August 27, 2021

Around the dial

The name Robin Miller won’t mean anything to most of you, but within the motor sports world Miller was a giant, the premier chronicler of Indycar for decades. More than that, he could be said to be the conscience of the sport. Miller was a fixture not only in print but on television, particularly on “Wind Tunnel,” the late, lamented motorsports show on the late, lamented Speed Channel. (So how’s that working for you Fox, replacing Speed with FS2?) He knew everyone who was anyone in the sport, and he defended the sport with a passion against threats both material and existential. On Wednesday Robin Miller died after a lengthy battle against multiple myeloma and leukemia, at the too-young age of 71. Not only will open-wheel racing be poorer for his absence, so will the experience of the sport for its fans. Racer has the complete details. R.I.P.

At The Ringer, Alison Herman’s review of the Apple TV+ series Ted Lasso raises a point that I think is germane to this website in general: is there such a thing as “just” a TV show? I’ve made it clear, I think, that television shows should not be faulted for aspiring to “mere” entertainment, while at the same time demonstrating that it is not only legitimate but essential to look at the content of particular shows, and the industry in general, as an indicator of something more illuminating, more significant. In fact, one could say that Herman’s article proves my point: I don’t care one whit about Ted Lasso, but reading the article introduces ideas that enhance the way one thinks about television. Which is one reason why I read articles about shows in which I have no interest.

When I was growing up, there was no sports stadium cooler than the Houston Astrodome; you'll just have to take my word for it that playing football and baseball indoors on plastic grass was beyond amazing. When the Louisiana Superdome came along in the 1970s, it couldn't take the place of the original, but it was still cool, and a lot bigger. And that's just a prelude to Gil's review of the 1978 TV-movie Superdome, starring David Janssen, Van Johnson, Tom Sellick, Donna Mills, Ken Howard, Edie Adams, all at Realweegiemidget

I've never pretended to be the most talented writer in the family, and to prove that point, I'll direct you to my wife Judie's blog Nearer My God, where she touches on the extraordinary legacy of conductor Leonard Bernstein, including his groundbreaking television work on Omnibus, The Young People's Concerts, and the Norton Lectures. I've always enjoyed and admired how Bernstein never talked down to his audience, even children, and made classical music accessible to anyone.

The Hitchcock Project begins a new chapter, with the first episode written by Joel Murcott: "Number Twenty-Two," from the show's second season, with Rip Torn and Russell Collins. Jack has the lowdown on it at bare•bones e-zine.

At Cult TV Blog, John takes a look at O.T.T. ("Over The Top"), aver the Top, "a late-night adult version of the anarchic ATV children's show Tiswas," and I'm not quite sure how to describe either show, so you'll have to rely on John for the lowdown. I'll admit, though, that in the pantheon of English football chants, "Your mom is your dad's sister" was new to me.

The following has nothing to do with classic television, but I don't see how you can possibly pass up Mae West singing The Doors' classic "Light My Fire," do you? Read (and watch) all about it at Silver Scenes.

I'll admit that from time to time I can be a little critical of TV shows that I'm watching. ("A little?" she says), but even I'm not as bad as Star Trek fans, who, as David points out at Comfort TV, never, but never, seem to be satisfied. If I ever get like that, please shoot me.

At The Twilight Zone Vortex, Jordan goes in-depth on one of the greatest and most loved of all TZ episodes, "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet," with William Shatner at his most unforgettable Shatner-ness. I'll wager that even if you're not a Zone fan, you've seen this episode. TV  


  1. Thanks for the shoutout. Bernstein is an essential piece of television history.

  2. I'm so glad you mentioned OTT, I thought I might have overdone it!
    BTW you sing it to the tune of Go West 🥴


Thanks for writing! Drive safely!