First Exposure to Route 66 (1961)

Book coverAs I mentioned, I bought three video cassettes with episode of Route 66 on them. I had not ever seen the program before, although it might have still been in syndication when I was young, and it might have appeared on Nick at Nite at some point when we had cable when I was growing up, but I hadn’t seen it before. I knew the premise, though: two guys in a Corvette driving up and down the iconic highway having adventures. So I popped the first videocassette in, and….

The episode The Newborn” starts out with two men on horseback and a guy in a cart riding through the desert. As I had thought that Route 66 was in color, I wondered if the videocassette was mislabeled and I ended up with a Western television series of some kind. Then I saw that the guy in the wagon was dressed in 20th century clothing–it was Buz Murdock, one of the main characters. He’s going to with the owner of the ranch and his psycho hand played by…. Is that Robert Duvall (whom I just saw in The Godfather(s) and whose film Secondhand Lions I just bought last weekend)? It is! They’re going to retrieve a pregnant Native American woman played by Arlene Martel–who wants to die, but not before the baby dies without her. Apparently, the protagonists (Buz and Tod, the guys with the Corvette) have caught on with a ranch in New Mexico and have worked there for about a month before the events of the episode. When the pregnant woman does not want to come, the ranch owner wants to bind her and carry her off. Buz objects, with his fist, which puts him on a collision course with the psycho hand. Especially when Buz and Tod quit the ranch and help the native woman run off and give birth. The back story, alluded to at times, was that the ranch hand’s son raped the native, who was a Christian who was planning to become a nun (rape of a nun? I just saw that in Change of Habit). The father, the ranch owner, made the son marry the woman, but he killed himself, and the ranch owner wants to raise the child as an Ivy (that is, in his family). But the mother, who dies in childbirth, wants the child raised in her pueblo, so Buz and Tod promise to take the child there–which leads to a final reckoning with the psycho henchmen who also dies.

The second episode, “…And the Cat Jumped Over The Moon”, takes place in Philadelphia, which is not on Route 66 at all, but never mind. They’re visiting a friend of Buz, a social worker who helped get Buz out of the gang life, and a young lady played by Susan Silo appears and says that unless he does something, the hit will be that night. So he leaves his small one bedroom apartment, telling the boys he’ll be back. He goes to an apartment building and meets with the gang on the roof, and according to the gang’s constitution (?), he can have a summit with them if he matches or bests the gang leader in a parkour-lite game of follow the leader. Unfortunately, the social worker loses his balance and falls from the building. As it happens, the girl is the fiancee of the former leader of the gang, and the gang wants to hit him to set an example that you cannot leave the gang. The gang kidnaps the girl, and the former leader comes to rescue her, and a knife fight is about to erupt, but Buz calls for a summit. The former leader of the gang takes Buz’s place in the parkour game and eventually bests the current gang leader, and the gang turns on their most recent former leader. As the credits roll, I notice that the former gang member was played by Jimmy Caan–who was also in The Godfather, and the current gang leader was played by a very young Martin Sheen.

So it was an interesting bit, and if you look at the IMDB entries of the bit players, how they played in a bunch of different series from the time–I’ll recognize a number of them in the Twilight Zone episodes I’ll be watching sometime soon.

And this series is a pleasant bit of throwback television, an episodic series which really shows that any kind of story might appear. But Buz and Tod have left three bodies in their wake in just these two episodes. But Tod does mean Death in German. So with “Buz” and “Tod” as the stars, perhaps this is a story of a pair of spree killers on the rampage.

I’ve got two more videocassettes with other episodes, which

But I did mention Arlene Martel and Susan Solo by name, so let’s take a look.
Continue reading “First Exposure to Route 66 (1961)”

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Some People Could Not Tell That Clark Kent Was Superman, Either

‘Reading Rainbow’ legend LeVar Burton wants to host ‘Jeopardy!’:

Amid mixed reception for the latest crop of “Jeopardy!” guest hosts, Twitter is campaigning for one beloved celeb to succeed Alex Trebek as full-time MC — former “Reading Rainbow” host LeVar Burton.

LeVar Burton on the left, Geordi La Forge on the right. You see? Completely different people.

They might as well have just said science fiction author LeVar Burton.

I know, I know, he has been associated with Reading Rainbow for a couple more years than the Star Trek franchise. But aside from the 90s kids who make up modern tastemakers, who associates him with that? More people than think of him as Kunta Kinte, but not many.

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The New Shows of 1984 Quiz

I just can’t quit turning a viewing of the New Shows Of…. video compilations that Ace links to into personal reminiscences and quizzes.

Yesterday, he linked to the new shows of 1984.

How many do I remember/did I watch?

As always, I’ve bolded the ones I remember and added a link to references to the show on this blog.

  • Punky Brewster. C’mon, man. Although, to be honest, it was a bit a little girl, so I probably only watched it reluctantly. I understand Soleil Moon Frye has a new documentary about being a kid celebrity in the 1980s out. Which I will bold in the future, for although I will remember she did it, I won’t watch it.
  • It’s Your Move. Short lived, to be sure. I remember when Jason Bateman tweeted about a show getting a second life in 2011, and I responded I hoped it was this show (It was Arrested Development. Man, that was ten years ago.)
  • Charles in Charge. I think I wanted to be Scott Baioish when I grew up.
  • Who’s the Boss?. Kind of like Mr. Belvedere if Mr. Belvedere were a former boxer. Or like Charles in Charge if Charles were a former boxer. Also, Alyssa Milano.
  • The Cosby Show. Wow, those kids were young in 1984. So was Cosby. So were we all, except for you damn kids who weren’t born yet.
  • Three’s a Crowd, the follow-up to Three’s Company. I didn’t see this as much as the original because I saw the original more in syndication.
  • Dreams.
  • E/R. But not that ER. The first note in each Wikipedia entry is that this is not that.
  • People Do The Craziest Things. I mean, I think I remember this. The middle 80s were full of these humor segment shows.
  • Highway to Heaven, which I mentioned just last year in Know Your Frenches.
  • Finder of Lost Loves.
  • Glitter. Although by the title, I can tell what it’s about.
  • Paper Dolls.
  • Call to Glory. I thought this was a miniseries, actually.
  • V. Which was a mini-series. The television series came several years later, after V: The Final Battle. I most recently referred to it only last year.
  • Murder, She Wrote. I know I have mentioned that my mother loved this show, and that I read one of the paperback novels based on it that I had given to her in 2010, not long after she passed–and I still have plenty of them floating around yet to be read.
  • Jessie. I want to say I remember the Bionic Woman’s later show, but I am not sure. It wasn’t around long enough for syndication, though.
  • Partners in Crime, a detective show starring Lynda Carter and Loni Anderson. I want to say I remember Wonder Woman’s later show, but, again, I am not sure. Note that both Jessie and this program have similar titles with a puzzle motif. Were they related?
  • Hot Pursuit. I wasn’t sure I remembered it until we got to the point of the intro where the woman says, “Find her, or find them before they find her,” and the guy raises his eyes and one is another color. I didn’t watch it, though.
  • Cover Up. I did watch this one which was far too short, and it’s a shame about Jon-Erik Hexum.
  • Hunter. I also watched this, and I referred to it in 2006. I might even say, “Works for me,” and try to sound like Hunter from time to time.
  • Hawaiian Heat. What if Magnum, P.I. were a buddy show?
  • Miami Vice. I referred to it when I published my earlier essay Name That Muzak on this blog, and I did buy the soundtrack on CD a couple years back for some reason.

That must be my high score, ainna? 15 of 23?

You can see previous results and musings on the years 1982, 1983, and 1987. Which means I have more than half of the decade to go whenever Ace posts them. Or, in case he already has before I paid attention, when I think of it.

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But She Hasn’t Gone Away

Now that the advertising wars have shifted, and advertisers are hopefully only temporarily outwitting my browser’s ad blockers, I get the chance to make mock of some ads I see.

Like this one:

Remember her? I remember that she was the geeky science girl on NCIS, although I never watched the show, and I had to look up her name. Pauley Perrette only left the cast of NCIS in 2018 under some controversy or dark cloud or something. After playing the character for fifteen years.

So Remember her? seems a bit premature since she’s already on another television show.

Of course, on NCIS, she’s made up to be manic pixie science girl with the high pigtails (are they still pigtails that high on the head?). However, she’s actually three years older than I am, which makes her fifty-something.

A more recent and natural photo accompanying the article circa 2018 shows her like this:

Still lovely, but definitely different.

So they could very well have used then and now pictures taken only a couple years apart. Or they could have taken a picture at the beginning of the series and compared it to the end of the series, and she probably would have aged, but that would have been mitigated by the makeup and hair styling.

Case in point: Here she is on her new show, made up:

Then and now and then again.

I didn’t click through on the clickbait. Someone else will have to let me know if they swapped in Myrna Loy for anyone.

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The New Shows of 1982 Quiz

Ace posts again a link to a New Shows of 1980-something’s title credits, and again, I feel the need to watch the whole video and annotate which ones I remember or, heaven forbid, refer to in my daily life almost forty years later (I’m not stuck in amber–you’re loose in the aether).

Again, I’ve bolded the ones I remember and linked to any referred to on this blog.

  • Square Pegs, the Freaks and Geeks for our parents’ generation. Ace calls it “a show that everyone remembers, but I’m not sure anyone actually watched it.” Which is true for me.
  • Gloria, a All in the Family spin-off. Not one of the successful ones.
  • Silver Spoons. Referred to in passing for the Jason Bateman connection; I am surprised that I did not refer to it on the blog as my inspiration for having full sized video games in my home. I know I’ve mentioned that on Facebook anyway.
  • Family Ties. I called Michael J. Fox Alex P. Keaton here; I have a tie-in children’s book somewhere on the shelves here. Perhaps I should read it among the movie paperbacks.
  • Star in the Family. Starring Brian Dennehy and Michael Dudikoff. In a sitcom.
  • It Takes Two. I want to say I remember it, but probably I remember the song (which is not the theme song for the show).
  • Cheers C’mon, man. Although I don’t see a reference to it on this blog, I did refer to it in real life recently as an example of how 80s sitcoms were crass and sexual at times because I remember Rhea Perlman’s character telling someone to announce that she has the thigh sweats for a man.
  • Newhart. I saw this a bunch for some reason back in the day. And although I don’t seem to have used the “I’m Larry. This is my brother Daryl. And this is my other brother Daryl.” bit on the blog, I have used it in real life within the last decade (or as I like to say now, “Recently.”).
  • The New Odd Couple. Ron Glass’s other show before Firefly. Although I think he had a couple back then, ainna?
  • Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!. C’mon, man. You can still hear Jack Palance saying, “Believe it. Or not,” can’t you?
  • St. Elsewhere. I can even remember the real name of the hospital without prompting. It was like E.R. for your parents, but with the voice of KITT. But it was a nine o’clock show, so I never saw it as it was past my bedtime.
  • Bring Em Back Alive. Which is apparently an 80s show based on the life of trapper Frank Buck, who played himself in Africa Screams.
  • Tales of the Gold Monkey. I thought I had mentioned this somewhere, but a quick search says no. I wish I had seen this when I was younger.
  • Voyagers! I might remember this, but I never watched it. Basically, it’s like a Sliders for your grandparents. Because Sliders isn’t for kids today. Come to think of it, maybe Sliders is for your grandparents now. Time flies even without a portal.
  • The Powers of Matthew Star. You know, I would have been right in the target audience for this one. But I missed it.
  • Knight Rider. You know I saw this. I corrected trivia about it in the book report for Super Incredible Trivia.
  • Tucker’s Witch. Never heard of it.
  • Remington Steele. Mentioned here when I listed a set of television private investigators who were actually private investigators.
  • The Devlin Connection. Featuring computers and 80s tech fonts which look like Comic Sans to us in the 21st century. I missed it, though.
  • Matt Houston whose star Lee Horsley, as you might remember, made my aunt’s toes curl.
  • Gavilan. This was Robert Urich’s show before Spenser: For Hire and after Vega$. I never saw it, but I remember the bit from the promos, also in the titles, where he punches a guy in the face and shakes his hand because it hurt. I’m not saying I’m a Robert Urich fan, per se, but I did create a test user named Dan Tanna on my job just this week.
  • The Quest. What is that all about? But it illustrates that certain actors had their runs in different programs through the 1980s: Robert Urich, Perry King, Stephen Collins–these guys always seemed to be leading a television series, even though many of them were pretty short-lived.
  • Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. I didn’t watch it, though, as I was not into Westerns. Also, Richard Dean Anderson was one of those guys, although he hit it big with MacGyver.

I was thinking I did really well on this particular quiz, but it’s only 13 of 23. But I think that’s all of the ones that ran for more than one season and one or two others.

I guess that was a peak year for television for me: My parents were separated, we were on welfare, and my mother could not drive, so she could not take us to the library, so it lent itself to a lot of television.

Also, in 1982, look at the two Raiders of the Lost Ark tag-alongs: Tales of the Gold Monkey and Bring Em Back Alive. And a science fiction bit with Star Wars sound effects in the titles (The Powers of Matthew Star) and a Time Bandits tag-along (Voyagers!). Very derivative stuff, and the television-sized budgets didn’t hold anyone, apparently.

Still, better than I’ll do in another forty years. Or even this year looking back to 1990-something.

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Who Hasn’t Made That Mistake?

Over at Ace of Spades HQ, my friend (I say because he’s pimped my books on the Sunday Morning Book Thread and has netted me more sales than an In The Mail mention on Instapundit) Oregon Muse has a feature every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday that includes memes and a little game called “Who Dis?” wherein you are to guess a male and a female celebrity and their connection.

Unfortunately, today he makes a probably common mistake: confusing Heather Thomas with Heather Locklear.

Photo 1:
Photo 5:
Heather Thomas
Heather Locklear

I mean, in the 1980s, teenaged boys would not have made this mistake, but it is not the 1980s nor are we teenagers any more.

I mean, who didn’t have the Heather Thomas towel poster?

Well, I didn’t have it. I think my brother did.

I didn’t mention the error in the comments at AoSHQ (nor Heather Thomas’s connection to Lee Majors, which is the television program The Fall Guy) because I’m a lurker there who doesn’t comment. Also, I wanted to include pictures of who might be the second and third hottest Heathers ever. What, with the picture of Morena Bacarrin yesterday, it’s pretty clear that Musings from Brian J. is becoming one of those kinds of blogs. Perhaps I’ll even bother to send one or both of these posts to Wombat-Socho at The Other McCain for official Rule 5 post consideration. But probably not. I’m too lazy to comment and too lazy to linkwhore.

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A Geek, Frozen In Amber

Page Six has a weekly round-up of celebrity pictures, and this week’s includes a misattributed star:

C’mon, man. Everybody knows Morena Baccarin was the star of Firefly.

I mean, it’s not quite twenty years old, ainna?

And, to be honest, we have reached a point in time where I don’t even bother to see some big tent science fiction and comic book movies. I’m not sure it’s because I’m an old man or because that sort of thing is just so… common these days.

False dilemma! It could be both.

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The New Shows of 1987 Quiz

Earlier this week, I watched a video that listed the new shows of 1983 and turned it into a quiz wherein I listed the ones I remembered.

I have done the same with the 24 New Shows of 1987 (26 if you count the two Fox shows mentioned but not depicted).

As then, I have bolded the shows I remember and included links to any I mentioned by name on this blog.

  • Dolly!, a variety show. Come on, kids did not watch these.
  • Women in Prison, a sitcom?
  • A Different World, which I didn’t watch. But I didn’t watch The Cosby Show, either.
  • Full House
  • Second Chance
  • Everything’s Relative complete with shot of the World Trade Center in the beginning of the intro.
  • My Two Dads; I remember a single episode, where they give a party and try to engage the teens in conversation, and the daughter imagines them as really old.
  • I Married Dora; I am pretty sure I watched this every week and was very disappointed when it was cancelled. I remember the ending of the last show, where they break down the fourth wall and say they were cancelled and all bow. Also, this program more than Down and Out in Beverly Hills caused my crush on Elizabeth Peña.
  • Buck James
  • A Year in the Life
  • thirtysomething; although this came on at nine, so I didn’t watch it. Not that I would have. Thirty-something was old.
  • Frank’s Place; I’d like to think I kind of remember this, but not for sure.
  • The “Slap” Maxwell Story
  • Hooperman; although all I remember is that John Ritter was the title character. Good enough for trivia nights.
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Once a Hero
  • The Oldest Rookie
  • The Law and Harry McGraw; although, again, only the title and that Jerry Orbach was in it.
  • Jake and the Fatman; Joe Penny’s show after Riptide
  • J.J. Starbuck
  • Leg Work
  • Private Eye; I want to say I remember this, but there were so many shows (and video games with the same or similar names.
  • Wiseguy; didn’t see it though, as I think it was a nine o’clock start.
  • Tour of Duty; also here and here. I actually have the whole series on DVD as I previously mentioned.

So I rmemember a bunch of them, but only watched two of them back in the day (watching the videocassettes that my father recorded with him and my brother counts).

Weird; I thought I had a lot of time to watch cable in the old days; however, by 1987, we were living in the trailer and we had cable, so I was watching a bunch of movies on Showtime over and over as I have previously mentioned.

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A Two-Fer Quiz

Yesterday, Ace posted a link to a YouTube montage of the intros of new television shows of 1983.

22 in all. I thought I’d treat it as a quiz, though, and put the ones I remember in bold and include links to those I’ve referred to on this blog which is at least three. I’m going report on this in real time, posted after I watch the whole video, because it’s like 25 minutes long and I only have time to watch it once.

The shows are:

  • It’s Not Easy
  • We Got It Made–although I was sure I referred to it somewhere, I cannot find it, but for a while, I misremembered Bill Maher as the straight man male lead.
  • Oh Madeline–although as I mentioned when I referred to the show last month, I remembered it was on, but I never watched it.
  • AfterMASH
  • Jennifer Slept Here–really, I haven’t brought that up? It didn’t run very long, but I can still remember the theme song. Also, with this and the short run Eric Idle vehicle Nearly Departed makes me wonder why we don’t have reboots of ghosts-live-here sitcoms these days–but both of these were very short runs indeed, which perhaps answers my question.
  • Just Our Luck
  • Webster referred to in the book report for Alex Karras’s Tuesday Night Football.
  • Mr. Smith
  • Manimal, although I think it came on on at nine p.m., so I only saw the intro before I had to go to bed.
  • Hardcastle and McCormick; okay, I’m cheating, I referred to it on another blog.
  • The Scarecrow and Mrs. King
  • Whiz Kids
  • Boone
  • The Rousters
  • The Yellow Rose
  • Cutter to Houston
  • Trauma Center
  • Bay City Blues
  • For Love and Honor
  • Emerald Point N.A.S.
  • Lottery
  • Hotel

To be honest, I thought I was going to clean up on this show because I knew so many early; however, it looks like they stacked sitcoms early in the list, and I was most familiar with those programs.

I also thought I’d referred to a couple more shows than I thought I did, but I’m almost half-convinced it’s because my quick searching failed. Did I now go on about how pretty Ann Jillian was at some point?

At any rate, it was an interesting bit of nostalgia (the whole point of the montages, I know). I saw a bunch of that guys whom I saw in other programs. And I saw numerous actors and actresses who lucked out that these shows were short lived, as that meant they were available for other projects that really worked out for them. For example, Susan Dey and Richard Dean Anderson were in Emerald Point N.A.S.; if that show had been even a trifling hit, who would have been MacGyver? And if Bay City Blues had worked for a bit, would Sharon Stone have become a movie star? Would Dennis Franz have become a bankable cop in Hill Street Blues, Beverly Hills Buntz, or NYPD Blue?

I don’t like to spend thirty minutes watching YouTube as a rule, gentle reader. And my television (or streaming) habits are not such that I’m well poised to even bother with quizzes like this in 2050 (not that there will be enough shared nostalgia to warrant them anyway–the prevalence of cable in the 1990s pretty much splintered us starting even then).

However, I do have the urge to try something similar with 24 New Shows of Fall 1987–by then, my viewing habits had changed and I was no longer roaming the housing projects at night (the street lights come on later in Milwaukee) and was instead in a trailer in the soft southern lands, so I might do even better. Although perhaps not with the references.

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I Can Wait To See How They Screw This Up

George Clooney gives ‘Buck Rogers’ reboot serious star power

I bet climate change. And nobody will take my bet that the antagonists will be changed from Chinese. Probably to Republicans. Or businessmen who brought on the apocalypse for their own power/profit.

Reeling in the years, here’s previous mention of Buck Rogers on MfBJN:

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On The Three Stooges: 6 Full Length Fun Flicks

Book coverSo on Wednesday, November 4, the night after we watched Sergeant York, I wanted to watch To Hell and Back with and about Audie Murphy; it was then that I learned it was the wrong region DVD. So I cast about looking for something, and I thought I would pop in this video which I got Spring 2019 at the church garage sale (I was going to say last Spring, but it suddenly occurs to me that 2020 has somehow almost passed–what have I been doing? When and where were the seasons?). I thought maybe the boys would want to watch these, but they did not.

So I watched them alone.

Continue reading “On The Three Stooges: 6 Full Length Fun Flicks

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The Alarm Clock To Getting Woke, Going Broke Is Ringing

Not really, I hope, but the New York Post story entitled Who will replace Alex Trebek as ‘Jeopardy!’ host? Meet the top candidates has five candidates:

  • George Stephanopoulos, the former Clinton White House staffer who is now a television political commentator.
  • Betty White, which is based on a joke Trebek made once about a suitable replacement.
  • Ken Jennings, the winningest Jeopardy! contestant.
  • Laura Coates, a CNN legal analyst talking head.
  • Alex Faust, a hockey play-by-play announcer.

Come on, two political talking heads are on the short list? Really?

Clearly, it’s Ken Jennings, right? And the rest of this column was driven by the need to file some column inches, ainna?

Also, is this too soon?

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Ms. K Doesn’t Care How Old You Feel, Old Man

However, she notes:

And you know what? It might be that many years again until I see the biggest geek sensation of 2016. When I come across a DVD set at a garage sale. Or while scavenging an abandoned farmhouse After.

Brian J., why did you take a screenshot of the tweet instead of embedding it? you might ask. Because, gentle reader, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in 17+ years of blogging, it’s that embedding something means that I won’t see in 2031 what I embedded because Goowitterple will have retired the format, so I’ll have no idea what I was planning to watch in 2050-something.

Which, of course, won’t be useful anyway if there’s an After, but I’ll still be able to use the DVDs I scavenged as a rudimentary mirror. How did I get so old? I will ask myself.

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Making the Leap to the Small Screen

As I just read the Tron: The Storybook, I had to right away, wherein “right away” means in a week or so, watch the film.

As we’re watching, I see the character Bit:

and I think, what else have I seen him in?

Then, today, it finally hit me: He was also in the television series Automan:

Although the role on television was not a speaking role, it looks like it was physically demanding.

In Automan, he’s credited as “Cursor” as Himself. I guess the first appearance in Tron was uncredited, and he must have left the industry after the television program.

I wonder whatever became of that guy.

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Why I’ve Almost Given Up On The Blacklist

My beautiful wife and I have been watching the James Spader television show The Blacklist since almost the beginning. We have been recording it from the beginning, but I think we started watching it after a whole season had elapsed as we don’t tend to watch 3.5 hours of television a day.

We’ve stuck through it even though its internal intrigues have often sounded like they were not planning any sort of arc across the seasons, but rather came up with something after each renewal. So we’ve had lots of crazy things going on, the story line turning on itself, mysteries resolving into new intrigues that, in total, won’t stand up to scrutiny.

We’ve stuck through it through poor police procedures, most notably how lackadaisical the police are at setting a perimeter when busting in on bad guys, often skipping any sort of perimeter if the bad guys need to escape or setting the perimeter appropriately at 46 minutes after the hour when they need to wrap the episode up. I’ve forgiven other television-driven decisions and tactics as well, not to mention the intrigues and characters who are important for a while and then are not.

But in the current season, I’m having a hard time with the absurd hard-left story lines and moralizing.

Spoilers below the fold.

Continue reading “Why I’ve Almost Given Up On The Blacklist

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Fake Newsin’ Memes From 1983

Seen Powerline’s The Week in Pictures:

Come on. I mean, aside from the commas missing from the appositive phrase, Diana was not the “queen lizard.” Any fool knows she was not even in charge of the invasion force, being instead in charge of one of the ships and the chief science officer.

Although one of her superior officers (Pamela, a Supreme Commander) intimates that Diana had a relationship with the supreme leader of the the Visitors, her position was certainly not queen.

I mean, if you don’t remember this stuff off the top of your head, you can read about it on Wikipedia.

Man, the first miniseries came out when I was eleven, and it creeped me out a bit–aliens was something that tripped my willies even into my early 20s.

Although I have both V and V: The Final Battle on DVD, I haven’t watched them in a long time. And I have not seen the new one (well, 2009-new, which is actually newer than the new Battlestar Galactica) because Morena Baccarin cut off her hair for it. Also, because it’s the new one, and the old one is always better.

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Today I Learned

Sledge Hammer was born in St. Louis.

(I learned this because Adaptive Curmudgeon had a post today capped with a clip from the 2008 film Burn After Reading that featured Sledge Hammer! and the Farmers Insurance pitchman, so I looked him up on IMDB and learned that he’s been in a lot of other television shows and films since the television comedy that I know him best for.)

Certainly the IMDB entry says he’s known for other things.

But come on. He’s Sledge Hammer!

Trust me, I know what I’m doing.

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Know Your Frenches

Kids who grew up on syndicated television in the 1970s, before cable television, might have trouble with this, although they might not even know it: Confusing their Frenches.

Mr. French was a character on the television show Family Affair played by Sebastian Cabot.

Victor French was an actor who appeared most notably (for syndicated television viewers) in Little House on the Prairie and Highway to Heaven.

I’m throwing Merlin Olsen into the mix here because he also had facial hair and because he appeared in Little House on the Prairie as a replacement character when Victor French left the show. Also, he appeared in a Highway to Heaven episode and said to Victor French “All I could see was the flowers and the beard. I thought you were Merlin Olsen.”

Mr. French
Victor French
Merlin Olsen

I am sure this field guide has absolutely no meaning in the second decade of the twenty-first century, where I’m the only one thinking of these particular television programs, none of which I particularly liked but watched we only had five channels and because Sid Meier’s Civilization was still decades away.

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Ross Thomas Makes It Big

Well, I’m pretty sure the author made it big enough during his lifetime.

But here in the 21st century, 25 years after his death, his 1984 book Briarpatch is getting a television treatment:

The explosive opening of USA’s “Briarpatch” promises that this new series, starring Rosario Dawson as a crusading investigator uncovering hometown corruption, will continue to offer bang for its buck.

That doesn’t quite happen, but “Briarpatch,” adapted from Ross Thomas’ 1984 crime fiction novel, does provide enough of a compelling storyline to keep viewers guessing where it will all eventually lead.

I’m kind of pleased.

It’s been five years since I’ve read a Ross Thomas paperback, but I have plenty scattered amongst the library, possibly including Briarpatch. So when I end up reading one of them in the near future, you’ll know why.

(Previously reported: The Porkchoppers, The Mordida Man, and Voodoo, Ltd..)

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