January 24, 2020

Around the dial

Full disclosure: I was never a fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Oh, there was a time after the horror of Star Trek V when I thought TNG showed a level of gravitas that the movie sadly lacked; but after about a year, I'd had more than I could take and quit watching. My wife hung in there for another year or so before she did the same. So perhaps I'm not the right person to judge what makes an awful episode of TNG, but you'll still want to check out Rob Bricken's article at Gismodo about the amazing number of terrible episodes the series had while still managing to be good.

At The Ringer, Brian Phillips has a typically thoughtful piece on the fascination that murder holds for us, on television as well as podcasts. As Phillips says, "we can’t ask 'where is murder going?' without also asking 'where are we?'" You'll want to read the rest.

There aren't many entertainment sites more iconic than the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and this week at Comfort TV, David celebrates the classic TV stars who have their star on the Walk—and the many who should have them, but don't.

It's F Troop Friday at The Horn Section, and Hal's focus this week is on the season two episode "Bye, Bye, Balloon," with Harvey Korman as the aptly named balloon expert Colonel Heindrich von Zeppel.

At The Secret Sanctum of Captain Video, it's the exciting conclusion of the Untouchables comic book story "The Conspirators," with comic-book Eliot Ness looking every bit as tough as Robert Stack does on-screen. (For part one, go here.)

The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet is in its tenth season as 1961 rolls around, and that's the focus of the latest Television's New Frontier: The 1960s. Well, that and the transient nature of the Nelson boys' girlfriends.

The bizarre, glorious world of Dark Shadows is the subject of Ivan's musings at Thrilling Days of Yesteryear. There are certainly soaps that have had longer runs (Ivan mentions that Days of Our Lives is headed for season 56), but I don't know of many that are more fondly remembered than the Gothic wonder of Shadows.

Carol looks back at the origins of Bob Crane: The Authorized Biography, especially the need to broadcast the true story of Bob's life in order to counter the distortions of Auto Focus, at Bob Crane: Life and Legacy, You can also catch the latest episode of "Flipside," the podcast hosted by Carol and her co-author, Linda Groundwater.

Finally, Jim Lehrer died yesterday at 85. Like his partner Robert MacNeil, Jim Lehrer was one of the last of the old-time reporters on network news; whether or not you agreed with the opinions on The MacNeil/Lehrer Report, it was always a stimulating show, one with the gravitas that's completely gone from network news today, not to mention the rest of television.

Where will this week's TV Guide take us? Tune in tomorrow and find out. TV  


  1. I have a lot of respect for Jim Lehrer that I don't have for most newspeople. I read once that he refused to vote in elections, if I recall correctly because his choices could end up leading to bias. Now reporters & news people seem to do everything to highlight & promote their biases. I also remember preferring PBS' coverage of the political conventions to those of the Big Three, as they let the convention speakers speak for themselves instead of constantly reinterpreting what was being said.

  2. The original Star Trek aired during my teen years (1966-69) and it was always required viewing. Starting as a freshman in college in 1971, the reruns became required viewing at 5pm each night in the dorm lounge before dinner. My college debate partner even resembled Mr Spock to a degree and I call him that to this day. But Rob is right...the clinkers in ST:TNG were many. Gene Roddenberry, (AKA The Great Bird of the Galaxy) even recognized that during the first two years. While the original Star Trek had its MST 3000 episodes (i.e. Spock's Brain but still a cult classic), TNG had significantly more and would have never survived without the gravitas of Patrick Stewart. I look forward to watching Picard. Hopefully, the rest of the crew drop in for only a moment....


Thanks for writing! Drive safely!