Criminal Minds: "Amplification"

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BONANZA: I watched both of those Bonanza sequel TV movies back when they first aired in the '90s, but neither of them was very good. Lorne Green was still alive when the first was being planned, but as he grew increasingly ill, his part was cut back smaller and smaller. By the time he died, they should have just scrapped the whole thing. Instead, they put out a movie far inferior to what it could have been. A couple of years later, the first prequel was striken from continuity and they tried again. The second one was better than the first, but that's not saying much. the only thing that would have helped at this point was if Adam came back to run the ranch after Ben's death, but Pernell Roberts chose not to participate.

I haven't yet decided whether or not I will watch those movies a second time when I'm finished with the series, but I've got a looong time to think about that. I often wonder what became of the Ponderosa. I just watched The Godfather Part II and there is no way that Michael Corleone's Lake Tahoe estate is not on former Ponderosa land. Given the mismanagement displayed in the TV movies, I'm saddened but not surprised that the Ponderosa turned up in the hands of a gangster. Ben Cartwright would spin in his grave. 

LONE RANGER, BONANZA & MST3K: I've finally finished season seven of Bonanza. Not previously watched season two episodes keep trickling in, including "Elizabeth, My Love," the first of the "My Love" episodes to come into queue. Also, I recorded S1 E1 today. Previously, I got only a few S3 episodes, and none from S4, S5 or S6 at all. I have virtually every episode from seasons 8-14 recorded. The episode I just finished watching had two guest-stars from Star Trek: Dr. Elizabeth "Hotlips" Dehner from "Where No Man Has Gone Before" and Samuel T. Cogley from "Court Martial."

We've got something special on tap for Christmas Eve. First, there's a Lone Ranger episode titled "Christmas Story" which we will follow up with the MST3K version of Santa Claus (1959). (Tracy thinks it's Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, but it's not. I have that one on dubbed VHS, but it looks like crap on a Hi-Def TV.

Teen Titans Go! Lots and lots of Teen Titans Go!

I have no idea how this show escaped my notice for so long. I was aware of it, but wrote it off as something I’d have no interest in. Somehow, when Teen Titans Go! To the Movies came out, I got it into my head that I’d go see it, but never did. Last week I stumbled across part of it while channel flipping and became hooked.

It is immensely dumb – careening frantically (yet somehow also amiably) back and forth across the borders of Fun Dumb, Smart Dumb and Just Plain Dumb. There’s not a moment of it that could cause The Lovely and Talented to crack a smile, and even The Lad says it’s too stupid for him (although he did manage a laugh at the “Toddler Titans Yay!” episode).

Yet somehow it hits the sweet spot for me. I suppose I just need some harmless dumb fun these days.

I saw Santa Claus Is Coming To Town Tuesday with some great songs and voice work. You can't go wrong with Mickey Rooney, Fred Astaire and Paul Frees. Santa was a real rebel in his younger days!

Wednesday I saw Hercule Poirot's Christmas (1995) starring David Suchet. It was another family-centric murder mystery with plenty of confusing clues, mis-directions and red herrings. Funny thing is that it "borrowed" a plot point from Hound of the Baskervilles!

Today I saw A Charlie Brown Christmas with its unique blend of childhood trauma and adult depression to create a hopeful message! 

Tonight I'm watching Celtic Woman Christmas and am still deciding what to watch tomorrow!

The Lad asked me what I thought about the two of us spending the day just sitting on the couch watching Star Wars movies so, yep, that's what I did today.

That sounds like fun!

The missus and I watched Wonder Woman 1984 last night and enjoyed it. It's less of a cultural explosion than the first one, but it's fun. Those who don't like it either don't like Diana being in love with Steve (or anyone, I imagine) or they just don't like superhero movies.

Gal Gadot is luminous and Chris Pine is pitch perfect. They're not only a handsome couple, but do Nick-and-Nora banter effortlessly. They're really funny and charming together.

Kristen Wiig's Cheetah is all right. Confession: I've never liked The Cheetah, as I've never saw her as a serious opponent for a demigod like Diana. The movie transcends the comics character, so it bounded over my admittedly low bar.

Pedro Pascal's Max Lord is a bit of Trump parody, except that he has a couple of virtues (Trump, as far as I can see, has none). The gold armor was awesome as expected, and why she needs it is part of the plot. Also, invisible plane and new super-power. What's  not to love?

Elsewhere, we're been keeping up with The Mandalorian, Star Trek: Discovery, His Dark Materials, Pennyworth and The Expanse. I wanted to start The Stand, but my sweetie vetoed that, and we watched the entirety of Fleabag instead.

We also drove around Christmas Day night and looked at all the extravagant Christmas lights we could find.

I decided to wait to watch the new The Stand series until I have all the episodes, which will be in February. Some time before that I'll be watching the original miniseries on BluRay. It'll be hard to beat.*

* The first time I heard Laura San Giacomo's distinctive voice on the comedy series Just Shoot Me it creeped me out, recalling her performance as Nadine Cross in The Stand.

LAND OF THE GIANTS: With new television on hiatus (and waiting for Rob to get caught up to us on Dark Shadows), we went back to finish off season two of Land of the Giants. With Heather Young pregnant, her character Betty Hamilton is inexplicable missing from most of the episodes. There was one episode in which she wore baggy clothes and was shot standing behind vegetation or sitting dowm, there was one episode in which someone mentioned she "back at the ship" (or something), but mostly her absence is just ignored. they really should have written her out in such a way that they could have easily brought her back in later.

THE TWILIGHT ZONE: SYFY is running The Twilight Zone all day today. If I didn't have secen seasons of Bonanza to wotk my way through, I'd record it.

TV PG: Back when I met Clayton Moore (circa 1980), he was disdainful that the then-current Lone Ranger movie drew a PG rating. (As Doctor Hmmm? quoted yesterday, "You took something kid-friendly and made it inappropriate just so you could still enjoy something you should have outgrown years ago!!!") Back when I first recorded Bonanza a few months ago and started watching it, I was incredulous that it was rated "TV PG." Bonanza! Tracy said it was because of the gunplay. By that standard, even Clayton Moore's Lone Ranger would draw a PG rating. What I learned from The Lone Ranger was not to use guns as a first resort. 

What brings this to mind is that SYFY has given The Twilight Zone a PG rating. The Twilight Zone! While I'm at it, the promo they're been running spoils the ending of the "To Serve Man" episode. I maintain the possibility that someone who hasn't seen it may be watching. Good job, SYFY! If the goal is to ellicit warm fuzzies, they didn't have to use the c******* line. 

Get off my lawn, you goddam kids! 

My wife and I have been watching it: it's a tradition. I'm less invested now that I own the Blu-Ray box of the entire series. I highly recommend it. It offers remastered sound, plus a variety of extras, depending on the episode: commentary tracks by actors and writers; interviews with same; isolated soundtracks; radio drama versions of the same story, and occasional video of earlier series when a story was a remake.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

THE TWILIGHT ZONE: SYFY is running The Twilight Zone all day today. If I didn't have secen seasons of Bonanza to wotk my way through, I'd record it.

I just watched an episode of Perry Mason in which Raymond Burr barely appears. Bette Davis plays attorney Constant Doyle, who becomes the central character while Perry is in the hospital. Dick Wilson, aka Mr Whipple in the Charmin ads, appears in a jail cell. Neil Hamilton, aka Batman's Commissioner Gordon, appears, as does Les Tremayne, Mentor from Shazam! The young defendant is played by Michael Parks, who would later play Earl McGraw in four Tarantino films and was Bronson in Then Came Bronson.

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