September 9, 2016

Around the dial

The DVD release of The Defenders continues to spark some of the most interesting conversation we've seen regarding classic television. Terry Teachout has a very good column on it over at The Wall Street Journal, in which he reminds us that TV for grownups isn't something that just happened a few years ago

On the same topic, the TV on DVD message board at Home Theater Forum has a fascinating (and quite literate) discussion going as to whether or not the political agenda espoused in the series affects a viewer's ability to enjoy the program. (TL:DRL: maybe.) As far as I'm concerned, the jury's still out; I've only had time to watch a couple of episodes, and I've got to admit I haven't been bowled over. Yes, it's literate; yes, it's intelligent television programming. Perhaps it's my knowledge of the ideological agenda that's colored the perception for me, that I watch these episodes just waiting to be offended. And yet, one writer points out that Naked City, one of my favorite series, had a bleeding-heart detective as the star, yet that's never affected my enjoyment of the show, nor my appreciation of Paul Burke as Adam Flint, the aforementioned bleeding-heart. Methinks I'll have to explore this subject further, when I'm not detracting from the purpose of going around the dial.

The Secret Sanctum of Captain Video has been looking at one of the Batman-inspired series of the '60s, The Green Hornet, and today it celebrates the 50th anniversary of the series' first episode, while Television Obscurities commemorates the 50th anniversary of another series, the infamous Tammy Grimes Show - infamous for it's shockingly short run of just four episodes, unprecedented back in the day. I here there's a golden anniversary of some sci-fi show as well, but you've probably heard about that.

Speaking as we have been of episode reviews, Recap Retro looks at what fans consider a "boring and terrible" episode of Bonanza, featuring the great character actor Jack Carson. Is the episode's reputation justified? You'll have to read and find out.

If you're like me (and God help you if you are), you probably fast-forward through commercials on shows you've recorded, and mute them on shows you're watching live. Why, then, do classic TV fans have such affection for old commercials that we own DVD collections of them? Comfort TV suggests it's because they were profoundly better than commercials are today, in ways that go beyond mere quality.

Right now I'm working on next week's TV Guide piece, and that 1979 issue has a lot of ads for made-for-TV movies, which put me in mind for Made for TV Mayhem's review of the 1987 telefilm Family Sins, starring James Farentino and Jill Eikenberry as the parents of a troubled family. It's well worth reading Amanda's take on this complex story.

The Horn Section has a wonderful tribute to classic-TV director Leslie H. Martinson, prolific director of classics from Maverick to the big-screen version of the original Batman, who died at the age of 101. RIP to a well-played career, sir.

Faded Signals has a very cool ad as well as some great information on the history of Colorado's first television station.

That's it for today; see you here tomorrow.

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