Category: TV

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. 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. Most of my friends felt the same. We’d look forward to the weekend. We’d stay up late, turn off all of the lights, and watch Sammy Terry’s Nightmare Theater.

What could be better than a weekly fix to satisfy our horror cravingHow 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!

Mackey and The Shield: Bad is Good

Michael Chiklis plays Detective Vic Mackey in FX’s acclaimed new show, The Shield. If you haven’t seen The Shield, odds are you’ve heard of it since the pilot was the highest-rated original series premiere in basic cable television history.
I’ve watched The Shield since its premiere and it immediately went to my must see list. Chiklis is, without a doubt, the main draw. He’s an exceptional actor playing a complex role as the leader of a “strike force” of cops dealing with the worst in society. Mackey is as bad as the criminals he takes down… yet he has a code of ethics to “take care of his own” and he does. I’ve never had such mixed emotions about a character before. I want him to get caught and yet I don’t. The rest of the cast and the storylines are excellent as well.
With all of that said, I can’t recommend the show to everyone. It pushes the limits in every way possible (language, violence, sexual situations). But if you like gritty hard-boiled cop shows, then this show is the one for you!

 

UC Goes Way Undercover

I read today that it is unlikely that UC: Undercover will be brought back next season and that’s really too bad. If you never happened to catch the show, then you really missed a good and potentially great series. UC: Undercover was created by Shane Salerno. Oded Fehr, Jon Seda, Vera Farmiga, Bruklin Harris, and Jarrad Paul made up the cast. Guest stars such as William Forsythe, Ving Rhames and Steven Bauer were regularly featured! If the series isn’t renewed, I hope that we’ll get an occasional tv movie.

“UC: Undercover” Unlikely for Renewal

I read today that it is unlikely that UC: Undercover will be brought back next season and that’s really too bad. If you never happened to catch the show, then you really missed a good and potentially great series.

UC: Undercover was created by Shane Salerno. Oded Fehr, Jon Seda, Vera Farmiga, Bruklin Harris, and Jarrad Paul made up the cast. Guest stars such as William Forsythe, Ving Rhames and Steven Bauer were regularly featured!

If the series isn’t renewed, I hope that we’ll get an occasional tv movie.

Blackjack Mulligan

I received word from an old buddy that I hadn’t heard from in nearly 30 years… back when I was 8th grade in Terre Haute, Indiana. [He found me through classmates.com.] At any rate, as we fondly remembered the “good old days,” we began to talk about tv wrestling.

My favorite wrestler was a huge Texan named Blackjack Mulligan. Yeah, that’s him pictured above. He was usually teamed with Blackjack Lanza [they held the “world title” on a couple of occasions and were managed by Bobby Heenan]. I used to watch pro wrestling on tv several times a week, and would go to see it live when it came to town or when my dad would take us to Indianapolis to see the “big” matches. I was a die hard wrestling fan until 9th grade. As I grew older I would occasionally catch it on the tube… later, as my sons got into it I found myself watching it more often as they enjoyed it. Still, the Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin and the rest of today’s “Superstars” would have had their hands full facing Mulligan and Lanza managed by “Pretty Boy” Bobby Heenan!

Sammy Terry

The scary looking guy to the left is Sammy Terry. If you grew up in the midwest, there’s a good chance that you watched and enjoyed him as he hosted “Nightmare Theater” out of Indianapolis back in the mid 60’s through the 80’s.

I used to love staying up late to watch the monster movies that he presented. Thanks to Sammy and his “Nightmare Theater,” I discovered the classics (“Bride of Frankenstein,” “The Thing,” “Creature from the Black Lagoon” and many others]. Sammy would come on to introduce the movie and tell bad jokes… he would then be back after commercial breaks with more bad jokes… and of course, he would end each show wishing everyone “pleasant nightmares.”

I was happy to find a site dedicated to Sammy, the scariest guy that we all loved!

How Much to Fight Tyson?

If you’re a guy, you’ve probably at some point asked or been asked, “How much would it take for you to get into the ring with MIKE TYSON?”

Soon we may know.

Believe it or not, producers are hoping to create a reality series in which an everyday guy would train and then fight former heavyweight champion MIKE TYSON! What’s even crazier, TYSON has expressed interest in the show as well!

Stu Schreiberg, of Triage Entertainment [which put on the “Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show” special last year], is the creative genius behind this idea. Hmmm… maybe Stu should climb into the ring?