June 16, 2017

Around the dial

I like Robert Taylor, and I've enjoyed the few episodes I've seen of his police series The Detectives, so I got a kick out of Secret Sanctum of Captain Video's look at the comic book version of the series. (Hey - it's even got Adam West in it!) Is it just me, or in that first panel did Taylor's detective look a lot like Dick Tracy?

Uh oh - David Hofstede's just discovered Buzzr, the improved version of what GSN used to be. This may be the last we see of Comfort TV for awhile, so be prepared to call out search parties if necessary...

This piece from The Ringer on the massive amount of "prestige" series on TV this spring shows how dramatically things have changed from the classic era, when - save the occasional breakout hit - spring and summer were hardly the time for game-changing series. "Failed Pilot Playhouse," anyone? There's also this take on series-ending episodes sparked by the 10th anniversary of The Sopranos' final episode, about which I may have more to say at a later date.

This week on The Twilight Zone Vortex, it's "Person or Persons Unknown," the disturbing Charles Beaumont story about a man finding out things definitely aren't what they seem to be. I thought this description from Richard Matheson, describing the stories that both he and Beaumont tended to tell as being about "an individual isolated in a threatening world, attempting to survive," to be a timely one. Isn't that the problem that so many of us face in today's spiraling culture?

The tale told by Television Obscurities this week is an obscure one indeed, and perhaps the farthest back I've ever looked: The Television Ghost, aired on experimental television station W2XAB in - yes - 1931.

The Land of Whatever journeys back as well, though not quite as far - to 1967, and Jerry Van Dyke's latest attempt to "emerge from the shadow cast by brother Dick": Accidental Family, co-starring Lois Nettleton. Its replacement, for it lasted only 16 episodes, is better known - the nighttime version of The Hollywood Squares.

Speaking of which, Television.au has this article on Network Ten going into administration, and how this has sparked an outpouring of memories by viewers. Chief among them: a picture calling back the network's own version of Squares, named Personality Squares. Makes sense; hard to see why Australia would celebrate Hollywood...

Hopefully that gives you enough until tomorrow, but if not, be sure to take a look at the rest of the blogs on the sidebar - I promise you'll get your fill.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks, Mitchell! And you're right, those quintessential Twilight Zone situations continue to have social relevance, particularly the idea of loss of the individual personality.

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  2. Thank you so much for the mention. Most of Australia's game or quiz show formats came from American concepts. Australia had a few attempts at the "Squares" format, firstly as Personality Squares in the 1960s. It came back as Celebrity Squares in 1975-6 (and one of its regulars was a name no doubt familiar to you, Chelsea Brown from Laugh In who made Australia home) and then again as Personality Squares in 1981. There was one last attempt as All Star Squares in the 1990s but I think that's the last we've seen of the format here.

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