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

Saturday, December 4

none scheduled

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of November 29)

Friday, December 3

  • Bill Burr (F Is for Family/Townies) - Watch Bill on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Dwayne Johnson (Young Rock) - Dwayne appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Maya Erskine (PEN15/Casual/Betas) and Anna Konkle (PEN15) - Maya and Anna are guests on 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 co-hosts The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Holly Robinson Peete (Hangin' with Mr. Cooper/For Your Love/Love, Inc.) - Holly is a guest on The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm/Son of Zorn/Suburgatory) - Cheryl will be on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Kal Penn (Sunnyside/Deadbeat/We Are Men) - Kal appears on The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings. He talks about Comedy Central's Hot Mess Holiday on Access Daily, so check your local listings.
  • Michel Urie (Younger/Partners) - Michael is a guest on The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
  • J. K. Simmons (Growing Up Fisher/Family Tools) - J. K. talks about Being the Ricardos on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Julie Bowen (Modern Family/Ed) - Julie talks about Mixtape on ABC's GMA 3: What You Need to Know at 1pm.


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

Maude - The Complete Series (2021 Release) Mom - The Eighth and Final Season Punky Brewster (1984-88) - The Complete Series (2021 Release) I Dream of Jeannie - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) The Andy Griffith Show - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)

10/19 - Maude - The Complete Series (2021 Release)
11/02 - The Honeymooners Specials - A Christmas Carol
11/02 - Mom - The Eighth and Final Season
11/02 - Punky Brewster - The Complete Series (2021 Release)
11/02 - Sex and the City - The Complete Collection (Blu-ray)
11/09 - Saved by the Bell (2020) - Season One
11/09 - Younger - The Complete Series
11/16 - Kevin Can F*** Himself - Season 1 (Blu-ray)
11/23 - Dead Pixels - Seasons One and Two
11/30 - I Dream of Jeannie - The Complete Series (Mill Creek) (2021 Release) (Blu-ray)
12/07 - The Andy Griffith Show - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
12/07 - Rick & Morty - Season 5 (Blu-ray) (Blu-ray Limited Edition Steelbook)
12/14 - The Abbott and Costello Show - Season 1 (Blu-ray)
12/14 - Letterkenny - Season 9
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

12/04 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Kevin Can F*** Himself and Pen15 Cancelled; The Waltons' Homecoming Brings Ratings High to The CW
12/03 - Fri-Yay: It’s Always Sunny Returns, Bold and Funny as Ever; Jon Stewart Joins Live in Front of a Studio Audience for The Facts of Life; Remembering Eddie Mekka of Laverne & Shirley
12/02 - Rewind TV January 2022 Schedule Includes Drew Carey, NewsRadio; HBO's Somebody Somewhere Premieres Jan. 16
12/01 - Live in Front of a Studio Audience Announces Cast of The Facts of Life; Disney Television Orders Marsai Martin Produced Comedy
11/30 - Antenna TV January 2022 Schedule and Q1 2022 Stunts; Chucky Gets 2nd Season on Syfy & USA
11/29 - Who's the Boss? Now on GAC Family; black-ish Farewell Season Starts Jan. 4
11/28 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 29, 2021)
11/27 - SitcomsOnline Digest: MacGruber Series Premiere Date Set; Saved by the Bell Pays Tribute to Dustin Diamond
11/26 - 2021 Antenna TV Christmas and New Year's Schedule
11/25 - 2021 Thanksgiving TV Marathons on TV This Holiday Weekend Include The Jeffersons on Starz Encore Black
11/24 - First Look at Peacock's Bel-Air; Dollface Returns Feb. 11 on Hulu
11/23 - Paramount+ Celebrates the Holidays with Sitcom Classics; HBO Max Gets in Holiday Spirit as Well with Christmas Comedy Series
11/22 - Apple TV+ Announces The Afterparty Premiere Date; SNL Closes Out 2021 with 2 New December Episodes
11/21 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 22, 2021)
11/20 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Netflix Orders Last Blockbuster Video Comedy Series; Party Down Revival Set at Starz
11/19 - Fri-Yay: Sitcom Thanksgiving Episodes to Be Thankful For; Live in Front of a Studio Audience Returns Dec. 7 with The Facts of Life and Diff'rent Strokes
11/18 - COZI TV's 2021 Unexpected Guests Thanksgiving and Christmas; How I Met Your Father Premieres January 18 on Hulu
11/17 - Freeform Announces January Schedule; Starz Releases Premiere Date for Shining Vale with Courteney Cox
11/16 - MeTV Network Loses Columbo, Adds Andy Griffith and M*A*S*H Sundays; Remembering Gavan O'Herlihy, the Original Chuck Cunningham on Happy Days
11/15 - NBC Winter Midseason 2022 Schedule; And Just Like That... Premieres Dec. 9 and Airs Thursdays
11/14 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 15, 2021)
11/13 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Night Court Reboot Set for 2022-2023 Debut on NBC; The Harper House Cancelled at Paramount+
11/12 - The Newlywed Game Coming to BUZZR; Nick Renews Tyler Perry's Young Dylan for Season 3
11/11 - CBS Winter 2022 Midseason Schedule; The Wonder Years Series Premiere Grows in Multi-Platform Viewing
11/10 - HBO Max's Search Party Sets Final Season Launch on Jan. 7; The Wall Returns to Fill in on NBC
11/09 - Fox Winter Midseason 2022 Schedule; The Righteous Gemstones Returns Jan. 9 on HBO
11/08 - The CW Midseason 2022 Schedule; Dolly Parton to Appear on Final Season of Grace and Frankie
11/07 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 8, 2021)
11/06 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Season 2 Premiere Date Set for The Righteous Gemstones; Complete Series of The Andy Griffith Show Headed to Blu-ray
11/05 - Fri-Yay: black-ish to Debut Final Season in January; Fox's Fantasy Island Gets Holiday Special and 2nd Season
11/04 - NBC Slates Comedy Previews in December, Including American Auto & Grand Crew; It's Always Sunny to Surpass Ozzie & Harriet for Live-Action Comedy