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  1. Star Trek: The Next Generation Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard Jonathan Frakes as Commander William T. Riker Brent Spiner as Lieutenant-Commander Data LeVar Burton as Lieutenant-Commander Geordi La Forge Michael Dorn as Helmsman and Chief Security Officer Worf Gates McFadden as Chief Medical Officer Beverly Crusher Marina Sirtis as Counselor Deanna Troi Wil Wheaton as Ensign Wesley Crusher Denise Crosby as Security Chief Tasha Yar Diana Muldaur as Chief Medical Officer Katherine Pulaski Colm Meaney as Transporter Chief Miles O'Brien Whoopi Goldberg as Bartender Guinan Season 1: Sep 28, 1987 - May 16, 1988 - Executive Producer: Gene Roddenberry 1.1 and 1.2 - "Encounter at Farpoint" - Sep. 28, 1987 - Directed by Corey Allen (Buzz Gunderson in "Rebel without a Cause," Primetime Emmy Award Winner for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for "Goodbye, Mr. Scripps" on "Hill Street Blues," Primetime Emmy Award Nominee for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for "Jungle Madness" on "Hill Street Blues"), Written by - Teleplay: Dorothy Fontana (Writer of 10 episodes of "Star Trek"), Story: Gene Roddenberry (Creator of "Star Trek") Featuring John de Lancie as Q (TV Executive in "The Fisher King," Donald Margolis in "Breaking Bad"), Michael Bell as Groppler Zorn (Voice of Chas Finster in "Rugrats"), DeForest Kelley as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy (H. Norbert Willis in "The Clover Throne" and Bob Harcourt, Jr. in "1800 Days to Justice" on "Route 66"), Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Court Bailiff (Chang in "The Last Emperor") [Star Trek or not, this Pilot was *rough* - both in terms of the acting (Troi was awful, Q functioned not only as a God-like being, but also as some sort of "nanny chorus," telling us what we didn't need to be told, and Data was seen grinning on more than one occasion (remember how awful Spock was, at first, in the original series - he was grinning too)). My biggest problem here wasn't the plot; it was the condescension of Q, telling the viewer what they're about to figure out for themselves - that is elementary-school TV. This was largely a very interesting plot, but the writers spoiled it for the viewers. I do wonder just how much the creators, e.g., Gene Roddenberry, had in mind when it came to essentially building the entire series around Q - could Roddenberry possibly have envisioned the glorious final episode before the series even began? Nah ....] 1.3 - "The Naked Now" - Oct. 5, 1987 - Directed by Paul Lynch (Director of "Prom Night"), Written by - Teleplay: Dorothy Fontana (2), Story: John D.F. Black (Co-Writer and Associate Producer of "The Naked Time" on "Star Trek") Featuring Brooke Bundy as Sarah MacDougal (Leah in "Firecreek," Elaine Parker on "A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors"), Benjamin W.S. Lum as Jim Shimoda (Kim Mei Clerk in "Another 48 Hrs.") ["The Naked Time" was George Takei's personal-favorite episode on "Star Trek," as he got to have fun prancing around the decks, shirtless, as a swashbuckler. That episode was written by John D.F. Black, and because of that, he was given credit for having written the story for this episode, a "parallel" version written for The Next Generation. In case anyone has forgotten, this is the one where "Data Does Dasha" (sorry, Tasha, and not to be confused by a porn movie with a similar-sounding name) - him being an android, one can only imagine his thrusts-per-minute - Tasha looked pretty tired when she emerged from her quarters. The Pilot featured a cameo by McCoy; this episode has a verbal reference to Kirk - this was undoubtedly to "ease seasoned viewers into" this new and very different series - it seems like a wise and prudent decision. The "Acting Captain Wesley Crusher" scene may have been the beginning of the hatred for Wesley hijacking the series (according to people who didn't like him; to me, his "precocious genius" got a bit annoying, but never went so far overboard that I couldn't stand him, plus he redeemed himself as the series progressed).] 1.4 - "Code of Honor" - Oct. 12, 1987 - Directed by Russ Mayberry (Director of "Unidentified Flying Oddball") and Les Landau (Assistant Director of "Leadbelly"), Written by Katharyn Powers (Writer of "The Longest Drive" for "The Quest") and Michael Baron (BS Degree in Organizational Systems Management from California State University, Northridge) Featuring Jessie Lawrence Ferguson as Lutan (Calder in "Prince of Darkness"), Karole Selmon as Yareena (Homeless Woman #1 in "The Soloist"), Julian Christopher as Hagon (Prison Truck Guard #1 in "X-Men: The Last Stand") [A very poor episode in the weakest season of the series, "Code of Honor" features bad writing, bad direction, and acting that should have - and could have - been stronger. I can't remember the last time I had to hunt this deeply for something else - anything else - the directors, writers, and actors did outside of "The Next Generation," and it's a shame that *this* has to be the episode with the most primitive black stereotypes in this normally equitable series (Ferengi stereotypes notwithstanding). Just look at what I found for the three guest stars - other than Jessie Lawrence Ferguson, it's downright embarrassing to even cite their other acting achievements, especially when all three people did a perfectly decent job in the episode. Karole Selmon is absolutely lovely, and was fine in her role; yet ... "Homeless Woman #1?" Ugh. For one of the writers, Michael Baron, I couldn't find *anything* else he did, so I simply listed his degree, and then when I researched Cal State Northridge, I couldn't even find the degree. Interestingly, Patrick Stewart is in "X-Men: The Last Stand," and I'm wondering if his influence helped Julian Christopher get his role (Prison Truck Guard #1? Ugh). I'm not very politically correct, but this episode makes even me cringe, and I'm wondering if it should have ever been made in the first place. I don't know of a good way to put this, so I'll just come out and say it: Denise Crosby has too much air time in these first three episodes. The most laughably bad moment in the episode? When millions of people are about to die, Tasha is about to engage in a fight to the death, the Enterprise is in a gravely acute diplomatic crisis with the Ligonians, and Riker - who is acting captain - has just finished making a silent soliloquy about the gravity of the situation. Then, the turbolift doors in the bridge open, and Wesley Crusher is standing there, grinning. Riker greets him as if he were working the registration desk at the Four Seasons in Fiji, smiles warmly, and says, "Care to lend a hand? Sit at ops," as he waves Wesley onto the bridge, gets onto the turbolift himself, and exits the scene with this young child strolling over to the control panel, unattended. Are you kidding me?] 1.5 - "The Last Outpost" - Oct. 19, 1987 - Directed by Richard A. Colla (Director of "Olly Olly Oxen Free"), Written by Richard Krzemien (Writer of "Kentucky Rye" for "The New Twilight Zone") Featuring Armin Shimerman as Letek (Stan the Caddy in "The Caddy" on "Seinfeld"), Jake Dengel as Mordoc (Pee Wee in "Ironweed"), Tracey Walter as Keyron (Lamar in "Silence of the Lambs"), Darryl Henriques as Portal 63 (Life Reporter in "The Right Stuff"), Mike Gomez as DaiMon Tarr (Auto Circus Cop in "The Big Lebowski") [Note: After these first 5 episodes (I'm calling the pilot episodes 1-2), I don't know how this show survived the rest of 1987. I don't think I'd ever seen any of these except for "The Naked Now," and they are all ... just ... largely ... bad. I've actually forgotten, at this point, why I ever liked this show so much. Leigh, I'm very much looking forward to watching the entire first half of Season One (which hasn't been terribly fun), and then purchasing Wil Wheaton's book - it should be the perfect quick read for me when I'm finished. I do think "The Last Outpost" is the second consecutive episode where TNG has reinforced negative stereotypes about a human ethnicity of people (with the Ferengi, you can pick your ethnicity, but they're surely being mocked as "short little mercantile, conniving opportunists who won't hesitate to cheat others"). I don't remember how I initially reacted to the Ferengi appearing on the view-screen as giants, but it certainly echoed, and was influenced by, "The Corbomite Maneuver" in The Original Series, except that Balok was just a wonderful person - the type of guy you'd enjoy sharing a glass of tranya with. My problem, in general, with the Ferengi is that the series makes them just a little too easy to hate, and there's no complexity to them at all - they're defined in black-and-white, shallow, and (I guess the current term among Millenials is, "basic"). Also, it's somewhat painful to see them jumping up, down, all-around while Riker is trying to have a discussion with Portal 63. Sure, they've now been established as a race of entities you'll hate upon their very mention, but isn't that just a little too convenient? Looking back, after having watched every episode (I've written this summary at different times), I don't remember a single moment of honor among them.] 1.6. "Where No One Has Gone Before" - Oct. 26, 1987 - Directed by Rob Bowman (4 consecutive Primetime Emmy Award Nominee for Outstanding Drama Series for "The X-Files"), Written by Diane Duane (Writer of the "Young Wizards" novels) and Michael Reeves (Daytime Emmy Award Winner for Outstanding Writing in an Animated Program for "Batman: the Animated Series") Featuring Stanley Kamel as Kosinski (Dr. Charles Kroeger on "Monk"), Eric Menyuk as The Traveler (Carney in "Der Roachenkavalier" on "Hill Street Blues"), Herta Ware as Maman Yvette Picard (Rosie Lefkowitz in "Cocoon"), Biff Yeager as Chief Engineer Argyle (George in "Edward Scissorhands") [When Troi, Ryker, and Argyle go to meet Kosinski and The Traveler in the transporter room, the cinematography, lighting, and camera angle is all wrong (see the first picture above). In the "Awkward Scene of the Episode," when The Traveler says to Wesley Crusher, "Something troubles you with the way this is configured?" there is silence, as Crusher sits there nodding for four full seconds which seem like an eternity. This episode clearly borrows something from "2001: A Space Odyssey," as the Enterprise is jettisoned one-billion light years away, in an unknown part of the universe which features fantastic lights outside the ship (see the 3rd picture), and where ideas come to life in the form of terrifyingly real characters from times past. Wesley is introduced to the viewers by The Traveler as a Mozart-like genius, to be nurtured (but not informed) by Picard - this sets the stage for him being a Boy Wonder in future episodes. Kamel overacts as the annoyingly arrogant Kosinski, both while intractably cocky, and also while reduced to a blubbering "I didn't mean to do that," before he gets largely elbowed out of the episode - why he wasn't taken into quarters, I'm not sure.] 7. "Lonely Among Us" - Nov. 2, 1987: 8. "Justice" - Nov. 9, 1987: [Note: In "Justice," Worf's comment at 5:58 on Amazon, "Nice planet," was the first laugh-out-loud funny moment I've ever had in any Star Trek episode, from either series. I want to take shore leave on this planet. This series is improving, markedly.] 9. "The Battle" - Nov. 16, 1987: 10. "Hide and Q" - Nov. 23, 1987: 11. "Haven" - Nov. 30, 1987: [Note: Some of these recent episodes were panned by some reputable online sources; I, on the other hand, remember again why I like TNG after watching them. In "Hide and Q," Worf proved himself to be one of the great heroes of the series. Leigh, I assume Majel Barrett will redeem herself later in the series? There's nothing, nothing at all, to like about her in this episode.] 12. "The Big Goodbye" - Jan. 11, 1988: [Note: Does anyone know why there was such a gap between episodes 11 and 12?] 13. "Datalore" - Jan. 18, 1988: [Note: This is the final episode covered in Wil Wheaton's book, so if you've made it to here, buy the book.] 14. "Angel One" - Jan 28, 1988 - 15. "11001001" - Feb. 1, 1988: [Note: It's not the first season that's bad; it's only the first few episodes - the critics are wrong, and I'm loving this. In this highly structured, almost military environment, a logical person might assume that, at this point, the wonky holodeck might become prohibited, but, meh, to heck with logic.] 16. "Too Short A Season" - Feb. 8, 1988 - 1.17 - "When the Bough Breaks" - Feb. 15, 1988 - Directed by Kim Manners (Director and/or Producer of 132 episodes of "The X-Files" (xx)), Written by Hannah Louise Shearer (Writer of "Q-Less" on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine") Featuring Jerry Hardin as Radue (Deep Throat on "The X-Files" (xx)), Brenda Strong as Rashella (1980 Miss Arizona, Sue Ellen Mischke on "Seinfeld" (xx), Mary Alice Young on "Desperate Housewives," Ilene Stowe on "Fear the Walking Dead"), Jandi Swanson as Katie (Jenny Drake on "Baywatch"), Paul Lambert as Melian (Washington Post National Editor in "All the President's Men"), Ivy Bethune as Duana (Evelyn Tuttle on "Father Murphy") [I get the concept of cloaking a planet visually by bending light rays, but ... isn't there this other force called "gravity?" Regardless, Riker is positively thrilled at the possibility (and realization) of finding the mythical planet Aldea, something akin to Atlantis. "When the Bough Breaks" is an unheralded, but extremely strong, episode with a fine writer in Hannah Louise Shearer, a talented director in Kim Manners, and the sometimes-hilarious, always-alluring presence of Brenda Strong (who guest-starred with Armin Shimerman in the very funny episode, "The Caddy," on "Seinfeld" (Strong is in the first photo up above). You'll see, in the first ten minutes of this episode, that it stands above the norm, and that the slow-starting first season is (and has been) fully on-track - there is beauty, mystery, intrigue, and especially after the uninvited visit to the Enterprise, Hitchcockian suspense, animated by the telepathic powers of Counselor Troi (you get a glimpse here of how effective Troi becomes in later seasons, after getting off to such a clumsy beginning). A subtly hilarious moment occurs right after a little girl named Alexandra disappears - the next scene shows a girl playing a musical instrument, and when she disappears, the instrument simply tips over: This is absolutely a "You have to see it to appreciate it" moment, but if it doesn't slip by you (and it easily could), you might find it laugh-out-loud funny - there's obviously a stagehand holding the instrument who forces it to tip over. It is remarkable just how much Wesley has aged since Episode 1 - he has clearly entered puberty, and has gone from being a boy to a young man in just a few, short months. I'm not certain, but this episode seems to contain a very early reference to the lethal potential of climate change - how many dramas can you think of that mentioned it nearly thirty years ago?] 1.18 - "Home Soil" - Feb. 22, 1988 - Directed by Corey Allen (Buzz Gunderson in "Rebel without a Cause," Emmy Award for Directing "Goodbye, Mr. Scripps" on "Hill Street Blues"), Written by: Teleplay - Robert Sabaroff (Writer of "The Immunity Syndrome" on "Star Trek"), Story - Robert Sabaroff, Karl Geurs (Director and Co-Writer of "Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin"), Ralph Sanchez (Writer and Executive Producer of "Boxcars") Featuring Walter Gotell (Second Officer of the Königin Luise in "The African Queen," Oberleutnant Muesel in "The Guns of Navarone," Hans Lasser in "The Hi-Jackers" on "The Saint" (xx), Morzeny in "From Russia with Love," General Gogol in six "James Bond" films), Elizabeth Lindsey (Miss Hawaii, 1978), Gerard Prendergast (Erik Slade on "Summer"), Mario Rocuzzo (Angelo in "The Locket" on "All in the Family" (xx), Andrew in "Goodbye, Mr. Scripps" on "Hill Street Blues" (xx)), Carolyn Barry (The Metron in "Arena" on "Star Trek" (xx)) 19. "Coming of Age" - March 14, 1988 - 20. "Heart of Glory" - March 21, 1988 - 21. "Arsenal of Freedom" - April 11, 1988 - [Note: "Get Off My Train!"] 22. "Symbiosis" - April 18, 1988 - 23. "Skin of Evil" - April 25, 1988 - [Note: RIP, TY.] 24. "We'll Always Have Paris" - May 2, 1988 - [Note: That's Michelle Phillips from "The Mamas and The Papas."] 25. "Conspiracy" - May 9, 1988 - [Note: My first question: The "homing beacon sent from earth comment at the very end ... what did that imply? It sounds ominous, but nothing seemed to pan out from it in later shows that I'm aware of, so ...? (Answers will be Spoilers)"] 26. "The Neutral Zone" - May 16, 1988 - [Note: And that's a wrap for season one.]
  2. I saw Aziz Ansari on an episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, liked him, so I thought I'd give his show, "Parks and Recreation" a whirl. Well, I haven't watched any of it yet, but I'm going to watch the pilot perhaps tonight, and I didn't want to lose all this title-tag information, so I'm posting now, will edit later. BTW, I don't summarize plots - just as I didn't with my Complete! Series! Of! Night! Gallery! Commentaries! I write these both as a (hopefully entertaining) supplement for people who have either just watched the episode, are in the middle of watching it, or are simply trying to refresh their memory in the future (that's why I include pictures that I think are representative of each episode); these are definitely not "reviews," and are just as much for my own future reference as for other people's benefit (I figure, if I'm going to spend five minutes jotting down notes for myself, why not spend seven minutes making things enjoyable for others?) Halfway into the third episode, I see no reason not to continue watching Parks and Recreation (I really like it!), so let me know if you want to see anything more than what I'm already doing (there is no better "guide" than watching the episode itself, and these commentaries aren't unlike reading the morning paper after you've already watched the Monday Night Football game). *** SPOILERS *** List of Characters in Parks and Recreation which contains look-ahead descriptions of what they end up doing. Season One 1. "Pilot" - Apr 9, 2009: <--- Leslie falls into the pit. Written by Greg Daniels and Michael Schur, Directed by Greg Daniels [Notes: I'd never even heard of this show before this evening. From what I can gather from the pilot episode, this is very much of a tongue-in-cheek, self-aware farce, somewhat along the lines of "Arrested Development," but in a pseudo-documentary manner, as if the whole thing is being filmed like the live episode of "ER," "Ambush." Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) takes her mid-level bureaucrat role very seriously (and I suspect this series has more than its share of bloopers from the actors laughing when they shouldn't), Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari) is a cocky, lackadaisical, skirt-chaser as Knope's underling for the Department of Parks and Recreation in the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana, and Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones) is a parody of a serious, concerned citizen. I can tell after ten minutes that the fourth wall is broken perhaps more often than I'd prefer - time will tell whether or not this gets to be too much. Mark Brendanawicz (Paul Schneider) is a funny satire of a "go-getter" - a friend of Leslie's (who slept with her five years before and briefly forgot he did) - and Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt) plays the hilarious injured musician-boyfriend of Ann's - he hurt his leg falling into the pit, and uses a robotic clamp to grab beer bottles, etc. (his opening scene is really very funny). Summer intern April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza) is a archetypal gum-chewing, disconnected teen, and Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) is the seemingly Libertarian boss whom Leslie needs to ask for permission to turn the pit into a park. Seven major characters were introduced during this half-hour in a very easy-to-digest fashion, and I loved this pilot episode.] 2. "Canvassing" - Apr 16, 2009: <--- The team studying canvassing brochures written by (who else?) Leslie Written by Rachel Axler, Directed by Seth Gordon [Notes: I don't know if I'm going to get tired of this, but so far it's pretty darned entertaining. I read that before the Pilot was shown, Leslie was written to be a less-likable character, and I think it was a really good idea making the audience like her more; otherwise, it would have been a chore to get through this. I'm writing this as I'm watching (going back-and-forth), and so far my least-favorite character is Mark Brendanawicz because he's just so blatantly chill, but maybe that difference - which is standing out a little too much right now - will make him grow on me going forward. The sex-offender scene was a riot, and fortunately not too overplayed (that's a good sign, although it could have been even more subtle). Subtlety will be so important in this series - the man who stood up at the town-hall meeting, complaining about the loud guitar playing, overacted his role at first, and it's little things like that which can ruin a series (although his "You suck!" comment was funny) - I'm writing this, turning a blind eye to the fact that it ran for seven seasons. Oh, this show is shaping up to be quite amusing.] 3. "The Reporter" - Apr 23, 2009: <--- Shauna Malwae-Tweep talking with Leslie. Written by Daniel J. Goor, Directed by Jeffrey Blitz [Notes: Yes, this is a *lot* like "Arrested Development" in that there are humorous scenes that are less than one-second long (I'm thinking now about the online Scrabble move FISHING -> IS). Oh, how I love the little moments like when Mark walks out with his arm around the reporter, Shauna Malwae-Tweep (Alison Becker) - the entire scene takes about one-quarter second - it's this rapid-fire, 50-funny-things-in-30-minutes, slapstick-like, machine-gun comedy that I liked about Arrested Development (although that show may have been a touch *too* subtle for mass acceptance). I wonder if "America's Funniest Home Videos" with Bob Saget was the precursor of this type of humor. In a 30-minute show, 26 minutes of it would be either commercials or Bob Saget yucking it up, and all you wanted was for Bob to Shut! Up! and play the next videos in rapid succession. You have to love the allophone (with "t" and "d") when Shauna comes trotting out of Mark's pick-up truck: "Hi! Sorry I'm late!" ... "Do ... you ... live near Mark?" "No, not at all." Yeah, Mark is growing on me, all right. And Leslie's subsequent seat-recline was laugh-out-loud funny. Does anyone think that Leslie looks like "someone we all know?" (And to a lesser degree, same with Mark? I can think of people I've met in my past who look a lot like them.) Through this episode, the director appears to be breaking the fourth wall with restraint, so it's actually a plus at this point rather than an annoyance. Andy's off-camera "Men are dawgs!" type of comments are uproarious. I had an audible "Oh no!" when Mark said, "I wouldn't say ... *romantically* involved ...." How did I not know this show existed?] 4, "Boy's Club" - Apr 30, 2009: <-- Ann and Leslie crashing the "Boy's Club" Written by Alan Yang, Directed by Michael McCullers [Notes: Dog-poop fights: If you can't lick 'em, join 'em. During the "apology video" to women politicians, I looked at the timer, and realized I was almost halfway through the episode - without commercials (on Amazon), this show *flies* by. One thing that can slip by the viewer in these episodes is the cinematography - the camera work is remarkable, and I have to think it's as much directorial skill as camera work because the timing is just so awesome. Leslie remarks on Ron's "full moustache," and in the next quarter-second, the camera moves in for a droll close-up; then it's over. And I love the allegory of dog-poop fights with Leslie's personal Watergate (because she opened a gift basket from a potential contractor). I kind of wish I wasn't writing these notes because every time I laugh out loud (like during Leslie's tearful filmed confession), I cut over here to write something. Hmmm ... The chase down the street on crutches and without pants! Writing detailed commentary about this show is like reviewing individual dishes at Minibar - it just doesn't work, but man oh man I'm loving this show so far.] 5. "The Banquet" - May 7, 2009: <--- Leslie sporting a mannish do. Written by Tucker Cawley, Directed by Beth McCarthy-Miller [Notes: They're really making the most out the murals on the wall of the Parks and Recreation building which, in case anyone doesn't already know, were ubiquitous things from Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "Works Progress Administration" - we have some here in Washington, DC. If anyone has a chance to go into the impressive Ariel Rios Federal Building on 11th and Penn (where the EPA is headquartered), make sure to walk up or down the awesome spiral staircases (where hangs a Foucault Pendulum): On each floor (on both sides of the building), there are WPA murals which look a *lot* like the ones in Parks and Recreation. If you know any EPA employee, ask them to give you a tour of this amazing building - it's worth a special effort just to see the staircases and murals. I swear, so far my favorite character in this show is Andy (the injured husband) - every single thing he says, or slight move he makes, causes me to giggle. I am so glad I'm writing this show up because if I wasn't, I could go through the entire series in about four days - I don't think I've yet seen a minute-long slice without it being funny. "The Banquet" may be my least-favorite episode of the first five, but it was still a winner - how did this show not have ten-million viewers?] 6. "Rock Show" - May 14, 2009: <--- Andy gets his cast off (and gets cast off by Ann) Written by Norm Hiscock, Directed by Michael Schur (2) [Notes: Finally! Some character development! And some plot advancement, but they had to wait until the season finale to do it. The one major storyline here is Ann throwing Andy out of the house after learning that he waited an extra two weeks before having his cast removed (because "he liked her serving him dinner"), and the two minor storylines are Leslie and Paul nuzzling (after hooking up once about five years ago), and Paul subsequently falling into the pit like Andy did, apparently hurting himself (but we don't really know since the season ended). This was refreshing, having some degree of continuity to the series other than "The Pit" (which is featured in one of Andy's awful rock songs in this episode - his band is just terrible. Rather than having this be "a show about nothing" like Seinfeld (or, should I say, "a show that deeply examines one seemingly unimportant construct, like "a meeting, or "a canvassing," etc. which is what Seinfeld did), it's refreshing to have the characters change (even a little bit) and grow, so the viewer feels they're investing something into the series, rather than simply watching random episodes and not missing a thing if they don't. Leslie's date with the older bureaucrat made me shiver - that was *really* creepy, in a very amusing sort of way - that man (Ron Perkins) played his role perfectly. One other thing: When Andy got his cast off, it was *gross*! And, Season One is a wrap and a thumbs-up. Note: All six shows had different directors and writers (eleven people total) except for Michael Schur, who worked on two episodes.
  3. The Cast of Hill Street Blues, which includes the main ensemble and other recurring characters - these won't be listed under each episode, as there's no point in reinventing the wheel. Here are the credited actors in the pilot: Daniel J. Travanti as Capt. Francis Xavier "Frank" Furillo Michael Conrad as Sgt. Phil Freemason Esterhaus Michael Warren as Ofc. Bobby Hill Bruce Weitz as Det. Mick Belker James B. Sikking as Sgt. (later Lt./Sgt./Lt.) Howard Hunter Joe Spano as Sgt. (later Lt.) Henry Goldblume Barbara Bosson as Fay Furillo Taurean Blacque as Det. Neal Washington Kiel Martin as Det. J.D. LaRue Rene Enriquez as Lt. Ray Calletano (later Capt.) Betty Thomas as Ofc. (later Sgt.) Lucille Bates Charles Haid as Ofc. Andy Renko Veronica Hamel as Joyce Davenport Season One (Jan 15, 1981 - May 26, 1981) 1.1 - "Hill Street Station" - Directed by Robert Butler, Written by Michael Kozoll (Co-Creator of "Hill Street Blues") and Steven Bochco (Co-Creator of "Hill Street Blues") Featuring Panchito Gómez (Young Abraham in "Selena"), Trinidad Silva (Frog in "Colors"), Barbara Babcock (Emmy Nominee for "Outstanding Supporting Acrtress in a Drama Series" as Dorothy Jennings on "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman"), Mark Metcalf (Doug Neidermeyer in "Animal House"), Steven Bauer (as Rocky Echevarria) (Manny Riberta in "Scarface"), Charles Seaverns (Real Estate Man in "Frances"), Veronica Redd (Mamie Johnson on "The Young and the Restless"), Eleanor McCoy (Emerald City Citizen and Poppy in "The Wiz," and Bird in Paradise and Najua in "Timbuktu!" on Broadway), Vernon Washington (Rev. Mills Vernon on "Roots: The Next Generations") [My TV days ended with my high school graduation, and I went *decades* without watching any television - for example, I've never seen "Dallas" in my life, and I'd never before seen "Hill Street Blues" either. The sheer number of characters in the ensemble cast is daunting, but the list of pictures above is more than sufficient to get you through this first episode - it will also help to know what the ranks mean within a police department, which are essential to learn (it will also help you during a traffic stop, to be able to address the officer by his or her title). Regarding the characters above, this list is typical of a U.S. Police Department, which has quasi-military ranks: Officer - The formal name of every policeman, even the lowest-ranked - a title of respect - *always* use this term at the minimum. Detective - It's own entity - often the "weird guys" dressed in plain clothes - solitary creatures who roam the night and make drug busts. Sergeant - A non-commissioned officer, sometimes held in higher esteem than a Lieutenant, just like in the U.S. Army. Lieutenant - A commissioned officer, above a Private, Corporal, and Sergeant, and the best time to earn respect (or not). Captain: The officer in charge of an entire precinct - in this case, Frank Furillo, who runs Hill Street station. The above picture doesn't really show anything "special" about this episode (the three big story lines in "Hill Street Station" were 1) the hostage situation in the liquor store, 2) Bobby Hill and Andy Renko getting shot and almost dying, and 3) the President of the United States coming to visit the precinct, but none of these is really picturesque, and so I thought I'd take an "introductory" screen shot of three of the people you're likely to be seeing just about the most. To me, Hill and Renko's surprise shooting was easily the biggest moment in the episode, but that's really hard to capture in a single photo - listening to Hill talk about the living Hell he went through as he didn't lose consciousness was pretty rough going; at least Renko mercifully lapsed into a coma for two weeks, having no memory of horrible things like rats crawling over his face. The policeman's life; 99% tedium, 1% panic - it's enough to drive some cops to suicide, like my best friend in 1993. Please do me a personal favor, and watch "Elegy for a Pig" on "Adam-12," and think of my dear friend Evan when you do - I'm going to watch it again right now, and it's 1:52 AM.]
  4. Season One (Produced by Allan Burns (Co-Creator of "The Munsters" and "Rhoda") and James L. Brooks (Producer, Director, and Writer of "Terms of Endearment," Creator of "Room 222") "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" won twenty-nine Emmy Awards - more than any other comedy in television history. 1.1 - "Love Is All Around" - Directed by Jay Sandrich (Directed 100 episodes of "The Cosby Show"), Written by Allan Burns and James L. Brooks, Co-Produced By David Davis (Co-Creator of "The Bob Newhart Show") Introducing Mary Tyler Moore, Edward Asner, Valerie Harper, Gavin MacLeod, Ted Knight, and Cloris Leachman Featuring Angus Duncan (Ticket Clerk in "Twenty-Two" on "The Twilight Zone")
  5. "Adam-12" was a favorite of mine as a pre-teen and early teen - it stars Martin Milner and Kent McCord as two LAPD officers, and follows them while they're on duty, running into various real-time situations. It was co-created by Robert Cinader, who also co-created the Adam-12 spin-off, "Emergency!," and Jack Webb, who played Sgt. Joe Friday on "Dragnet." A special mention should be made of William Boyett, who plays the tertiary character of Sergeant William "Mac" MacDonald - also of Gary Crosby, who plays the recurring, impish character of Officer Edward "Ed" Wells (cf. Season 1, Episode 22). Likewise Shaaron Claridge, who portrayed the radio dispatcher in nearly every episode - Claridge was a real-life LAPD radio dispatcher, so they never showed her face; however, she did have a cameo in one episode (Season Five's "Suspended") - she was shot from above, and wearing a wig so her identity would remain confidential. Here are the LAPD codes - this comes in very handy when you're watching the series, if you care about such detail. And I found a *wonderful* blog about Adam-12 - written by a person named Keely with whom I've exchanged a cordial email. I'll be linking to the blog entries for each episode, because it's the absolute best that I've found, and Keely is a nice person. Anyone who is looking for some in-depth information about the episodes - I heartily encourage you to explore lincolnxrayida.blogspot.com. Keely tells me it will take a couple of years to finish the entire series, but that's A-OK with me - we've got the time. I just watched Season 1, Episode 1, "The Impossible Mission," for the first time ever. Especially in this day-and-age, it is an *exceedingly* heart-warming story that might even bring tears to your eyes (as the picture below hints at). I highly recommend that if you belong to Hulu, you watch this first episode (it's free with a membership). Season One (Sep 21, 1968 - Apr 1, 1969) - 1.1 - "Log 1: The Impossible Mission" <--- These are the links to the excellent lincolnxrayida.blogspot.com Directed by Jack Webb, Written by John Randolph (Pseudonym for Jack Webb) Featuring Ann Morgan Guilbert (Millie Helper in "The Dick Van Dyke Show") - 1.2 "Log 141 - The Color TV Bandit" Directed by Phil Rawlins, Written by Richard Neil Morgan Featuring Cloris Leachman (Academy Award Winner for Best Supporting Actress in "The Last Picture Show") - 1.3 - "Log 11 - It's Just a Little Dent, Isn't It?" Directed by Hollingsworth Morse, Written by Preston Wood Featuring Zalman King (Director of "Wild Orchid") - 1.4 - "Log 131 - Reed, the Dicks Have Their Job, and We Have Ours" Directed by Hollingsworth Morse (2), Written by Preston Wood (2) Featuring Bob Hastings (Lt. Elroy Carpenter on "McHale's Navy") - 1.5 - "Log 91 - You're Not the First Guy's Had the Problem" Directed by Alan Crosland, Written by Preston Wood (3) Featuring Richard Van Vleet (Dr. Chuck Tyler on "All My Children") - 1.6 - "Log 161 - And You Want Me To Get Married!" Directed by Phil Rawlins (2) and Phil Bowles, Written by Preston Wood (4) Featuring Eve Brent (Saturn Award Winner for Best Supporting Actress in "Fade to Black") - 1.7 - "Log 71 - I Feel Like a Fool, Malloy" Directed by Alan Crosland (2), Written by Robert I. Holt Featuring Catlin Adams (Rivka Rabinovitch in "The Jazz Singer") - 1.8 - "Log 72 - El Presidente" Directed by Phil Rawlins (3), Written by Robert H. Forward Featuring Stafford Repp (Police Chief Clancy O'Hara on "Batman") - 1.9 - "Log 714 - Everyone Nods (The Lost Crossover)" Directed by Hollingsworth Morse (3), Written by Tom Dunphry Featuring Bruce Watson (Crewman Green in "The Man Trap" on "Star Trek") - 1.10 - "Log 132 - Producer" Directed by Phil Rawlins (4), Written by Richard Neil Morgan (2) Featuring Karen Black (Academy Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actress in "Five Easy Pieces") - 1.11 - "Log 111 - The Boa Constrictor" Directed by Hollingsworth Morse (4), Written by Preston Wood (5) Featuring Luana Anders (Catherine Medina in "The Pit and the Pendulum") - 1.12 - "Log 61 - The Runaway" Directed by Phil Rawlins (5), Written by Noel Nosseck Featuring Dorothy Neumann (Elizabeth Jennings in "Sorry, Wrong Number") - 1.13 - "Log 122 - Christmas - The Yellow Dump Truck" Directed by Hollingsworth Morse (5), Written by Preston Wood (6) Featuring Mittie Lawrence (Emma in "Funny Girl") - 1.14 - "Log 81 - The Long Walk" Directed by Phil Rawlins (6), Directred by Robert C. Dennis Featuring Richard Hale (Narrated "Peter and the Wolf" in 1939 for "Sergei Prokofiev" at Tanglewood) - 1.15 - "Log 32 - Jimmy Eisley's Dealing Smack" Directed by Hollingsworth Morse (6), Written by Preston Wood (7) Featuring Jenny Sullivan (Kristine Walsh in the NBC Miniseries, "V") - 1.16 - "Log 62 - Grand Theft Horse?" Directed by Hollingsworth Morse (7), Written by Richard Neil Morgan (3) Featuring Tim Matheson (Eric "Otter" Stratton in "National Lampoon's Animal House") - 1.17 - "Log 33 - It All Happened So Fast" <--- If you're only going to watch one episode, make this the one. Directed by Bruce Kessler, Written by Preston Wood (8) Featuring Jack Hogan (PFC William G. Kirby on "Combat!") - 1.18 - "Log 112 - You Blew It" Directed by Hollingsworth Morse (8), Written by Michael Donovan Featuring John Lupton ("Sister Mary" in "Battle Cry") - 1.19 - "Log 52 - A Jumper - Code Two" Directed by Harry Morgan (Colonel Sherman T. Potter on "M*A*S*H*"), Written by Richard Neil Morgan (4) Featuring Henry Beckman (Commander Paul Richard on "Flash Gordon") - 1.20 - "Log 73 - I'm Still a Cop" Directed by Phil Rawlins (7), Written by Harold Jack Bloom Featuring Jerry Quarry (Yes, *that* Jerry Quarry: "The Bellflower Bomber") - 1.21 - "We Can't Just Walk Away from It" Directed by Hollingsworth Morse (9), Written by Michael Donovan (2) Featuring Mary Gregory (Dr. Melik in "Sleeper") - 1.22 - "Log 152 - A Dead Cop Can't Help Anyone" Directed by Hollingsworth Morse (10), Written by Michael Donovan (3) Featuring Barry Williams (Greg Brady on "The Brady Bunch") and the first appearance of Gary Crosby (Son of Bing Crosby) - 1.23 - "Log 12 - He Was Trying To Kill Me" <--- Perhaps the single saddest thirty minutes of TV I've ever watched in my life. Directed by Hollingsworth Morse (11), Written by Robert I. Holt (2) Featuring Dawn Lyn (Dodie Douglas on "My Three Sons") - 1.24 "Log 172 - Boy, The Things You Do for The Job" Directed by Hollingsworth Morse (12), Written by Michael Donovan (4) Featuring Ahna Capri (Tania in "Enter the Dragon") - 1.25 - "Log 92 - Tell Him He Pushed Back a Little Too Hard" Directed by Phil Rawlins (8), Written by Preston Wood (9) Featuring Dick Sargent (Darrin Stephens (#2) on "Bewitched") - 1.26 - "Log 22 - So This Little Guy Goes into This Bar, and ...." Directed by Phil Rawlins (9), Written by Preston Wood (10) Featuring Harry Dean Stanton (Brett in "Alien")
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