Category: TV

The Best Prime-Time Line-Ups of All Time!

In these days of streaming with hundreds of cable channels and options specifically geared to taste, when we look back at the days of three basic network options, it is funny to think of how limited our viewing choices were.  It also brings to mind how difficult it must have been for television programmers to put together that magical line-up that would keep viewers on their network.

The fine folks at MeTV decided to look at all of the line-ups from the dawn of television through our current options to determine What was the Best Network Television Lineup Ever?  Looking at their top ten, here are my thoughts and choice for the best line-up ever.

10. CBS Friday 1979–1980: The Incredible HulkThe Dukes of HazzardDallas. (I’ve watched a couple of episodes of The Incredible Hulk and have never seen a complete episode of Dukes or Dallas. – Craig)

9. ABC Friday 1971–72:  The Brady BunchThe Partridge FamilyRoom 222The Odd CoupleLove, American Style. (I’d watch The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family, occasionally The Odd Couple and usually Love, American Style. – Craig)

8. CBS Sunday 1956–57: LassieThe Jack Benny ProgramThe Ed Sullivan ShowGeneral Electric TheaterAlfred Hitchcock PresentsThe $64,000 ChallengeWhat’s My Line?  (Since I wasn’t born yet, I didn’t see any of them that season.  I am a fan of The Jack Benny Program and Alfred Hitchcock Presents which I’ve seen in reruns. – Craig)

7. ABC Thursday 1966–67: BatmanF TroopThe Dating GameBewitchedThat Girl.  (I never missed Batman, occasionally watched F Troup and The Dating Game.  I usually would watch Bewitched and occasionally That Girl. – Craig)

6. ABC Thursday 1972-73:  The Mod SquadKung FuThe Streets of San Francisco. (I always watched Kung Fu but neither of the other two. – Craig)

5. Fox Sunday 1999–2000: FuturamaKing of the HillThe SimpsonsMalcolm in the MiddleThe X-Files. (I didn’t watch any of these shows. – Craig)

4. NBC Thursday 1993–94:  Mad About YouWingsSeinfeldFrasierHomicide.  (I always watched Mad About You, Wings, Seinfeld and FrasierHomicide was the show that kept this line-up from being a clean sweep for me. – Craig)

3. CBS Saturday 1959–60:  Perry MasonWanted: Dead or AliveMr. LuckyHave Gun, Will TravelGunsmoke. (I was too young to watch. – Craig)

2. NBC Thursday 1984–85:  The Cosby ShowFamily TiesCheersNight CourtHill Street Blues. (I always watched all of these shows.  This was a perfect line-up for me. – Craig)

1. CBS Saturday 1974–75: All in the FamilyThe JeffersonsMary Tyler MooreThe Bob Newhart ShowThe Carol Burnett Show. (I always watched all of these shows.  This was also a perfect line-up for me. – Craig)

So there were two line-ups that I stay tuned to for the entire evening, but which was the best?  I give the nod to CBS Saturday 1974-75

The Art of “The Walking Dead” Universe is Coming to Get You, Barbara!

As The Walking Dead heads into its final expanded season, fans are going to want to get their hands on TWD collectibles.  The Art of the Walking Dead Universe is a 240 page 9×12 hardcover that will be on many TWD fan’s wish list.

Published by Skybound & produced by AMC Networks Publishing, discover the behind-the-scenes pre-production & production art for AMC’s THE WALKING DEAD shows: The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead, and The Walking Dead: World Beyond, all in one incredible collection! Includes never-before-seen original sketches, concept art, storyboards, previs art, set concept and engineering art, promotional concept to completion key art, special product illustrations, in-world product art, and much more. Also includes a brand-new wraparound cover featuring over 50 characters from across all the shows. Features an introduction by Chief Content Officer, SCOTT M. GIMPLE, as well as other compelling anecdotes and fun facts from The Walking Dead creators and crew. A must-have for anyone who has ever shouted, “We are the Walking Dead!”

The Art of the Walking Dead Universe drops on October 5, 2021 and is available for pre-order now.

RIP: Jim Steinman

Jim Steinman, lyricist of million-selling hit records, died yesterday at the age of 73.  No cause of death was released.

Steinman is best known for his collaborations with Meat Loaf on the albums Bat Out of Hell (1977) and Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell (1993).  Bat Out of Hell produced two top ten hits: “Two of Three Ain’t Bad” and “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” and became one of the best-selling albums ever.  Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell released one single: “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” that spent five weeks at No. 1.  Steinman also penned the music and book for Bat Out of Hell: The Musical which ran from February through April in Manchester, England.

Steinman may have been known best for his two collaborations with Meat Loaf, but he composed and produced hits with many other artists including…

  • “Making Love Out of Nothing at All” performed by Air Supply
  • “Total Eclipse of the Heart” (which he also produced) performed by Bonnie Tyler
  • “Nowhere Fast” performed by Fire, Inc. for the Streets of Fire Soundtrack
  • “Left in the Dark” performed by Barbara Streisand
  • “Hulk Hogan’s Theme” for the WWE
  • “Holding Out for a Hero” (which he also produced and co-wrote with Dean Pitchford) performed by Bonnie Tyler
  • “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” performed by Celine Dion
  • and many more.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jim Steinman’s family, friends and fans.

The All-Time Best TV Friendships!? C’mon, Man!

 Allison Keene and the Paste TV Writers posted a fun piece titled The 25 Best TV Friendships.  Their list isn’t a bad one and contains many of the tv friendships you’d expect to see including…

  • Mary Richards and Rhoda Morgenstern from The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
  • Hap and Leonard from, uh, Hap & Leonard  
  • Jerry Seinfeld and George Costanza from Seinfeld

But I have to question any list of The 25 Best TV Friendships that doesn’t find a spot for…

  • Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton from The Honeymooners
  • James T. Kirk and Spock from Star Trek
  • James West and Artemus Gordon from The Wild, Wild West

C’mon, man!

RIP – Felix Silla

Felix Silla, whose acting career spanned 55 years, died yesterday after after a battle with pancreatic cancer.  While you may not instantly recognize Felix Silla’s name, you’ll be surprised at the number of roles you saw him play.

One of his most famous was as Cousin Itt in the tv series The Adams Family.  That wasn’t the only popular show that featured an appearance by Felix Silla.  He also had roles on: Bonanza, The Monkees, Petticoat Junction, The Girl from UNCLE and Star Trek.  Sila appeared in the movies Point Blank and Planet of the Apes.  He followed those roles as a regular cast member of HR Puffinstuff.

Other television highlights include: Bewitched, Night Gallery, Mary Hartman, Battlestar Gallactica, a regular role on Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Mork & Mindy, and Married with Children.  Movie highlights include: The Black Bird, Demon Seed, Kentucky Fried Movie, Under the Rainbow, The Sting II, Meatballs II, Spaceballs and Batman Returns.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Felix Silla’s family, friends and fans.

“Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness” Trailer – Zombies in the White House!

I almost missed the trailer for Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness.  That’s because it is animated in the style of a video game and I don’t play video games.  With that said, I did watch it and plan to tune in when Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness shows up on Netflix.  What’s not to love — zombies in the White House.  ; )

The world of Resident Evil that intertwines horror, action and suspense is presented with beautiful and realistic visuals in this brand-new entertainment epic on a unprecedented scale!

Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness releases worldwide in July 2021, only on Netflix.

John McClane & Jack Bauer – “Die Hard 24/7” (Proposed Film or Fan’s Dream Team-Up?)

I’m not one to usually report rumors from anonymous sources, but this one is too good not to discuss.  Robert Curran at wrote an article about a proposed Jack Bauer/John McClane team-up for a feature film that would have been titled Die Hard 24/7.  While the source of this tidbit was indeed anonymous, the story was intriguing enough to initially get space at Ain’t It Cool News and then at… and here.

Curran has doubts about the accuracy of the anonymous source because…

If work went into the potential film, it hasn’t leaked to the Internet. After more than a decade, it stands to reason that someone involved in the project would have revealed more details about the movie if they existed.

Yet, Curran also points out that in A Good Day to Die Hard, McClane’s grown son was a CIA agent named  John “Jack” McClane Jr..  Calling John’s son Jack could have been a nod to the proposed team-up with Jack Bauer.  So perhaps there is something there.

Curran concludes and I agree that…

…Unfortunately, a McClane/Bauer team-up is likely to remain in the realm of fan fiction…

Before you click over to read Robert Curran’s Die Hard’s John McClane ALMOST Crossed Over With 24’s Jack Bauer let me end by saying that I agree that the McClane/Bauer crossover is unlikely… but, man, it sure would be cool!

“The Mosquito Coast” starring Justin Theroux and Melissa George – The Trailer is Here!

I like this trailer for The Mosquito Coast starring Justin Theroux and Melissa George.

The Mosquito Coast is adapted from Paul Theroux’s best-selling novel of the same name and in 1986 had been made into a movie directed by Peter Weir, starring Harrison Ford, Helen Mirren and River Phoenix.  I’ve never read the book or seen the 1986 movie, but I’d be interested in seeing the latest mini-series adaptation.  Check out the trailer below and see if you don’t agree.

A brilliant rebel (Justin Theroux) and his wife (Melissa George) take their family on the run to protect them, but end up exposing them to more danger than ever. At every turn of their adventure, they encounter increasing threats and intensifying moral choices from which there’s no turning back. Watch April 30 exclusively on Apple TV+

Adapted from the best-selling novel by Paul Theroux, Mosquito Coast is executive produced by Neil Cross, Rupert Wyatt, Paul Theroux, Justin Theroux and Edward L. McDonnell. Alan Gasmer, Peter Jaysen and Bob Bookman also serve as executive producers for Veritas Entertainment Group. The series was developed by Neil Cross and Tom Bissell, created for television by Neil Cross, and is a Fremantle Production for Apple TV+

The Twilight Zone: “It’s a Good Life” Trivia

The Twilight Zone is one of my all-time favorite shows.  Some of the original TZ episodes rate with the best television has ever had to offer.  One of the most popular Twilight Zone episodes is “It’s a Good Life” which starred Billy Mummy as a little boy who could read minds and would destroy anyone or anything that displeased him.

MeTV posted 9 Little Details You Never Noticed in the Twilight Zone Episode ”It’s a Good Life” I was surprised by some of the facts listed.  Here are three and my thoughts on each before you click over.

It has the longest opening narrative in Twilight Zone history.  (Serling’s intro clocks in at 2 minutes which doesn’t sound like much, but when you consider that is 10% of the episode’s running time, it is quite a bit.  Still I wouldn’t change a word. – Craig)

They made a sequel in 2003. (The sequel appeared on the rebooted Twilight Zone tv series.  Both Billy Mummy and Cloris Leachman, as his mother, returned to reprise their roles.  I had no idea that there was a sequel!  I need to find and watch it. – Craig)

Rod Serling was working on a feature film adaptation when he died. (Sadly, Rod Serling died at such a young age.  I wonder if there is a surviving script?  It would be cool to at least know how he planned to handle the story for a feature length film. – Craig)

“Shadow and Bone” – Posters and the Trailer are Here!

Shadow and BoneHere are several character posters and below is the trailer.  I’ve never read any of Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse novels, but will give Shadow and Bone a try.  It looks interesting, although not my normal viewing/reading genre.  Who knows, maybe Shadow and Bone will change that.

There are no others like her. And there never will be. Get ready to enter the Grishaverse. Shadow & Bone premieres April 23, only on Netflix.

RIP: Jessica Walter

Jessica Walter, star of stage, television and movie screen for over 60 years died in her sleep on March 24th at the age of 80.  No cause of death was given.

I probably saw Jessica Walters for the first time in the premiere episode of Flipper.  I would have been five.  After that she appeared with regularity, guesting on many shows that I enjoyed: The Fugitive, The FBI, The Name of the Game, Mannix, The Immortal, Love American Style, Mission Impossible, Alias Smith & Jones and Medical Center — and those are just the shows I regularly watched, she appeared in many others.

Then in 1971, Jessica Walter appeared in the role that always comes first when I think of her.  She played Evelyn Draper, the psycho woman who becomes obsessed with Clint Eastwood in Play Misty for Me.  That role and that movie was well ahead of it’s time.  There’s a scene (and if you’ve seen the movie or the poster you know the one) where Walter literally caused me to yell out loud.  Thankfully, we were at the drive-in with just my family.  Walter was nominated for a  Best Actress Golden Globe for her performance.

Had Mrs. Walter’s only role been that in Play Misty For Me, it would have still warranted notice here.  After Play Misty For Me, Jessica Walter continued to alternate between television, feature films and stage roles always making everything she was in better for her being there.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jessica Walter’s family, friends and fans.

“Dad Stop Embarrassing Me” – The Trailer for Jamie Foxx’s New Series is Here!

Here’s the trailer for Jamie Foxx’s new Netflix series, Dad Stop Embarrassing Me.  It doesn’t look great, but it doesn’t look bad.  I’ll tune in to check it out.  I’m glad to see David Alan Grier has a part.  Truthfully, I’m surprised that Jamie Foxx is doing a series.

Family. Fatherhood. Facepalms. Dad Stop Embarrassing Me! starring Jamie Foxx premieres on April 14, only on Netflix

RIP: Yaphet Kotto

Yaphet Kotto, whose acting career spanned 50 years on television and in feature films, died Sunday, March 14, 2021, at the age of 81.  No cause of death was given.

Kotto began his career in 1962 with a role in the feature film Nothing But a Man.  After that he alternated between roles in television and feature films.  It is hard to say which was Kotto’s best known role because he had so many.  Some would say it was when he played the villain, Mr. Big, in the James Bond film, Live and Let Die.  Others would point to his starring role as President Idi Amin in Raid on Entebbe.  Who can forget his standout performance as Parker in Alien?  Others would know Yaphet Kotto best from his role as Al Giardello in Homicide: Life on the Street.

I probably first saw Yaphet Kotto in one of his many guest starring roles on television.  Mr. Kotto appeared on many of my favorite tv programs: Tarzan, The High Chaparral, Mannix, Daniel Boone, The Name of the Game, Gunsmoke, and Night Gallery.  Keep in mind, those were just the shows I watched, Yaphet Kotto appeared on many others.  Some of my favorite feature film performances by Yaphet Kotto include: Live and Let Die, Brubaker, The Running Man and of course, my all-time favorite Yaphet Kotto role, Parker in Alien.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Yaphet Kotto’s family, friends and fans.

Men of the Square Table: Who Makes Man Laws Now?

In 2007, Miller Lite ran a series of ads called Man Laws.  The idea was that a group of highly respected (and manly) men met in secret to create the Laws by which men are to live.  The ads were humorous and well done.  Here is the introduction to the concept…

And here are some of the ads…

If the Men of the Square Table were to come together today, what men would be invited?  Who would replace Burt Reynolds as the leader of the group?  Here are my suggestions…

  • Khabib Nurmagomedov:  UFC MMA Champion, retired undefeated 29 – 0
  • Kurt Angle: Gold Medal Winner: 1996 Olympics in Wrestling, Pro-Wrestler
  • Idris Elba: Actor, Kickboxer
  • Shaquille O’Neal: Basketball
  • Marvelous Marvin Hagler: Boxing  (I wrote this post up several days before Mr. Hagler died.  Out of respect to him, I elected to not change this. – Craig)
  • Danny Trejo: Actor
  • Chuck Zito: Actor, Celebrity Bodyguard, Stuntman, Former President of the New York chapter of the Hells Angels
  • Oleksii Novikov: 2020 World’s Strongest Man
  • Eugene Goodman: Capitol Police Officer
  • Sylvester Stallone: Actor and Leader of the Table

RIP: Henry Darrow

Henry Darrow, best known for his co-starring role as Manolito Montoya on the popular tv series, The High Chaparral, died yesterday at the age of 87.  No cause of death was disclosed.

Darrow began his acting career in 1959 and made memorable guest appearances on many shows before landing his signature part on The High Chaparral.  Some of Darrow’s appearances include roles on Wagon Train, The Outer Limits, The Wild, Wild West, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Daniel Boone, Mission Impossible and many others.  It was his role as Manolito where Darrow aligned with his signature character.

After The High Chaparral went off the air, Darrow continued to make guest appearances on television series, tv movies and the occasional feature film.  He also had regular roles on The New Dick Van Dyke Show, Harry O, The New Adventures of Zorro,  Zorro and Son, Me and Mom, Santa Barbara, Zorro, and The Bold and the Beautiful.  Henry Darrow was an actor who was always in demand because everything he appeared in became at least a little better.

I was a big Henry Darrow fan.  My grandfather would tune in to The High Chaparral weekly and Darrow’s Manilito was my favorite character on the show.  I was (and continue to be) pleased when Darrow turns up in any program I’m watching.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Henry Darrow’s family, friends and fans.