Television

My bad…. David Muir is a bust!

David Muir 2Back in June of 2014 after complaining about the majority of evening news anchors featured on the three big networks of NBC, ABC and CBS, I published a post, Good News… Pun intended by the way!, elated over the change in news anchors just made by ABC. They had assigned David Muir to takeover the position of evening news anchor from Diane Sawyer and I couldn’t have been happier. Mr. Muir had been doing the weekend evening news for ABC and was doing a fantastic job.

Unfortunately, the old adage “be careful what you wish for” jumped up and bit me in the ass to put it bluntly. In the end the change ended up not only screwing up the ABC Nightly News for sure but Muir’s weekend news replacement really screwed up the ABC Weekend Evening News.

Almost from the git-go Muir began starting out every evening newscast with, “Tonight breaking news as we come on the air….” or “Breaking news tonight starting off our broadcast….”. He invariably starts off every newscast with ‘breaking news”…. did I mention “EVERY”! And it’s never really breaking news. It is normally news that happened earlier in the day but to grab attention he has to hype it up. As happy as I was to see him get the job, I almost immediately stopped watching him. He never did pull that crap when he had the weekend news.

Cecilia Vega and Tom Llamas 2And to make matters worse, at least for me, his replacement on the weekend news, Tom Llamas apparently liked the hyping hook so much he started using it on his broadcasts. So now, all their evening newscasts suck as far as I’m concerned. Cecilia Vargas often does one of the weekend evening newscasts and she’s great. They need to replace Muir with her.

There are a couple of our local television weather forecasters here in the Central Arkansas area that have honed their skills when it comes to hyping the weather and 90% of the time the hype is nothing more that an intentional ruse to get people to tune into their weather-casts.

Why it is all these people want to be the bearers of doomsday news beats me… but they love it. This society and our country have enough bad news to bear without these assholes going around trying to create yet more stress and anxiety which is exactly what they are doing.

Well, I can’t say that I now feel better after my little rant because nothing will certainly change because of it, but…. Ooops, you know what? I think I do feel a little better! 🙂

Do you remember where you were when…. ?

Do you remember where you were when…?

That, of course, is an all too familiar question that seems to have established its prominent roots surrounding the events of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in November of 1963 and then notably again with events surrounding the World Trade Center’s attack of September 11, 2001.

The FugitiveBut in the late 1960’s there was a televised event that for many millions across the United States evoked that same question as time distanced itself from the event. There were several notable televisions shows airing during those years. Just to name a few, there was The Andy Griffith Show; Bonanza; The Flintstones; The Twilight Zone; The Beverly Hillbillies; Gunsmoke and The Ed Sullivan Show. But none of those shows would come close to competing for the intense drama that captivated the television viewing audiences as “The Fugitive”. And “The Fugitive” was so intensely popular and iconic in the day that it too was able to invoke the proverbial question of where were you when you watched the final episode? And to that end I submit my own personal account of the events leading up to the watching of that final episode in my life….

The Fugitive - David Janssen as Richard Kimble - 1963It was late August of 1967 and I sat down in front of my television the night of the 22nd as many other millions of viewers would do that night to watch the final 2-part episode of “The Fugitive”. The first part was to air on Tuesday evening of the 22nd and the second or final half on Tuesday evening of the 29th. As that first half of the final episode concluded on that evening of the 22nd my mind fast-forwarded to my upcoming wedding which was to take place in just 4 days. No time to ponder the fate of Dr. Kimble or the one-armed man for the moment.

I was still in the Air Force at the time and was stationed at Warner-Robbins AFB, Georgia which was near Macon, Georgia. I was about to be married for my second time and my new wife and I were planning on driving to New Orleans for our honeymoon, brief as it was to be. We were married in the afternoon on the 26th and spent our first night at a hotel in Columbus, Georgia. We drove on to Biloxi, Mississippi the morning of the 27th where we spent some time and ended up staying overnight at a motel there. Then the next morning, the 28th, we headed to New Orleans arriving late morning and stayed that evening at a hotel in the French Quarter.

David_Janssen_Fugitive_1967Now having already mentioned it would be a brief honeymoon, when we got up early Tuesday morning the 29th we both were acutely aware that the major event unfolding that evening was to be the final conclusion to “The Fugitive”. It was an 8-hour drive straight through to Macon, Georgia where we had rented an apartment and where we had planned on watching that final episode. It would be close but we decided we were up to the challenge so we headed for home.

Some eight hours later we found ourselves pushing the deadline. We were close but depending on traffic we could end up being a little late. So as we approached Macon we decided to divert to my wife’s parent’s home which we could get to quicker than we could get to our apartment. So that’s what we did and we arrived within fifteen minutes or so of when the last episode was to air.

And so it was that within the next hour or so the fate of Dr. Kimble and the one-armed man would be revealed to us all and after some four years the fans of the fugitive could finally breathe a collective sigh of relief… it was over.

Oh, and finally just for the record, it is interesting to note for the record the subsequent data that goes some distance in documenting the popularity of that final episode…

“Part two of the finale was the most-watched television series episode up to that time. It was viewed by 25.70 million households

(45.9 percent of American households with a television set and a 72 percent share), meaning that more than 78 million people tuned in. That record was held until the November 21, 1980 episode of Dallas, (“Who Done It”), viewed by 41.47 million households

(53.3 percent of households and a 76 percent share), which was later surpassed by the series finale of M*A*S*H, (“Goodbye, Farewell and Amen”), on February 28, 1983, viewed by 50.15 million households

(60.2 percent of households and a 77 percent share).”

Doc Martin Season 7 Premiere… but not for me!

Doc Martin & Little DogThis morning would have been ushering in a pretty special day for me had I not intentionally circumvented the event that would have made it so special. This evening on the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) is airing the premiere episode of the new Season 7 of Doc Martin, a favorite TV show of mine. But alas it won’t be a premiere for me because several weeks ago I ordered the then available DVD of Season 7 which I immortalized “here”.

I began watching one by one the eight episodes comprising the entire series watching the final episode, Episode 8, just this past week. So now here I sit on the eve of the premiere showing no signs of exuberance whatsoever for the night’s wonderful upcoming event.

Doc Martin & Louisa - MediumThe new season aired in the United Kingdom some months ago which was to be expected since it is an English production with mostly English actors. There all the chit-chat revolves around the question as to whether Season 7/Episode 8 will in fact usher in the end of the show. I, for one, hope so because as wonderful a production as it has been, it’s time to end the drama and let all the characters get on with their lives.

The final episode of this season left me with the sense that a future had been established for each and every character and to the old adage of “living happily ever after”, I will rest quite well each evening as I put my head to pillow believing it shall be so. Actually, now that I think about it, that seems to be pretty much how I approach every decision I have ever made in my life, believing the choice I make will lead to everlasting happiness or at least hoping so… 😕

Doc Martin has arrived….

The final episode of Doc Martin – Series 6 will be concluding this evening on PBS. Whether this will be the last season or not remains a mystery at this time but it will be interesting to see how they bring this last episode to a close. They aired all the episodes this season in weekly succession but did bump one episode of season 6 somewhere around episode 4 for one of their viewer donation drives. And missed episodes on PBS don’t usually get rebroadcast until such time as the series is rerun. But fortunately I have resolved that issue as discussed below.

Doc Martin - Series 6 - 1

I already have purchased a box set of all the first 5 seasons including the original two pilot movies so it only made sense that I order Season 6 to complete my collection. I did just that this past week and it arrived day before yesterday. But I have decided to be patient and not watch the final episode until it airs tonight at its scheduled time. I then will probably re-watch the entire season, 8 episodes, during the coming week or so.

By the way, I should note that when I purchased the boxed set of the first five seasons, within a period of a few short weeks I had watched all the episodes. And even though PBS had not finished airing all the episodes at that point in time I remained a loyal fan and still watched them again every Sunday evening when they aired…. 😀

Close Encounters of the Fellowman Kind….

I happened to have caught a short segment on the PBS half-hour news broadcast this past evening that was both interesting and uplifting. I think many of us often fantasize about a society that is in fact much more social, friendly, courteous and respectful of their fellowman.

A young lady in New York City, Madeline Schwartzman, took on a personal project of interacting with people on her commute back and forth to work each day on the subway. Each day in her commute she asks select fellow commuters to write a poem in a notebook that she carries. Some refuse of course while others accept.

Madeline takes the poems and posts them on the website, 365 Day Subway:Poems by New Yorkers. Not so much for the poem’s sake but rather to show that we really do seem to have a desire to connect as humans and share our hopes, wishes and personal thoughts. But we choose rather to stay locked in our own little worlds cutting ourselves off from that deeper social interaction.

I have posted a link to the PBS segment below which is a little less than 4-minutes long, give it a listen and see if you don’t come away thinking that what the world needs now is a little more of this….

Subway Poetry Project Connects New Yorkers

Doc Martin…. It’s almost springtime!

Doc Martin 2(Doc Martin & Louisa)

I’m a “Doc Martin” fan, plain and simple. “Doc Martin” is, if you’re not aware, an English television series that airs here in the United States weekly on PBS. It comes on here in the Central Time Zone at 8:00 PM on Sunday nights.

PBS has already announced that Season 6 would begin airing this spring. Reruns of Season 5’s first episode aired this past Sunday so one could surmise that the new Season 6 should therefore be anticipated to begin around mid-April or so. Eight weeks from yesterday would make April the 20th the Season 6 debut. At any rate, here’s hoping. 😀

Doc Martin 3

Season 5 was scheduled to be the final season but the popularity of the show forced the powers to be to reconsider and in the end it would seem the viewers won out. They decided to film another season. So… will Season 6 be the last season or will it not? I’m sure it will be late summer before we know the conclusive answer to that question.

I did notice the other day that Season 6 was available for purchase on Amazon. I have already purchased a box set of the first five seasons including a couple of ‘made-for-TV’ movies but I think I would rather just wait and watch it weekly when it starts airing. That way it gives one something to look forward too for several weeks. If I purchased the Season 6 DVD I would have watched it all probably in less than a week. Bad idea!

Doc Martin - Series 6 - 1

Weather Forecasters…. Where’s the respect!

Weather ForecasterToday it snowed here in my hometown. Many of the local weather forecasters were predicting anywhere from a trace to perhaps as much as an inch or so of snow and/or possible sleet. When it was over we had accumulated some 8 inches or more of snow. Given that, a number of our local citizens seemed to hold some measure of hostility toward the local weather forecasters. After pondering this apparent irritability display by these individuals I have postulated the following theory….

Words that apparently many individuals have little to no knowledge as to their meaning are:

forecast
probability
likely

These words are most often understood by these individuals as actually meaning:

inevitable
factual
absolute

Such is the case when it comes to weather forecasting which is the most common occurrence and circumstance where these words are most often used. Then, to seemingly add insult to injury, these same individuals humiliate their intelligence to a greater degree by complaining and ridiculing the individual or entity doing the forecasting, categorizing them as an idiots and/or morons. Could this then, in actuality, be a truly factual case of the pot calling the kettle black?\r\nMy forecast is that more than likely the answer to that question has a high probability of being “yes”!

Actually, to resolve this issue I wonder if a bill shouldn’t be introduced in Congress rescinding the title “Weather Forecaster” and giving those individuals the new title of “Weather Guesser”. I think that folks would be much more lenient on errors if they understood up front that the “weather forecast guess” was indeed a “guess”. In addition, most of the individuals doing weather guessing do go to school to learn all about weather so I think we could at least be comforted that we are getting ”educated guesses”! 🙂

The Legacy….

This past June I was honored to be a participant in a school reunion gathering, not unlike those that are normally attended and/or talked about so often. And when I say normally, I am referring to your typical high school reunions and their multiple anniversaries. I, as a matter of fact, have never attended any of my high school reunion(s) but that is a very long story in itself and likely not one I will go into anytime soon.

This reunion was centered on my 6th grade graduating class from Rightsell Elementary in Little Rock, Arkansas. These were the folks who were not only my classmates for six years but also my playmates in the neighborhoods where we lived. These were the days when you had neighborhood schools that you attended. The large majority of us also attended an additional three more years of junior high school together, although due to the increased size in school population, the closeness that was shared in elementary school began to slowly fade as the years passed.

Having said that, I can now get to the point of this post. During the reunion we obviously talked and reminisced about all the things we use to do during those days. And one of those things discussed had to do with televison. For our generation, we were the first beneficiaries of new medium of television. In the beginning the television stations did not transmit but a few hours every day. But they did transmit a ‘television test pattern’ intended of course to be used so you could adjust the picture of your new television set for the best quality. And also understand, if you aren’t aware, that those first television stations only transmitted in black and white.

Most of us who were kids during those times were so entranced by the television and what it brought to our lives that we could not wait each day until the television station would come on the air and begin transmitting its programming. So until the station began transmitting, a majority of us would sit in front of our new television sets and watch the test pattern. We would watch anything just to be watching television.

Obviously as we from that generation think back over those days, it certainly brings a smile to our face. And it was that experience in our lives that inspired me to create the video clip posted below….

If you know anyone in their sixties, feel free to direct them to this post in the hopes that they might just get a little chuckle from a moment almost assuredly they experienced.

Who’s Your Favorite TV Mom?

One of our local television stations put out a poll on their website this past Friday soliciting their visitors/viewers to vote for their favorite TV mom in observance of Mother’s Day this coming Sunday. Now who ever picked the choices that they made available did an extremely poor job in my opinion. I thought that their choices they listed might be based on network affiliation but a double check confirmed that was apparently not the case. The following are the TV moms they chose for soliciting a “favorite” vote.

The Brady Bunch – Carol Brady (Florence Henderson) – ABC

Leave It To Beaver – June Cleaver (Barbara Billingsley) – CBS & ABC

The Cosby Show – Claire Huxtable (Phylicia Rashad) – NBC

The Simpsons – Marge Simpson – FOX

Now if I had to vote for one of those I suppose it would be Claire Huxtable, who by the way did do the best in the TV station’s poll. However, I would not have voted for her if any one of a number of other moms had been listed including my favorite TV mom who was not listed on the poll. I’m guessing there have probably been some twenty-five to thirty TV shows over the years where a “mom” has had a prevalent role. Here are just a few major ones that they didn’t mention that come to mind including my favorite.

Married With Children – Peg Bundy (Katey Sagal)

Roseanne – Roseanne Conner (Roseanne Barr/Arnold)

The Waltons – Olivia Walton (Michael Learned)

The Little House On The Prairie – Caroline Ingalls (Karen Grassie)

Happy Days – Marion Cunningham (Marion Ross)

All In The Family – Edith Bunker (Jean Stapleton)

The Addams Family – Morticia Addams (Carolyn Jones)

One Day At A Time – Ann Ramano (Bonnie Franklin)

That 70’s Show – Kitty Forman (Debra Jo Rupp)

Everybody Loves Raymond – Debra Barone (Patricia Heaton)

Good Times – Florida Evans (Esther Rolle)

Seinfeld – Estelle Costanza (Estelle Harris)

The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet – Harriet Nelson as herself

Family Ties – Elyse Keaton (Meredith Baxter)

The Partridge Family – Shirley Partridge (Shirley Jones)

The Donna Reed Show – Donna Stone (Donna Reed)

Everybody Loves Raymond – Marie Barone (Doris Roberts)

As far as my personal favorite – well nothing comes close. By a wide margin I choose Kitty Forman from That 70s Show. She loves her family, works as a nurse, and has been known to sip the schnapps from time to time. Now that’s a real mom.

Kitty Forman - 03My Favorite TV Mom – Kitty Forman

And let’s face it for those who may propose or suggest that the “perfect” mom has somehow been portrayed on one of our television shows, either past or present. Fact is, there are no perfect moms – only perfect children. This, of course, is what makes a mom so special and endearing to us who are their children.

Happy Mother’s Day…. 🙂