Monday, February 5, 2024

THE 2023 TOOBITS AWARDS

 2023­­ TOOBITS AWARDS

 
It's that time of year again, when we all make lists and think back over the past year, in whatever field of interest concerns us, and chronicle the high points and the lows.  For the past few years I've been presenting this compilation as an awards show, the Toobits, which of course celebrates my two bits about Toobworld.
 
As it is with any such list you'll find in TV columns across the country these last few weeks, these are my opinions.  You're welcome to your own and I hope you'll share them, but I'm sticking to my weapons of choice.  (It could be you won't see something that was a favorite of yours because I just never got around to seeing it.  There's only so much time in the world - even for a do-nothing-else-anyway sort like me! - and I've only got the two eyes, even if they do operate independently of each other at times.)
 
Unlike the Emmy Awards which will just keep handing out trophies to some shows forever, only shows, characters and what-not that debuted in 2023 can be considered.  (And by "debuted", I mean that which I first came in contact with in 2023. It could be a few years old, but if it's my first time seeing it, it's new.)  

This year’s list of older shows which were new to me:
‘Slow Horses’
‘Schmigadoon’
‘Year of the Rabbit’
‘Ted Lasso’
‘The Returned’
‘Hjerson’
‘Picard’ (I took a sabbatical after the first season which did not impress me.)
 
This one-time-only rule includes characters who have been recast; those are still the same characters who already exist in Toobworld.  (But there were a few notable appearances that deserved honorable mention, and they get it.)
 
So without further ado, let's have at it:
 
BEST NEW TV SHOW
IMPORT (TIE)
‘Slow Horses’
My favorite sub-genre in espionage stories are those set in the drab and dreary, soul-crushing bureaucracy in which John Le Carré excelled as a writer.  Not for me those spy stories full of high-tech gadgetry, unless it was a spoof, like ‘Get Smart’.  Invariably, there would be adventure, but nothing ever really changed for the better.  ‘Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy’, ‘The Game’, ‘Danger Man’, and now ‘Slow Horses’.  More on this later with a look at the main character….
‘The Returned’ (France)
This is over ten years old now, but first time for me.  I binged the two seasons in two days back in January as part of my free trial of Topic.  I vaguely remember the American remake, but was not impressed even though I usually like the work of Carlton Cuse.
(Runner-Up)
‘Agatha Christie’s Hjerson’
Wrap your head around this concept – Hjerson is a fictional detective created by a fictional character (Ariadne Oliver in the Hercule Poirot stories) who now has his own TV series.  So he could be existing in Toobworld’s Toobworld!
DOMESTIC (TIE)
‘Poker Face’
People are comparing this to COLUMBO and I see that, but I feel a Roy Huggins vibe in the show having its “hero” traveling all over the country.

‘Ted Lasso’
I can pay no higher compliment to any show than to say “I want to live in that series.”  This is one of the rare few.
 

WORST NEW TV SHOW
‘1899’
I’m surprised there are so many advocates for this series, but I’m not surprised that Netflix cancelled it.  Turgid, depressing, way too dark in tone and lighting.

 
BEST TV MOVIE
“The Pale Blue Eye”
Like all good mysteries should do, this plays fair with the audience.  All the clues are laid out so that the audience can reach the solution before the character.

 
BEST TV MOVIE REVISION
“An Adventure In Space and Time” has a new closing scene in which “William Hartnell” has a vision of a new actor playing the Doctor in the Future.  When the movie first debuted, Matt Smith was seen in the role.  Now we see Ncuti Gatwa.

 
BEST MINI-SERIES
‘Holding’
Based on a mystery novel by talk show host Graham Norton, this fed into one of my favorite genres – quirky small communities.  Conleth Hill delivered another great performance.  The whole cast was quite good and fleshed out their characters to be nuanced, true people.

 
BEST ONLINE TV
‘Poker Face’ for Drama
‘Bupkis’ for Comedy

 
BEST COMMERCIAL
IMPORT
“Un-Australia” for Australia Day.
It serves as a great example of Earth Prime-Time being markedly different from Earth Prime.

DOMESTIC
“Don’t Clown’ from Ocean Spray Diet Cranberry Juice
  
BEST EPISODE, ANY GENRE
‘Ted Lasso’ – There were three!
1] “Carole of the Bells”
2] “Sunflowers”
3] “So Long, Farewell”
One of the best-written series ever.  It’s hard to believe that it grew out of a series of NBC Sports commercials.

RUNNERS-UP

‘So Help Me Todd’ – “Gloom and Boom”
WOW!  This was like “Die Hard” but with a doofus Bruce Willis.  For once, it was a better showcase for Marcia Gay Harden than it was for Skylar Astin.

‘The Equalizer’ – “No Way Out”
Gripping and intense, a good character study, excellent lead-in to a new storyline with an intro of a new supporting character, and sadly… far too real.

  
BEST SERIES RETURN*
‘Frasier’

* For those wondering, ‘Doctor Who’ was not eligible.  A show needs to be cancelled in order to return.  ‘Doctor Who’ just took a VERY long extended break between seasons.

 
BEST SEASON FINALE
‘Grantchester’ - S8E6
If that proved to be the series finale as well, I would be okay with that.  This really could be seen as the perfect wrap-up for the series.  (Although I would have liked for Reverend Sidney Chambers to make a return visit to see his old friend Geordie.
)
 
BEST SERIES FINALE
‘A Million Little Things’ – “One Big Thing”
I’m not crying.  You’re crying.

BEST FINAL SEASON
‘Endeavour’ – “Prelude”, “Uniform”, “Exeunt”
First off, I didn’t want to choose between ‘A Million Little Things’ and ‘Endeavour’.  And the last three episodes of ‘Endeavour’ did need to be taken as a whole.  So I played with the wording.  As a Crossoverist, this series has been a boon!  I was quite verklempt with that last episode.

O’Bservation – I can’t be certain that ‘Ted Lasso’ has ended.

 
WORST EPISODE
‘Ted Lasso’ – “Beard After Hours”
Didn’t think anything would tarnish my love for the show, didja?  Basically this was a spotlight episode for Coach Beard that feels off in a series which runs so smoothly as an ensemble piece.  It reminded me of that Scorsese movie “After Hours” starring Griffin Dunne.  And I found that unsettling as well.

WORST CLIFF-HANGER
‘Doctor Who’ – “The Star Beast’
While it had elements which need to be addressed before the Fourteenth Incarnation shuffled off his regenerative coil, that whole bit about the coffee was telegraphed from several light years away and felt like cheap humor… even in a show allegedly for kids.

 
WORST SEASON FINALE
‘Poker Face’
I hated to type that, since it’s such a fantastic show otherwise.  But all they did was swap out one antagonist for another and thus keep her on the run.  But the reason to hunt her down isn’t as strong as it was for Sterling Frost Sr.  It doesn’t even make sense.  I understand why they want to keep her on the run – new locations every week to accommodate the situations she finds herself in.  But if they worked at it, they could have found something different.  I hope they do for Season Three.
  

BEST PILOT
‘Poker Face’ – “Dead Man’s Hand”

BEST SENSE OF ONE'S OWN HISTORY
Liberty Mutual insurance
It looks like the Powers That Be are threatening to replace the actor playing Doug, and who do they pick?  That actor from a much earlier commercial who can’t remember his lines or say them correctly. 

BEST BLEND OF TOOBWORLD AND REAL WORLD HISTORY
“The Pale Blue Eye”
Attention to detail from the author of the original novel even provides the inspiration for the title of a book which Edgar Allan Poe would later write, although never stated. (“Landor’s Cottage”) 

BEST BLEND OF TOOBWORLD AND REAL WORLD CELEBRITY
‘Ted Lasso’
What was interesting was that the celebrities who were showcased were athletes and sports commentators, and most of them from the UK at that.  It made for a refreshing change of pace.

 
BEST EXAMPLE OF LIFE DURING PRIME-TIME
CURRENT
BinaxNow commercial
“Do we need the home pregnancy tests?”

CLASSIC
By Art Freen

In the first season when Barney had a home life I liked his way of separating his ammo from his gun into different cabinets as soon as he was inside, I've never seen a tv cop do that since.

 Did we ever see the detectives carry anything other than the little 38 special revolvers and the occasional shotgun from the locker during the bank/jewelry robberies?

 It’s remarkable that ‘Miami Vice’ premieres only a few years after BM ends and they are carrying autos, magnums, even rocket launchers.

 It’s such a difference between the portrayal of police as someone you might know, to being comic book characters who might as well be wearing capes.

  
BEST REVIVED SERIES
‘Picard’
I took a year’s sabbatical after the first season, I disliked it so much.  But as I was reading praises for the third season, I figured I would pick it up again.  I’m glad I did.  I don’t know if there was a change-over in the writing team, or an influx of new viewpoints, but kudos to making it feel fresh… even when old plot lines are resurrected.                                                                                                                                      


BEST CLASSIC TV EXPERIENCE

‘Ghosts’ (UK) for an import and ‘Car 54, Where Are You?’ as the domestic entry. 
 
__________________________________________________________________________
BEST CROSSOVER 
1) ‘NCIS’
“Too Many Cooks”
2) ‘NCIS: HAWAI’I’
“Deep Fake”
3) ‘NCIS: LA’
‘A Long Time Coming’

Always love a three-way!


BEST HOLIDAY CROSSOVER
Capital One commercial & ‘How The Grinch Stole Christmas’

 
BEST TRIVIAL CROSSOVER
‘Slow Horses’ – ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’ & ‘Smiley’s People’
Near the end of Season One, David Cartwright (who was the former First Chair of MI5) mentioned that Smiley was always coming back from redundancy.  While that was never seen in the original Le Carre novels nor in the TV mini-series, that doesn’t mean it couldn’t have happened.

  
FIRST CROSSOVER OF THE YEAR
See the Best Crossover

   
FIRST THEORETICAL CROSSOVER OF THE YEAR
Progressive Insurance’s “TV Dad” & ‘Hi Honey, I’m Home’
This is what I figured - if the "real" father & son are from Earth Prime-Time (Toobworld), then TV Dad could be from the TV dimension from which the Nielsen Family came in "Hi Honey, I'm Home!"....
  
BEST CROSSOVER WITH A DIFFERENT TV DIMENSION
‘Saturday Night Live’ – “State Farm” & “Liberty Mutual”

SKITLANDIA
‘Saturday Night Live’ & ‘Parks & Recreation’
When Aubrey Plaza was hosting, she appeared at the news desk during “Weekend News Update”.  But to make that even better, former SNL cast member Amy Poehler joined her as Leslie Knope, the main character on ‘Parks & Rec’!

 
BEST CROSSOVER WITH A DIFFERENT MEDIUM 
“Expose The Chao” (Kayak Commercial) with “Sonic the Hedgehog” video games and comic books.  (Personally, I don’t see the resemblance, but maybe they change physically upon adulthood?)

BEST NON-CROSSOVER CROSSOVER
‘Ghosts’ with ‘Ghosts’ (UK)
One of the actors from ‘Ghosts’ (UK), who was also the show’s creator, appeared in an episode as an actor in a TV show called ‘Dumb Deaths’.  He was playing Pete, the American version of the scoutmaster who had been shot through the neck with an arrow back in the 1990s.  He did not play the same role in the Britcom, however.

BEST CROSSOVER IN A DIFFERENT FORMAT
‘Burke’s Law’ & ‘Doctor Who’ in TV21 comic story

 ____________________________________________________________
BEST RECASTAWAY 
FEMALE
From Mother Nature, Chiffon Margarine commercials
To Mother Nature, Nuvo H2O commercial

Hey, she’s a demi-goddess!  She’s got the power to do an extreme makeover.

 
MALE
‘Doctor Who’
The Fourteenth Incarnation into the Fifteenth Incarnation.

Well…. It was certainly different.

 
WORST RECASTAWAY
‘Doctor Who’
The Thirteenth Incarnation into the Fourteenth
It’s not because I disapproved of the casting.  I love it… as long as Fourteen only looks like Ten.  But the clothes regenerated as well.  Maybe that happened once from the First to the Second, but nobody remembers that.

 
BEST NEW MALE CHARACTER
DOMESTIC

Alan Cornwall in the ‘Frasier’ reboot
 

IMPORT
Jackson Lamb, ‘Slow Horses’
Making Columbo look like Beau Brummel, Lamb was slovenly, disgusting, smelled, but he could run circles around those in charge at MI5.  And as played by Gary Oldman, it was a character which once again proved what a chameleon Oldman is.

 
BEST NEW FEMALE CHARACTER
No contest!  Charlie Cale of ‘Poker Face’.

 
Comedy
Joe “Poppy” Larossa, ‘Bupkis’
 
BEST NEW SUPPORTING FEMALE CHARACTER
Drama
Brid Riordan, ‘Holding’
Played by Siobhán McSweeney with fragility, pathos, and strength, it’s hard to believe that she’s also flint-hearted Sister Michael in ‘Derry Girls’.

 
Comedy
Amy Davidson, ‘Bupkis’

 
BEST NEW RECURRING MALE CHARACTER
DRAMA
Cliff LeGrand, ‘Poker Face’
COMEDY
“Uncle” Roy, ‘Bupkis’

 
BEST CROSSOVER CHARACTER FROM ANOTHER MEDIUM
Art the Clown, From the “Terrifier” franchise to ‘Bupkis’
  
BEST INTRODUCTION OF A CHARACTER
FEMALE:
Car Ghost, ‘Ghosts’

  
BEST HISTORICAL CHARACTER
Edgar Allan Poe, “The Pale Blue Eye”
Harry Melling WAS Poe.  His portrayal should be the standard by which all others should be measured.

  
BEST HISTORICAL CHARACTER REVISION 
Joseph Merrick the Elephant Man, ‘Year of the Rabbit’
“Merrick don’t freak for free.”

BEST NEW ALIEN CHARACTER
Beep The Meep, ‘Doctor Who’
(Voiced by the wonderful Miryam Margulies.  That’s all I have to say about the character.)

 
BEST NEW CHILD CHARACTER
MALE
Young Pete Davidson, ‘Bupkis’
Played by Preston Brodrick
FEMALE
Phoebe, ‘Ted Lasso’

  
CHARACTER MOST DESERVING TO BECOME A REGULAR
Rose Noble-Temple, ‘Doctor Who’ – “The Star Beast”
I hope she does make a come-back, still with a dash of her non-binary Doctoe/Donna inherited genetics.  But I fear she will probably be a one-trick pony.  Still, Ruby Sunday just may be over-shadowed at first by Rose.

 
BEST NEW COMMERCIAL CHARACTER
TVDAD in the Progressive Insurance blipverts.

BEST NEW ANIMATED CHARACTER
Spot 73 ‘Picard’
Certainly didn’t hurt to have the interactive computer program for it be voiced by Patton Oswalt.

 
BEST LEAGUE OF THEMSELVES APPEARANCE(S)
OVERALL
‘Bupkis’
As it’s a “heightened, but fictionalized” version of Pete Davidson’s life, a lot of his celebrity friends show up.  Some real, some imaginary.  And then there’s Ray Romano.

REAL – Colson Baker, JJ Abrams, Sebastian Stan, Jon Stewart, Former Veep Al Gore, Paul Walter Hauser, John Mulaney
IMAGINARY – Eli Manning, Cam’ron, Jadakiss,
BOTH – Ray Romano

COMEDY
Tara Reid, ‘Ghosts’ (“Trevor’s Body”)

 
BEST LEAGUE OF THEMSELVES APPEARANCE(S) IN A COMMERCIAL
Snoop Dogg, Martha Stewart, Willie Nelson for BIC Lighters

 
BEST LEAGUE OF THEMSELVES APPEARANCE IN THE TOONIVERSE
Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter (with Peppa Pig), ‘Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon’
 
BEST LEAGUE OF THEMSELVES CROSSOVER
John Mulaney, “Baby J” & ‘Bupkis’

 
BEST CHARACTER RETURN
Drama:
The Toymaker, ‘Doctor Who’

Sitcom:
As a Regular - Dan Fielding, ‘Night Court’
As a Guest Star - Dr. Lilith Sternin, ‘Frasier’

BEST CHARACTER RETURN IN A COMMERCIAL
Liberty Mutual
The actor who couldn’t speak properly from a previous Liberty Mutual commercial.  It looked like they were going to replace Doug in the long-running series of commercials featuring Limu the Emu (which the actor referred to as a “beebu”.)

WORST CHARACTER RETURNS ONLINE
Walter White and Jesse Pinkman of ‘Breaking Bad’ in an air-popped crisps commercial.
  

BEST NEW ALIENS
The Chao, “Expose The Chao” (Kayak commercial)
From AuralCrave: What is a Chao? It’s a fictional creature belonging to the Sonic the Hedgehog series. It looks different from the classic appearance they have in the video game (you can refer to 
their page on Wikipedia), but it’s also true that there are different species of Chao. And after all, wouldn’t this be the first time that they appear in the real world?

So not only are they a cool visual, but they serve as a crossover as well.
 

BEST NEW FEMALE VILLAIN
TIE – Irene Smothers & Joyce Harris, ‘Poker Face’ (‘Time Of The Monkey’)
No way to rate them separately since they worked as a team.  They were chilling in their ruthlessness.

 
BEST EXIT FOR A CHARACTER
TOOBWORLD
Javier “Gary” Mendez Jr., ‘A Million Little Things’ (“One Big Thing”)
This transcended just his death; it was about the impact we all have on the lives of others, and despite how it leaves a hole yet everybody knows that they will all be okay.

 
BEST DEATH SCENE
NEW:
Sterling Frost, Jr., ‘Poker Face’
Usually this means most deserving to die and Adrian Brody’s casino boss deserved to go splat!
OLDER:
Lucian Connelly, ‘Longmire’
In this case, it was sad, moving, exciting and capped off the next episode with an elegiac musical bed.

 
SADDEST DEATH SCENE[S]
TIE - Augustus & Mathilde Landor, “The Pale Blue Eye”
Father and daughter died at different points in the movie and Landor’s death is only assumed.  But the pain and grief which brought them both to that point must have been overbearing.

 
WORST (GRISLIEST) DEATH
Cadet Randolph Ballinger, “The Pale Blue Eye”
Hung, with his heart cut out and his balls cut off?  Yeah, I guess that qualifies as “grisly.”


MOST SURPRISING DEATH SCENE
Maria Hill, ‘Secret Invasion’
As Nick Fury’s right-hand ma-# woma-# bleep it.  Nick Fury’s partner, Hill had been a strong, dependable team player in the MCU for over a decade, she appeared in at least seven of the movies as well as TV shows (some in the Tooniverse) and a video game. But I can’t say “And now she’s gone” because there is the Multiverse in which any number of Maria Hills could return.  In the meantime, her death in the episode of ‘Secret Invasion’ showed that the stakes are high in the battle for the Earth.
 
FIRST TV CHARACTER TO DIE
Professor Dale Harding, ‘NCIS’ – “Too Many Cooks”
Robert Picardo was brought in as the impetus to gather many of the characters from the three shows together.  He didn’t even make it past the opening credits before he committed suicide to save himself from being tortured.  Picardo was a good choice for the role, able to play someone who would not be suspected of having a rogue past, but also because he had a recognizable presence for the audience, giving his character an instant heft.  (There may have been a few from earlier in the year, but I can’t see everything.)

BEST NEW CHARACTER NAME
Augustus Landor, “The Pale Blue Eye”
I’m choosing this one early because it was a great nod to two stories Poe would write in his future.  Without beating us over the head with it, the events of this movie was probably the inspiration for it.  (Another name may come along later which I like better, but this will still find a place in these awards, somewhere.)

______________________________

BEST LINE
“If You Don’t Care About Trans Kids, Then You Don’t Care About Kids’ Lives.” – Molly Kearney, ‘Saturday Night Live’ (4/15/23)

BEST USE OF AN HISTORICAL QUOTE
Rilke:
"Our deepest fears are like dragons guarding our deepest treasures". (‘Ted Lasso’)

 
BEST EXCHANGE OF DIALOGUE
Maggie: You won.
Gary: WE won.
(‘A Million Little Things’ finale, “One Big Thing”)

 
BEST SPEECH/MONOLOGUE
It's funny, cos I wonder where the TARDIS goes at random. Maybe it lands on some outcrop by the sea. And there's a tribe and they worship it for 100 years. Then they grow up and try to burn it. Then they get wise. They preserve it. Then they build a city all around it... till the TARDIS is just a tiny little dot, surrounded by skyscrapers and monorails. Time passes and the city falls. It all gets swept away. And there's the TARDIS... still on its outcrop... by the sea. She's the only thing I've got left.” – the Doctor
(‘Doctor Who’ – “Wild Blue Yonder”

BEST ZONK EXPLANATION

“The Fletchers” from ‘Poker Face’ (“Time Of The Monkey”)
“The Fletchers” were three old ladies in the Mossy Oaks retirement community who monopolized the center’s TV to watch murder investigation shows.  It was a nickname reference to Jessica Fletcher, the main character of ‘Murder, She Wrote’.  It’s not a Zonk, because they never mention her as a TV character nor do they mention the TV series.  And because she was a best-selling author, she would be well-known enough to have a weird little fan club like these ladies named after her.

BEST ZONK
The ‘Benson’ theme song as heard in ‘Poker Face’ (“Death By Metal”)
We even got to see the title of the show from the opening credits.  That would have been enough, but the theme song played a key role in the plot.  What makes a Zonk the best is that an explanation can be found to neutralize it.  In this case, we fall back on the old alibi that eventually, everybody in Toobworld will have a TV show about them.  Benson Dubois would be a good candidate for a series – a butler who rose to be Chief of Staff for a governor and eventually ran against him for the position.

  
BEST NEW COINED WORD
“Ughstipation” – from a MiraLax commercial

HONORARY MENTION
“Fenslaw
Coliss
Brafe
Gilvane
Stond
Ratico
Vandeen
Blinss
Sensill
[One] – Translated by the TARDIS
Tacsladia”
From ‘Doctor Who’ – “The Wild Blue Yonder”
A countdown from Ten to Zero in an unknown alien language

 
BEST THEME SONG
TV SERIES:
‘Ted Lasso’

 WORST SERIES SOUNDTRACK
‘1899’
Discordant, jarring, and does not endear me to continue watching the series.

  
BEST MUSICAL MOMENT
‘Longmire’ – “No Greater Character Endorsement”
Warren Zevon’s “Back In The High Life Again”
It made for a great send-off for a great character….

 
BEST DREAM SEQUENCE
‘Bupkis’ – “Show Me The Way To Go Home”

BEST IN-JOKE
The number “1013” showed up several times in the one season wonder ‘1899’, one of which was the ocean liner cabin designation used by Daniel Solace.  It refers to Chris Carter’s production company for ‘The X-Files’.

 
BEST NEW TOOBWORLD LOCATION
World
Duneen, Ireland from ‘Holding’
Signed up for Acorn TV back in November.  This came out in 2022, so I’m not too late with this choice.  It feeds my love of a very specialized genre – quirky small towns.

BEST FIGHT SCENE
Charlie Cale vs. Irene Smothers & Joyce Harris in ‘Poker Face’ – “Time Of The Monkey”
This was brutal and funny and edge of the seat excitement.
 
BEST NEW FICTIONAL BOOK
“The Equinox” series by Greg Alban, ‘Shakespeare & Hathaway’ (“Die We Must”)

 
BEST NEW FICTIONAL TV SHOW
‘Jolly For Short’ as seen in ‘Endeavour’ – “Uniform”
We got to see a lot of scenes of this “ATV” series nearing its own finale in the early 1970s.  Many of them served up meta-commentary about ‘Endeavour’ itself, but also was reminiscent of ‘Dixon of Dock Green’ and a little of ‘Maigret’ as well.  It certainly helped to have Kevin R. McNally playing the lead character DCI Jolyon Jolliphant.

‘Spooky & The Cop’ mentioned in ‘Poker Face’ – ‘Exit Stage Death’

BEST NEW FICTIONAL PLAY
“The Ghosts Of Pensacola” – ‘Poker Face’ – ‘Exit Stage Death’
But this episode had others, like the hip-hop version of Ben Franklin’s life, “Frankly Franklin”

BEST ADAPTATION FROM ANOTHER UNIVERSE (aka MEDIUM)
MOVIE to TV
‘True Lies’
 

BOOK to TV
“The Pale Blue Eye” by Louis Bayard and adapted by Scott Cooper
  

------------------------------------------------------------------- 
BEST SERIES MARATHON
‘Car 54, Where Are You?’

  
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT IN A SHOW
The 3-Way NCIS Crossover
I realize there are only three NCIS shows on CBS currently.  But it would have been nice to see somebody come back to D.C. for the retirement party from ‘NCIS: New Orleans’ and ‘NCIS: Cyber’ and maybe even from ‘JAG’ as well.

 
BEST CRITIQUE BY A SHOW’S CAST
‘1899’
The cast gathered in costume to offer their united opinion on the Netflix decision to cancel the series.

 
WORST ANALYSIS BY AN ONLINE COMMENTER
By Jack Seale, The Guardian
Before the action starts there is the unusual sight of Tennant and Tate taking turns to address the camera in character with a plot refresher for the benefit of young, forgetful or US viewers.”

Bleep you, Seale.  But you know what?  I figure you must have had a bad day at the dentist before writing that review.  That’s probably why you don’t smile in your pictures.  All of you over there have nothing but bad days at the dentist.  (See?  I can malign a nation’s people with a generalization too.)


BEST “WISH-CRAFT”
With all this bringing back old shows, they should bring back “Happy Days”. All the gang have left, but Fonzie is still there. He's 80 and still walking around in his leather jacket with his thumbs up, saying "Heeeeey " to girls 60 years younger. He still hangs about the toilets at Arnold's, but it's a McDonald's now. Potsie will guest once in a while ,but the running joke will be that everyone thinks he is Will Riker from ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ (except Fonzie, who has never watched it).
- Richard Jenkinson

  
BEST TELEVISIOLOGICAL ANALYSIS
From John:

It’s a question that has taxed fans for decades: did Lieutenant Columbo have only one eye like his alter ego Peter Falk? Let’s weigh up the evidence…

Here are some random thoughts related to his one eye. 

He seemed to be given a great deal of leeway within the LAPD (possible dispensation based on his skills?) and this, besides his apparent absent mind, maybe one of the reasons some but not all of his colleagues (mostly other detectives and senior officers) did not seem to think much of him. This may also explain why he never was promoted beyond Lieutenant. 

Missing an eye, his many apparent Phobias and fears, for the most part not carrying a fire arm, driving a personal vehicle on the job, not following dress or grooming codes, etc., these all seem to be reasons for removal from or maybe placed on desk duty on the LAPD unless he was given special consideration.

  
HONORARY MENTIONS
 
Brad Fillipone:
I have often wondered about the detectives who get assigned to the 12th, but then only stay for a few episodes without ever getting mentioned again.

The best-known of these is Wentworth played by Linda Lavin. In reality, of course, Linda left to star in her own series which explains her departure in real life, but not on the show.

There was Maria Battista who lasted two episodes. Roslyn Licori who lasted three episodes.

And then there was Dorsey, who after his initial false assumptions against the rest of the squad, actually seemed to fit in over the next two episodes. And then suddenly he was gone as well.

On my current watching of the series, I was curious to see if their names appeared lower on the blackboard, indicating they were on another shift, but they were nowhere to be seen. I suppose the answer is that they were transferred again, but it would have been nice to have at least one mention of them.

Lee Spilberg
The real-world explanation was generally that Danny Arnold was deciding whether a new character might fit. As the years went on, the squad got smaller, and they tried filling it up a little more. He was slow about offering Ms. Lavin a regular contract, and then as you said, she was offered her own series. According to Otto Bruno’s very fine history of the show, everyone liked June Gable as Batista, but Danny Arnold had hired her thinking she was actually Latina. When he found out she wasn’t, he was uncomfortable having that juxtaposition on an ongoing basis, so she left. I guess the others just didn’t fit Arnold’s idea of the squad room dynamic. (Both Mari Gorman and Paul Lieber, like Steve Landesberg and Ron Carey had appeared as guests before their detective tryouts.) In terms of the in-universe explanation, I think the chalkboard actually does show some of their names after they left. Wentworth certainly appears on the board in episodes where she isn’t present. As for mentions, I agree it would be nice, but if Chano didn’t get one after two years, I don’t think there was much hope for the shorter-lived regulars…

Sorry it took so long to post these....

 

Thursday, February 1, 2024

TVXOHOF: FEBRUARY, 2024 - JIM BROWN, A MEMORIAL TRIBUTE


Last year we lost a man who is considered the greatest professional football player who ever played the game.  He also appeared in three incredibly powerful movies in the last three years of the 1960s:

  • THE DIRTY DOZEN (1967)
  • ICE STATION ZEBRA (1968)
  • 100 RIFLES (1969)
But he was also powerful voice in the civil rights movement.  And he was a fixture on the small screen as a talking head on shows geared to sports topics (not that those are qualifiers for induction into the Television Crossover Hall of Fame.)

Even though he passed away last year in May, I decided he shouldn’t be tossed into the Hall as merely a memorial induction.  Instead, his ceremony deserves to be the February showcase in honor of Black History Month, especially since he played a big role in that….

JIM BROWN

From Wikipedia:
James Nathaniel Brown (February 17, 1936 – May 18, 2023) was an American football fullback, civil rights activist, and actor. He played for the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League (NFL) from 1957 through 1965. Considered to be one of the greatest running backs of all time, as well as one of the greatest players in NFL history, Brown was a Pro Bowl invitee every season he was in the league, was recognized as the AP NFL Most Valuable Player three times, and won an NFL championship with the Browns in 1964. He led the league in rushing yards in eight out of his nine seasons, and by the time he retired, he held most major rushing records. In 2002, he was named by The Sporting News as the greatest professional football player ever.


Brown earned unanimous All-America honors playing college football at Syracuse University, where he was an all-around player for the Syracuse Orangemen football team. The team later retired his number 44 jersey, and he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1995. He is also widely considered one of the greatest lacrosse players of all time, and the Premier Lacrosse League MVP Award is named in his honor. Brown also excelled in basketball and track and field.


In his professional career, Brown carried the ball 2,359 times for 12,312 rushing yards and 106 touchdowns, which were all records when he retired. He averaged 104.3 rushing yards per game, and is the only player in NFL history to average over 100 rushing yards per game for his career. Brown was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971. He was named to the NFL's 50th, 75th, and 100th Anniversary All-Time Teams, comprising the best players in NFL history. Brown was honored at the 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship as the greatest college football player of all time. His number 32 jersey is retired by the Browns.


Shortly before the end of his football career, Brown became an actor. He retired at the peak of his football career to pursue an acting career. He obtained 53 acting credits and several leading roles throughout the 1970s. He has been described as Hollywood's first black action hero and his role in the 1969 film "100 Rifles" made cinematic history for featuring interracial love scenes.


Brown was one of the few athletes, and among the most prominent African Americans, to speak out on racial issues as the civil rights movement was growing in the 1950s. He participated in the Cleveland Summit after Muhammad Ali faced imprisonment for refusing to enter the draft for the Vietnam War, and he founded the Black Economic Union to help promote economic opportunities for minority-owned businesses. Brown later launched a foundation focused on diverting at-risk youth from violence through teaching them life skills, through which he facilitated the Watts truce between rival street gangs in Los Angeles.

Brown died of natural causes, at the age of 87 on May 18, 2023, at his home in Los Angeles. He died with his wife by his side. Tributes from the sports world and beyond soon poured in:
  • Former NFL running back Barry Sanders posting on Twitter that "You can't underestimate the impact Jim Brown had on the NFL."

  • Emmitt Smith, the NFL's all-time leader in rushing yards, wrote "He is and was a true legend in sports and in the community using his platform to help others."

  • NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said "Jim Brown was a gifted athlete — one of the most dominant players to ever step on any athletic field — but also a cultural figure who helped promote change."

  • LeBron James, an NBA star, wrote in tribute that "We lost a hero today. Rest in Paradise to the legend Jim Brown. I hope every Black athlete takes the time to educate themselves about this incredible man and what he did to change all of our lives. We all stand on your shoulders Jim Brown."

  • Barack Obama, the 44th president and the first Black president of the United States, wrote, "I was too young to remember Jim Brown's playing days, but I knew his legacy. One of the greatest football players ever, he was also an actor and activist – speaking out on civil rights, and pushing other black athletes to do the same."
Here are the appearances he made in Earth Prime-Time as a member of the League of Themselves which qualified him for membership:

1964
THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW
Episode S18.E13


O'Bservation - Since Ed Sullivan and 'The Ed Sullivan Show' are members of the TVXOHOF, I felt it should be included (unlike many other variety programs.)

1965
VALENTINE'S DAY
FOR ME AND MY SAL


Valentine enlists the aid of his former college friend, professional footballer Jim Brown. It seems their aging English professor, Charles Marks, is lonely and hasn't slept well in fifty years. With Jim's help, Val hopes to reunite Mr. Marks with his long lost love. [IMDb]

1967
HOLLYWOOD SQUARES

1967, 1969, 1973
THE TONIGHT SHOW with JOHNNY CARSON

1991
GOOD SPORTS
THE BIGGER THEY ARE, THE HARDER THEY HIT

Gayle (Farrah Fawcett) wants to tackle football's Jim Brown after he runs through Missy (Christine Dunford) during an interview. Bruce Jenner also plays himself. [TV GUIDE]

1997
LIVING SINGLE
LIVING SINGLE UNDERCOVER

Synclaire tries to help Overton cope with the Cleveland Browns move to Baltimore. [IMDb]

1998
BETWEEN BROTHERS
KUNG FOOLS




An article by Charles (Kadeem Hardison) angers former NFL star Jim Brown (guest starring as himself). [Rotten Tomatoes]

O'Bservation - Jim Brown's fictional televersion did a 'Hallmark Hall of Fame' special with Susan Lucci (who should probably be inducted into the TVXOHOF as a member of the League of Themselves.)

2000
ARLI$$
YOU CAN PICK YOUR FRIENDS...




Arliss attended the Jim Brown Film Festival because Jim was his client.  Jim received an award at the event from Leonard Maltin.

2003
THE TONIGHT SHOW with JAY LENO
Episode 11.218


O'Bservation - Both 'The Tonight Show' and Jay Leno are members of the TVXOHOF.

2014
LARRY KING NOW


O'Bservation - The reason I'm including this talking head appearance is because Larry King is also a member of the TVXOHOF.  His appearance on an episode of 'Larry King Live' could also be included for the same reason.

Welcome to the TVXOHOF, Mr. Brown….

Thursday, January 18, 2024

TVXOHOF, JANUARY 2024 - THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS


Welcome to the first induction ceremony for the Class of 2024!

As usual, we’re kicking off the year with the traditional inductee of a classic TV personality for January.  But sadly, this year we have reason to bring in a pair of classic TV stars....


From Wikipedia:
The Smothers Brothers, consisting of Thomas (February 2, 1937 – December 26, 2023) and Richard (born November 20, 1938), were American folk singers, musicians, and comedians. The brothers' trademark double act was performing folk songs (Tommy on acoustic guitar, Dick on double bass), which usually led to arguments between them. Tommy's signature line was "Mom always liked you best!" Tommy (the elder of the two) acted "slow" and Dick, the straight man, acted "superior".


In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the brothers frequently appeared on television variety shows and issued several popular record albums of their stage performances. Their own television variety show, 'The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour', became one of the most controversial American TV programs of the Vietnam War era. Despite popular success, the brothers' penchant for material that was critical of the political mainstream and sympathetic to the emerging counterculture led to their firing by the CBS network in 1969. One episode was left unaired.


Oddly enough, the three of them
are now together in the TVXOHOF.

The brothers continued to work, both independently and as a team, on stage and television, and in films during subsequent decades.



The Smothers Brothers were multidimensional.  Most of their appearances were from Earth Prime-Time, but they also had televersions on an alternate Toobworld (where Tom died back in the 1960s).  They also had “tooniversions” in the Tooniverse.  (There is only one Tooniverse, despite the differences seen in artistic styles for the characters from one show to the other.

Here are their qualifications for membership.  Descriptions are from the IMDb.

EARTH PRIME-TIME (Main Toobworld)


THE DANNY THOMAS SHOW
RUSTY FOR PRESIDENT (1962)

Rusty enters the cold, brutal world of politics: he runs for junior class president.