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The Brini Maxwell Show (2003)
Retro homemaking tips from the "other" side!
My wife actually turned me onto this show. When she first described it as a transvestite doing homemaking tips, I pictured Divine in an apron. When I finally saw it, I realized it was a surreal-retro journey with quite a unique sense of humor. Brini Maxwell (aka Ben Sander)started this show on a New York public access channel which crosses Martha Stewart with John Waters, and even add a dash of Mr. Rodgers and gives us serious (and not so serious) homemaking tips to better our lifestyle. Each episode features a "theme" (making a home office, throwing a party, traveling, etc.) but the real magic happens when Brini makes a sort of "field trip" segment where she will interview someone relating to the topic of the episode. Most interviewees appear to be seriously holding back from just breaking down and laughing hysterically during the interview. Several times Brini will always add a certain humorous twist or comment and the inuendos start flying left and right. One of my favorites was when Brini was interviewing a drinks expert, in preperation for her (his?) party. The recipe called for the drink to be shaken so the woman bartending flipped the shaker and started going at it. In typical Brini fashion, Brini looks at the camera and comments "Ooh, how athletic!". Some of Brini's homemaking tips are pratical and useful, but some others are just whacked like making an art sculpture out of pills to display in your bathroom! I seriously think Brini is bound for stardom in the near future, so keep a lookout for her, err.. I mean him, errr.....WHATEVER!
The Tomorrow People (1973)
A jaunting we will go!
A British Sci-Fi children's Classic! Tomorrow people is the PRIME example of the "Golden Age" of British Children's television of the 70's. In 1973 Doctor Who was king and Thames Television decided to give the BBC a run for their money. The result was The Tomorrow People! Since this was produced in the 70's, the show is certainly dated along with campy special effects and wobbly sets (imagine Doctor Who on even a tighter budget!)but there is quite a charm to this series, and certainly will bring back alot of memories (especially those of us in the States who were early Nickelodeon viewers in the early 80's) Fortunately these episodes are being released on Region 0 DVD's in the U.K.! Not only is it great to have these episodes in good quality, but the fine folks at Big Finish Productions (who are also producing new Tomorrow People audio adventures with the original cast) have added recorded commentary from cast members including Nicholas Young (John), Peter Vaughan-Clarke (Steven), Philip Gilbert (Tim), Elizabeth Adare (Elizabeth) and conducted by Nicholas Briggs. The Commentary tracks are actually worth the price of the DVD alone! These give a FANTASTIC insight into the making of and behind the scenes stories. Many times they'll contribute their own comments about the scenes (ala MST3K) or even stray from the subject completely and will have you literally rolling on the floor with laughter! Highly amusing and recommended!
Baby Bob (2002)
WOW! A BABY SHOW! IT'S GOTTA BE GOOD!!!
(stepping up on my soapbox) I'm sick to death of all these TV shows, commercials and movies where babies act like "adults"! Baby Bob certainly takes the cake! I saw this show one day while flipping through the channels and was horrified to find Elliott Gould and Adam Arkin sinking to their career lows. Just because we have the CGI technology to make a baby talk doesn't mean we need to base an entire series around it, and a darn spooky looking one at that! Talking, dancing, singing babies are NOT cute and don't deserve a sitcom!!!
Space Precinct (1994)
Adult drama or kid's show?
The main problem with this series is it couldn't decide what it wanted to be. It had alot of the fun "family element" but yet it was marketed for an adult audience. This made it a very tough series to attract an audience (especially if it kept getting bumped by Ab-Flex infomercials every time I tried to tape it) I think this could have been more of a success run on Saturday mornings but NOT at 3am like many markets aired the series. Having said that this series had many elements of Gerry Anderson I love (remember this was produced by the guy who did Thunderbirds, Space 1999 and UFO). I thought the aliens were done well and it was nice to see models used instead of the over-used CGI animation we see all too often these days with this type of series. If you watch this series expecting a Gerry Anderson production (fans of UFO and Thunderbirds), this is a fun series! If you believe that all science fiction is required to be glossy, expensive and full of flash-bang CGI effects without regard to episode plot or character interaction (Blake's 7 & Doctor Who haters) Avoid this series at all cost! I guarantee you'll hate it.
Blacke's Magic (1986)
Where magic out smarts the bad guys
As a kid I was always a fan of the Bill Bixby series THE MAGICIAN, where Bill played a famous wealthy magician who used his magic to out smart the bad guys. Here is an updated version of that premise. Post "Barney Miller" Hal Linden plays Alexander Blacke, a wealthy magician who decides to not only use his magic to entertain, but to also fight crime. Blacke is living the good life as a bachelor when all of a sudden his life is interrupted when his father Leonard Blacke, played by post "M.A.S.H." Harry Morgan moves in. Leonard grew up working as a carnival "con man" and always seems to get involved with Alexander's crime solving by either interfering, helping or employing several of Leonard's old "Showbiz" buddies. Alexander usually used his magic as a ways to solve show the criminals did things such as make statues disappear. Like THE MAGICIAN this was a fun show, unfortunately it didn't last long and the NBC network started shifting it around the schedule. Also at the time since Morgan and Linden just departed very lucrative roles on their own successful TV series, I think the viewing public had a tough time adjusting.
The Magician (1973)
Classic 70's Crime drama, with a twist!
I vaguely remember really enjoying this show as a kid. I was always fascinated with Magic and it was fun to see magic used to defeat bad guys. Now in my 30's I have finally been able to view this series again (thanks to the Sci-Fi channel and insomnia) to see how well it holds up. I've always been a fan of Bill Bixby and his portrayal of Anthony Blake is still marvelous. He's cool, collected and always seems to get wrapped up with people who get in trouble (ala Hart to Hart). The one aspect where Bixby really shines though is his "I'm too cool" attitude towards the bad guys. Blake gets into some tense situations but always seems to have the one up on them and always has a trick up his sleeve (sometimes literally) as he slip out of handcuffs, makes guns vanish and throws flash powder in attacker's eyes. He likes to torment, ridicule and expose the enemy. Also he has some cool stuff like his Corvette, tons of magical gimics and an airplaine which he lives in! Apparently Bixby trained as an actual magician and vowed that all the tricks shown on the program were authentic, this lead to the famous Magician Blackstone offically recognizing the show. Sure you have the wide ties, huge lapells and bell bottoms and at times this show can get a little cheezy with "future starlets" singing, people overcoming emotional problems, etc. But this is a fun show, and the magic adds a special twist to the plot. If you were a fan of Maninix, Streets of San Francisco, Knight Rider or any of the crime shows with a "twist" from the 70's such as David McCallum's Invisible Man or Gemini Man, this series is worth a look (if you can find it that is).
Forbidden Zone (1980)
It's like a live-action Betty Boop cartoon!
Imagine a live-action black and white Betty Boop cartoon from the 30's and you have this film (except for alot of topless women running around). Really bizarre look and feel to this cult classic where most of the time you simply can't believe what you're seeing, which is really remarkable seeing there was literally NO budget for this film (Herve Villechaise was the ONLY paid actor). Unfortunately this film is no longer available on home video (it REALLY needs to be re-released) so if you are one of the lucky ones who can find it in your local video store, RENT IT!!!
The New Andy Griffith Show (1971)
HMMM Something looks very familiar!
After his departure from his classic TV series and after the failure of his drama series "The Headmaster" which soon followed, Andy Griffith returned in a comedy which looks all too familiar. When the mayor of a small town announced his retirement, Andy Sawyer (Griffith) returned to his home town to act as temporary mayor along with his wife Lee (Meriwether), 2 kids and a housekeeper. As you may have already guessed the formula is quite familiar to The Andy Griffith show. In fact, in the pilot episode Goober and Emmitt are featured along with a surprise appearance by Don Knotts playing an unnamed character (you know it's Barney, he even calls Andy "Ange") The show had it's funny moments but suffers by falling on the heels of the original, and never really breaks out on it's own. Most of the main characters are only shadows of a show long gone, lacking many of the "quirks" which made the original so memorable. The show only lasted less than 4 months and as far as I know has never been seen in syndication.
The Monkey Mission (1981)
Classic heist film!
If you're into heist films (Alpha Caper, the It Takes a Thief TV series, the Burglars) this is pretty classic. I remember seeing it YEARS ago on TV. The one scene I still remember is when Greggors the monkey refuses to come back after grabbing the vase (by use of a tightrope over the vace's platform) and it's trainer, John Fiedler (Mr. Peterson from the Bob Newhart Show) tries to lure it back by hanging half of his wallet out of his back pocket and waving his butt around shouting "look Greggors! Sucker Greggors! Sucker!" Classic scene!
Don Adams' Screen Test (1975)
A classic memory....
One thing I remember from the show is all the goofing around that went on. I remember when they were recreating the climactic scene from Psycho where she turned Mother's chair around in the cellar and the skeleton had a cigarette in it's mouth! Classic! It was also a given disaster whenever Don Rickels was a guest. I'd LOVE a copy on video if anyone runs across one!