Thomas Carter.

The Boys

Beatty starred as Herbert Francis "Bert" Greenblatt on the short-lived 1993 CBS sitcom The Boys. The series was about a horror novelist who moves into a house and starts hanging out with the friends of the man who recently died there. Bert was a loud, antagonistic retired fireman. The series also starred Chris Meloni, Isabella Hoffmann, Doris Roberts, John Harkins and Richard Venture.

Ned Beatty and John Goodman - Roseanne

He had a recurring role as Ed Conner, the father of Dan Conner (John Goodman), in six episodes of the ABC sitcom Roseanne from 1989 to 1994. His other sitcom guest appearances included The Golden Palace as Tad Hollingsworth in 1993 and Go On as Coach Spence, which was his final television role in 2013.

He starred as Detective Stanley Bolander ("The Big Man") on the first three seasons of the NBC police drama Homicide: Life on the Street from 1993 to 1995. Some of his other drama guest appearances included Murder, She Wrote (1984), Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1985), Highway to Heaven (2 episodes), B.L. Stryker, Road to Avonlea, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Law & Order.

Ned Beatty in Rudy

Beatty appeared in more than 160 films during his career, which spanned from 1972 to 2013. He made his film debut as Bobby Trippe in Deliverance (1972). He received his only Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Arthur Jensen in the acclaimed film Network (1976). He played Otis Berg, Lex Luthor's (Gene Hackman) inept henchman, in Superman: The Movie (1978) and Superman II (1980). In 1993, he starred as Daniel Ruettiger, Sr., the father of Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger (Sean Astin), in Rudy. Some of his other credits included All the President's Men (1976), The Toy (1982), Stroker Ace (1983), Back to School (1986) and Toy Story 3 (2010) as the voice of Lotso. See his full listing of credits on IMDB.

Mr. Beatty was a talented and versatile character actor. He made everything he appeared in much better. We thank him for the entertainment he brought us during his long career. He will be deeply missed.

Share your memories on our Roseanne message board. View photos in our galleries.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Wednesday, August 4

Dave - "Enlightened Dave" (FXX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Dave journeys to a legendary recording studio, hoping to break through his creative block but is forced to confront his greatest obstacle: his own ego.

Younger - "The Last Unicorn" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Liza and Kelsey start an underground event called Inkubator; Liza debates telling Charles about Quinn's true motives; Maggie's first class lands her an invite to dinner at the dean's.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 2)

Wednesday, August 4

  • Wanda Sykes (The Upshaws/The New Adventures of Old Christine/Wanda at Large) - Wanda guest hosts a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Nick Kroll (Big Mouth/The League/Cavemen) - Nick appears on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Hannah Einbinder (Hacks) - Hannah is a guest on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Brett Gelman (Fleabag/Married/Go On) - Brett appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Kristin Chenoweth (Schmigadoon!/Trial & Error/Kristin) - Kristin is a guest on Watch What Happens: Live at 3:30am on Bravo.
  • Mary McCormack (The Kids Are Alright/Welcome to the Family) - Mary will be on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Ryan Reynolds (Two Guys and a Girl) - Ryan talks about the new movie Free Guy on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am and on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Cedric the Entertainer (The Neighborhood/The Last O.G./The Soul Man/The Steve Harvey Show) - Cedric is a guest on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Eva Marcille (Born Again Virgin) - Eva appears on a repeat of The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Amy Poehler (Duncanville/Parks and Recreation) - Amy will be on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Ben Feldman (Superstore/A to Z/Living with Fran) - Ben appears on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jennifer Coolidge (2 Broke Girls/Joey) - Jennifer talks about her new film Swan Song on Access Daily, so check your local listings.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (April-August)

Fuller House - The Complete Series Parks and Recreation - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Head of the Class - The Complete Third Season Family Ties - The Complete Series (2021 Release) Hot in Cleveland - The Complete Series (2021 Release)

04/20 - 'Til Death - The Complete Series
05/11 - Dead to Me - Season Two
06/08 - The Critic - The Complete Series
06/08 - Fuller House - The Fifth and Final Season
06/08 - Fuller House - The Complete Series
06/08 - Our Cartoon President - Season 3
06/15 - The Office - Season 1 (Blu-ray) / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9
06/15 - Parks and Recreation - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
07/07 - No Activity - Season 2
07/13 - The Unicorn - Season 2
07/20 - Head of the Class - The Complete Third Season
07/27 - Family Ties - The Complete Series (2021 Re-Release)
07/27 - Hot in Cleveland - The Complete Series (2021 Re-Release)
07/27 - The Neighborhood - Season Three
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

08/03 - Hulu Renews Love, Victor for Season 3; Archer Season 12 Premieres August 25 on FXX
08/02 - Antenna TV Fall 2021 Schedule; Rewind TV Launch Schedule Beginning September 1
08/01 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of August 2, 2021)
07/31 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman Remake for TBS; Schitt's Creek Producer Hoping to Replicate Success with Son of a Critch
07/30 - Fri-Yay: Ted Lasso and Mythic Quest Are Promising Comedies on Apple TV+; Paramount+ Announces Cast for The Game Revival
07/29 - Sarah Silverman Hosting David Letterman Produced TBS Series; More Stars Joining And Just Like That...
07/28 - Game Show Network Announces New Original Series; Retta Hosting New HGTV Show
07/27 - Fox Fall 2021 Premiere Dates; B.J. Novak's The Premise to Premiere on FX on Hulu
07/26 - Damon Wayans Jr. to Host Frogger; Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens Getting All-Star Guests
07/25 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 26, 2021)
07/24 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Manifest Cancellation Being Reconsidered; American Housewife Sold for Broadcast Syndication
07/23 - Fri-Yay: 2021 Emmy Nominations Heavy on New Comedies, Light on Traditional Sitcoms; That Damn Michael Che Gets a Second Season
07/22 - Lifetime Announces Justina Machado TV Movie; ABC News to Focus on Superstars
07/21 - HBO Max's Love Life Season 2 Announces Cast; Kevin Hart and Jason Biggs Host Back-to-Back Shows on E!
07/20 - Peacock's Superfan Episodes of The Office; The Other Two Season 2 Launch Date on New Network HBO Max
07/19 - Melrose Place Reunion on Fox's New Fantasy Island; Tacoma FD Returns Sept. 16 on truTV
07/18 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 19, 2021)
07/17 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Jerry O'Connell Joins the Conversation on The Talk; Norman Lear Sitcoms Arrive on Amazon Prime Video and IMDb TV
07/16 - ABC Fall 2021 Premiere Dates Includes The Wonder Years; Paramount+ Renews iCarly
07/15 - Norman Lear Classics to Stream on Amazon Prime Video and IMDb TV; Cristela Alonzo to Host Hidden Temple on The CW
07/14 - 73rd Emmy Awards Nominations; Showtime Orders Vanessa Bayer and Molly Shannon Comedy
07/13 - Emmy Awards Slated for Sep. 19, CBS Fall Premiere Dates; Remembering Charlie Robinson - Mac from Night Court
07/12 - Huge Star Joining Season 5 of Search Party on HBO Max; Late Night Talk Show Pause with Sam Jay to Return
07/11 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 12, 2021)
07/10 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Casting News for Night Court Reboot; Rutherford Falls Renewed for Second Season
07/09 - Fri-Yay: CNN's History of the Sitcom Looks Like a Treat for Sitcom Fans; Rutherford Falls Renewed for 2nd Season; Remembering Suzzanne Douglas of The Parent 'Hood
07/08 - COZI TV Acquires 3rd Rock from the Sun and Quincy, M.E. This Summer; The Standups to Return to Netflix After Long Hiatus
07/07 - AnTENna TV's Birthday Party Continues on July 10; HBO Max's Our Flag Means Death Adds More to Cast
07/06 - Netflix Cancels 4 Sitcoms Including Kevin James Series; HBO Max's Pretty Little Liars Casts Two Leads
07/05 - Happy 4th of July; Limited Edition Younger Vinyl Soundtrack Coming July 16; Seinfeld Soundtrack Released
07/04 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 5, 2021)
07/03 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Netflix Cancels Several Sitcoms; Telma Hopkins Cast in NBC Dark Dramedy Pilot