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Knight Rider: The Scent of Roses (1986)
This should have been the series finale
I just watched this on Netflix last night and I agree that this should have been the series finale. On a case, Michael is mortally wounded, and loses his zeal to continue the work that Wilton Knight chose him for. When he gives Devon notice, Devon finds Stevie Mason (reoccuring character played by Hasselhoff's then wife, Catherine Hickland), who knew Michael in his past life, cares for Michael in his new life, and asks her to look after him. However, the people that shot him will stop at nothing at another chance to kill him.
This is one of the most emotional episodes ever. It really shows viewers a Michael Knight they have never seen before, as he starts to believe that one man cannot make a difference. It also shows how the whole Foundation family (Devon, Bonnie, RC3, and KITT) truly feel about Michael. Unfortunately, this was not the final episode, as it was placed in the middle of the season. This would have made a great series finale, but I guess NBC thought the show still had more seasons left in it. If you have the season 4 set on DVD, save this one for final viewing. It's worth it.
Evening Magazine (1976)
America needs a PM Magazine
I remember when this premiered back in Albuquerque, NM in the 1980s. For most of it's run, it was on KOB and hosted by Gary Doll and Karla Aragon. We watched it every night because it had interesting features, and of course, there was Chef Tell ("I see you!!!").
Around 1985-1986, KOB abandoned the format and it was given to KGGM, the CBS affiliate at the time. KGGM had their own evening program called Stopwatch. So they just renamed the show "PM Magazine", however, it was nowhere near as fun as the KOB version.
I moved near Austin, Texas in 1986, which didn't have a PM Magazine. It didn't really surprise me since Austin, TX (there were only 4 stations when I lived there) affiliates were afraid to take chances.
I do miss this show, and I think it would be great if they brought it back to the rest of the nation. I think it would work today.
Blind Date (1987)
One of those movies that makes you laugh
I love this film. This was Bruce Willis' first box office film in a leading role. It's a nice little film that has its funny moments. Blind Date is not Citizen Kane, but it's sure a good film to watch on a day off. When Kim Basinger gets drunk, that's where the funny moments start. She goes from being a sweet southern belle to the date from hell. She embarrasses him at a business dinner, goes ga-ga at a club, gets his car lifted, and drives him to the point of insanity. Meanwhile, ex-boyfriend Larroquette is stalking them around the town driving them nuts. His character isn't given much depth, but he works with it. All in all, it's a funny, innocent film that will make you laugh.
People, let me tell you 'bout my best friend...
I first saw this back on WWOR in 1994. From the first episode, I was hooked. It was loosely based on the 60's film starring Glenn Ford and Ron Howard, where widowed father Tom Corbett raises his son the best he can in New York City. In the meantime, Eddie stars finding new love interests for his father. A few years later, this show popped up.
There were a few changes to the show. In the show, Tom is now a magazine editor for a newspaper in California. He and Eddie are best friends, like the song says. I liked the character of Tom. He never talked down to Eddie and always knew how to balance the best friend/father trick. That is what makes him one of TV's greatest dads.
Eddie could always count on the other people in his life too like "Uncle" Norman (Tom's co-worker), Tina (Tom's secretary) and Mrs. Livingston (their maid). It was sort of a neat, extended family. In real life, people would be lucky to have that. I also liked how the series slowly turned away from the original plot of the film of Eddie finding his father a wife. It became about a father and son who are crazy about each other.
I think what slowly destroyed the show was the plots started focusing around Norman, rather than Tom and Eddie. The stories ranged from Uncle Norman trying to lose five pounds over the weekend to Uncle Norman's love affairs. I know Bill Bixby was peeved at that but James Komack (Uncle Norman) was the producer, so there wasn't much that could be done.
Still, it was a fun show (even if there were a few annoying things to it like the music and the laugh track), but still a heartwarming show.
High School U.S.A. (1983)
The beginning of the 80s teen TV movie phenomenon
Come back with us now to the 1980s. While movie companies were cashing in on teen success, NBC decided to take advantage on the teen movie trend by making their own. High School U.S.A. was the beginning. It was originally a TV pilot, but you could hardly tell it was. Still, this movie featured teen stars of the time who went on to big things that included:
Michael J Fox (Family Ties), Nancy McKeon (The Facts of Life), Todd Bridges & the late Dana Plato (Diff'rent Strokes), Lauri Hendler (Gimme a Break), Crystal Bernard & Cathy Silvers (Happy Days), Anthony Edwards (who went to big things), David Packer (V), Crispin Glover (Back to the Future), and the late Tom Villard (who did many supporting & guest roles in movies and TV).
The setting is Excelsior Union High School in Missouri. JJ Manners (Fox) is sort is the somewhat leader of a group of uncool kids. He is likable, but the prep & jocks (led by Beau Middleton, played by Edwards) can't stand him or his kind. It gets even worse when JJ falls in love with Beth Franklin (McKeon), who was a zero but became part of the A-crowd when she started to date Beau.
There are many subplots as well, which as just as funny. A host of 50s & 60s TV stars show up. It is pretty interesting seeing teen stars from one generation meet up with another.
Do I think it would've worked as a TV series? Probably not. Some of the stars were involved in other TV shows and projects. It would've been impossible top bring all the cast members back. Still, it stands on its own well as a TV movie. It was probably best it ended that way as well.
It's worth a look for fans of the 80s and even fans of 50s and 60s.
CBS News Nightwatch (1982)
Ah, the memories...
For those that grew up in the 80s, you may have remembered this when you had a hard time getting to sleep at night, grabbed some cold pizza out of the fridge, and plopped in front of the television that still had the dials on it.
CBS News Nightwatch was a overnight news/talk block that many affiliates picked up on. It aired mostly after the old CBS Late Night program (which contained reruns of TV shows and a movie edited down to 80 minutes). Nightwatch was an alternative to the 'just news' shows. While NBC had Overnight, and some ABC affiliates aired CNN2 (later Headline News), Nightwatch had a different approach: Have news, but also entertain.
I remember segments with musicians, sports figures, and many actors. There would also be insightful stuff like stories on the dangers of smoking. After the piece on smoking, they had an in studio debate (podiums and all) on smoking. It got pretty heated and broke out into a fight lol. Around 1988/89, they changed the chic 'all black background w/skyline studio' into something that looked like a study or a dining room. I didn't really like it. Then in 1990, Charlie Rose left the program. This left the show without a host, so for the last two years, it would have a series of guest hosts.
Then in 1992, CBS finally decided to call it quits. They saw what kind of ratings ABC was getting with World News Now and NBC was limping in with Nightside, so CBS News Up To The Minute was created. All news, all night. But it looks like overnight news is on life support now as many affiliates prefer to show entertainment over network news in the graveyard hours.
I miss this show, and wish that one of the networks (including cable) would bring back the Nightwatch format. I miss it. My insomniac nights are incomplete without it.
Playing with Fire (1985)
Arnold sets fires
I was a big fan of Gary Coleman as a kid, but believe it or not, I did not see this film until 1998!!! I wanted to see it as a kid, but my mother told me I couldn't. When I saw it years later, it was a joke. There was nothing to be scared about (sorry, mom, but when you are wrong, you're wrong). It was lightweight fluff.
This was Coleman's attempt at drama and it didn't come off well. He plays a kid who is having a rough time in school and at home. His only way of release is to start setting fires to property. The demonic look on his face is laugh out loud hilarious when he sets something on fire.
Yahphet Kotto plays the fire chief of the town. He calls Coleman's disease "revenge fire" and wants to try and straighten him out. But his parents think there is nothing wrong...until he sets their house on fire!!!
At the end, Coleman makes a little PSA announcement not to play with fire. But the truth is, the film is unintentionally funny. It was just NBC once again milking their cash cow by making a lousy Gary Coleman TV movie (almost all of his NBC movies are rated under a 5 on the IMDB, and his box office films are no better). It is really too bad how he was just thrown away when his fame was all said and done.
Mr. Mom (1983)
This is a funny film. Michael Keaton, in an early hilarious role, plays Jack Butler, a car designer who is laid off from his job and now puzzled to find work. His wife, Caroline, decides to find work and succeeds. So now Jack must become the stay at home dad, while Caroline becomes the breadwinner.
What makes the film funny is the subplots. Some of my favorites include Jack's first meeting with Caroline's boss Ron (With unforgetable quotes like "220, 221..Whatever it takes" or "How would you like a trim on that mustache, Ron?" lol); Jack getting hit on by Joan (Ann Jillian is hot as a redhead) as he becomes "one of the girls"; His confrontation with Jaws; and the kids toilet papering the auto plant bathroom lol.
Michael Keaton would continue to do comedy until 1989 when he made his first Drama piece Clean & Sober. After that, there was no looking back. He's come a long way from doing up a diaper.
World Poker Tour (2003)
Deal Me In
The World Poker Tour is the best show about poker currently on television. I will sit mesmerized at the screen every week for 2 hours watching the pros and learning some tricks. Also it's not like baseball or football where you feel you must know every player to understand the game. That's because even the top players don't always make it to the final table. So every week you learn someone new. The WPT is even a place where amateurs can flourish (Win an inexpensive satellite tournament and you can take on the likes of Phil Hellmuth, Vinny Vinh, Hoyt Corkins or Annie Duke in the main tournament).
The show is hosted by poker pro Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten, who has dubbed himself king of the hollywood home game. The two have different styles of announcing. Sexton gives a no-nonsense view on the players and will even teach you some of the lingo. Patten, on the other hand, takes a Vince McMahon approach to announcing. He wants you to believe that every word he says in crucial. The two even have their own different style on playing the game. The other host, Shana Hiatt, really isn't a poker pro either. Her job is basically to look pretty in the skits she is in & interview players (This is where she falls back on her "Wild On" experience to get her through).
The players themselves are quite characters. They each come with their own customs: Phil Hellmuth throws temper tantrums, Hoyt Corkins dresses in black and wears reflected sunglasses, Annie Duke depends on psychology to win, Vinnie Vinh is full of charisma, and the rookies all want to steal a huge pot away from the pros. It's quite exciting.
Before I discovered Texas Hold 'Em (which is what is played on the show), I played draw and stud poker for 10 years. But I have found my niche with hold 'em. There are more chances make better hands (I can't tell you how many times I have made four of a kind), and I have rack up so much money in play chips (I have yet to play for real money). I also play pretty well in online tournaments (I can usually make it into the top 100 and my highest finish is 12th place). WPT is responsible for my obsessive habit with hold 'em. I love the show and the game. DEAL ME IN!!!
A talk show that had West Coast written all over it.
Rick Dees was always my favorite DJ when I listened to the Weekly Top 40 and his morning show was funny (then corporate politics decided to bump him out and go with the overrated Ryan Seacrest). ABC had never been a gamer in the late night talk show fest, and if a talk show host wanted a program, they would have to settle for going after Nightline. Rick Dees decided to take his chances.
From the outset, the show looked like it had a West Coast look and feel. The set looked California, Rick dressed like a Californian, and even his house band, Billy Vera and the Beaters were a staple on the California music scene (Mind you, not that any of this was bad). It was certainly a change of pace from Carson, that had a traditional look or Letterman, that prided himself on being New York.
Rick tried to incorporate many of his radio stuff onto TV, but it was a rough transition. He also didn't many of the big guests that Carson and Letterman were able to snatch (and when he invited Burton Richardson, announcer for rival talk show host Arsenio Hall onto his show, that was trouble). Things were not going well for Into The Night.
He started to tinker with the show. Billy Vera and the Beaters were not the house band anymore, and were replaced by a group I never heard of before called Burnin' Herman and the Master Mix (lead by drummer Herman Matthews). It still wasn't enough and Into the Night was going the way of The Pat Sajak Show.
Dees and announcer Lisa Canning was finally replaced and there was a new guest host every week. The guest hosts included Suzanne Sommers, Joy Behar, Brad Garrett, and Chris Lemmon. Lemmon was brought in to host the revamped show called Studio 59, which was more of a sketch show (they even went as far as ripping off Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update sketch). I remember watching the final show of this dead duck in spring on 1992. I fell asleep and have no regrets. It was one of ABCs most notable errors before getting sucked up by Disney.