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  1. I had heard of Route 66, but never knew what it was (other than a TV series), so I decided to watch Season 1, Episode 1, and was pleased to see Martin Milner co-starring as Tod Stiles (Martin Milner was the policeman driving on Adam-12, which I *loved* as a young teen). The other co-star (for the first three seasons) was George Maharis, as Buz Murdock, who also starred on the short-lived series, "The Most Deadly Game." After Maharis had to drop out because he contracted hepatitis, he was replaced by Glenn Corbett (also as Buz Murdock) who was, believe it or not, Zefram Cochrane: the inventor of warp drive on Star Trek! The series is free on Hulu (with ads). Route 66 is a "Thelma & Louise"-style "road trip" series, in which the same two friends run into different situations and people each week (hence the term, "hybrid anthology-drama"). It was an indirect-spin-off of the series "Naked City." It's an "anthology," because every week is in a different location, with different characters and situations; it's a "serial," because it's always the same premise, with the same two co-stars - so you have a little of both. Episode 1 was really good - very creepy, actually - and if I watch more episodes from Season 1, I'll fill them in here as I go (if you see them filled in, that means I've watched more, but didn't want to take up your time with additional postings). Where were you when you heard about the World Trade Center bombings on 9/11? It probably seems very fresh in your mind - it's important to remember, when watching TV shows such as Route 66, that the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki occurred just as recently to them, as the World Trade Center bombings occurred to us now - that's how fresh WWII was in their minds. I'm not saying Route 66 has anything to do with WWII; merely that it helps to have that perspective because that war influenced everything (and, yes, I'd be lying if I said their weren't some allusions to WWII in Season 1, Episode 1). I'm not sure if the website, route66tvshow.blogspot.com, is comprehensive, but the work they put into covering Season 1, Episode 1 is absolutely extraordinary, and I'll be using it as my reference-link until I find a reason not to. I can't believe someone could put *this* much work into covering all 116 episodes, but maybe it's true - anyway: *highly* recommended from what little I've seen. Anyone wishing to go into depth about any given episode should go to this blog, and explore it in detail. [Edit: Unfortunately, it only goes on for the first nine episodes, and I've had no success in contacting the blogger - what a shame.] Season One (Oct 7, 1960 - Jun 16, 1961) 1.1 - "Black November" - Directed by Philip Leacock (Director of "The War Lover"), Written by Stirling Silliphant (Academy Award Winner for Best Adapted Screenplay for "In the Heat of the Night") Featuring Everett Sloane (Bernstein in "Citizen Kane") and in an *extremely* early appearance: Keir Dullea (David Bowman in "2001: A Space Odyssey") [Apologies for the darkness of the picture above, but it was one of the few good shots of a very, very young Keir Dullea ("Open the pod bay doors, HAL.")] 1.2 - "A Lance of Straw" - Directed by Roger Kay (Director of "The Cabinet of Caligari"), Written by Stirling Silliphant (2) Featuring Janice Rule (Helen Foley in "Nightmare as a Child" on "The Twilight Zone"), Thomas Gomez, and Nico Minardos (the Doctor in "The Gift" on "The Twilight Zone" (2)) 1.3 - "The Swan Bed" - Directed by Elliot Silverstein (Director of "Cat Ballou," Director of 4 episodes of "The Twilight Zone" (3)), Written by Stirling Silliphant (3) Featuring Zina Bethune (Gail Lucas on "The Nurses"), Betty Field (Mae in "Of Mice and Men"), Henry Hull (The Werewolf in "The Werewolf of London"), Murry Hamilton (Death in "One for the Angels" on "The Twilight Zone" (4), Mr. Robinson in "The Graduate") 1.4 - "The Man on the Monkey Board" - Directed by Roger Kay (2), Written by Stirling Silliphant (4) Featuring Lew Ayres (Paul Bäumer in "All Quiet on the Western Front," Academy Award Nominee for Best Actor as Dr. Robert Richardson in "Johnny Belinda"), Alfred Ryder (Edgar Price in "The Borderland" on "The Outer Limits," Professor Robert Crater in "The Man Trap" on "Star Trek" (2, the series premier, aired exactly fifty years to the day before I'm writing this sentence)), Frank Overton (Sheriff Heck Tate in "To Kill a Mockingbird"), Bruce Dern (Academy Award Nominee for Best Actor (2) as Woodrow "Woody" Grant in "Nebraska," Academy Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actor as Captain Bob Hyde in "Coming Home"), Ed Asner (Seven-Time Emmy Award Winner, Lou Grant on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," Captain Davies on "Roots"), Roger C. Carmel (Roger Buell on "The Mothers-in-Law," Harcourt Fenton Mudd in "I, Mudd" on "Star Trek" (3)) 1.5 - "The Strengthening Angels" - Directed by Arthur Hiller (Directed "Love Story"), Written by Stirling Silliphant (5) Featuring Suzanne Pleshette (Anne in "Hitch Hike" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," Annie Hayworth in "The Birds," Emily Hartley on "The Bob Newhart Show" ), John Larch (Mr. Fremont in "It's a Good Life" on "The Twilight Zone" (5), Chief of Police in "Dirty Harry"), Harry Townes (Three episodes of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (2) Arch Hammer in "The Four of Us Are Dying" (2) on "The Twilight Zone" (6), Dr. Clifford Scott in "O.B.I.T." on "The Outer Limits" (2), Reger in "The Return of the Archons" on "Star Trek" (4)), Warren Stevens 1.6 - "Ten Drops of Water" - Directed by Philip Leacock (2), Written by Howard Rodman (Writer of 26 episodes of "Naked City") Featuring Burt Brinckerhoff (Director of "7th Heaven"), Deborah Walley (Gidget in "Gidget Goes Hawaiian"), Tony Haig (Johnny Hutton in "Twenty Miles from Dodge" on Gunsmoke) [Tony Haig, the twelve-year-old boy in this episode, didn't go on to have a big acting career, but he was absolutely magnificent in this episode, and it would have been justified to nominate (or award) him an Emmy for his fantastic performance here.] 1.7 - "Three Sides" - Directed by Philip Leacock (3), Written by Stirling Silliphant (6) Featuring E.G. Marshall (Juror #4 in "12 Angry Men," Ronald J. Grimes in "Mail Order Prophet" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (3)), Stephen Bolster (Roger Landover in "One Life to Live,"), Joey Heatherton (Singer on "The Joey Heatherton Album,"), Johnny Seven (Karl Matuschka in "The Apartment,") Paul Genge (Mike in "Bullitt") 1.8 - "Legacy for Lucia" - Directed by Philip Leacock (4), Written by - Teleplay: Stirling Silliphant (7), Story: Melvin Levy (Co-Writer of "The Six Million Dollar Man" (movie)) and Stirling Silliphant Featuring Arlene Martel (Morgue Nurse in "Twenty Two" on "The Twilight Zone" (7), T'Pring in "Amok Time" on "Star Trek" (5)), John Larch (2), Jay C. Flippen (Happy Spangler in "The Return of Happy Spangler" on "The Dick Van Dyke Show") 1.9 - "Layout at Glen Canyon" - (Unfortunately, route66tvshow.blogspot.com ended after just nine episodes.) Directed by Elliot Silverstein (2), Written by Stirling Silliphant (8) Featuring Charles McGraw (Mike Burkeman in "Johnny Got his Gun"). Bethel Leslie (Nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Movie as Ellen Dudley in "Statement of Fact" on "The Richard Boone Show"), Zohra Lampert (Jessica Heyman in "Let's Scare Jessica to Death"), Richard Shannon (Buck Henderson in "The Tin Star"), Lane Nakano (A Japanese-American who fought in the 442nd Infantry Regiment. in WWII, Sam in "Go for Broke"), Elizabeth MacRae (Lou-Ann Poovie on "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C."), Donna Douglas (Elly May Clampett in "The Beverly Hillbillies") [Like the excellent route66tvshow.blogspot.com blog (which, unfortunately, ends after this episode), and all the other critiques I've read, I, too, thought this episode was a jumbled mess. Then, I saw it a second time, and almost a third time, and I realize now that it isn't a jumbled mess at all; it's just too complex for a "mere" TV serial - it's a *great* episode, and commands several viewings in order to fully appreciate.] 1.10 - "The Beryllium Eater" - Directed by Alvin Ganzer (Director of 4 episodes of "The Twilight Zone" (8)), Written by Richard Collins (Producer of 127 episodes of "Bonanza") Featuring Edgar Buchanan (Pops in "Coyote Moon" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (4), Doc Bolton in "The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank" on "The Twilight Zone" (9), Uncle Joe Carson on "Petticoat Junction"), Edward Binns (Juror #6 in "12 Angry Men" (2), Mr. Brown in "Heart of Gold" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (5), Colonel Donlin in "I Shot an Arrow into the Air" and General Walters in "The Long Morrow" on "The Twilight Zone" (10)), Inger Stevens (Karen Wilson in "Forecast: Low Clouds and Coastal Fog" on "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour," Nan Adams in "The Hitch-Hiker" and Jana in "The Lateness of the Hour" on "The Twilight Zone" (11)) [How do you not love an episode when "Uncle Joe" on "Petticoat Junction" strikes it rich?] 1.11 - "A Fury Singing Flame" - Directed by Elliot Silverstein (3), Written by Stirling Silliphant (9) Featuring Leslie Nielsen (Lloyd Ashley in "The $2,000,000 Defense" and Rudy Cox in "Ambition" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (6), Steven Grainger in "The Magic Shop" on "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" (2), The Phantom in "The Phantom of What Opera" and Colonel Denny Malloy in "A Question of Fear" on "Night Gallery," Dr. Rumack in "Airplane!"), Fay Spain (Leslie Lenox in "The Last Dark Step" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (7), Mrs. Marcia Roth in "The Godfather, Part II"), Lili Kardell (Lorna Jenkins in "Malice Domestic" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (8)) [Leslie Nielsen was serious, respected, dramatic actor until the 1987 film "Airplane!," which was his very first comedic role - he essentially had two careers as an actor. I chose the entrance path to Carlsbad Caverns as a picture because it's special to me personally - I've been there twice, and on my second visit, I had to drive two hours *averaging* 75 mph (it was New Mexico, with higher speed limits) to make the final tour of the day - I made it, but I had to literally run down the trail and yell out for the tour guide: After two hours of panic, I made the tour, by about fifteen seconds - I remember the entrance path - where the photo above was filmed - very well. For anyone who's been to Carlsbad Caverns, and remembers them turning the lights off - probably one of the only times in your entire life you've experienced essentially 100% darkness - there's a good moment in this episode that will make you remember the tour.] 1.12 - "Sheba" - Directed by William F. Claxton (Directed 68 episodes of "Little House on the Prairie"), Written by Stirling Silliphant (10) Featuring Lee Marvin (Conny Miller in "The Grave" and Sam "Steel" Kelly in "Steel" on "The Twilight Zone" (12), Academy Award Winner for Best Actor as Kid Shelleen and Tim Strawn in "Cat Ballou" (2)), Whitney Blake (Dorothy Baxter on "Hazel") ["Sheba" is a riff on the biblical story of "Bathsheba" - thus, it's not a surprise that Lee Marvin's character has the *unbelievably hilarious* name of "Woody Biggs" (in the biblical version, King David lusts after Bathsheba after seeing her bathing). 1.13 - "The Quick and the Dead" - Directed by Alvin Ganser (2), Written by - Teleplay: Stirling Silliphant (11), Story: Charles Beaumont (Writer of 22 episodes of "The Twilight Zone" (13), Teleplay of "Backward, Turn Backward" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (9), Co-Producer and Co-Writer of "The Masque of the Red Death") and Jerry Sohl (Writer of 4 episodes of "Alfred Hitchcock Predsents" (10) Writer of 3 episodes of "The Twilight Zone" (14), Writer of "Counterweight" and "The Invisible Enemy" on "The Outer Limits" (3), Writer of 3 episodes of "Star Trek" (6)) Featuring Susan Kohner (Sarah Jane in "Imitation of Life"), Frank Overton (Martin's Dad in "Walking Distance" on "The Twilight Zone" (15), Sheriff Heck Tate in "To Kill a Mockingbird," Elias Sandoval in "This Side of Paradise" on "Star Trek" (7)) Betsy Jones-Moreland (Evelyn Gern in "The Last Woman on Earth"), Regis Toomey (Longest screen kiss in cinema history until 1988 (with Jane Wyman) as Capt. Joe Radcliffe in "You're In the Army Now"), Pamela Searle (Miss England in 1959, and 3rd-Runner-Up in Miss Universe), Harvey Korman (Leading Man on "The Carol Burnett Show") [This is the second episode with multiple writers (the first being 1.8, "Legacy for Lucia"), and both were very good - this one was, admittedly, a bit fanciful, perhaps "overly optimistic," but still the product of a *lot* of hard work.)] 1.14 - "Play It Glissando" - Directed by Lewis Allen (Director of "Suddenly"), Written by Stirling Silliphant (12) Featuring Anne Francis (Altaira in "Forbidden Planet"), Jack Lord (Steve McGarrett on "Hawaii Five-O"), Harold J. Stone (Lieutenant Jack Noonan in "Lamb to the Slaughter" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (11)), Barbara Bostock (Carol Parker on "Love on a Rooftop") [An interesting study into the life of a beloved genius, which often manifests as the life of a lonely savant, only able to function on stage, and not in the real world. Jack Lord plays the role of a world-class jazz trumpet player, who seems to be not as nice of a guy off-stage as he is on-stage.] 1.15 - "The Clover Throne" - Directed by Arthur Hiller (2), Written by Herman Meadow (Creator of "Have Gun - Will Travel") Featuring Jack Warden (James A. Corry in "The Lonely" and McGarry in "The Mighty Casey" on "The Twilight Zone" (16), Juror #7 in "12 Angry Men," Emmy Award Winner for Outstanding Performance as George Halas in "Brian's Song," Academy Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actor (2) as Lester Karpf in "Shampoo" and Max Corkle in "Heaven Can Wait"), Anne Helm (Holly Jones in "Follow That Dream"), Arthur Batanides (The Police Sergeant in "The Jokester" and Police Detective in "I'll Take Care of You" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (12), Leader in "Mr. Denton on Doomsday" and Tabal in "Mirror" on "The Twilight Zone" (17), Lieutenant Ken Galvin on "Specimen Unknown" on "The Outer Limits" (4), Lieutenant D'Amato in "That Which Survives" on "Star Trek" (xx)), DeForest Kelley (Dr. Leonard H. "Bones" McKoy on "Star Trek" (xx)) [I can't believe I'm saying this, because I'm usually completely put off by people like "Sweet Thing," but this has been one of my favorite episodes - it's an episode where "the end justifies the means," and if you see it, you'll understand why I say this. I'm jaded as hell, and hard to dupe, but boy oh boy was I duped - and the foreshadowing was *all there* the entire time (the fence - you'll know what I mean when the closing credits roll). This episode alone makes me want to see "Have Gun - Will Travel" because writer Herman Meadow wrote both. If you're not watching the series in order, this wouldn't be a bad place to start - just don't be too put off by Sweet Thing and hang in there.] 1.16 - "Fly Away Home, Part 1" - Directed by Arthur Hiller (3), Written by Stirling Silliphant (13) Featuring Michael Rennie (Klaatu in "The Day the Earth Stood Still"), Dorothy Malone (Academy Award Winner for Best Supporting Actress as Marylee Hadley in "Written on the Wind"), Cathy Lewis (Deirdre Thompson on "Hazel" (2)), Bert Remsen (Star in "Nashville"), Jenny Maxwell (Ellie Corbett in "Blue Hawaii") [Crop-dusting airplane crashes, field hand opens up plane and helps injured pilot out, pilot screams to field hand: "Don't stand there like a fool; get back before she explodes!," field hand backs off, pilot starts to stagger away from the plane but passes out, field hand runs back to pilot and helps him regain consciousness and limp away to a safer distance, airplane explodes, pilot turns to field hand and says, "Cigarette?" That's in the first *ninety seconds* after the opening credits. At the end of Part 1, I wouldn't exactly call this a "gripping tale," but there are some intriguing questions that need to be addressed.] 1.17 - "Fly Away Home, Part 2" - Directed by Arthur Hiller (4), Written by Stirling Silliphant (14) Featuring Michael Rennie (2), Dorothy Malone (2), Cathy Lewis (2), Bert Remsen (2), Jenny Maxwell (2), Ford Rainey (Electrician's Mate 2nd. Class Harris in "The Sand Pebbles") [I'm pretty sure that - unless special effects in 1961 were a heck of a lot better than I'm aware of, Martin Milner really *was* being filmed in the back seat of an airplane, not that that's any great stunt, but it's something. I'm writing this as I'm watching, and I'm about nine minutes into Part 2, but because of "The Clover Throne," I'm starting to wonder if Dora (the owner of the crop-dusting company, because her husband was killed in a sulfur-application accident) may not be as crazy as she seems, thinking her husband is still alive, nursing his burns somewhere - still, this is pure conjecture on my part, with absolutely no evidence to back it up with. My God I wish I had contact with George Maharis' acting coach - there's something that he does that irks the living hell out of me, and he does it consistently - whenever he's watching an act on stage (which is *often* in this series), and wants to show approval to the camera, he has this annoying little shake-of-the-head, like Gee Whiz that's great! Am I the only person in the world who notices this? The scene with Summers (Michael Rennie) brushing the barn with the inflammable sulphur, causing a life-ending explosion, is absolutely incredible considering the tools available to cinematographers in 1961 - it remains to be seen what and why, but wow - what a scene: The drama reminds me of Season 4, Episode 2 of "The Twilight Zone" - "The Thirty Fathom Grave," except instead of the crew of the submarine calling muster on Chief Bell, Summers almost appears to be calling muster on himself - there are only eight minutes left to this two-part episode, and I'm very much looking forward to its resolution. After watching the entire two-part episode, all I can say is that it is so complex that I don't even know what to use for photographs - is it "great?" I don't think so, but for weekly television? Yeah, it's pretty darned good - it was nearly as long as a movie, but if I had seen it as a movie, I'd most likely have been disappointed; as a TV series, it's very impressive - I can't imagine how they possibly did this in two weeks.] 1.18 - "Sleep on Four Pillows" - Directed by Ted Post (Director of 4 episodes of "Twilight Zone" (18), "Beneath the Planet of the Apes," and "Magnum Force"), Written by Stirling Silliiphant (15) Featuring Patty McCormack (Academy Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actress as Rhoda Penmark in "The Bad Seed"), Larry Gates (Doc Baugh in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"), Marianne Stewart (Town Gossip in "Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte") John Berardino (Major League Baseball Player, 1939-1952, World Series Champion in 1948) [Oof. Out of the first eighteen episodes, this one may have been my least-favorite. It was waffling back-and-forth between being serious, then farcical, then silly, then worrisome, then farcical again, to just plain lame. Unless you're watching all the episodes, you can skip this one - I was so desperately hoping something interesting might come out of it, but the exact opposite happened, and it was a waste of time. You can skip "Sleep on Four Pillows" unless you're a completist or a masochist (and I'm not sure there's much difference between the two).] 1.19 - "An Absence of Tears" - Directed by Alvin Ganzer (2), Written by Stirling Silliphant (16) Featuring Martha Hyer (Academy Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actress (2) as Gwen French in "Some Came Running"), Rin Tin Tin II - Unrelated to Rin Tin Tin, Born as Golden Boy, Jr. (Rin Tin Tin on "The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin"), Herb Armstrong (Waiter in "Cape Fear"), Joseph Ruskin (Master Thrall Galt in "The Gamesters of Triskellion" on "Star Trek"), Paul Richards (Attacker in "Kiss Me Deadly") [The opening of this really hurt to watch, as it seems that Donna Stevens (Martha Hyer) was literally "Just Married," and lost her husband in a senseless gas-station robbery. I once dated a blind girl, and know first-hand the cruel dependence they must have on the people they're with, many of whom take advantage of them, or take them for granted - they're willing to take risks that none other of us would take, because they have to. This episode was okay, but it really didn't have enough material to fill the entire hour - they had to pad it some, probably assuming that the novelty of a beautiful blind woman would be enough to do it with.] 1.20 - "Like a Motherless Child" - Directed by David Lowell Rich (Director of "Madame X"), Written by - Teleplay: Howard Rodman (Co-writer of screenplay for "Coogan's Bluff"), Story: Betty Andrews (Writer of "The Education of Sarah Jane" and "Odds for Big Red" on "Have Gun - Will Travel") Featuring Sylvia Sidney (Mrs. Verloc in "Sabotage," Aunt Marion in "Damien: Omen II"), Jack Weston (Charlie Farnsworth in "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street" and Julius Moorner in "The Bard" on "The Twilight Zone" (19), Carlino in "Wait until Dark," Danny Zimmer in "The Four Seasons," Max Kellerman in "Dirty Dancing") [There's one scene in "Like a Motherless Child" where Sylvia Sidney almost mockingly looks at Buz and says, "Poor Baby," as he asks her if he can come back and see her that evening. Buz, you'll remember, was raised in an orphanage, and Sylvia Sidney's character chose to give her son away when he was two-months old - he's an orphan; she willingly caused the existence of an orphan. She keeps saying, "Poor Baby" to him, but after about ten repetitions of this, it's clear that her tone is going from "mocking" to "loving" and they both see in each other the one person who was most-lacking from their lives. The picture above occurs towards the end of the scene, when she has completely broken down, and Buz has capitulated as well. This was, by far, the most "different" - not better, not worse; just different - Route 66 episode I've seen, and I would absolutely *not* recommend it to the first-time (or even the fifth-time) viewer of the series - it was very, very out of character, but for the seasoned viewer, it had a lot to like (and a lot not to like).] 1.21 - "Effigy in Snow" - Directed by Alvin Ganzer (3), Written by Stirling Silliphant (17) Featuring Scott Marlowe (Eliot Gray in "The Throwback" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (13), Jory Peters in "It Crawled out of the Woodwork," André in "The Forms of the Things Unknown" on "The Outer Limits" (5)), Jeanne Bal (Nancy Crater in "The Man Trap" on "Star Trek"), Mark Tapscott (Lieutenant in "Still Valley" on "The Twilight Zone" (20)), George_Macready, (3 episodes of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (14), Hillary Prine in "The Ordeal of Mrs. Snow" on "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" (3), Dr. Bixler in "The Long Morrow" on "The Twilight Zone" (21), Larry K. Hillerman in "The Invisibles" and Dr. Marshall in "Production and Decay of Strange Particles" on "The Outer Limits" (6), William Hendricks in "Night Gallery") [If I remember correctly, this is the first photo that has come from the cold (no pun intended, honest) open.] 1.22 - "Eleven, the Hard Way" - Directed by William A. Graham (Director of "Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones"), Written by George Clayton Johnson (Writer of "I'll Take Care of You" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," 6 episodes of "The Twilight Zone" (22), "Ocean's Eleven," "Logan's Run," and "The Man Trap" on "Star Trek" (xx)) 1.23 - "Most Vanquished, Most Victorious" - Directed by William D. Faralla (Production Manager of "The Wild Bunch"), Written by Stirling Silliphant (18) Featuring Beatrice Straight as Kitty Chamberlain (Academy Award Winner for Best Supporting Actress (3) as Louise Schumacher in "Network"), Royal Dano as Dr. Clemente (Deputy Sheriff Calvin Wiggs in "The Trouble with Harry," Martin Ross in "My Brother, Richard" and Mr. Atkins in "Party Line" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (15), Mr. Miley in "Change of Address" on "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" (4)), Pat DeSimone as Cazador (Tony Minetta in "Dino"), Frank de Kova as Davey Briggs (Pedro in "A Personal Matter" and Señor Vargas in "Strange Miracle" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (16), The Man in "The Mechanic") [This is a very watchable episode, but one which operates under a far-fetched premise. Perhaps the most interesting thing is how it interweaves the West Side Story motif, but I'm afraid that despite it being a guilty pleasure, it's just too unrealistic to hit home - Todd just would not get that emotionally involved so quickly, being twenty-years removed from a situation. Still, judge for yourselves - the acting is good, there are a couple high-powered fight scenes, and also several sub-motifs wrapped in the overarching story line of "finding Carol."] 1.24 - "Don't Count Stars - Directed by Paul Wendkos (Director of "The Taking of Flight 847: The Uli Derickson Story"), Written by Stirling Silliphant (19) Featuring Dan Duryea as Mike McKay (Al Denton in "Mr. Denton on Doomsday" on "The Twilight Zone" (23), "Waco" Johnny Dean in "Winchester '73," China Smith on "China Smith"), Susan Melvin as Linda McKay (Trudy in "Ladybug, Ladybug"), Vaughn Taylor as Frank Hammond (George Lowery in "Psycho," Mr. Judson in "The Incredible World of Horace Ford" on "The Twilight Zone" (26)), Randall Latimer in "The Guests" on "The Outer Limits" (7) Good Samaritan in "In Cold Blood"), Mary Jackson as Judge Mary Lindstrom (Mrs. Wilson in "Mink" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (17), Miss Pepper in "Of Late, I Think of Cliffordville" on "The Twilight Zone" (27), Mrs. McRae in "I, Robot" on "The Outer Limits" (8), Emily Baldwin on "The Waltons," ) [I thought sure I recognized the drunk man that Tod and Buz pulled from the water, and sure enough, it was Dan Duryea, who played a virtually identical drunk in "Mr Denton on Doomsday" on "The Twilight Zone." Of particular note is that "Don't Count Stars" is the earliest episode of anything (television, movies, or what-have-you), where an extended reference is made to a high-level profession - in this case Judge Lindstrom - where the name, "Judge Lindstrom," is repeatedly mentioned for nearly twenty minutes, before a pronoun is used in a conversation, completely without fanfare: In this case, the pronoun is "she." I would be very interested in knowing if anything earlier than this episode (Apr 28, 1961) so casually revealed a typically male profession being held by a female - I must repeat: To this episode's credit, there was absolutely no drama, scary organ music, or shocked looks upon people's faces; it was simply mentioned in the course of normal dialog, about twenty minutes into the episode ... "she."]
  2. I power-watched all of "Breaking Bad," and think it just may be the best TV series I've ever seen. I'm now watching "Better Call Saul," based exclusively on my adoration of "Breaking Bad," coupled with the comments on this website. I've made it through Season 2, Episode 8 ("Fifi"), and unfortunately, I don't think it's even in the same stratosphere, quality-wise. We can certainly discuss this. *** SPOILERS FOLLOW *** (I'm Going To Give Away Some of the Overall Story Arc Below) Truthfully, there are two - and only two - characters I care about in "Better Call Saul": Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) and Mike Ermahntraut (Jonathan Banks), and that's only because it lends some background to their *tremendous* characters on "Breaking Bad." In particular, the way Mike parted from the Philadelphia Police Department (and his corresponding love for his granddaughter, Kaylee (Faith Healey and Abigail Zoe Lewis in "Better Call Saul," Kaija Bailes in "Breaking Bad") - which I find both adorable and heartbreaking). I'm almost finished with Season Two, and not one single mention has been made of Saul Goodman, which just doesn't seem right to me. More importantly, I find literally every other story arc interminably dull: There is nothing at all I find interesting about Kim Wexler (Rhea Seahorn), Howard Hamlin (Patrick Fabian), or Chuck McGill (Michael McKean, despite my unabashed love for McKean in "This is Spinal Tap"). All three of them bore me to tears, and their story lines - especially the annoyingly overplayed electromagnetic hypersensitivity subplot with Chuck - have me pining away for a return to Jimmy, Mike, or even *any* member of the cartel. That saxdrop says there's a loss of momentum in Season Three almost guarantees that "Better Call Saul" will be a wrap for me after Season Two - I can't imagine it getting much worse. As an unwanted side issue, Mike has clearly aged since the filming of "Breaking Bad," and thinking back to the near-superhuman things he did in that series (remember him walking through the desert after being shot?) makes them seem absolutely impossible. Mike Ermahntraut just may be my favorite character in either series - his stoic toughness reminds me of Anton Chigurh in the great "No Country for Old Men," but Ermahntraut also has the ridiculously high-level mental acuity of any action hero you could think of - the whole package wrapped in a laconic series of silence, accentuated with the occasional grunt. This series has (I think) made me like Saul Goodman less overall - it was better not knowing where he came from, or how he got to be such a bad-ass attorney. Am I the only person who loved "Breaking Bad," but isn't loving "Better Call Saul?" Why is this series boring me to tears? Not to propose the obvious, but I really feel like they made it just to wring out as much money as possible from their product, and not because they had any story to tell.
  3. New season is starting up January 7. Out of all the non-old school TV network shows that have gotten so much acclaim the last few years (Breaking Bad, Mad Men, etc.), this is the only one I've really gotten into. SInce I only watch TV for movies, sports, Top Chef and the Daily Show, maybe I haven't tried that hard. Much like many of my favorite thriller/mystery writers, the show takes the stance that the plot of any given show/season is just a mechanism to deliver multiple three-dimensional character studies, witty dialogue, and thrilling scenes. I was a big fan of Deadwood with Olyphant and it's fun to see how many alumni of that fantastic, short-lived show have made it over to Justified to banter with Olyphant's Raylan Givens. Both shows have/had a love for language which makes them so much fun to watch and quote the next day. Well done low art, backwoods noir.
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