Showing posts with label television. Show all posts
Showing posts with label television. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Today is the 100th Birthday of Noel Neill

Today is the 100th birthday of the late Noel Neill, the original live-action Lois Lane.  

Neill mostly famously played Lois Lane for five seasons of The Adventures of Superman alongside actor George Reeves.


Neill was active on the convention circuits and became a fixture at the Metropolis, Illinois Superman Celebration each summer until her very last years.  

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Alex Trebek Merges With the Infinite


I can't remember any version of Jeopardy! that didn't feature Alex Trebek.  I know that by 1987-ish and the time I was in 6th grade, we all had our Alex Trebek impersonations, or at least knew how to imitate his cadence when delivering an answer/ clue.  

While I was a Wheel Watcher and had an odd affinity for "Sale of the Century", Jeopardy! was clearly the thinking-person's gameshow - because it was one of the last surviving quiz shows on TV.  And, it was hosted by the thinking-person's gameshow host.  Trebek ran a tight ship - foolishness was not creeping into the world of Jeopardy!.  Demographic-pleasing plebes were not going to find their way onto the contestant's stand - he needed people who could answer a medley of trivia questions, and not lose their cool.  

Trebek grounded the show with a cool, dry, breeziness that was polite, maybe a tad formal, and was unimpressed with credentials even when touting those of his guests.  He was far more impressed if you made a run on the board.  And, his giddiness (which amounted to a small smile at the best of times) shown through during returning champions weeks where he could count on a battle royale instead of watching middle school librarians fall by the wayside early in the game.

Most game show hosts you kind of just shrug at - goofy entertainers with a gift for hucksterism.  But Trebek outsurvived almost all of them (Sajak is still doing his thing, along with Vanna).  And he did it with a certain poise and sincerity about the show that gave gravitas to 30 minutes daily of people being asked random-ass questions for money.  That could have been dumb, y'all.

Jeopardy! existed before Trebek, and it will exist after Trebek.  But it will not be the same without him.  Nor will the television landscape as I've known it my entire life.  And, yes, I will be quietly very judgey of whomever tries to fill Trebek's podium.

Here's to a well deserved rest and may he never have to hear a response in the form of a question ever again.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Watch Party Watch: Someone I Touched (1975)


 


Watched:  09/22/2020
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1970's
Director:  Lou Antonio

Well, this falls squarely into "something I probably wouldn't have watched on my own".  A 1975 TV movie about syphilis and the people in Southern California who get it.  However, it does star Cloris Leachman making 1970's outfits actually work.  

It's easy to forget - we live in an era of media that's deeply scrubbed and sanitized.  Sure, sure, we've got gritty heroes and complex moral subplots, but a movie torn from the headlines about how sleeping around on your spouse isn't just naughty, it can give you a debilitating (but treatable) disease would be considered un-airable on network TV.  In an era where we had basically three networks and PBS, this was what a network decided would make for good all-purpose viewing.  

And, it's surprisingly good, helped along by Leachman turning in a rock solid performance and bringing some realism to a melodrama that includes infidelity and the impact beyond our immediate group of characters.  In fact, it starts far out from Leachman and works it's way back.  

I don't want to oversell the movie, but there's some willingness to deal with real-life unpleasantness and leave things a bit ambiguous that could exist in today's landscape, but it's hard not to imagine it getting glossed up and the audience missing the point and turning it into a game of "who do we blame here, because everything is about winning and losing?"


Thursday, September 10, 2020

Diana Rigg Merges With the Infinite


Diana Rigg, actor and icon, has passed at the age of 82.  

Rigg was a cult favorite in the U.S. and a bonafide star in the U.K., and would have been well remembered just from her work on the UK whack-a-doodle adventure show The Avengers as Emma Peel - which laid the foundation for about 10,000 imitators and arguably indirectly to the most popular iterations of Black Widow in the Marvel Universe.  She also has the most solid of Bond-girl credits as Traci, the woman who Bond would marry in On her Majesty's Secret Service (and a favorite of the PodCast).  Most recently she'd been on Game of Thrones (which I didn't watch, but I know she's a fan favorite).  

She, of course, did so much more and was just one of those actors it seems everyone could agree upon.


Saturday, July 25, 2020

Regis Philbin Merges with The Infinite



How odd.  I always thought of Regis Philbin as.. a permanent fixture.  He'd seemed sort of ageless all his years on TV. 

But he seems to have passed

For the kids - Regis was a sort of gadfly of the media industry who had his greatest success with "Regis and Kathie Lee" back in the 90's, a softball morning show where he drank coffee and met celebrities and clearly had no idea who they were or what they were pitching.  He was a great default guest for late-night talk shows (I always suspected he was on speed dial when they had a cancellation) because he'd been a sort of Jiminy Glick for so long that he had tons of crazy stories. 

Anyway, he was someone I always found pretty funny.  He had a certain joie de vivre that made him a kick to have on.  And, when he hosted the game show, Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, our own Nathan Cone got to meet him as a contestant. 


Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Grant Imahara Merges With the Infinite



Last night the news hit that Grant Imahara, one of the main cast members of Mythbusters, had passed at the age of 49.

This one shook me.

The Mythbusters cast never came across as celebrities - they came across as people you might know who someone had bestowed a budget and granted time to answer all sorts of questions you might think about but never be able to pursue.  To this day, I can't tell you how many times per month I still say "I think Mythbusters covered that" when we're pondering a question.  And those questions are not just whether and to what degree something might explode.

Imahara was the purist engineer of the crew, and seemed genuinely more interested in the process and data than being on TV.  He made a great third side of the triangle for "the build team", ensuring engineering and data driven practices were part of what they were up to.  And he did it with a joyfulness that was positively inspiring. We should all strive to have Grant's excitement about opportunity and discovery.

The cast seemed to be roughly of my generation, and so of course it's a shock when someone your own age suddenly goes.  We aren't really there yet.  But especially someone who had become famous somewhat by accident, who never became a jerk or let it go to his head, and never seemed to lose his curiosity.  We *liked* Grant.

I can't imagine what his family and friends are going through.  It seems incredibly unfair.


Thursday, April 9, 2020

PODCAST: Quarantine Media 01 - "Love is Blind", "Tiger King", "McMillions" and more - w/ Jamie, Maxwell and Ryan


Watched:  I mean.. kind of since March 13 - April 5
Viewing:  Firstish
Format:  Netflix, HBO, etc...
Decade:  2020

Things have gotten really strange as we've sheltered in place in our homes. Life is upside down, and we're all worried for the state of the world. But in a time of existential crisis, it doesn't mean we aren't watching some TV. Maxwell joins us to talk "Tiger King", "Love is Blind", "McMillions" and whatever else we're watching as part of our self-care regimen. Or what our kids are putting on, at least.




Sunday, March 8, 2020

Trek Watch: "Picard" and "Star Trek: The Next Generation"


I am not a "Trekker" like I'd consider some of my friends.  I do not have a tattoo of the Enterprise on my forearm (hi, Stuart).  I do not know the names of episodes as chapter and verse.  I mostly only watched Star Trek (the Original Series) and Star Trek: The Next Generation.  And I quite liked both.

Y'all can go to bat for DS9, Voyager and Enterprise.  I'm aware they all have their plusses, but I didn't really watch them.  And I honestly mostly watched ST:TNG out of order in syndication after season 4 wrapped up (why our local channel showed them out of order when I was in college, I will never know, but I generally knew what season it was by which uniform they were wearing).

When Picard was coming on, I realized it'd been a while since I spent much time with ST:TNG.  In theory, I liked the show, and I'd watched bits here and there on BBC America during lunchbreaks when I worked from home, but I was genuinely not sure the show held up.  Further, I wasn't ready to wade through 22+ episodes per season of 7 seasons of TV (plus a few movies) to catch up and be ready for Picard.

Thus, I turned to Stuart, who gave me the following watch list:

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Thursday, January 30, 2020

PODCAST: The SIgnal Watch Talks About The Oscars! w/ Maxwell, MRSHL and Ryan


It's Academy Awards Season! Our panel of experts sits down to talk about the Oscars! What are they? Why are they? How did they come to be? It's a four hour program full of tiny clips of movies, awkward shots of celebs, and where you walk away with a paper weight, so what's the deal?



Music:
The Oscars Theme - Greg Hulme

Links:

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Signal Television Watch - 2019



This isn't a comprehensive list of what I watched in 2019.  Like the movies list, it doesn't include all the partially watched Hallmark movies.  It also doesn't include local and global news (some of us still watch the news).  It doesn't include Seinfeld and The Nanny reruns.  Nor shows I watched part of and gave up on.  I may have even missed entire series in here.  I don't really track TV watching or I'd probably have to have a moment of self-reflection.  It doesn't include the hours and hours and hours of baseball, soccer, volleyball, and football I'll watch in a given year (with hundreds of hours of baseball to account for as I probably watched 60-70 games last year.  Go Cubs!).

But when I sat down to think about what I'd watched, this was what came to mind:

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Hallmark Watch: The Christmas Club (2019)

The amazing Elizabeth Mitchell, partially blocked by some guy

Watched:  11/27/2019
Format:  Hallmark Channel, baby!
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2010's

Mostly I don't write up the Hallmark Christmas movies that I watch, because I don't really watch them.  I put them on and do other things, how I'll sometimes watch a 4 hour baseball game on a Saturday or Sunday.  You do some work or check email or talk on chat to someone while the movie is on.  And when you do look up, it's mostly a game of Hallmark movie bingo, teasing out what the new formula themes are this year (military, servicepeople - mostly men, and veterans have been big the past two years).

But The Christmas Club (2019) was one of the more expensive version of the formula, where they'd hired actors you may have seen somewhere before rather than the usual "who is that?" stars of other than Hallmark movies, assembled from spare parts found in a vat of pumpkin spice, Coach purses, bedazzled iPhones, Lululemons and Uggs.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

PODCAST: "WKRP in Cincinnati" A Thanksgiving Special, w/ Maxwell, Motolove and Ryan!


Watched:  11/1/2019
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing: Unknown
Decade:  1970's

We welcome special guest, Eric S, as Maxwell and I discuss one of the greatest episodes of TV of all time, from one of the greatest sitcoms of all time! It's a 2019 Thanksgiving edition of The Signal Watch! We talk about the series in general, but all through the lens of one turkey of an episode. Oh, the humanity! (We recommend watching S1: Episode 7 of "WKRP in Cincinnati" before listening)





My entries for The Signal Watch Challenge!





Thursday, November 7, 2019

WTF was that? Watch: The Little Mermaid - Live!



Watched:  11/06/2019
Format:  TV broadcast on ABC
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2010's

This "show" was some rough going, and I hope it's not how anyone would introduce their child to The Little Mermaid, stage musicals or entertainment in general.

In honor of the 30th Anniversary of the animated The Little Mermaid, Disney, for reasons that remain totally unclear, decided to show the original The Little Mermaid, but when the movie reached the musical numbers, cut over to actors performing the numbers on a stage in front of their big movie screen.

Look, I've seen The Little Mermaid maybe twice and neither of those times occurred in the past 20 years.  As with about 1 in 2 Disney movies, I just don't really click to the movie about a young, dumb mermaid in love with a guy she only met when he was wet and unconscious.  I skipped TLM at the theater because I thought it was for very young children, and missed the memo that this movie the thing to tell people Disney was no longer making kinda bad movies.  I finally saw it summer 1992, thought it was better than I expected, but was more into what Disney was doing when I did hit the theater for Beauty and the Beast in '91.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Television Watch: Fleabag - Season 1



Of late, if someone is going to mention a television show to you, it often comes with a wild look in their eye I recall occurring most elsewhere when my glance would occasionally meet that of the Hare Krishnas who used to roam The Drag in the 1990's. 

One does not "enjoy" a show anymore, they area devotee.  They advocate for it.  They seek converts.

So, lately, has it been with Fleabag, the short-seasoned show from England that, as was discussed at my house over the weekend, on paper, does not at all sound like my cup of tea.  Self-immolating, possibly alcoholic and definitely caustic young woman behaves badly, who runs up against the people she loves, and who love her, with poor results.  And does it whilst literally winking at the camera.

I mean, sure, fine, but is there at least a robot she drinks with?  Then we might have something.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

TV Re-Watch: Mad Men - Season 1


In my head, I walked around knowing full well that Mad Men was the best television I had ever, or would likely ever, see.  And the minute the show ended, I pledged to rewatch the whole show from beginning to end, but other things catch up with you, new shows come on, and at some point you start to say to yourself: you know, you may well put the show on and start to get that uneasy feeling as you realize that this thing you loved?  It doesn't hold up.  You weren't wrong at the time, but we've all moved on.  But, sure, rewatch out of nostalgia.

Having just completed a rewatch of Mad Men Season 1, I am reporting that Mad Men is better than I remembered.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Happy Birthday, Lois Lane

According to long-lived Superman site The Superman Homepage (it's old enough to still be called a Homepage!), it's the birthday of everyone's favorite comic-book intrepid reporter, Lois Lane!



Lois is having a pretty good year.  She's been key to the entirety of the Rebirth efforts around Superman as the comics squared the Superman/ Lois romance/ marriage once again, and gave them a son in Jon Kent.  Since Bendis came on the Super-books, he's put Lois back at the fore, first as someone Superman missed as she left for space, and then as a source of consternation as she's deposited herself in Chicago rather than Metropolis.

There's no question Lois's storyline is just getting bigger, and it sure doesn't hurt that she's starring in the super-books, deeply involved in Event Leviathan and currently has her own 12-issue maxi-series by Greg Rucka (a great fit for Lois) that I'm actually really enjoying.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Super Satire Watch: The Boys (Amazon Prime)



I haven't actually read Garth Ennis's The Boys series.  I read the first trade and always intended to follow up to see where it went from the set-up, but never quite got there.  I'll make up for it now, but it's gonna take some purchasing power, I guess.

Flat out, Garth Ennis is one the three or four best writers in comics, and, on some days, I think he's just "the best".  Some of us stumbled upon him due to his bizarre ability to make gore and violence absolutely hilarious (in the right context) but stayed for the amazing characterization, astounding turns to genuine sympathy for unsympathetic characters, and his ability to grasp humanity and the tragedy and comedy of his characters enough that they feel can feel three-dimensional.  All while existing in profane, graphically violent, sexually frank or ridiculous situations that seems like it would send many-a-comics-twitterer running for some pearls to clutch.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Apollo 11 - 50th Anniversary and PBS's "American Experience: Chasing the Moon"



The past couple of weeks marked the 50th anniversary of the first manned lunar landing, thanks to the crew of Apollo 11, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins.  Plus, the might of NASA, contractors to NASA, government bureaucrats, politicians and, us, the voting and tax-paying public.

From July 16th to July 24th, 1969, three brave people hurled through the void of space, two walked the face of an alien landscape, and then all returned, safely, to Earth.  All of this just sixty-six years after the Kitty Hawk Flyer took to the sky and 27 years after the first V2 rocket.  The scope of progress and achievement during this window was unprecedented in human history as two nations threw down the gauntlet to see who could place a boot onto lunar soil. 

Friday, July 19, 2019

Netflix Watch: Stranger Things Season 3



In some ways I'm amazed I haven't totally turned on this show.  It can be twee, it's a lot too precious in some scenes, and the "look, we're doing the 1980's!" while getting a lot of details wrong should have pushed me over the ledge.*

Sometimes I wish they'd just turn to David Harbour and Winona Ryder and ask "is this actually right?  As someone who was a young person in 1985, is this accurate?"  Because it works *better* for those of us who were around this age when the show is on.  And it is on *a lot*.  But when it's off, it takes you right out.

The horror was more or less abstracted to a general horror-movie sort of problem this season, giving the characters less specific rules-sorting to do, which I support.   At times the visual and filmic references to other things was so heavy handed, though, the show almost folded in on itself.

Still, somehow, the show works.  I still really enjoyed it, and I know why.