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The Television Thread


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Since we have one for Soap Operas, why not one for prime-time series? This will be a catchall thread where you can talk about series from every era. Currently, I am enjoying the 70s series Family on Tubi, as they have managed to get the entire series out and about, even the episodes never put on DVD.

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I recently watched some episodes of The Streets Of San Francisco (1972-1977) on Youtube and I own Season 4 on DVD. I watched it from time to time when it was first broadcast. The best part of the show was the chemistry between Karl Malden as the veteran cop and Michael Douglas as his youthful, college educated partner. 

There were many good guest actors like Bill Bixby in one episode as a vigilante in a police uniform who kills off suspects let go on technicalities. Maurice Evans plays a school teacher in one episode who gets so angry and crazy over students dropping out that he kidnaps some of them, chains them to desks and forces them to learn at gunpoint. Vera Miles has a good one where she played a lawyer who runs a crisis center for rape victims, she is confronted by one angry rapist (Michael Parks).

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Good idea for a thread.

I have been rediscovering two series. One is David Kelley's Emmy winner Picket Fences which I only watched sporadically during its original run on CBS (1992-1996). I recently finished season 2, which I felt was stronger than season 1. I have read that the quality dips in season 4, but I think there are plenty of good episodes ahead in season 3 and look forward to watching them. All episodes of this show may currently be streamed on Hulu.

***

The other series I had been wanting to re-examine is Wagon Train and fortunately, seasons 1-7 may currently be streamed on Starz. I hope they will add season 8 at some point.

I know it will sound blasphemous to say this but while I like Ward Bond a lot, the lung congestion and hoarseness of his voice on this program distracts me. It seems like he's smoked too much and has perpetual bronchitis. 

I am a huge fan of John McIntire and his wife Jeanette Nolan, so I decided to just focus on the McIntire episodes this time around which start in the middle of season 4. I've been very impressed with the performances, writing, direction, cinematography, all of it. 

There are some episodes where McIntire doesn't appear and costars Robert Horton and Terry Wilson take over. Those stories are just as good. But McIntire gives the show a necessary father figure and I prefer the episodes in which his character appears.

The seventh season was done in color and expanded to 75-minutes and most of those offerings are very good. But I think the show works best in the black-and-white 50 minute format.

Yesterday. I watched an excellent episode from season 6, made in 1962 which featured Ann Sheridan as the main guest star. She plays a very ruthless woman. She intends to make everyone in Chris Hale's group pay for having been wronged years ago.

It's called 'The Mavis Grant Story.'

Screen Shot 2022-08-13 at 4.39.09 PM

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9 minutes ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

I recently watched some episodes of The Streets Of San Francisco (1972-1977) on Youtube and I own Season 4 on DVD. I watched it from time to time when it was first broadcast. The best part of the show was the chemistry between Karl Malden as the veteran cop and Michael Douglas as his youthful, college educated partner. 

There were many good guest actors like Bill Bixby in one episode as a vigilante in a police uniform who kills off suspects let go on technicalities. Maurice Evans plays a school teacher in one episode who gets so angry and crazy over students dropping out that he kidnaps some of them, chains them to desks and forces them to learn at gunpoint. Vera Miles has a good one where she played a lawyer who runs a crisis center for rape victims, she is confronted by one angry rapist (Michael Parks).

What do you think of Richard Hatch in the last season?

Screen Shot 2020-08-31 at 6.05.11 AM

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I've seen several episodes of Dr. Kildare recently. While the medical aspects are naturally quaint, I enjoyed seeing the guest cast (I think series regulars Richard Chamberlain and Raymond Massey are good). One episode had a young James Caan, and the next had Gloria Swanson.

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4 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

What do you think of Richard Hatch in the last season?

Screen Shot 2020-08-31 at 6.05.11 AM

He was a decent enough actor, but did not have the chemistry that Malden had with Douglas. I thought they were the best old cop/young cop duo in TV history.

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33 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

I've seen several episodes of Dr. Kildare recently. While the medical aspects are naturally quaint, I enjoyed seeing the guest cast (I think series regulars Richard Chamberlain and Raymond Massey are good). One episode had a young James Caan, and the next had Gloria Swanson.

I think William Shatner had a recurring role as a combative intern.

 

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1 hour ago, CinemaInternational said:

Since we have one for Soap Operas, why not one for prime-time series? This will be a catchall thread where you can talk about series from every era. Currently, I am enjoying the 70s series Family on Tubi, as they have managed to get the entire series out and about, even the episodes never put on DVD.

I'm not sure I ever got over the replacement of Elayne Heilveil (as the older daughter Nancy) by Meredith Baxter Birney.

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22 minutes ago, NipkowDisc said:

I think William Shatner had a recurring role as a combative intern.

 

Yeah, I read he was the original choice for Kildare, but he turned it down. Chamberlain was the third choice, after Shatner and James Franciscus. I've seen both show up in the series so far.

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4 minutes ago, jakeem said:

I'm not sure I ever got over the replacement of Elayne Heilveil (as the older daughter Nancy) by Meredith Baxter Birney.

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That's some impression made.  She was only in 4 episodes.   She was in the original mini-series.  She didn't want to continue on once it was picked up as a regular series.

Baxter-Birney wasn't even the first replacement.  That was Jane Actman, who only filmed one episode before being replaced with Baxter-Birney.  Actman's work never aired.

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3 minutes ago, txfilmfan said:

That's some impression made.  She was only in 4 episodes.   She was in the original mini-series.  She didn't want to continue on once it was picked up as a regular series.

Baxter-Birney wasn't even the first replacement.  That was Jane Actman, who only filmed one episode before being replaced with Baxter-Birney.  Actman's work never aired.

Maybe Elayne realized it was going to become "The Buddy Show." 

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14 minutes ago, jakeem said:

I'm not sure I ever got over the replacement of Elayne Heilveil (as the older daughter Nancy) by Meredith Baxter Birney.

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And as I recall,  I never got over how seemingly "cold, distant and overly-reserved" Sada Thompson was on this show.

(...although of course it has been many decades since I watched this program back when it was first-run, but THAT'S what I most remember about it anyway)

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1 minute ago, Dargo said:

And as I recall,  I never got over how seemingly "cold, distant and overly-reserved" Sada Thompson was on this show.

(...although of course it has been many decades since I watched this program back when it was first-run, but THAT'S what I most remember about it anyway)

Certainly not in the Donna Reed/Barbara Billingsley mold (though June did get testy with Beaver because he wouldn't eat his Brussel sprouts).

I never thought she was cold, but definitely reserved and a bit distant.  So I get what you're saying.

Re: "The Buddy Show", it was certainly her breakout moment.  Being about the same age, I could relate to the Buddy storylines the most.  It was about the only ABC series I watched.  Hated all those post-Happy Days Gary Marshall comedies and spin-offs, and their cousins (like Welcome Back, Kotter)

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29 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Yeah, I read he was the original choice for Kildare, but he turned it down. Chamberlain was the third choice, after Shatner and James Franciscus. I've seen both show up in the series so far.

I think Franciscus would have been better than Chamberlain.

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We recently subscribed to BritBox through Amazon Prime. We both love many British programmes but BritBox's Roku app was so seriously flawed  and their customer service so non-existent that we could not justify an independent subscription. They retain grotesque errors such as presenting the wrong Closed Captioning for some episodes and not maintaining the same season/episode listing as BBC but it is watchable.

The programmes which we are working through from start to finish:

QI This is a panel quiz show which goes into some depth on incredibly arcane facts. The panel are guest comedians and Alan Davies. Being outrageous is far more important than being correct. 

Jonathan Creek This stars the aforementioned Alan Davies as a creator of illusions and equipment for stage magicians. His expertise figuring out how to do the impossible serves him well when he is drawn into murder investigations.

To The Manor Born Penelope Keith is a national treasure in Britain. Here she plays one of the landed gentry who must move from the ancestral home when her husband dies and an immigrant self-made-millionaire buys the estate. They immediately have respect and attraction to each other but would suffer untold torture rather than admit it.

All Creature Great and Small A newly qualified veterinarian finds a position in a practice which ranges from huge work horses to spoiled lap dogs. It is a wonderfully charming series which carries all the innocence of its age.

Death in Paradise A very proper and rather straight-laced English Detective Inspector is transferred to a beautiful and very laid-back island in the Caribbean. Hilarity ensues.

Poirot David Suchet as the quintessential Agatha Christie detective.

Dirk Gently A madcap detective who believes in the connectedness of all things actually manages to solve crimes.

There are many other series which we have bookmarked for when we have finished these.

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2 hours ago, SansFin said:

To The Manor Born Penelope Keith is a national treasure in Britain. Here she plays one of the landed gentry who must move from the ancestral home when her husband dies and an immigrant self-made-millionaire buys the estate. They immediately have respect and attraction to each other but would suffer untold torture rather than admit it.

One of the first British scripted shows I saw as a teen. This is where I learned about the concept of the wealthy having to relocate because of taxes.

2 hours ago, SansFin said:

Death in Paradise A very proper and rather straight-laced English Detective Inspector is transferred to a beautiful and very laid-back island in the Caribbean. Hilarity ensues.

I like the show, I watch it on PBS on Mondays but, they can't keep any of the actors around for long. Now I barely know any of those people.

2 hours ago, SansFin said:

Poirot David Suchet as the quintessential Agatha Christie detective.

 

One of the best series ever IMO

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Okay, so I watched four episodes of Wagon Train this afternoon on Starz. 

And I have to say that a lot of the guest performers are amazing. The best ones in my opinion have been Nehemiah Persoff and Judith Anderson. Miss Anderson is bringing more than a bit of Broadway and skill in the classics to the western TV format. And Mr. Persoff is without peer when it comes to method acting...he dives so far into the character that you can tell he believes he is the character in every sense of the word.

I also was very impressed with Lee Marvin's work in an episode called "The Christopher Hale Story." This is the one where John McIntire is added to the cast after Ward Bond's death. To facilitate the transition, Marvin turns up as an interim wagon master who is beyond cruel to everyone. Terry Wilson who plays Bill Hawks has a boffo scene where he shoots Marvin to death, when Marvin turns on McIntire. The way Marvin performed his death scene was nothing short of spectacular. He did this very memorable pivot and leapt through the air as he was shot, then came down hard with a thud on the ground. It was clear there was no stunt double as it was all done in a single take.

William Demarest, an old school character actor, was in the same episode as Lee Marvin...they had an interesting altercation. Demarest was exceptional as always. Just really good stuff to watch in some of these stories.

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2 hours ago, TopBilled said:

...The way Marvin performed his death scene was nothing short of spectacular.

Heck, TB. Lee Marvin's death scenes were ALWAYS spectacular!

(...sounds like you've never noticed this before) ;)

 

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3 minutes ago, Dargo said:

Heck, TB. Lee Marvin's death scenes were ALWAYS spectacular!

(...sounds like you've never noticed this before) ;)

What I was really saying is that television production is usually rushed....they have about five to six days to get all the main scenes shot with very little rehearsal. I found it noteworthy that he was able to nail that scene so well in just one take...and it was a crowd scene with so many other actors involved. It was choreographed perfectly. 

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29 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

What I was really saying is that television production is usually rushed....they have about five to six days to get all the main scenes shot with very little rehearsal. I found it noteworthy that he was able to nail that scene so well in just one take...and it was a crowd scene with so many other actors involved. It was choreographed perfectly. 

Yeah, I got it TB, and thought you expressed yourself very well in your post up there.

My comment was of course more designed to elicit a, lets say, "knowing chuckle" from you or anyone else who might read my reply to you.

(...as you have to admit, Lee Marvin's many death scenes in various films are some of the most memorable ever filmed, and such as in his Liberty Valance role, among many others)

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4 hours ago, GGGGerald said:

I like the show, I watch it on PBS on Mondays but, they can't keep any of the actors around for long. Now I barely know any of those people.

 

 

The first detective was quite wonderful. The second detective was a bit of a slow started but did finally find his footing. I am at the point now of the third detective and I am not warming to him at all.

The replacement of Camille was a terrible blow and I am frankly surprised that the series has lasted so long after that.

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49 minutes ago, SansFin said:

 

The first detective was quite wonderful. The second detective was a bit of a slow started but did finally find his footing. I am at the point now of the third detective and I am not warming to him at all.

The replacement of Camille was a terrible blow and I am frankly surprised that the series has lasted so long after that.

Actually, its the fourth detective.  The only people left are the inspector and the lady who runs the restaurant.

The show gets great ratings in the UK and elsewhere. But, the location is so far from England. Either you're far from your family, or they move with you and all get homesick. As an actor, you can't get any side work because you are so far away. So they shuffle people around.

How weird is it that the new guy is really the senior person in the office ?

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10 hours ago, txfilmfan said:

Hated all those post-Happy Days Gary Marshall comedies and spin-offs, and their cousins (like Welcome Back, Kotter)

Garry Marshall didn't do the Happy Days spinoffs (he didn't even create Happy Days--that was Michael Eisner--but Marshall was called in to revamp the show after the first two seasons were struggling).  He proposed the spinoff ideas for Laverne & Shirley and Mork & Mindy, but most of the production was x-producers Edward Milkis & Thomas Miller, whose 70's-80's style on Perfect Strangers and Bosom Buddies became.........unmistakable.  😞 

And Welcome Back, Kotter had its own vibe going, with Gabe Kaplan's poor-man's-Groucho style basically throwing out the premise of the show and letting the ensemble cast do its own shtick thing.  (A young John Travolta played a dimbulb perfectly, and if Kaplan was Groucho, Robert Hegyes as Juan Epstein was a perfect Chico.)

7 hours ago, SansFin said:

We recently subscribed to BritBox through Amazon Prime.

To The Manor Born Penelope Keith is a national treasure in Britain. Here she plays one of the landed gentry who must move from the ancestral home when her husband dies and an immigrant self-made-millionaire buys the estate. They immediately have respect and attraction to each other but would suffer untold torture rather than admit it.

Unfortunately, Good Neighbors (as The Good Life is known in the US) seems to be on Acorn's channel?  That one plays as a dream-team of 70's-golden-age-Britcom, with Richard Briers, Felicity Kendall, a pre-"Yes, Minister" Paul Eddington, and the role that made Penelope Keith a Britcom household name.  😄

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15 hours ago, TopBilled said:

I am a huge fan of John McIntire and his wife Jeanette Nolan, so I decided to just focus on the McIntire episodes 

I just caught an episode of this while setting up my Mom's TV & could NOT recall McIntire's name! All I could think of was how he said "Ar-bo-Ghast" in Psycho, haha. The episode I saw had Claude Rains in it-with completely white hair! 

11 hours ago, SansFin said:

We recently subscribed to BritBox through Amazon Prime.

Yes & thank you for alerting me to some really great shows! We watch COUPLING because of your recommendation, but are trying to go slowly through the episodes instead of binge watching. It's always sad when you've completed a really good series & there's no more.

We thoroughly enjoyed GHOSTS and am waiting for season 4 to be filmed. The US version of GHOSTS is ok, but the humor & characters are more self conscious & heavy handed.

4 hours ago, EricJ said:

Unfortunately, Good Neighbors (as The Good Life is known in the US) seems to be on Acorn's channel?

One of my absolutely favorite TV shows. I learned all about the Kendalls history from researching more about Felicity once the internet came about. That brought me to Shakespeare Wallah '65, which I loved.

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Spent the weekend with Starsky & Hutch after discovering the show's availability on Amazon Prime. The only thing I don't like is that they chop off the end credits and go right into the next episode. 

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