Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tuesday's Overlooked TV: The New Show

This week's Tuesday's Overlooked TV is the 1984 sketch comedy series The New Show.

The New Show launched in January 1984 with an impressive pedigree. The show marked the return to television of Lorne Michaels, who had left Saturday Night Live years before (and would return to SNL in 1985 and remain there to this day). The show also boasted as writers Jack Handey, Alan Zweibel, Buck Henry, Al Franken, and Tom Davis among others. Regular cast members included Henry, Dave Thomas, and Valri Bromfield, as well as frequent guest stars John Candy and Catherine O'Hara (who, like Thomas, were SCTV alums). The series was very much in the style of SNL, with guest hosts, musical guests, and multiple comedic sketches. It aired Friday nights at 10pm.

However, the series never clicked with viewers. It was in a tough time slot opposite ratings powerhouses 20/20 and Falcon Crest, and the hip audience that would be attracted to its offbeat sense of humor was likely away from TVs at that time. The New Show ran for nine weeks in the winter of 1984 and earned the dubious distinction of being the lowest-rated prime time series of any of the big three networks for the entire 1983-1984 season. The series' failure was a personal one for Michaels; however, considering he practically runs NBC Entertainment these days, I think he recovered nicely.

Here are some clips from the series. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tuesday's Overlooked Film: Near Dark

This week's day-late Tuesday's Overlooked Film is the 1987 horror film Near Dark.

Near Dark stars Adrian Pasdar as Oklahoma ranch hand Caleb, who makes a move on an unfamiliar girl named Mae (Jenny Wright) one night, and the two hit it off immediately. As it turns out, the sweet but mysterious Mae is a vampire, and Caleb is unwittingly turned into a creature of the night himself. Later that morning, as he's rushing back to his home, where his veterinarian father and young sister are waiting for him, he is picked up by Mae's "family," a group of vampires who revel in their evil natures. Will Caleb join this band of ruthless vampires to stay with the girl he loves, or will he fight them and his newfound "condition" to reclaim the life he once knew?

Near Dark is a film I'd heard about off and on the last few years and received positive reviews, so when it came on cable TV a couple of weeks ago, I took a chance on it. The film, directed by Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker), is an interesting take on a tried and true subgenre of horror, with dark humor to spare. One particularly unique perspective the film takes is the concept of vampires being unfamiliar in the film's universe. Caleb and his family are completely perplexed at the motivations and abilities of the vampires they encounter, as the idea of such is not present in the film's culture as it is in reality; the word "vampire" is never spoken by anyone. This makes the fear and confusion by the humans more intense.

Plus, Evil Bill Paxton.

The film is a favorite among a majority of diehard horror fans, and is readily available on DVD and Blu-Ray. Here is the film's trailer. Enjoy!


Friday, March 7, 2014

List O' Links for Friday, March 7th, 2014

Hello one and all! With more seasonable temperatures than we've been getting lately expected this weekend, hopefully we'll be able to thaw out a bit from this cruel winter. Get warm and cozy with these fun links!

Here are 31 reasons why my hometown of Philadelphia is the most underrated city in America. Woo hoo!

There is a new theory surrounding the identity of the character of Andy's mom in the Toy Story movies, and it's an intriguing one. What do you think?

The recent controversy surrounding a possible feud between 12 Years A Slave director Steve McQueen and screenwriter John Ridley reminds me of a slightly similar situation a few years back. Learn about TV writer Jeffrey Lieber, the unsung creator of the series Lost.

This blog was McDonald's Talk Central for awhile, so here's a throwback to that era. Here are Pop Rewind's 7 Missed McDonald's Items. At least some of it is better left in the past.

If you're a fan of classic Top 40 radio like I am, you may enjoy, or may have already heard, this hilarious audio, the famous (among radio fans) NINE tape. This recording, never intended for public listening, is a spoof of the tightening of Top 40 formatics that was happening in earnest at the time the tape was made, the early 1970s. Enjoy!

Finally, the University of Pennsylvania discovered an unusual item in their archives--centuries-old plans to launch warfare by strapping small animals with rocket packs at their enemies. History, folks.

Have a great weekend!