Criminal Minds: "Amplification"

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I've always wondered - why one hour dramas and why half-hour comedies?

Are you guys familiar with the Twilight Zone radio dramas?

I have 14 collected volumes on CD I picked up a couple of years ago at HPB. These are the classic TV episodes adapted for radio and hosted by Stacy Keach. Some of the stories on TV are so visual I couldn't imagine how they could possibly be adapted for radio, but they managed to pull it off every time. Oddly, the background music is from Lost in Space, but I eventually got used to that as well. I don't know how long your commute is, Kelvin, but if your family refuses to watch the marathon on TV, these radio episodes are great to listen to in the car (each is about 40 minutes long). 

"I've always wondered - why one hour dramas and why half-hour comedies?"

1987 was the year of the "dramedy" (a half hour drama format that was also funny) debuting Hooperman (starring John Ritter) and Frank's Place (starring Tim Reid). I loved both of those shows (still have them on dubbed VHS), but unfortunately neither of them lasted. 

Star Wars:Visions is the latest SW entry on Disney Plus. These are stories set in the Star Wars universe produced by anime studios. The first episode "Duel" is outstanding. The story is good and the rendering technique used for the animation evokes a certain comic books series. Let me just say the episode could have been titled "Lone Wolf and Droid".

The Blu-Ray set includes the radio dramas as bonus material (I'm assuming they are all included, but have never checked). I've sampled a few of them, but it's not the sort of thing I usually listen to. Never got in the audiobook habit, either.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Are you guys familiar with the Twilight Zone radio dramas?

I have 14 collected volumes on CD I picked up a couple of years ago at HPB. These are the classic TV episodes adapted for radio and hosted by Stacy Keach. Some of the stories on TV are so visual I couldn't imagine how they could possibly be adapted for radio, but they managed to pull it off every time. Oddly, the background music is from Lost in Space, but I eventually got used to that as well. I don't know how long your commute is, Kelvin, but if your family refuses to watch the marathon on TV, these radio episodes are great to listen to in the car (each is about 40 minutes long). 

"I've always wondered - why one hour dramas and why half-hour comedies?"

1987 was the year of the "dramedy" (a half hour drama format that was also funny) debuting Hooperman (starring John Ritter) and Frank's Place (starring Tim Reid). I loved both of those shows (still have them on dubbed VHS), but unfortunately neither of them lasted. 

It's worth mentioning a previous thread about The Twilight Zone, here: The Twilight Zone Fan Favorites (SPOILERS)

Captain Comics said:

I might have mentioned this before, but I've been plowing through the original Twilight Zone. It's good. It's damn good.

But I doubt These Kids Today(tm) would agree. Most of my joy comes from re-living a time when there was no F/X, and writers and directors had to count on actors to carry the show. That might be too slow and boring for the video game generation.

But if you ARE of my generation, or shortly thereafter, this is the goods. Great writing, directors who leave the actors to work, and the best It's That Guy Again actors of the '50s and '60s.

And, it should be mentioned, a show that re-used the common sets of the time (Western, Prohibition, deserts as "alien planets") that you really can't see authentically any more. They were cheap and common at the time!

Then look at these names: Martin Landau, Robert Ryan, Jeanne Cooper, Martin Balsam, Dan Duryea, Ed Wynn, Malcolm Atterbury, Ken Lynch, Doug McClure, Ken Lynch, Jack Warden ...

Most of these people showed up in other Stuff You Love, like original Star Trek and North by Northwest and Maverick and Rawhide and even The Simpsons.

If you're under 40, it's probably nothing to you. But to me, it's putting me in a world that is long gone, and that I miss.

And, let me say again, some of the best writing television has ever seen.

Because the brain processes comedy faster. That's a fact, Jack!

The Baron said:

I've always wondered - why one hour dramas and why half-hour comedies?

The Baron said:

I've always wondered - why one hour dramas and why half-hour comedies?

I don't know. The earliest TV shows were only 15 minutes long, and there were 15-minute shows into the 1950s (like The Nat King Cole Show).

Back in 1969, ABC experimented with two shows that were 45 minutes long; the variety show The Music Scene, and The New Peoplea cross between The Lord of the Flies and Gilligan's Island about a group of college students who survived a plane crash on a deserted nuclear test site that had a mock village. The idea for the odd programming length was to keep people on ABC and hope they didn't change the channel on the hour to watch Laugh-In on NBC. (Kind of how TBS programs its shows to end five minutes past the hour or half-hour.) 

As I've noted elsewhere, there used to be half-hour dramas, like Firehouse, Dragnet and Adam-12, to name a few and the last one on network TV was Sidekicks.

Also noted elsewhere, Law & Order was planned to be syndicated in half-hour chunks, which figures. The average cop show episode ends with an arrest, and the viewer is left to assume the arrestee is guilty of the crime and got convicted (neither of which are necessarily true). And your average lawyer show doesn't depict the how and why of the case, just that Perry Mason or Matlock is going to get our defendant out of it. 

Jeff of Earth-J said:

1987 was the year of the "dramedy" (a half hour drama format that was also funny) debuting Hooperman (starring John Ritter) and Frank's Place (starring Tim Reid). I loved both of those shows (still have them on dubbed VHS), but unfortunately neither of them lasted. 

I still miss Frank's Place. It's the kind of show that would have found a place in the modern era, but it just didn't get any footing on network television. 

I've enjoyed the entire four-season run of Survivor's Remorse, a comedy that was on Starz a few years back. The premise is that Cam, a promising basketball star from Boston, signs with a pro team in Atlanta and brings along a small entourage consisting of his mother Cassie, his Uncle Julius (Cassie's brother), his half-sister Mary Charles (who would rather be called "M-Chuck"), his cousin Reggie and Reggie's wife Missy.

It's partly a fish-out-of-water comedy as this quartet navigates its new environs, augmented greatly by Cam's new fortune. But it grows into something more. Cam is a good-hearted guy who wants to save the world, and the money he makes from playing the game and from endorsements gives him more means than the average person to do so. Reggie serves as Cam's manager, but also as the big brother he never had, and he frequently has to run interference from people who want favors and to tamp down Cam's impulses and put out various fires, although he will do what Cam asks if Cam is insistent.

At its best, Survivor's Remorse is like the "message" sitcoms that has one or all members of the family deep in some social issue that hits all sides of the question. Like one where M-Chuck gets a preview visit of a new museum of African American history  and is incensed that across the front are three-foot high steel letters spelling out its name: LEONARD MOSCOWITZ MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY.

Or one where Cassie goes to a red-carpet event and blithely tells a reporter how she would beat Cam with belts and other implements to get him to fall in line, and she absolutely does not understand why this is blowing up in the media or what is wrong about anything she said, and resists the entreaties from Cam and Reggie to apologize to make it go away.

Or another where Cam -- who can never say no to someone from the old neighborhood -- gives an interview to a reporter from the campus radio station at his alma mater, the University of Rhode Island. Cam's remarks about his desire to establish a foundation for kids with "frozen nostril syndrome" (they're born without them) gets seized upon by The Right-Wing Outrage Machine, which takes what he says out of context (he said the malady is "f****d up," not that the kids who have it are) and it blows up. The team hires a crisis manager who tells him to apologize, which he does half-heartedly and makes it worse. He gets out of it because he listens to Missy, who is always the smartest person in the room, and she gets him to clarify what, exactly, he's apologizing for.

Missy's advice goes over so well, Cam hires her to be his publicist. But in another episode, she arranges for a photo shoot of Cam in an airline magazine, with the theme "a day in the life," showing Cam in various settings wearing expensive clothes with a gorgeous model playing his girlfriend. However, on the morning of the photo shoot, Missy has an emergency root canal, and arrives late to the shoot to discover there's a different model than the one she hired, as she got a better gig doing a Vogue cover.

Missy demands the model be fired and replaced, because she specifically hired a dark-skinned model because she wanted to send a message: that pro athletes do find dark-skinned girls beautiful and desirable. Reggie tries to tell Missy she missed the chance to object because she showed up late, but this is the hill Missy is going to die on, so the model gets fired And Cam doesn't like it either, because the fired model didn't do anything wrong and will bad-mouth him over this, not Missy. But this is the hill Missy is going to die on. And the model herself confronts Missy about it. Cam declared she'll get double pay for the gig, but money can't replace the lost opportunity and potential boost to her career. But this is the hill Missy is going to die on.

And then there's Cam's actual girlfriend, Allison. They meet cute when he injures his knee during a game; she's the technician who runs the MRI machine at the hospital. He is frightened and, frankly, acting like a big baby, while she is unfailingly professional. But he screws things up -- badly -- and has to plead repeatedly to get into her good graces. Then in a later episode, Allison's car is in the shop, so he buys her a Cadillac SUV ...

... which she refuses to accept. 

Most of Cam's family can't understand this. Uncle Julius assumes Allison is "f***ing someone else." M-Chuck declares any other girl would be trying to have Cam's babies in the back seat of that SUV. But Cassie tells Allison she's got integrity. Unfortunately, a tragedy happens that makes Alison doubt her decision, but deep into the aftermath, Missy assures Allison she made the right choice. 

There's more -- a lot more -- and I wish it had done the planned full six seasons, but Starz canceled it. Season 4 got a bit bogged down in that every several characters had some kind of daddy issues to be resolved (Reggie's abusive, alcoholic father comes back, now five years sober and wanting to make amends, and Reggie is unforgiving; Missy learns her parents made Reggie sign a prenup because they don't trust him -- or her; Cam's dad has been in prison Cam's entire life, and he wants to know why dad never connected, only to learn his mother hid dad's letters; M-Chuck has lifelong anger issues and is pained over not even knowing who her father is because Cassie has adamantly refused to tell her), and I wish it had had the opportunity to come out the other side.

Still, it's a gem, and well worth watching. 

A couple of days ago I watched Season 2 Episode 6 of Castle, titled “Vampire Weekend.” It was broadcast a few days before Halloween in 2009 and was the Halloween episode. Before finding bodies to investigate, famous writer Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) appears dressed as Captain Malcolm Reynolds, his character from Firefly, waving a six-shooter. His daughter asks what he's supposed to be. He says "a space cowboy," to which his daughter says that "there's no such thing" or words to that effect. "Besides, you wore that costume five years ago," which he did in the movie Serenity.

They encounter a harmless cult of self-styled vampires who actually have arranged to have fangs and suck tiny amounts of blood from each other with permission. The first cult member killed had written and painted a graphic novel, which they peruse. Castle and Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) both express a fondness for comic books. Frank Miller's name is dropped. They went out of their way to talk up comics and the plot didn't really require it.

Speaking of dramedies, I recommend In Plain Sight. Originally on the USA network, it now is streaming on Amazon Prime’s IMDB channel. All five seasons are included with Prime and have commercials.

It’s about a woman who works for the Witness Protection Program run by the U.S. Marshall service. It stars Mary McCormack as Marshall Mary Shannon. She works with her boss and her partner for 61 episodes. Her mother and her sister are both off-the-wall as are some of the witnesses she’s protecting. The regulars are all great and the episodes are very enjoyable.

I am currently watching the Jackie Gleason/Carol Channing drugs and sex comedy "Skidoo".

We watched all five seasons of In Plain Sight when originally aired. That was a good show. Mary McCormick had previously been on west Wing and later turned up on Two and a Half Men. For a while, I was pulling for her to be cast as Carol Danvers. 

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