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

Wednesday, July 24

none scheduled

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of July 22)

Wednesday, July 24

  • Ryan Reynolds (Two Guys and a Girl) and Hugh Jackman (Human Resources) - Ryan and Hugh guest host Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Saoirse-Monica Jackson (Derry Girls) - Saoirse-Monica appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Whoopi Goldberg (Whoopi/Bagdad Cafe) - Whoopi is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Abby Elliott (The Bear/Indebted/Odd Mom Out) - Abby appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Tony Hale (Veep/Arrested Development) - Tony talks about The Decameron on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Rob Lowe (Unstable/The Grinder/Parks and Recreation/A New Kind of Family) and John Owen Lowe (Unstable/The Grinder) - Rob and John talk about the new season of Unstable on ABC's Good Morning America some time between 7-9am and on Live with Kelly and Mark, so check your listings.
  • Allison Williams (Girls) - Allison and the cast of Fellow Travlers are guests on a repeat of The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
  • Ralph Macchio (Eight Is Enough) - Ralph chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Lil Rel Howery (Rel/The Carmichael Show) - Lil Rel talks about Sony Pictures' Harold and the Purple Crayon on Access Daily with Mario & Kit, so check your local listings.
  • JB Smoove (Curb Your Enthusiasm/Blockbuster/The Millers/Bent/'Til Death) - JB appears on a repeat of The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.


New on DVD/Blu-ray

Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Too Close for Comfort - The Complete Series Check It Out! - The Complete Series The Jeffersons - The Complete Series (2024 Release) Welcome Back, Kotter - The Complete Series (2024 Release)

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)
05/21 - Frasier (2023) - Season One
06/11 - The Jeffersons - The Complete Series (2024 Release)
06/11 - Welcome Back, Kotter - The Complete Series (2024 Release)
07/05 - Letterkenny - Season 12 (Final Season)
07/30 - Ted Lasso - The Richmond Way (The Complete Series) (Blu-ray) (DVD)
09/17 - Bewitched - The Complete Series - 60th Anniversary Special Edition (Blu-ray)
09/24 - Friends - The Complete Series (4K Ultra HD)
09/24 - Young Sheldon - The Complete Seventh Season / The Complete Series
10/08 - Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Twelfth Season / The Complete Series

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


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

07/24 - FX's Final Season of What We Do in the Shadows; Lifetime Acquires Taye Diggs and Meagan Good Film
07/23 - Homicide: Life on the Street Makes Streaming Debut on Peacock August 19; Trailer and Game for Emily in Paris Season 4
07/22 - FETV Acquires Dragnet; CBS Special for Bob Newhart
07/21 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 22, 2024)
07/20 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Apple TV+ Renews Loot for Third Season; CBS Developing Area 51 Comedy
07/19 - Remembering TV Legend Bob Newhart, TV Bad Girl Shannen Doherty of Beverly Hills, 90210 and Charmed, and Doogie Howser TV Dad James B. Sikking
07/18 - 76th Primetime Emmy Nominations; Frasier Returns September 19
07/17 - Fox Fall 2024 Premiere Dates; Apple TV+ Renews Loot for Season 3
07/16 - Survival of the Thickest Season 2 Adds to Cast; Phil Rosenthal Series Renewed by Netflix
07/15 - CBS Fall 2024 Premiere Dates; Disney Entertainment Television at San Diego Comic-Con 2024
07/14 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 15, 2024)
07/13 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Martin Prequel in the Works; Wendie Malick to Star in Season 3 of Night Court
07/12 - FX Premiere Dates; CBS Studios San Diego Comic-Con Plans
07/11 - ABC Fall 2024 Premiere Dates; Remembering Doug Sheehan of Day by Day and Clueless and Benji Gregory of ALF
07/10 - NBC Fall 2024 Premiere Dates; New Paramount+ Series with Billy Bob Thornton
07/09 - Futurama Trailer Released for Season 12; Will You Help Solve a Mystery? Unsolved Mysteries Volume 4 Drops July 31
07/08 - Hulu's How to Die Alone Premieres This September; Prime Video's Cross Launches This Fall
07/07 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 8, 2024)
07/06 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Skydance Media Reportedly Taking Over Paramount; Internet Archive Restores MTV News Archives
07/05 - Sitcom Stars Pair Up on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire; TV One Premieres Raising Fame
07/04 - Happy 4th of July; Antenna TV's McHale's Navy Red, White and Navy Independence Day Marathon
07/03 - Netflix Has Baby Fever Again; More Stars Join Sirens
07/02 - Cobra Kai's Final Season Begins July 18; Hell Yeah! Kite Man: Hell Yeah! Premieres July 18 on Max
07/01 - Remembering Martin Mull of Roseanne, Sabrina the Teenage Witch and More; Will Forte Joins Netflix's Upcoming Comedy The Four Seasons
06/30 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 1, 2024)
06/29 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Nancy O'Dell to Host New Daytime True Crime Series; NBC to Use AI Clips of Al Michaels' Voice for Olympics
06/28 - Hulu's Hit-Monkey Trailer Drops; Remembering Character Actor Bill Cobbs
06/27 - New Jersey's North to Shore Festival Brings Out the Stars; ABC's GMA Summer Concert Series 2024
06/26 - Fox Nation Taps Kelsey Grammer for Docudrama; Hallmark Channel's Kansas City Chiefs Christmas Movie
06/25 - Watch New Season of The Bear Earlier; NBC's 4th of July Fireworks Special Details
06/24 - Prime Video Orders Riz Ahmed Comedy; New Trio Join Only Murders for Season 4