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What's Going On with "The Essentials"?


misswonderly3
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Ok, first, full disclosure: I don't follow every single thing that goes on on these boards, or on the rest of the TCM website. So I may very well have missed some kind of announcement about "The Essentials" being discontinued, or re-programmed, or postponed til some undeclared future date, or something.

 

But - what happened to "The Essentials", the specific programming that used to occur every Saturday night on TCM?  You know, the time slot from 8 to 12  ( roughly) where Robert Osborne would talk about what he  (or the guest, or the programmers, not really sure how it worked) regarded as "essential" viewing for hard core classic movie fans. There was always a guest host - not a guest for one night, but for an entire year's worth of Saturday night "essential" viewing.

 

It was part of TCM's programming for years and years. Is it still on? It didn't seem to be last Saturday night. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed that evening's line-up, and enjoy the thread about it here. However, it didn't seem to be in any way part of an "Essentials" program.

 

I wasn't in love with "The Essentials", but I didn't mind it either. Most of the time I'd already seen the films they were showcasing, several times, so would often skip it. But I also understood the thinking behind "The Essentials", and never really minded their airings of ( to hard core and maybe older fans) really well-known movies.

 

Am I blathering on about nothing here? Is "The Essentials" still an ongoing program at TCM, and I'm just missing something?

Or have they ( perhaps only temporarily?) cancelled it, maybe due to Mr. Osborne's health issues? Is it in some kind of programming limbo? 

 

Just curious....probably everybody else here knows what's going on with "The Essentials" except me. Can someone bring me up to date?

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I assume it's on hiatus since R.O's been gone. I was thinking the other day if they would resurrect it with the Mank. Possibly they are waiting on any retirement announcement from R.O. before proceeding. I dont expect him ever to be back. I dont really miss it. The same old films that are shown throughout the year anyway. I wouldnt care if were put in permanent mothballs...

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I often got the feeling, in the last couple of years or so, that TCM still programmed Saturday nights as the Essentials in all but the name. Sure, the wraparounds are only Ben, and there is no extended discussions with the guest, but it seemed that each year a schedule of Essentials was prepared, ready to resurrect the concept, and air the movies in any case; the followup films related to the 8 pm selection in some manner.

 

I can see this past Saturday as a good example. BOOMERANG is chosen, and is followed by three more Dana Andrews noirish films. I can see BOOMERANG as a selection for an Essential, so there you go. Too bad Alec Baldwin now has an alternate gig on SNL, for hopefully, no more than 4 years.

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Ok, first, full disclosure: I don't follow every single thing that goes on on these boards, or on the rest of the TCM website. So I may very well have missed some kind of announcement about "The Essentials" being discontinued, or re-programmed, or postponed til some undeclared future date, or something.

 

But - what happened to "The Essentials", the specific programming that used to occur every Saturday night on TCM?  You know, the time slot from 8 to 12  ( roughly) where Robert Osborne would talk about what he  (or the guest, or the programmers, not really sure how it worked) regarded as "essential" viewing for hard core classic movie fans. There was always a guest host - not a guest for one night, but for an entire year's worth of Saturday night "essential" viewing.

 

It was part of TCM's programming for years and years. Is it still on? It didn't seem to be last Saturday night. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed that evening's line-up, and enjoy the thread about it here. However, it didn't seem to be in any way part of an "Essentials" program.

 

I wasn't in love with "The Essentials", but I didn't mind it either. Most of the time I'd already seen the films they were showcasing, several times, so would often skip it. But I also understood the thinking behind "The Essentials", and never really minded their airings of ( to hard core and maybe older fans) really well-known movies.

 

Am I blathering on about nothing here? Is "The Essentials" still an ongoing program at TCM, and I'm just missing something?

Or have they ( perhaps only temporarily?) cancelled it, maybe due to Mr. Osborne's health issues? Is it in some kind of programming limbo? 

 

Just curious....probably everybody else here knows what's going on with "The Essentials" except me. Can someone bring me up to date?

 

Well first, MissW. Considering I just read you "blather on"(and enjoyed it) in that "Boomerang!" thread and now a bit here, I'm compelled to ask you if perchance you have considered switching to Decaf? ;)

 

However and secondly here, in an attempt to answer your question, like Hibi said, I don't find myself missing this series much either. I always got the impression that it was geared more toward the viewer with less knowledge of classic cinema than those of us who frequent this website and who have been regular viewers of TCM's fare since its inception.

 

I, like you, might occasionally tune into the opening segment just to hear what Bob and his Essentials co-host might say about their pick of film and in hopes of maybe hearing something about the film's production or cast members I might not have previously known, but because almost all the films they picked would be mainstays of TCM's programming and I had already watched them many many times in the past, I would find myself changing channels as soon as the movie would begin.

 

I have the feeling, and as others have said here, that because of Bob's continued absence and perhaps because of some feeling by the TCM programming crew that this series run its course, you may not see it revived anytime soon.

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Well first, MissW. Considering I just read you "blather on"(and enjoyed it) in that "Boomerang!" thread and now a bit here, I'm compelled to ask you if perchance you have considered switching to Decaf? ;)

 

However and secondly here, in an attempt to answer your question, like Hibi said, I don't find myself missing this series much either. I always got the impression that it was geared more toward the viewer with less knowledge of classic cinema than those of us who frequent this website and who have been regular viewers of TCM's fare since its inception.

 

I, like you, might occasionally tune into the opening segment just to hear what Bob and his Essentials co-host might say about their pick of film and in hopes of maybe hearing something about the film's production or cast members I might not have previously known, but because almost all the films they picked would be mainstays of TCM's programming and I had already watched them many many times in the past, I would find myself changing channels as soon as the movie would begin.

 

I have the feeling, and as others have said here, that because of Bob's continued absence and perhaps because of some feeling by the TCM programming crew that this series run its course, you may not see it revived anytime soon.

 

 

Maybe it will be tied into backlot members being on in the future? Who knows? They seem to be pushing that relentlessly now. Contests, on the air appearances and the like. I wont be joining though.......

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I assume it's on hiatus since R.O's been gone. I was thinking the other day if they would resurrect it with the Mank. Possibly they are waiting on any retirement announcement from R.O. before proceeding. I dont expect him ever to be back. I dont really miss it. The same old films that are shown throughout the year anyway. I wouldnt care if were put in permanent mothballs...

I thank they realize that THE ESSENTIALS is on its last legs. RO's absence is an opportunity to put it in mothballs. Besides, it is very much identified with him.

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I dunno...maybe it did run it's course.

 

Or maybe enough viewers wrote in to say, "Just GET ON with the MOVIE.  I'll tune in to PBS if I want a film school tutorial!"

 

Or maybe they couldn't book anyone interesting to discuss the films with. 

 

 

Sepiatone

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I dunno...maybe it did run it's course.

 

Or maybe enough viewers wrote in to say, "Just GET ON with the MOVIE.  I'll tune in to PBS if I want a film school tutorial!"

 

Or maybe they couldn't book anyone interesting to discuss the films with. 

 

 

Sepiatone

They don't really need two people. One interesting person telling us why the film is essential will do quite nicely.

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Like many here, I was never particularly drawn to "The Essentials" myself.  The films shown were always tried-and-true Hollywood classics that are frequently scheduled at other times anyway, so I never felt any urgency in catching the latest showing of Now, Voyager or Ninotchka.  This discussion has reminded me, however, that Robert O. was not always the host of "The Essentials."  Do you all remember back when Peter Bogdanovich, Rob Reiner, and Sydney Pollack each hosted individually?

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Like many here, I was never particularly drawn to "The Essentials" myself.  The films shown were always tried-and-true Hollywood classics that are frequently scheduled at other times anyway, so I never felt any urgency in catching the latest showing of Now, Voyager or Ninotchka.  This discussion has reminded me, however, that Robert O. was not always the host of "The Essentials."  Do you all remember back when Peter Bogdanovich, Rob Reiner, and Sydney Pollack each hosted individually?

 

 

YES. R.O. was not connected to it at first............

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Ok, first, full disclosure: I don't follow every single thing that goes on on these boards, or on the rest of the TCM website. So I may very well have missed some kind of announcement about "The Essentials" being discontinued, or re-programmed, or postponed til some undeclared future date, or something.

 

But - what happened to "The Essentials", the specific programming that used to occur every Saturday night on TCM?  You know, the time slot from 8 to 12  ( roughly) where Robert Osborne would talk about what he  (or the guest, or the programmers, not really sure how it worked) regarded as "essential" viewing for hard core classic movie fans. There was always a guest host - not a guest for one night, but for an entire year's worth of Saturday night "essential" viewing.

 

It was part of TCM's programming for years and years. Is it still on? It didn't seem to be last Saturday night. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed that evening's line-up, and enjoy the thread about it here. However, it didn't seem to be in any way part of an "Essentials" program.

 

I wasn't in love with "The Essentials", but I didn't mind it either. Most of the time I'd already seen the films they were showcasing, several times, so would often skip it. But I also understood the thinking behind "The Essentials", and never really minded their airings of ( to hard core and maybe older fans) really well-known movies.

 

Am I blathering on about nothing here? Is "The Essentials" still an ongoing program at TCM, and I'm just missing something?

Or have they ( perhaps only temporarily?) cancelled it, maybe due to Mr. Osborne's health issues? Is it in some kind of programming limbo? 

 

Just curious....probably everybody else here knows what's going on with "The Essentials" except me. Can someone bring me up to date?

The Essentials has been on since 2001 and is just the first primetime slot. The second movie was not an Essential but had a tie in to the first movie via the theme of the evening. Initially,  solo directors hosted The Essentials. After those directors left in 2006??? I think, Robert O. would cohost with somebody else from the film industry, but not somebody with the gravitas of a prominent film director. Since TCM has been in budget cutting mode lately, they may just figure that rather than having to put out the cash for another prominent director to host the Essentials, that they will just let this TCM tradition die, like the voice announcing the next three films that were upcoming. Having said all of this, if they could get Alec Baldwin to take Bob's old place and chair The Essentials, I'd be OK with that. I thought his three year stint on the show yielded some of the most interesting discussions that occurred during the wrap arounds.

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Maybe dumping The Essentials -if that is what TCM is doing - is in line with all of this growing trend towards plutocracy that has been at TCM for a few years now. It used to be about average Joes watching classic films. Now it's about, buying enough TCM wine by Orson Welles to balloon you to the great filmmaker's size, the cruises (shut down now I hear), the film festival in California, high priced auctions, and now this "TCM Backlot" in which you pay money to be on the inside. I'm sorry I just don't make enough money or have a nose that goes high enough in the air to participate in all of this exclusive stuff that the TCM of the last five years cares about.

 

Eddie Muller, great film historian of noirs, being paid to put on airs and talk about a wine's bouquet is just emblematic of all I have just said.

 

And whatever happened to the Young Film Composers annual contest which has been dead for about ten years? I guess there's no money in silent film so out it goes.

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Baldwin seems pretty busy with his Donald Dump impersonation, so I really doubt he'd have the time.

 

Yeah, to say nothin' about his Gene Rayburn impression lately, Hibi. ;)

 

(...or haven't you seen him hosting that revival of Match Game)

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I reckon The Essentials series is now Non-Essential to TCM's plans.  → Maybe TCM has notions in the near future of having those "charter members" of the Backlot choosing movies for us low-class troglodytes on Saturday nights.   

 

         

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