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-0, 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 / Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows

Monday, April 22

The Neighborhood - "Welcome to the Baby Shower" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Courtney and Marty deal with some baby shower drama with Tina, while Lamar adjusts to a new job at the Fuse Box.

Bob Hearts Abishola - "These Giants Are Flexible" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Bob and Abishola go to New York City with Dele for his Juilliard audition, Abishola reconnects with her brother Ade.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of April 22)

Monday, April 22

  • Wilmer Valderrama (That '70s Show) - Watch Wilmer on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Rory Scovel (Physical/Ground Floor) - Rory appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Gillian Jacobs (Love/Community) and Pete Holmes (How We Roll/Crashing) - Gillian and Pete are guests on After Midnight at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Jennifer Tilly (Out of Practice) - Jennifer appears on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen at 3:30am on Bravo.
  • Zendaya (K.C. Undercover/Shake It Up), John Travolta (Welcome Back, Kotter) and Jodie Foster (Paper Moon/Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice/The Courtship of Eddie's Father) - E! News has interviews with Zendaya, John and Jodie at 11pm on E!.
  • Jerrod Carmichael (The Carmichael Show) - Jerrod will be on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.


New on DVD/Blu-ray

Father Knows Best - The Complete Series Three's Company - The Official 40th Anniversary Collection Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Too Close for Comfort - The Complete Series Check It Out! - The Complete Series

12/05 - Father Knows Best - The Complete Series
12/05 - The Odd Couple - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
12/12 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - The Complete Series
12/12 - Looney Tunes Collector's Choice - Volume 2 (Blu-ray)
12/12 - That Girl - The Complete Series
12/15 - Letterkenny - Season 11
12/19 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Official Restored Complete Series
12/22 - Three's Company - The Official 40th Anniversary Collection (includes The Ropers and Three's a Crowd)
01/09 - South Park - Seasons 11-15 (Blu-ray)
01/16 - Ghosts (UK) - Season Five
02/13 - Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
02/27 - The Really Loud House - Season One
03/12 - Ghosts (UK) - The Complete Series
03/12 - Looney Tunes Collector's Choice - Volume 3 (Blu-ray)
03/12 - Rick and Morty - Season 7 (Blu-ray Steelbook) (Blu-ray) (DVD)
04/03 - Too Close for Comfort - The Complete Series (VEI)
04/08 - Check It Out! - The Complete Series (VEI)

The Odd Couple - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) That Girl - The Complete Series The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Official Restored Complete Series

More Recent and Upcoming TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

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04/21 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 22, 2024)
04/20 - SitcomsOnline Digest: CBS Cancels Two Series and Picks Up New Soap Opera; Potential New Buyer Interested in Paramount
04/19 - Nikki Glaser Gets HBO Special; Peacock and UK Channel 4's We Are Lady Parts Season 2
04/18 - Acapulco Returns May 1; Iliza Shlesinger Heads to Prime Video
04/17 - 31st SAG Awards Airs on Netflix Next February; Prime Video Orders Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? Spinoff with Host Travis Kelce
04/16 - ABC Renews The Rookie for Season 7; CBS Orders New Soap Opera The Gates
04/15 - Paramount+ Announces Final Season of Animated Star Trek Comedy; Lifetime May 2024 Movies
04/14 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 15, 2024)
04/13 - SitcomsOnline Digest: The Talk Coming to an End at CBS; CBS Renews The Neighborhood
04/12 - Netflix Orders Tom Segura Comedy Series; Surprise! S.W.A.T. Gets Uncanceled...Again
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04/09 - CBS 2023-24 Season Finale Dates; Hacks Star Gets Max Comedy Special
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04/05 - Hulu Spring and Summer 2024 Slate; Netflix Orders Tyler Perry Drama; Remembering Joe Flaherty
04/04 - Apple TV+ The Big Door Prize Returns April 24; ABC Renews Will Trent for Season 3
04/03 - Sony Pictures and Game Show Network Upfront; ABC Renews Grey's Anatomy and 9-1-1 for 2024-25
04/02 - Adult Swim's Smiling Friends Returns May 12; Stallone Drama Returning for Season 2
04/01 - Selena Gomez Gets New Food Network Series; Orphan Black Gets New Series
03/31 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 1, 2024)
03/30 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Patricia Richardson on Potential Home Improvement Reboot; Paramount+ Removes Several Nickelodeon Series
03/29 - Hulu Launches on Disney+; Under the Bridge Premieres April 17
03/28 - Netflix's Good Times Animated Comedy Trailer; Too Close for Comfort and Check It Out! Complete Series on DVD
03/27 - The Upshaws Part 5 This April; Max Orders Noah Wyle Medical Drama
03/26 - Apple TV+ Orders Star-Studded Comedy; Elizabeth Banks Joins New Peacock Series
03/25 - Disney Channel Orders Wizards of Waverly Place Revival; Paramount+ Animated Comedy Ark: The Animated Series
03/24 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of March 25, 2024)
03/23 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Netflix Sets Premiere Date for Good Times Animated Reboot; NBC Renews Several Popular Series
03/22 - NBC Renews Nearly All Chicago and Law & Order Series; Goosebumps Season 2 Cast Update