Saturday, January 10, 2015

It's a TV Saturday!

By request -- talk about whatever you want to talk about. Good episodes, bad shows, favorite tropes, horrible acting. If it's TV-related, it's fair game this weekend!


Anonymous said...

The first TV shows I can remember watching are Doctor Who, Star Trek and Scooby Doo. My very, very first memory of watching TV is a scene from Doctor Who which was broadcast in 1969 - I was only three at the time and until recently I wondered if it was even possible to remember something from so young but Steve Does Comics who's a Doctor Who fan confirmed that the scene I remembered really happened. But the most important TV show for me was Planet Of The Apes because it led directly to me discovering Marvel comics a few weeks later due to Marvel UK's POTA weekly.

Anonymous said...

Well, as nobody else has commented so far (but probably will as I'm typing this) I'll just mention that colour TV didn't come to the UK until 1969/70 and during the '70s most people still has black & white televisions including in my house but my grandmother bought a colour TV almost as soon as they became available and it was always awesome to watch TV in colour whenever I visited her.

david_b said...

Ok, ok ok, WORST episode time..


Starting out, 'Spocks Brain', I love it.


It's just hammy and silly, and Shatner's style really lends itself even in the silliest situations or inane dialog. Ok, so it's not 'City On the Edge of Forever'..

Like Gilligan's Island (which I also love..), sometimes you have to wince, but it's still fun to watch.

Most of Space:1999 Year 2..? Loved the first season, but it got more and more like LIS with Freddy Freiberger at the helm, all the cool style of Year 1 gone (which in and of itself, with the music and stylish camera work hid most of that season's 'gaps of reality..). Year 2's still hard to watch with the obligatory/awkward hammy humor, but there are some competent episodes..

(Buck Roger's 2nd year, anyone..? Same idea..)

LIS..? Gaaawd, did Dr. Smith ruin what could have been some interesting stories in the 2nd/3rd Season.., but hey, the ratings were far higher than Star Trek at the time, as only when reruns started did Trek finally win out over time.

Quark..? Yep loved Richard Benjamin in there, hard to watch but count it down as a guilty pleasure of mine. Loved Richard Kelton as Ficus.

Any shark-jump related television eyesores, anyone..?

It's hard for me to watch 3rd Season Batman episodes (the '66 series). Like most adolescent boys, I enjoyed the Batgirl eye-candy, but you knew it was only a shadow of it's first year by this point with it's flimsy stage sets, more topical hippy visuals, primarily reduced to 24min stories allowing little if any tension or proper story-building. They're all hard to watch, but they're part of the collection.

Doctor Who..? I had trouble with the relatively-bland Peter Davison years (with few exceptions..), which was tough because he was still my favorite Doctor next to Tom Baker and later David Tennant.

'Far Out Space Nuts', anyone..?

That's all I can think of for now.

Graham said...

I could talk about TV growing up for days and days, so I'll just talk about cartoons....

When I was a kid, I would wake up at 7:00 on Saturday mornings to watch Scooby Doo and the Bugs Bunny/Daffy Duck show. Now, the folks had to use dynamite to wake me up during the week for school, but I could actually wake myself up on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons. Ditto on Sundays, when one of the local stations ran Hanna Barbara cartoons at 8:00.

It seems strange now to get up on Saturday mornings and see that none of my kids are watching cartoons.

Anonymous said...

Re: color TV, it was probably around 1966-67 that TV shows filmed in color became the rule, rather than the exception. And color TV sets were still relatively expensive for some time. I know a lot of people in the US who did not get color sets until after 1970. My aunt and uncle got a color TV several years before my parents did, and it was a big deal to watch Batman or Star Trek in color when visiting them.

Everyone complains about Lost in Space degenerating into "The Will, Dr. Smith, and Robot Show." But then, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Wild Wild West, and The (British) Avengers also became increasingly silly and juvenile at about the same time (1966-67). (To some extent, the same thing happened with James Bond movies, and even more so with the Bond knockoffs, Our Man Flint and Matt Helm, as well as the movie versions of Modesty Blaise and Barbarella). The Batman/camp comedy fad was a huge influence back then.

After the camp fad ended, most of those shows tried to pull back and tone things down. (If anything, U.N.C.L.E. over-compensated, and its last season didn't have even the subtle comic relief that is usually a part of spy-fi.) But by then, it was too late. Fans who liked the campy weirdness were bored by an attempted return to playing it straight, and fans who wanted straight action-adventure/drama had already quit watching anyway.

And Batman, unlike the sci-fi and spy-fi shows, could not really pull back and rein it in, because its premise was inherently goofy and campy, so it didn't really have anything to go back to. They almost seemed to double up on the camp comedy, and, in the last season, the biggest difference between Batman and Get Smart or My Favorite Martian was that Batman did not have a laugh track.

Karen said...

Recently the Turner Classic Movies station had a "Disney Vault" night and I recorded all of the programs (around 6 hours of programming). It was fascinating to me. I have become a Disney fan as an adult, but as a child, we did not watch the weekly Disney show in my house, and I always felt I was missing out. When I would go to school on Monday kids would be talking about what was shown on Wonderful World of Disney the night before and I was always clueless. Sometimes I would catch that beautiful opening music to the show before someone turned the channel. But that was it. I don't know what we were watching but it wasn't Disney.

So the stuff on TCM was pretty great. Not all of it was WWD stuff -some were shorts that Disney made before the TV show that had a holiday theme. But the centerpiece to me was the Davy Crockett movie -it put together the three episodes of Davy Crockett that Disney had originally shown on TV and then repackaged for theaters. Of course I knew about Davy Crockett, could sing some of the song (Kilt him a bar when he wuz only three) but never, ever had I seen the actual show. I sat down and watched it and it was quite a piece of history. At the beginning, it was somewhat cringe-inducing, as everyone was talking about going out and killing those 'redskins'. Different times, I know. But then in the middle part, Davy defends his neighbor, an Indian settler, and later on, as a senator, tries to stop a landgrab against native tribes. It was so strange -I have no idea if there was even a modicum of historical accuracy in this but obviously there was an attempt to show both the character's growth as a person but also some social enlightenment -in the early 50s! It surprised me I have to say.

Fess Parker and Buddy Ebsen were both fun to watch. It's hard for me to not think of Ebsen as Jed Clampett, but he had a career long before the Beverley Hillbillies. Here, he is Davy's right-hand man, George Russell, a frontiersman, who carries a rifle like Jed sometimes did, and dances like Jed sometimes did too...hmmm...well, Jed seemed a lot more serious. Thankfully, there is no Jethro out on the frontier.

Other things TCM showed were a 1 hour special on Disneyland before it was built; a movie called the Reluctant Dragon, which took you on a behind the scenes tour of Disney studios; a film called Third Man on the Mountain about mountain climbing in the Alps; and some wildlife documentaries that I frankly skimmed through. TCM and Disney have established a partnership of sorts so there will be more of these specials on the way. Oh, and another thing that was entertaining about these, was each one was opened by Ben Mankiewicz and Leonard Maltin -Maltin has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of all things Disney.

Edo Bosnar said...

Jeez, since the topic of black and white sets has come up, I have to say that because my dad was such a penny-pincher in many ways back when I was a little kid, our family did not have a color set until I was about half-way through the third grade (i.e., about 1977). Until then we had a little b&w set with rabbit-ear antennas, which, to add insult to injury, meant poor reception (we did not live in a town or city). I was always embarrassed to have friends over because of that...

On Gilligan's Island - I loved that show. Back in high school, there were a few of us who watched it religiously. We even jokingly formed a cult around it.
As for Quark, it's come up before that both David and I are fans, but I don't even consider it a guilty pleasure or find it hard to watch. I recently, about 2 years ago, re-watched the entire whopping 8-episode run and was actually surprised at how well much of the humor holds up. It was actually a pretty darn clever satire of the often campy SF films and TV shows of the '60s and '70s.

Edo Bosnar said...

Karen, it's interesting that you say it's hard for you to think of Buddy Ebsen as anything but Jed Clampett, and then cite his career prior to that. Personally, I always associate Ebsen with Barnaby Jones first and foremost (i.e., well after his Beverly Hillbilly days).
It makes me think about what roles we first associate with certain actors or actresses. Take James Garner for example: for a lot of folks he's Maverick first and foremost, while for me he's Jim Rockford. Or Lee Majors: I bet all of us think of him as the Six-million Dollar Man, but I'm sure there's some youngsters out there who think of him as the Fall Guy. And I'm wondering if there's anybody out there who thinks of Shatner as T.J. Hooker rather than Capt. Kirk?

Garett said...

The first show I remember seeing was I Dream of Jeannie on our B+W tv. Getting cable tv several years later to get the 3 American networks was a big deal.

Trying to think of shows that may not have been mentioned here before. "James at 15" came to mind--anyone remember that? IMDb entry says James was a daydreamer and photographer. I don't remember any episodes, just that I watched it and that it turned into "James at 16" the next year.

Edo Bosnar said...

Oh, I remember "James at..." quite well, Garett - although they would probably not admit it now, both my older sister and brother liked watching that show, and so I just watched along with them. You're not missing much by not remembering it, either. As far as I recall, the episodes often had this sort of after-school special atmosphere to them, although perhaps with slightly better acting.
I also remember that it allowed the main actor, Lance Kerwin, to join the ranks of other late '70s teen heart-throbs like Jimmy McNichol and Leif Garrett - albeit briefly. For alas, James never reached 17...

Anonymous said...

I remember Gilligan's Island being on really early (I think) on Saturday mornings here in Saskatchewan in the late 70s; also reruns of Jungle Jim and Roy Rogers. I can't remember anything specific about Gilligan, except that I thought Mary Ann was better looking than Ginger.

We had a B&W television right up to about 1982; I think my dad STILL has it the basement somewhere.

Mike W.

david_b said...

On the Gilligan subject, I truely love the show.., all the principles involved did wonderful acting craft and it's always a joy to watch (despite my mention earlier..).

I got to meet the ever-lovely Dawn Wells last year in Detroit. I shared with her my story of emailing Russell Johnson back and forth (before he passed on..), and when she heard I was an Army Colonel, she mentioned she was currently dating an Army Colonel in DC.

Some very, very lucky serviceman has the most awesome bragging rights of... all... time...:

"I'm dating Mary Ann..."

Wow and wow.

Martinex1 said...

I liked Quark as well. Ficus and the twins (cannot remember their names) were great. I seem to remember an episode similar to the Star Trek with good and evil versions of the characters but Ficus was neither because he was a plant. Great fun. Does anybody remember a show "When Things Were Rotten"? It was about Robin Hood and I believe Mel Brooks was involved. Loved that as a kid but memory of it is ver hazy. To this day when they show the "Now in Full Color" peacock from NBC I get nostalgic

Anonymous said...

I remember Mel Brooks' "When Things Were Rotten." It starred Dick Gautier (probably best known as Hymie on Get Smart) as Robin Hood.

Buddy Ebsen also played Rex Allen's sidekick in some low budget Westerns in the late 1940's. Whether you remember him as Jed Clampett, Barnaby Jones, or as Davy Crockett's sidekick probably depends on your age, and which you saw first. The same with Shatner as Kirk, Hooker, or Denny Crane, James Garner as Maverick or Rockford, Larry Hagman as Major Nelson or J.R. Ewing, and so on.

IRL, Davy Crockett did try to stand up for native Americans (and white farmers) against the land-grabbers. The Jackson administration and the party machine sabotaged his re-election campaign. After losing his Senate seat, he went to San Antonio and was killed in the battle at the Alamo. Shortly before leaving Washington, D.C., he said, "I'm going to Texas and my political opponents can all go to Hell."

Anonymous said...

Bronze Age Babies remember Lee Majors as Colonel Steve Austin, younger fans may remember the Fall Guy, and our parents and grandparents may remember him as Owen Marshall's assistant, or as the stepson on The Big Valley.

Anonymous said...

I actually liked Agent Carter , the 2-hour pilot was pretty good.


Anonymous said...

I liked Agent Carter as well...maybe it can be a regular discussion on Wednesdays or something?

Garett said...

Thanks Edo!

A new show I'm curious about is The Americans. Haven't seen it yet, but sounds intriguing. Looking forward the last season of Mad Men, and also the return of Walking Dead.

I enjoy checking out Mark Evanier's blog, where he's included quite a few behind-the-scenes stories about tv shows.

The Prowler said...

Sometimes you go to post and the Internet just flat out eats you post! Here's the Reader's Digest: first cartoon I remember watching: Fantastic Four, maybe 67 or 68. Liked 90s Spider-Man but Marvel started to change history! Huge thumbs up for Avengers Earth's Mightiest Heroes! Cartoons done right and really really good! I think a lot of them are on YouTube? Prolly.

(You go that way really really fast and if something gets in your way, you go around it).

david_b said...

Prowler.., my first memories were of the FF cartoon, and especially the Marvel Super Heroes '60s stuff.

I vividly recall sitting in front watching the Captain America cartoons the best, with my Captain Action figure, circa 1967..

R. Lloyd said...

My first memories of TV watching were when my grandmother came to our home and we started watching Saturday morning cartoons: Marine Boy (anime), Space Ghost, Spider Man, Hanna Barbera's Fantastic Four, Lost in Space and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.

Voyage had a lasting impact on me because when I was three I saw what I thought was a jelly fish. It was a giant one with glowing eyes and hair like tentacles. For a long time I actually thought that was what a jelly fish looked like and it kept me out of the water for five years.

When I did venture out into the water with my toy Seaview sub I almost drowned because I saw what I thought was a jelly fish. Mom was in the immediate area and quickly pulled me out of the water just in time. But I'll never forget the panic I felt and it had a lasting impression on me.

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