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

Friday, October 22

Sydney to the Max - "Honey, You Shrunk the Fit" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Sydney is asked to represent a popular clothing line on social media but struggles with its "one size fits all" mold; in the '90s, Max enlists Leo to help him get buff to impress Alisha.

Gabby Duran & the Unsittables - "Adventures in Alien House-Sitting" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Gabby gets FOMO while babysitting an alien smart home, but when she uses the cool alien tech to lure a party to the house, the situation goes dangerously interstellar.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 18)

Friday, October 22

  • Martin Short (Only Murders in the Building/Mulaney/The Martin Short Show) - Watch Martin on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Jerry Seinfeld (Seinfeld) - Jerry appears on a repeat of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso/Son of Zorn/The Cleveland Show) and Brendan Hunt (Ted Lasso) - Jason, Brendan and Joe Kelly are guests on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Susie Essman (Curb Your Enthusiasm/Broad City/Baby Boom) - Susie chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Montana Jordan (Young Sheldon) - Montana appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Ricky Gervais (After Life/The Office) - Ricky talks about his new podcast, Absolutely Mental, on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Tiffany Haddish (The Last O.G./The Carmichael Show) - Tiffany guest hosts The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Leah Remini (Kevin Can Wait/The Exes/Family Tools/The King of Queens/Fired Up) - Leah guest hosts The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Abigail Breslin (Scream Queens) - Abigail appears on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Quinta Brunson (Abbott Elementary) - Quinta is a guest on Tamron Hall, so check your local listings.
  • Laura Benanti (Younger/The Detour/Go On) - Laura will be on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Issa Rae (Insecure) - Issa appears on CBS This Morning sometime between 7-9am.
  • Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm/Son of Zorn/Suburgatory) - Cheryl is a guest on Access Daily, so check your local listings.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (June-October)

Head of the Class - The Complete Third Season Family Ties - The Complete Series (2021 Release) Hot in Cleveland - The Complete Series (2021 Release) Young Sheldon - The Complete Fourth Season Maude - The Complete Series (2021 Release)

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 Release)
07/27 - Hot in Cleveland - The Complete Series (2021 Release)
07/27 - The Neighborhood - Season Three
08/20 - The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet - Deluxe Edition (100 Episodes) (Time Life)
08/20 - The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet - Standard Edition (50 Episodes) (Time Life)
08/24 - The Jim Gaffigan Show - Season 2
09/07 - Young Sheldon - The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)
10/19 - Maude - The Complete Series (2021 Release)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

10/22 - Fri-Yay: Are Ghosts and The Wonder Years the Saving Graces of Network Comedy?; Ghosts Receives Full Season Order
10/21 - Butch Patrick Hosts Halloween Monster Bash on Classic Reruns TV; Harlem Starring Meagan Good Premieres Dec. 3
10/20 - Fox Announces Special Post NFL January Premieres; TBS Comedy Wipeout Returns in January for Season 2
10/19 - One Final Family Reunion on Netflix; Apple TV+ Announces Premiere Date for Harriet the Spy
10/18 - GAC Family Acquires Classic Sony Sitcoms; Remembering Betty Lynn from The Andy Griffith Show
10/17 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of October 18, 2021)
10/16 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Could a Looming Strike Shut Down TV Production?; GAC Family Acquires Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, Silver Spoons, and More
10/15 - Dickinson Final Season Date Announced; Superstar: Robin Williams to Air Next Week (Oct. 20)
10/14 - Antenna TV's Bewitched 24-Hour Halloween Marathon; Rewind TV's Sabrina Witch-O-Ween Marathon
10/13 - Head of the Class Reboot Premieres Nov. 4, Guest Stars Robin Givens; The Bear Coming to FX
10/12 - CBS Picks Up First 2 New Series for Full Seasons; On My Block Spinoff Series Cast Set
10/11 - Netflix Orders That '90s Show Featuring Red and Kitty; Nash Bridges Movie Premieres Nov. 27 on USA Network
10/10 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of October 11, 2021)
10/09 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Netflix Orders That '70s Show Spinoff Featuring Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith; Nash Bridges Revival Movie Premiere Date Set
10/08 - Fri-Yay: CBS’s Ghosts Is the Most Interesting New Comedy of the Year; Insecure to Hold Festival for Final Season
10/07 - Mini Desperate Housewives Reunion on Hallmark Christmas Movie; The Kids Tonight Show Premieres Oct. 14
10/06 - And Just Like That... We Get a Premiere Date; The CW Holiday Specials Schedule
10/05 - New Peanuts Holiday Special on Apple TV+, PBS to Air Classic Holiday Specials; COZI TV Acquires Heartland
10/04 - Disney Channel Orders Season 5 of Raven's Home; Freeform Picks Up Phoebe Robinson Comedy
10/03 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of October 4, 2021)
10/02 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 11 Premiere Date Set; Lori Loughlin Returns to TV Role
10/01 - Fri-Yay: The Fall 2021 Sitcom Line-up Is Pretty Bare; Bounce Renews Johnson for Season 2
09/30 - It's a Wonderful Lifetime Expands with 35 New Movies; Hulu & Lifetime Acquire Castle
09/29 - Curb Your Enthusiasm Returns Yet Again; Archer Returning for Lucky Season 13 on FXX
09/28 - Nick at Nite Acquires Mike & Molly; NBC Orders Night Court to Series
09/27 - MeTV Network Halloween Schedule; HBO Max Renews The Other Two for Third Season
09/26 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of September 27, 2021)
09/25 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Night Court Reboot Gets Series Order; Season Premiere Date Set for The Orville
09/24 - Fri-Yay: Ted Lasso Wins Big at The Emmys; CBS Expands Ghosts Premiere to One-Hour; Remembering Willie Garson of Sex and the City, Director Jay Sandrich
09/23 - TBS, TNT and truTV Launch Fall-O-Ween, a Programming Block of Halloween Classics; HBO Max Comedy from Mindy Kaling Debuts November 18
09/22 - Paramount+ Renews Rugrats for 2nd Season; Eva Longoria Producing Disney Sci-Fi Comedy