Category: TV

Sammy’s Pleasant Nightmares!

Everybody loves Sammy Terry. Well, everybody that knows him.

If you’re a longtime reader of this blog, then you probably remember that I wrote about Sammy Terry not a year ago. [Here’s the link if you want to catch up.]

Sammy hosted Nightmare Theater  on Friday nights at 11:00pm. Sammy would rise from a coffin, introduce himself and after a brief monologue about many things [including the movie we were about to see, would invite us to watch – if we dared!

So there we’d be, huddled in the dark, with our popcorn waiting for the monster of the week to appear and scare us! Sammy would return before the movie after commercial breaks with more of his dry humor… and then again, at the end of the movie, Sammy would make his final appearance. Before returning to his coffin, he would always wish us “Pleasant Nightmares!” followed by maniacal laugh.

What’s really cool is that Jerrald Hawkins has created a fan site and movie club dedicated to Sammy Terry. Jerrald has remastered old tapes of Sammy presenting movies. On the last Friday of each month, club members start their tapes at 11PM. Not only are members watching the movies “together” but at the same time they’re also able to take part in a live chat via Jerrald‘s site!

What could make this even better? Well, the tapes are professionally produced. They come in plastic cases with labels giving details of the movie, pictures of SAMMY and his logo… plus Jerrald sends them to members for the cost of the mailing! If this sounds like something you’d like then check out Jerrald’s site!

Even if you’ve never heard of SAMMY TERRY, you’re gonna love him because…… Everybody loves Sammy Terry! [“Until next time… Pleasant Nightmares!]

Alias Worth the Effort

I’m adding another show to my “Must See TV” list. It’s not a new show, and it’s one that I’ve regularly watched since it’s premiere. It’s called Alias  and is on ABC Sunday nights at 9PM. You’re probably wondering why I’m just now adding “Alias” since I watch it every week. Good question.

The reason is, Alias  is not an easy show to get into. It’s about a young woman who is a double agent for the CIA against an organization known as the Agency which has ties throughout the world and does really bad stuff [not quite world domination stuff but bad none the less]. The agent’s father is also a double agent working toward the same goal… her mother was a double agent for the Russians but now may [or may not ] be working with the CIA. Her fiance was murdered when she told him about her connections but she now is getting involved with…

Did I loose you in there? Probably so… and therein lies the problem. The show is GREAT for fans who’ve been following from the start. The plot twists and character development have really worked. The action and production values are on par with most movies… but even given all that… for those unfortunate souls who’ve just tuned in for the first time, it probably was very confusing.

Well that’s all about to change. The next few weeks will be a great jumping on point for anyone who wants to give the show a try. In addition to the regular cast [JENNIFER GARNER, VICTOR GARBER, LENA OLIN, RON RIFKIN, MICHAEL VARTAN] there will be guest stars such as RUTGAR HAUER, ETHAN HAWKE, and CHRISTIAN SLATER. So give it a shot. Who knows, maybe it’ll make your “Must See TV” list.

The Shield Wins Two

I was really happy with the two wins yesterday. No, not the Bucs and the Raiders [although I was pulling for both of them]. I’m talking about “The Shield” winning a Golden Globe for Best Dramatic Series and for MICHAEL CHIKLIS picking up one for Best Dramatic Actor.

“The Shield” has been in my “Must See TV” category since it’s premiere. I usually tell people that it’s one of the two best shows going, but with yesterday’s win, I’ll drop the two.

Michael Jackson’s Face

MICHAEL JACKSON‘s face has made the news again. Or at least it will when it is the subject of a special edition of NBCs “Dateline” set to air at 10 p.m. EST Feb. 17th. When I first heard about this, it struck me as funny that a “news” program would seriously cover such a silly subject… but I have to admit I was kind of intrigued.

No one can dispute that MICHAEL JACKSON is an extremely talented individual. But it would also be hard to argue that he’s not getting more and more bizarre as the years go by. Thinking about the changes that have occurred in his behavior and his face, one could almost argue that as his actions get stranger his nose gets smaller. After MJ holding his baby over a fourth floor balcony, I might just have to tune to see if he still has one.

Richard Crenna – RIP

RICHARD CRENNA, the Emmy award-winning actor has died. He was 76.

Mr. CRENNA, whose credits included all three “Rambo” films, “Body Heat,” the classic suspense film “Wait Until Dark,” as well as many other roles, died of pancreatic cancer at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

RICHARD CRENNA is survived by wife and three adult children. A public service is to be held Jan. 25.

Sometimes Wrong is Right?

There’s been a lot of talk about “Joe Millionaire” the reality show on Fox. It scored high ratings with tons of people tuning in to see twenty single women competing for the attention of a bachelor that they are led to believe is a millionaire. The catch is that he isn’t. He’s a normal guy who brings down about $20,000 a year.

First of all, why anyone would care a bit about women fighting to “win” the attention of any guy is beyond me. I guess I’m alone in that respect though. There have been a bunch of shows just like it… “Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire”...”The Bachelor” “The Bachelorette”… and now this… and I’m sure others to come.

What gets me is that if a guy was trying to pass himself off as a millionaire in order to get women, we’d call him a jerk. Yet a network does it and scores a ratings hit.

The Shield Scores

The second season of  The Shield  premieres January 7th at 10PM. If you’ve missed some episodes along the way then I’d suggest that you check out “The Shield” Marathon starting tonight. FX will run back to back episodes each night at 10PM January 1st – 6th. This will lead right into the new season. “The Shield” is widely considered to be one of the best shows on tv. And rightly so.

MICHAEL CHIKLIS [the lead actor] earned basic cable’s first ever Primetime Emmy® Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. CHIKLIS also captured the Television Critics Association Award for Individual Achievement in Drama.
“The Shield” picked up Emmy nominations for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for creator SHAWN RYAN, and Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for CLARK JOHNSON, both basic cable firsts. The series also received Television Critics Association Award nominations in the categories of New Program of the Year, Outstanding Achievement in Drama and Program of the Year.

Even without all the awards, I’d still recommend it as a “don’t miss” show. Check out what I wrote way back on
April 14, 2002! [Oh, and for you STALLONE fans reading this, CARL WEATHERS is set to appear in episodes later this season.]

New Years Means Twilight Zone

One of my traditions for New Year’s Eve [in addition to running movies, having some good food, and setting off fireworks for my sons, nieces, nephews and well, myself] is to catch several episodes from Sci-Fi‘s Twilight Zone Marathon. I really love the idea of a TZ Marathon — even though I rarely catch more than a few shows, just knowing that they’re available is fun.

The last time the TZ Marathon ran, I recommended “Terror at 20,000 Feet” and “To Serve Man.” They’re my favorites and if you can only catch two, then they’re the two.

If you’re looking to expand your horizons, then I suggest “The Invaders” which will start at 9:06 on December 31st. “The Invaders” is the story of an old woman who lives alone, way out where there are no neighbors or electricity. Her life is changed forever when a miniature space ship carrying invaders arrives. How will she survive when they come after her?

Another episode worth your time is “The Shelter” which airs at 10:45 the same night. Several neighbors who are obviously good friends have gotten together to celebrate Dr. Stockton’s birthday. Everything is swell until the group hears an emergency announcement that the U.S. is in immediate danger of an attack. The President has warned everyone to seek shelter — just the kind of shelter that Dr. Stockton has… unfortunately not everyone will fit in the shelter. Just what will friends do to each other in order to get a chance at survival? You’ll know if you watch!

RIP – Ken Tobey

I really wasn’t planning a Zablo Zone update on Christmas, but I just read that KEN TOBEY died on December 22 at the age of 85. Many of you might not recognize the name, but I’m sure you’d recognize his face. Mr. TOBEY appeared in 100 movies and made nearly as many tv show appearances.

He usually played a cop or soldier, as in his most famous role, that of Captain Patrick Hendry in the original “The Thing From Another World.” You’ll also find KEN TOBEY popping up in movies such as “Beast From 20,000 Fathoms,” “Marlowe,” “Billy Jack,” “Airplane,” “Big Top Pee Wee,”… well, you get the idea.

If you’d ask me to list my favorite actors, it ‘d have been a while before I got around to listing his name. Reading that he’d passed on though, reminded me of just how many times he has entertained me. Check out his filmography and list of tv appearances and I’m sure that you’ll feel the same way.

So that’s why I decided to do an update… because what better gift can you get on Christmas, than one filled with fond memories?

Emmy Predictions

In the last few years I’ve found myself being much more selective about the television that I watch. I map out my viewing for the week and then pretty much stick to that. This helps me to not miss the few shows that I really enjoy, and it also helps me avoid “vegging” out in front of shows I don’t care about.

The Emmy Awards are on tonight, and while I probably won’t watch them [I haven’t mapped out the week yet], there are a few shows/actors that I hope win.

In the best DRAMA category, I am pulling for West Wing but I wouldn’t be upset if 24 won against CSI, Law and Order, and Six Feet Under.

In the COMEDY category, it would appear that Friends is a lock against Curb Your Enthusiasm , Everybody Loves Raymond, Sex and the City and Will & Grace.

For best WRITING for a DRAMA series, there are several very worthy contenders. I would like to see The Shield • Pilot • Shawn Ryan, Writer win because it was such a groundbreaking episode, but it would be hard to argue against Alias • Truth Be Told (Pilot) • J.J. Abrams, Writer; ER • On The Beach • John Wells, Writer; 24 • Midnight – 1:00 a.m. (Pilot) • Joel Surnow, Robert Cochran, Writers; or The West Wing • Posse Comitatus • Aaron Sorkin, Writer.

The LEAD ACTOR in a DRAMA is another [though not as] tough category. I am going to pull for either Michael Chiklis as Detective Vic Mackey in The Shield or Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer – 24 who are up against Michael C. Hall as David Fisher – Six Feet Under, Peter Krause as Nate Fisher – Six Feet Under and Martin Sheen as Josiah Bartlet – The West Wing.

I’m gonna pull for Jennifer Garner as Sydney Bristow star of Alias for the LEAD ACTRESS in a DRAMA category. She’s up against Amy Brenneman as Judge Amy Gray – Judging Amy; Rachel Griffiths as Brenda Chenowith – Six Feet Under; Frances Conroy as Ruth Fisher – Six Feet Under; and Allison Janney as C.J. Cregg – The West Wing.

The SUPPORTING ACTOR in a DRAMA is dominated by West Wing actors and my choice is John Spencer as Leo McGarry – The West Wing up against Victor Garber as CIA Agent Jack D. Bristow – Alias; Freddy Rodriguez as Federico Diaz – Six Feet Under; Dulé Hill as Charlie Young – The West Wing; Bradley Whitford as Josh Lyman – The West Wing; and Richard Schiff as Toby Ziegler – The West Wing.

These are the categories in which I am “pulling” for a winner. For the full list click here. I would have given my predictions in other categories but it’s time for me to plan out my viewing for the week. ; )

Join the TZ Marathon

When I was a kid one of my biggest pleasures was watching scary movies or tv shows. I still get a big kick out ’em in fact. What’s even cooler is that my kids enjoy them just as much as I do.

I’m not talking about today’s gory bloodfests, but instead the old Universal Monster movies, the American-International Films and the like. As far as tv shows, none is better at this genre than the original Twilight Zone!

The Sci-Fi channel is running a two day marathon of Twilight Zone episodes starting at 7AM today. If you plan to check out any, let me recommend two.

The first, pictured above, is “Terror at 20,000 Feet.” A man who has just been released from a mental institution sees a creature on the wing of a plane trying to destroy the engine… only no one else sees it. Is he having a relapse?

The second, pictured above, is called “To Serve Man.” Aliens arrive on Earth and all indications are they came in peace… but do they really?

These are just two of many excellent episodes.

Even if you can’t watch them all [and who can?], maybe you can plan to tune in to see an old favorite or one you’ve never seen before. I know that I will…

And for just a little while I’ll be a kid again, up on the couch hoping that someone else besides me and Bill Shatner sees the creature on the wing!

The Good Old Wild Wild West

When I was a kid I loved The Wild, Wild West.  Everything about this show was flat out cool.
James West [played by Robert Conrad] and Artemus Gordon [Ross Martin] were a team of Secret Service agents protecting our country from all sorts of evil. Think James Bond in the Wild West.

Did I say that everything about the show was cool? Good. Because everything about it was cool. And I mean everything.

Conrad and Martin were perfectly cast as West and Gordon. They had a rapport that seemed real. Although the series was set in the time period following the Civil War, a science fiction element was involved in many of the episodesWest was given cool gadgets a la James Bond… and the fight / action scenes were the best on tv.

The show title sequence featured an animated cowboy in four different scenes with great theme music. Each commercial break ended with a cliffhanger and the scene would freeze, change into a line drawing and then replace a drawing on a title card.

The series was definitely ahead of it’s time. It spawned two tv movies [not nearly as good] and a big screen movie staring Will Smith and Kevin Kline as West and Gordon which was really bad. I’d like to have seen Tom Cruise as West but the script was so bad, that I doubt that he’d have done much better with the project.

When I decided to do a piece for Zablo’s Zone about “The Wild, Wild West,” I visited a lot of fan pages. Reading interviews, episode summaries, and looking at pictures of all of the spin offs [comics, novelizations, etc.] brought back a lot of happy memories. When I was a kid, I loved “The Wild, Wild West.”

I still do.

Good Television

I’ve always loved good television. Due to time constraints with the job, family, and other interests, I try to limit the time I spend in front of the tube. This season I have found myself watching more programs…

Boston Public continues to be the “must-see” show on Monday. The finale will be a great capper to another fine season.

Tuesday is my favorite night for tv. 24 folowed by The Shield. 24 has had a great run, and I wonder how they will follow it up? The real-time format made it very interesting. I hope they figure out a way to do more. The Shield pushes all of the boundaries yet does it with great acting and storylines. I’ve been with it (and 24) from the start and hope to never miss an episode.

West Wing is another “must-see” show. Perhaps only The Shield can match it’s great ensemble of actors.

Survivor and ER round out the shows that I make a point to never miss. Survivor is riding a new wave of popularity due to the “never know what will happen next” feel of this run. ER bid farewell to Doctor Green (and why wasn’t Dr. Ross at the funeral??) but there’s still life left in the series.

Yeah, it’s been a great season for tv. I’ve found myself watching more than ever… but I can’t complain since I’ve always loved good television.

Dark Shadows

When I was a kid, there weren’t many things that I enjoyed more than a good scary movie. In fact, most of my friends felt the same. We’d look forward to the weekend to stay up late, turn off all of the lights in the house, and watch Sammy Terry’s Nightmare Theater. What could be better than a weekly fix to satisfy our horror craving?

How about a five days a week fix??

Dark Shadows was the first and only soap opera I’ve ever watched on a regular basis (if you don’t count professional wrestling). It told the tale of the Collins family… what a mess they were. Vampires, werewolves, ghosts…. whew! And we ate it up!

Dark Shadows was the must see show of it’s time. It spawned a series of novelizations, trading cards, and more. There’re annual Dark Shadows conventions that continue to this day!

A new collector’s series of Dark Shadows DVDs are going to be released shortly. The price is right, so get your friends together and turn down the lights!

Hellboy Goes Green

Ain’t It Cool News has reported that the Hellboy movie based on Mike Mignola‘s fan favorite character, Hellboy, has been greenlit. Guillermo Del Toro (“Blade II“) is set to direct. Despite earlier reports that Vin Diesel might play Hellboy, it appears that Ron Pearlman will get the role instead. This is cool for a number of reasons, the first two being that 1) Pearlman was the first choice of both Mignola and Del Toro and 2) Pearlman is so right for the role! Filming begins this winter in Prague! You can get full details here.

Hellboy is one of the few comics that I buy EVERY time it comes out. Mignola never disappoints. Here are a couple of trade paperbacks that could help you get up to speed if you’ve missed out…

Hellboy: Seeds of Destruction

Hellboy: Conqueror Worm

Hellboy: Odd Jobs

I’m really excited about the prospects for the movie Hellboy. Del Toro is a fan of the comic, Mignola is working closely with him and Pearlman completes the trio. This could be really cool. I’ll keep ya posted!