Monday, August 31, 2009

Skirting Around The Issue

I still remember the day in September 2008 when it was announced that Eoin Colfer would be writing a new Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy book. My initial reaction, naturally, is that they were crazy.

In some ways, of course, they still are. Yet the more I think about it, the more I realize it actually was inevitable. We're lucky it's happening now and in a manner approved by the various parties involved with the radio show and first five books, rather than the copyright expiring and someone publishing The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy And Zombies. Let's face it, if you're a Douglas Adams fan, you're looking forward to this. If nothing else, it will give you something to talk about.

I must admit that I have not read Artemis Fowl or anything else by Eoin Colfer, but still, I wonder why he was picked. The decision was apparently made by Douglas Adams' widow Jane Belson; according to some reports, she did it by no other criteria than that her daughter (yes, with Douglas) was a fan. I sort of get the feeling the first person they asked was J.K. Rowling (a woman I seriously doubt is going to write another word for the rest of her life, let alone a sequel to a book by someone else). If you haven't already figured it out, I know exactly who I would have picked, but considering that Daniel Pinkwater is barely known in America, let alone Britain, it's a highly unlikely choice.

Nonetheless, I sent Daniel Pinkwater a message via a form on his website, asking why on Earth he didn't get picked for this job. His answer is at (the post is dated December 19, 2008). I won't waste space repeating it here, but suffice to say that I should have realized he would have given an answer like that before I asked the question.

I'll be placing my order on Amazon UK for the new Last Chance To See book on Thursday.


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Shouldn't It Be Called The Audreid?

We have the first glimpse at the release date of Daniel Pinkwater's upcoming novel Adventures Of A Cat Whiskered Girl - it comes out in "Spring 2010." Okay. This new book is narrated by Big Audrey, a character introduced in The Yggyssey, the sequel to The Neddiad. Do you get the post title now?

If you're inclined to reading books online, this book will actually be serialized starting tomorrow (August 31). I'd rather wait for the physical book than read one chapter a week on my computer screen, but if that's your cup of tea, it's at

I'll have more about Daniel Pinkwater tomorrow.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Previews And Predictions

With Labor Day less than two weeks away, let's take another look at the fall lineup of five-day-a-week shows.

September 4 - Final episodes of Merv Griffin's Crosswords and Trivial Pursuit: America Plays

September 7 (Labor Day) - Season premieres of Millionaire, Family Feud (with a revised format), and Deal Or No Deal (now taped in Connecticut)

September 14 - Season premieres of Wheel Of Fortune and Jeopardy

September 21 - Five-day-a-week premiere of Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?; season premiere of The Price Is Right; The Price Is Right reruns replace Guiding Light

October 5 - Let's Make A Deal returns, replacing The Price Is Right rerun slot

So, what do I think about all this? What are the chances of these shows surviving? I'll tell you what I think. Right now, we have eight five-day-a-week shows. I'm starting to wonder if by September 2010, that number will be down to four.

Think about it. Wheel Of Fortune and Jeopardy certainly aren't going anywhere, and while I seriously believe that The Price Is Right needs a rest, I'm pretty sure I'm the only one. Those three (the gold standards) are fine. Family Feud - let's face it, the revised format with the returning Bullseye round was a stroke of genius on Fremantle's part. It allows them to advertise a $30,000 jackpot without ever having to give it away. That show probably isn't going anywhere either.

Then comes Millionaire. A few days ago, I would have said Millionaire would be just fine. However, the news has come out that in November, Millionaire will have a Tournament Of Champions that, while not guaranteeing a $1,000,000 payoff to the winner, will make it much more likely. If they have to do that, it means they're as desperate as Deal Or No Deal...a show that seems to be waning itself, as the move to Connecticut proves. Considering that Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader? was a hit in primetime for about a month, I somehow can't see it lasting five days a week. As for Let's Make A Deal, I'm an obsessed game show fan, so I know about the history of this show and its many successful runs with Monty Hall, but I have this vision of "the average viewer" watching the show and saying "What's this? The joint offspring of Deal Or No Deal and The Price Is Right, hosted by Wayne Brady?"

That's what I think. I could be totally wrong. For all I know, Let's Make A Deal could lead to a rush of new network daytime game shows - but if Deal Or No Deal and Let's Make A Deal are canceled around the same time, I get dibs on the headline "Done Deal...Both Of Them."


Friday, August 28, 2009

See It Sooner

A few notes relating to the upcoming return of Douglas Adams' Last Chance To See. The television show, featuring Mark Carwardine and Stephen Fry, will premiere on September 6 at 8PM on BBC2 and run for six episodes.

In addition, the release date of the new book by Mark and Stephen and has been pulled quite a bit earlier - it now comes out September 3, as opposed to October 1.

I'm not too worried about Last Chance To See, but the new Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy book - by Artemis Fowl creator Eoin Colfer - comes out October 11. We all know they're doing this for the money, and the sad part is, I'm going to buy the book, so it worked!

Needless to say, I'll have my reviews of these books...eventually. I'm going to save them for a trip I'm taking in October, so...November?


Thursday, August 27, 2009

I'm Back!

I'm back from my trip and am ready to give Sunday's Millionaire results, as well as a hodgepodge of other game show stuff. The results:

Contestant 1 - Jim Robinson
Miss $100,000 question, win $25,000

Contestant 2 - Ken Basin
Miss $1,000,000 question, win $25,000

Celebrity - Regis Philbin
Correct Answer - after many, many hints from Meredith Vieira, who, as it turns out, was there to host, not to play. Meredith also revealed that the nine contestants who didn't reach the hot seat on night eleven would get the first nine slots on the upcoming season of the daytime show.

As I've said, I've pretty much exhausted what I can say about Millionaire, and unfortunately even a $1,000,000 question can't change that. As a result, here is a hodgepodge of unrelated game show stuff:
  • Trivial Pursuit: America Plays will air its final episode on September 4. I actually thought this was a pretty good show and that Christopher Knight did a good job, but I may have been the only one.
  • Two years after being heavily promoted as the dying legacy of the creator of Wheel Of Fortune, Merv Griffin's Crosswords will air its final episode on the same day. Not a moment too soon, in my opinion.
  • I can't get 100% confirmation on the fall schedules for syndicated shows in my area; different TV listings sites are disagreeing. I may possibly have to wait until September 8 to see the new season of Family Feud, as my local station may be showing PGA Tour golf on Labor Day.
  • This isn't 100% confirmed yet either, but it appears that Bob Barker will be...guest hosting WWE Raw on September 7. Is he really that desperate to stay in the public eye?

Hopefully all these things will be confirmed soon.

See you when they are,


Saturday, August 22, 2009

I Guess That's Why They Call It I Guess That's Why They Call It The News

First, the really important news: I Guess That's Why They Call It The News is available as part of the BBC Radio 4 Friday Night Comedy Podcast.

Moving on...

I first heard of I Guess That's Why They Call It The News several months ago. The description of the upcoming show read something like "Fred MacAulay hosts as two teams of two play silly games about the week's news." My reaction: "So it's just The News Quiz."

I was wrong. The News Quiz, while a great show, consists of little more as a format than the host reading a question about a news story and that question starting the panelists off on several minutes of discussion\ranting about that story. I Guess That's Why They Call It The News, on the other hand, consists of what I suppose are best described as "news improv games" - but even that description seems not quite right. Most of the games played on the first show seem like they came straight out of I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue and were adapted only slightly to fit the week's news. One round began with Fred reading a piece of news about standardized testing, but this merely led into a silly parody of exams featuring "an actual question from an A-level exam from the year 2000BCE: Ugh. Is the answer A. Ugh, B. Ugh, C. Ugh or D. Ugh." Another one began with the news that Oxford Airport will soon be changing its name to London Oxford Airport, leading to a round of "Misleading Place Names" that was straight out of I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue. "Mumbai. You can't buy a mother there."

A few rounds were more intriguing - perhaps the best being a game of "Good News, Bad News" in which the panelists have one minute to explain, for example, why train fares coming down is bad news. Probably the round that sounds strangest when described is one where the panelists had to convince Americans to introduce something similar to Britain's NHS, and do so while eating plates full of biscuits. Unfortunately, it wasn't quite as funny as that description makes it sound.

The panelists on the first show were Laurence Howarth, Sarah Kendell, Gordon Southern and Milton Jones. Milton Jones was the only one I had heard of, but they're all good talents, as was Fred MacAulay once you get past his thick Scottish accent. One thing that certainly hadn't changed: scoring was purely arbitrary and random. The show ended with the two teams tied, 29 - 29. In short, this is barely topical and hardly original, but it's entertaining and serves what's clearly its sole purpose - filling a few weeks until The News Quiz comes back. If we ever hear from this show after September 24, I'll be amazed.

This will be my last post until I come back from my trip on Thursday, August 27. I will, hopefully, post tomorrow's Millionaire results that day.


There Goes My Mind

The "super special guest" for night eleven of Millionaire has come out - it is indeed Meredith Vieira. Why NBC allowed this we'll never know (she's on Today, Millionaire's on ABC.)

My review of I Guess That's Why They Call It The News will be up tonight.


Friday, August 21, 2009

I Guess That's Why They Call It...Not Yet

My review of I Guess That's Why They Call It The News will be up tomorrow.


Better Late Than Never

Well, this is a bit of a long story. I set yesterday's Millionaire to record in the morning, not realizing that the people coming in a few hours to sand the floors would render my house's only DVR inaccessible for days. Fortunately, I eventually discovered that ABC is putting Millionaire online. Here are the results from night ten:

Contestant 1 - Chris Maslowski
Quit on $250,000 question, win $100,000

Contestant 2 - Liz Schuller
Quit on $100,000 question, win $50,000

Contestant 3 - Jim Robinson
Answers $16,000 question, rollover

Celebrity - Steve Nash
Correct Answer, meaning Regis had to wear his Phoenix Suns jersey as part of a bet

A few notes on the show:
  • The expert was Mo Rocca. Sounds horrible, but he ended up getting every question he was asked right, albeit after much rambling each time. After Steve Nash used Ask The Expert, he said something like "It was worth the $25,000 just to hear that," but then he went with Mo's answer and was correct.
  • Sunday is the final show in this primetime event, meaning for what Regis said to Larry King to be correct, someone has to reach the $1,000,000 question. Also, ABC hasn't revealed who the celebrity will be, only that it's a super special guest that no game show fan will want to miss. If it's just Meredith Vieira I'll lose my mind.
  • In short, I'm going to be really upset after watching Sunday's show - and I probably won't watch be able to watch it on Sunday, as I'm leaving that day for a few days out of town. So let's recap - I'm going to miss the show Sunday, I most likely won't have Internet access until I get home, and my DVR is flat-out inaccessible. I'm going to have to go out of my way to see a show that will just disappoint me. Wow.

My review of I Guess That's Why They Call It The News will be a seperate post.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

It Certainly Was Better Than The Rocky Horror Picture Show

I just got back from watching Rifftrax performing Plan Nine From Outer Space. They were in Nashville, but their performance was beamed live to movie theaters around the country. I seriously doubt the event was actually over when I walked out of the auditorium an hour ago; after Plan Nine From Outer Space ended, the cast took a bow, the live feed cut to an information slide, and everyone watching got up and left. For all I know, they could still be doing encores as I type this.

It wasn't perfect - musical guest Jonathan Coulton was entertaining but far from necessary, and yes, the live feed did break up a few times (thankfully, never for more than a few seconds) during the short (Flying Stewardess). For all the hype about her being host of the event, Veronica Belmont's job consisted of little more than reading a few prewritten statements introducing everyone; the "special segment by Rich 'Lowtax' Kyanka" turned out to be a pair of fake commercial breaks (one commercial each). Fortunately, everyone seemed to realize what the audience had come for; after being introduced, Jonathan Coulton said something like "talk about further ado." When the main feature finally did start, it was every bit as good as I had hoped. I mean, every bit as bad as I had hoped. You get the point.

When I bought my tickets, said the movie was two hours. When I left the auditorium, I had it clocked at an hour and forty-five minutes, but as I said, they could still be going. As I type this, I'm trying to access, but the site appears to have gone down. I wonder why.

I'll post tonight's Millionaire results tomorrow, probably in the same post as my review of I Guess That's Why They Call It The News.

See you then,


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My Next Post

Tomorrow night, as I have said, I am going to the Rifftrax live event. I'll post my review as soon as I get home; however, I will have to record Millionaire. I will post tomorrow's Millionaire results on Friday, probably in the same post as my review of I Guess That's Why They Call It The News.

See you soon!


Two Very Different Quiz Shows

As promised, this post includes Millionaire results as well as a totally unrelated piece of game show news. Here are the results from night nine:

Contestant 1 - Leslie Salyer
Miss $16,000 question, win $1,000

Contestant 2 - Richard Mason
Miss $50,000 question, win $25,000

Contestant 3 - Donald Leake
Miss $8,000 question, win $1,000

Contestant 4 - Chris Maglowski
Answers $1,000 question, rollover

Celebrity - Snoop Dogg
Correct Answer

Now, a completely unrelated piece of game show news: the upcoming season of BBC Radio 4's Brain Of Britain will most likely not be hosted by Robert Robinson.

Brain Of Britain is one of the UK's longest running game shows, having been on since 1954. Original host Franklin Engelmann died in 1972 and was replaced by Robert Robinson, who has done the show ever since - more or less. He's in his eighties now, and not being in excellent health, has missed not just a few episodes, but two entire seasons. The first time this happened, in 2004, Russell Davies hosted the season; in 2007, Peter Snow hosted. It now appears that Russell will come back for the 2009 run.

This isn't 100% confirmed yet; when (and if) it is, I'm guessing the BBC will insist it's a temporary arrangement. Is that really a good thing? The show's production team is based in Manchester, and would like to tape the show there, but frequently move tapings to London for the sole purpose of making it easier on Robert. If it's that hard for him, maybe it's time for new blood. Frankly, I think a new host would provide a much-needed breath of fresh air for a show that I think is a little bit boring.

Brain Of Britain airs in BBC Radio 4's Monday afternoon quiz show slot, which is currently occupied by Round Britain Quiz. By my estimate (based on the season length for each show), Round Britain Quiz will end its season on October 5 and Brain Of Britain will start on October 12. I suppose we'll find out then who's hosting - and after the season ends (by my estimate, on February 1, 2010), have to wait until October 25, 2010 (again, this is all an estimate) to see if it's a permanent arrangement.

See you...well, read my next post.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Spoiler Alert!

Here are the results from night eight:

Contestant 1 - Jennifer Kiesel
Miss $25,000 question, win $1,000

Contestant 2 - Nik Bonaddio
Quit on $250,000 question, win $100,000

Contestant 3 - Leslie Salyer
Answers $8,000 question, rollover

Celebrity - Wynonna Judd
Correct Answer. She also come out a little early to surprise Leslie Salyer, who is apparently a big fan, and everyone in the audience got a copy of her latest album, Sing: Chapter One

All right, enough beating around the bush. Why did I title this post Spoiler Alert? Today, whether intentionally or not, it was leaked that in the last three nights of this event, a contestant will reach the $1,000,000 question. We don't know who, when, or what the final result is.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing. In some ways, it makes the show more exciting. Yet why is it that whenever anything big happens on a game show these days - in other words, whenever somebody wins $1,000,000 - we know it's going to happen weeks if not months in advance?

The way I see it, there are three ways this can happen. There can be an actual leak, an intentional leak by the show's producers\network, or somewhere in between the two. When Ken Jennings lost to Nancy Zerg in his 75th show, we knew months in advance due to an actual leak from someone in the audience. The producers of course refused to confirm this, but in some ways, they were probably happy it came out. Ken's run was getting a decades-old show a lot of attention; when he did lose, the show got higher ratings than it had in years.

Second, we have what I'm calling "somewhere in between the two." Essentially, it's when a leak wasn't intended by the producers\network, but came from someone associated with the show. That's actually what happened this time - Regis announced that this was going to happen in an appearance on Larry King Live. When John Carpenter became the first $1,000,000 winner, I knew it was going to happen because Regis had told Kathie Lee so in the morning. It didn't matter to me much at the time as (A) I didn't quite believe him; (B) since a single person had never won $1,000,000 on a game show, the novelty was enough to keep me interested; and (C) nobody could have predicted what John did on the $1,000,000 question.

Now, I shouldn't complain about those first two. The producers can't stop everything. However, many producers seem to feel it is neccessary to heavily advertise $1,000,000 winners themselves. NBC's short-lived revival of Twenty-One produced two of the biggest winners in game show history in Rahim Oberholtzer ($1,120,000) and David Legler ($1,765,000). Good, right? Well, maybe, but I clearly remember announcers saying at the end of Rahim and David's first appearances something like "Watch our next episode as Rahim wins more than $1,000,000!" Why? Deal Or No Deal - also on NBC, I might add - has done similar announcements, but perhaps an even bigger culprit was Fox, which milked big winners on Greed and Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader? on all its shows, well in advance. Even Millionaire heavily promoted Kevin Olmstead's $2,180,000 win. Is that what it takes to get people to watch a game show now?

I suppose I shouldn't talk. When Wheel Of Fortune had its first $1,000,000 winner, the producers said months in advance that "something amazing" will happen on whatever day. I knew at once what it would be - but I watched, and I don't watch Wheel Of Fortune regularly. Make of that what you will.

More Millionaire Tomorrow,


Monday, August 17, 2009

I'm Starting To Exhaust What I Can Say About Millionaire

Here are the results from night seven:

Contestant 1 - Leah Asbury
Quit on $100,000 question, win $50,000

Contestant 2 - Lee-Ann Whitlock
Miss $25,000 question, win $1,000

Contestant 3 - Jennifer Kiesel
Answers $8,000 question, rollover

Celebrity - Patricia Heaton
Correct Answer - after many, many hints from Regis

A few observations:
  • The video link with the expert (which, just in case you forgot, is sponsored by Skype) was working again - but considering that the expert was Jodi Picoult, this wasn't much help
  • I had no idea who Patricia Heaton was until ABC showed a commercial for their upcoming sitcom The Middle, in which she stars. Nice job.
  • I may possibly give other news and reviews in the same post as Millionaire results for the last four nights.

See you tomorrow,


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Highs And Lows

Here are the results from night six:

Contestant 1 - Eddie Lawhorn
Quit on $100,000 question, win $50,000

Contestant 2 - Rebecca Kesler
Quit on $100,000 question, win $50,000

Contestant 3 - Ellen Gaines
Miss $1,000 question, win nothing

Contestant 4 - Leah Asbury
Answers $2,000 question, rollover

Celebrity - Rachael Ray
Correct Answer

A few notes on the show:
  • The video link (sponsored by Skype) with the night's expert (Connie Chung) wasn't working, forcing the show to reach her by phone (sponsored by AT&T). Considering that this isn't a live show, you think they would have fixed it...let's hope it's working on tomorrow's show.
  • The incredibly perky Leah Asbury was told by Regis that she looked like "a young Peter Potter." Leah, the audience, and everyone else was like "huh?" Regis then corrected himself; he meant Harry Potter. OK.
  • ABC continues to heavily promote Shark Tank. I should explain that the "special preview" of Shark Tank on night one was within a commercial break and probably doesn't count. Night six's "special preview," on the other hand, was within the show and mentioned by Regis. Not only that, but two of the Sharks, Kevin O'Leary and Robert Herjavec, were in the audience. They told Regis something like "Like you, we're trying to make people rich; unlike you, we're putting our own money into it." I should note that both Kevin and Robert also appear on Dragon's Den, the Canadian version of the format originally known in Japan as Money Tigers. I'm sure there's some sort of joke here about sharks, dragons, and tigers, but I can't think of it.

More Millionaire Tomorrow,


I Should So Stop Listening To Critics

Critics loved Ponyo. They love pretty much anything directed by Hayao Miyazaki, really. I myself have only seen one other of his films: Spirited Away, which I thought made no sense. Was that supposed to be the point?

At least with Ponyo, I could follow what little plot there was. The premise: Ponyo (voiced by Noah Cyrus) is a fish. She washes up onto the shore and is found by a little boy named Sosuke (voiced by Frankie Jonas). Ponyo instantly falls in love with Sosuke (despite the fact that he's supposed to be five years old). Ponyo's father Fujimoto (voiced by Liam Neeson) is some sort of sea god who hates humans for ruining the ocean, and he wants his daughter back. Ponyo loves Sosuke so much that she doesn't want to go back, and she somehow manages to magically transform into a little girl, with whom Sosuke falls in love (again, despite the fact that he's five years old). This transformation has upset the balance of nature (no, really - that's what the movie said), causing huge storms. Will Ponyo and Sosuke be able to live happily ever after? On the off chance you haven't figured out the answer to that question, I won't spoil it.

That's probably a good premise for a kids movie; indeed, this probably is a good kids movie. It's certainly different than what Americans call kids animated movies these days - yes, I suppose Pixar is an exception, but if any other American animation studio had done that plot, it would have been badly computer animated, filled with pop culture references, and a lot faster paced. As it stands, the movie is beautifully hand drawn and doesn't make much use of the many celebrities promoted as being in the voice cast. Would an American kid used to Ice Age: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs or whatever accept that? I don't know, and either way, it all seemed pretty sappy to me. Call me cynical, call me a hypocrite - I'm probably both - but Ponyo did little in my mind to rise above "cute."

Millionaire in a few hours,


Two For The Price Of One!

Turns out I'm going to an afternoon showing of Ponyo, and will be home in time to watch Millionaire. Thus, I'll post my review of Ponyo as soon as I get home, and the results from tonight's Millionaire after it's over.

Stay tuned!


Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Separate Post

The reason I won't be posting tomorrow's Millionaire results until Monday is that I am going tomorrow night to see Ponyo, the new film from Japanese animation director Hayao Miyazaki. I would like to see it in Japanese, but alas, the only version shown in American theaters is the English dub put together by Disney. I know, that sounds hypocritical coming from someone who watches Power Rangers - until you learn that Disney cast in the lead roles Noah Cyrus (Miley's sister) and Frankie Jonas (the Jonas brother who wasn't old enough to be in the Jonas Brothers.)

Oh, all right: the English voice cast also includes Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Tina Fey, Cloris Leachman, Liam Neeson, Lily Tomlin, and Betty White.

Be back tomorrow for my review,


And If We Start Giving Away $1,000,000 Panel, We'll Ask You About It On Wait Wait Don't Tell Me...

In addition to the Rifftrax show, I bought tickets this month to another cultural event - a live taping of National Public Radio's Wait Wait Don't Tell Me (a roadshow, not in Chicago) in October. I've liked Wait Wait Don't Tell Me for a while, and I'm not the only one - the show sold out a theater of more than 3,600 seats in days, if not hours. I was smart enough to buy tickets the moment they went on sale.

I've liked Wait Wait Don't Tell Me for a while, but would it work on television? CBS shot a TV pilot in October 2008; it has yet to be approved. I think it would work if the network didn't ruin it...but let's face it, a TV network would ruin it. Want proof? In March 2009, the news broke that NBC was considering a TV version of the British TV topical panel game show Have I Got News For You. The article contained the following sentence: "NBC declined comment on its plans for 'News,' but it seems likely the network will make some changes to the show’s format in order to make it fit with the big 'event' feel seen in most primetime reality shows."

Um...these aren't reality shows. As much as I love them, they're barely even game shows. Even more so than Wheel Of Fortune, Jeopardy, The Price Is Right, and Password (all of which were forced to institute $1,000,000 jackpots in recent years), these are not shows designed to give away $1,000,000. If you've seen (or in Wait Wait Don't Tell Me's case, heard) them, you know what I mean. They have comedian panelists, not contestants; while both shows do have points and declare one of the panelists the winner at the end of each episode, the game is largely designed to set the panelists off on comedic rants about the week's news. Wait Wait Don't Tell Me at least has phone in contestants, but they get asked three questions at the most. The prize for getting two right? Announcer Carl Kasell's voice on your answering machine. Even Whad'ya Know? was better.

I actually hope we get at least one of these shows, just so we can see how on Earth the network puts this together; and if we get both, which one ends up winning. Let me put it this way - if one gives out $1,000,000, the other will certainly have to.

One final note - you'll have to wait until Monday for the results from tomorrow's Millionaire. As the reason why has nothing to do with Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, I'll make it a separate post.


Back To Where I Began

On July 26 (my very first day of blogging), I stated that The Museum Of Curiosity, The Unbelievable Truth and I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue will all have new seasons later in the year. Turns out I was wrong about one of those - The Museum Of Curiosity won't be back until 2010.

On the topic of BBC Radio 4, the new topical panel game show I Guess That's Why They Call It The News premieres on August 21 in the Friday evening news comedy slot. This is one of the few BBC Radio 4 comedy slots to be available as a podcast - or at least, the two shows that make up the slot for most of the year (The News Quiz and The Now Show) are available as podcasts. I don't know if this new show will be.

I'll have some more discussion of news comedy shows tonight.


Friday, August 14, 2009

There Are Non-Flying Ones?

One more new development - in addition to Plan Nine From Outer Space, the Rifftrax event will feature a flight attendant training short called Flying Stewardess.

Millionaire Sunday, Rifftrax Thursday.


I Guess I Feel A Little Better

I just discovered that two of the guests I mentioned in my last post have, in fact, appeared in Rifftrax episodes alongside former MST3K cast members. Rich "Lowtax" Kyanka appeared in Troll 2 (a movie I've never even heard of) and Jonathan Coulton appeared in Tron (a movie I have heard of).

I still have no idea who Veronica Belmont is.


Apologies To Charles Erickson, Joel Hodgson, And J. Elvis Weinstein

In the not too distant future
Next Thursday A.D.
I'll be going to see Rifftrax
At a movie theater near me
It's not really Mike, Kevin and Bill
It's essentially a concert film
It might not be as good as CT I know
But it will certainly be better
Than The Rocky Horror Show...

...OK, that joke got old before it started. Still, six days from today, Rifftrax will be doing a live show of the movie Plan Nine From Outer Space in Nashville, which will be broadcast to movie theaters nationwide, and I already have my tickets.

I guessing most people haven't heard of Rifftrax, but many people do know Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K), the long-running television show that essentially consisted of a human and two puppet robots sitting in theater seats, watching an awful B-movie, and talking back at it. Sound silly? Well, it was, and it was also one of the funniest TV shows ever.

MST3K was canceled in 1999; however, in the 2000s, the former cast members reunited to form two competing (all right, maybe competing is too strong a word, but they certainly haven't done anything together) movie riffing groups. Cinematic Titanic (CT) features Joel Hodgson and the early years MST3K cast; Rifftrax features Michael J. Nelson and the later seasons cast. Another major difference between the two is that while CT is content with B-movies (and pays to license them), Rifftrax has released performances of Hollywood A-movies, in the form of MP3s that you sync up with a DVD of the movie. When they did the original Star Wars (er, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope), for example, many people got pretty upset with them.

Both groups have also done live shows, and I saw CT live when their tour passed through my area, performing Blood Of The Vampires (which, if I have this right, is a Filipino movie set in Mexico). They were even better live than on television. Hopefully I'll feel the same way about Rifftrax, but my expectations were lowered somewhat by the following sentence in the event press release: "This event will be hosted by Veronica Belmont, the Host of Tekzilla on Revision3 and Qore on the PlayStation Network, with Musical Guest Jonathan Coulton and a special segment by Rich 'Lowtax' Kyanka of Something Awful." All right. Just a few questions: what on Earth are Revision3 and the PlayStation Network? Why do we need a musical guest? Rich "Lowtax" Kyanka?

Still, Rifftrax performing Plan Nine From Outer Space (this being a live show, they're certainly not about to pay to license Star Wars) has to be better than an event that's probably still more famous than Rifftrax or CT: The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I only went once, and I hated it so much I left while Tim Curry was making his entrance. I had managed to get out of the first-timer hazing ritual, but just watching it was bad enough; when the movie did start, the jokes consisted mostly of swearing in time with the music. Rifftrax will beat that. Guess I'll be setting Millionaire to record on Thursday...what? I can wait.

More Millionaire Sunday,


Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Most Influential Television Shows Of The 2000s, Part Two

Here are the results from night five:

Contestant 1 - Angela Watt
Miss $25,000 question, win $1,000

Contestant 2 - Jacob Shaha
Miss $50,000 question, win $25,000

Contestant 3 - Eddie Lawhorn
Answers $50,000 question, rollover

Celebrity - Shawn Johnson
Correct Answer

Yesterday I talked about Millionaire's impact on television. The show certainly changed the game show genre forever, but its real impact was that it led to the creation of the American version of a Swedish show. In his essay on this show for the book I Love TV, Tim Holland says a case can be made that this is the most influential television show of the decade; I agree completely. The tribe has spoken. I'm talking about Survivor, and yes, Survivor is Swedish.

Remember when Survivor started? We didn't think of it as a reality-competition show; at the time, I don't think we knew there was such a thing as a reality-competition show. We thought of this new show hosted by the guy from Rock And Roll Jeopardy as (A) a game show, (B) a show that will go nowhere and (C) believe it or not, I think we thought a television show in which sixteen people are placed on an island and told to remove each other one by one might be an interesting social experiment!

We were probably wrong on all three of those. Whether it's a game show is something we can probably debate all day; it ceased to be a social experiment as soon as the first season ended and the contestants started trying to extend their fame; and as for the second one, Survivor's nineteenth season premieres on September 17, complete with the guy from Rock And Roll Jeopardy. I don't know if anyone still watches, but the show has already done its damage.

What would television be like if Survivor had never happened? I think we'd be better off, but then I would say that. Do you want to know what a really interesting social experiment would be? Go back in time to 1998, show a bunch of people the first season of Survivor, and tell them that within a few years, a good half of what's on television would be shows like this.

More Millionaire Sunday,


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Most Influential Television Shows Of The 2000s, Part One

Here are the results from night four:

Contestant 1 - Anthony Sloan
Miss $100,000 question, win $25,000

Contestant 2 - Trevor Schultz
Quit on $250,000 question, win $100,000

Contestant 3 - Angela Watt
Answers $4,000 question, rollover

Celebrity - Lauren Conrad
Correct Answer

You know, I've been thinking about Millionaire and its impact on television...I mean, remember when it first started? Due largely to the rigging scandals of the 1950s, there hadn't been a primetime game show in, literally, decades. ABC launched this new adaptation of a British show, and everyone expected it to go nowhere. A primetime game show...that gives away $1,000,000...hosted by Regis Philbin, without Kathie Lee Gifford. Right.

I was ten years old, and when I first saw Millionaire I was like "What on Earth is this?" I was already a pretty big game show fan, but this show was unlike any other game show I had ever seen. Only one contestant? A rather dimly lit set? Incredibly ominous music?

If only I knew. Within a few years, every game show would have only one contestant, a rather dimly lit set, and incredibly ominous music. $1,000,000 jackpots would become close to mandatory, as would backups (Don't Forget The Lyrics), cheats (Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?)...excuse me, helps (1 vs. 100)...can we just call them lifelines? The gold standards - Wheel Of Fortune, Jeopardy, and The Price Is Right - were all forced to have million dollar specials. Indeed, probably the show that best exemplifies how Millionaire changed the genre - and I feel sort of silly saying this - is Million Dollar Password. I mean, think about it. An already hugely successful show is forced to have only one contestant, a rather dimly lit set, incredibly ominous music, a $1,000,000 jackpot, and Regis Philbin to be relevant to a modern audience? What?

Frankly, I'm getting a bit sick of it all, and do sometimes wonder what the game show genre would be like if Millionaire had never happened...but that's not even close to what would have happened if we had never got the show I'll discuss tomorrow...


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Real Reason Nobody Will Win

Here are the results from night three:

Contestant 1 - John Zimcosky
Miss $50,000 question, win $25,000

Contestant 2 - Brian Slope
Quit on $100,000 question, win $50,000

Contestant 3 - Anthony Sloan
Answers $16,000 question, rollover

Celebrity - Sherri Shepard
Correct Answer

Something I've known for a long time is becoming more and more clear - Ask The Audience is the only useful lifeline. All right, maybe Double Dip, but Ask The Expert usually ends up connecting you to an idiot celebrity and Phone A Friend...well, given how stupid most of these contestants are, can you imagine their friends? If the show just gave up on the other three lifelines and let you Ask The Audience four times, contestants might have a chance at reaching a six-digit number. As it stands, however, contestants usually use Ask The Audience on the $4,000 question - and then what happens on the $8,000 question? There are thirty seconds on the clock. Regis takes five of them reading the choices. The contestant then spends ten seconds joking with Regis, ten more thinking silently, uses one of the other (worthless) lifelines, and finally loses with three seconds left. Is that seriously what we want?

Back tomorrow,


Six Chances To See

I just found the answer to one of my questions - the Last Chance To See TV show will have six episodes.

I'll be back in a few hours for Millionaire.


See Last Chance To See

This just in - the Last Chance To See TV show will premiere on Sunday, September 6 on BBC2. No word on what time, or how many episodes are in the season.

Last Chance To See was Douglas Adams' only non-fiction book, and his favorite of his own work. In the late 1980s, Adams traveled the world with zoologist Mark Carwardine looking for endangered animals; the results were a radio show broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1989 and a book published in 1990. After Adams' death in 2001, the BBC and his widow Jane Belson selected British writer\comedian Stephen Fry (who, as I said on July 26, recently guest hosted I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue) to revive the series, including a television show as well as a new book to be published in October.

Normally, I would be totally against this idea. You saw on July 28 and July 29 what I thought of Eoin Colfer and Kim Fuller writing The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy and Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, respectively. However, it's hard to mess up Last Chance To See, especially since Mark Carwardine is returning in the same capacity as before. Truth be told, I actually found Last Chance To See pretty boring, but I'm a Douglas Adams fan so I have to watch.

Millionaire tonight,


Monday, August 10, 2009

Robby Roseman Is Now A Professional Poker Player

Robby, for the record, was the first Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? contestant to miss the $100 question, and he was in the audience for night two. Here are the results:

Contestant 1 - Gary Cousins
Quit on $8,000 question; win $4,000

Contestant 2 - Michelle Ribeiro
Quit on $25,000 question; win $16,000

Contestant 3 - John Zimcosky
Answers $25,000 question; rollover

Celebrity - Vanessa Williams
Correct answer - after many, many hints from Regis

It's becoming more and more clear that the clock is a terrible idea, something only made worse by the fact that the celebrity doesn't have one. Vanessa, who's not even keeping the money, can (and does) spend ten minutes on one question. Michelle, who is keeping the money, runs out of time in the middle of saying her answer to the $100 question; she is allowed to continue. I think it's pretty clear that the real motivation was reducing what they have to give away.

One thing I didn't mention yesterday (August 9) - the show also featured a "special preview" of the new show Shark Tank. Originally a Japanese format, Shark Tank, from what I've heard, falls somewhere in between reality show, reality-competition show, and game show. The "sharks" are five wealthy business experts; the contestants (participants?) are entrepreneurs. They enter the shark tank, pitch their business idea, and the sharks either invest their own money or don't. That's it. I didn't bother to watch. Somehow, seeing five rich people with huge egos make fun of people's business ideas, however bad, doesn't appeal to me.

More tomorrow,


Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Main Event

It's night by night coverage of the return to primetime of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

I like Millionaire. I liked it when it was the biggest TV show in years; and I still like it, even though it's a pale shadow of its former self. Regis Philbin left when the show moved to daytime in 2002; he was replaced by Meredith Vieira, who is just as good if not better. What isn't just as good if not better is that the producers began tinkering with the rules. 50\50 is no longer a lifeline; it was dropped in favor of Double Dip (which enables contestants to pick two answers) and Ask The Expert (who is usually an idiot celebrity accessed via a Skype link). Worst of all, however, is that the 2008 season also introduced another "innovation": the clock. Contestants have fifteen seconds to answer the first five questions, thirty seconds for the next five, forty-five seconds for questions 11-14, and on the $1,000,000 question, they are allowed forty-five seconds plus any time left over.

What's wrong with that? Wouldn't it speed up the gameplay? Millionaire isn't supposed to be fast. The whole point of a money ladder show is watching the single contestant sit there for minutes on one question, using their lifelines\cheats\helps\whatever and pondering in desperation as they approach the grand prize. What's more, with less than a minute to decide, it's highly unlikely that anyone will win more than $100,000 - which I'm guessing is the real reason the producers introduced this.

Nonetheless, Millionaire returned to primetime today, complete with Regis, for an eleven episode event to celebrate the show's tenth anniversary. Each episode will feature regular contestants as well as a celebrity guest. Here are the results from show one:

Contestant 1 - Brad Abbey
Miss $2,000 question, win $1,000

Contestant 2 - Rob Placek
Miss $50,000 question, win $25,000

Contestant 3 - Gary Cousins
Answers $2,000 question, rollover

Celebrity - Katy Perry
The celebrity, just to let you know, doesn't play a full game - he\she plays one question, with all four lifelines and no clock, for $50,000 for his\her charity. Katy got it right. Wonderful.

This is still one of the best game shows on television, but...I don't know, what happened to the nice simple original rules? I'll bet most people can still recite them. It's a lot harder to explain time limits and the fact that you can't Ask The Expert until you answer the $1,000 question then to say...well...all together now: "You're just fifteen questions away from winning $1,000,000..."

See you tomorrow for more Millionaire,


Saturday, August 8, 2009

It All Rides On One Song

Afghan Star, judged as a television show, is abysmal. The mechanics of it are no different than American Idol, America's Got Talent, or any of a thousand shows in between; the set looks only slightly better than a school assembly, with the audience seated on little more than folding chairs. Yet that's not the point, because this is Afghanistan, and a show that many countries consider junk (albeit enormously popular junk) can be a very radical and dangerous idea. The documentary Afghan Star takes a look at a country where it is.

The similarities are just as startling as the differences. Thousands of people auditioned in front of judges who declared most of them awful; host Daoud Sediqi seems to be following exactly the same script copy as Ryan Seacrest. When the dramatic music started and Daoud called two of the contestants to step forward, I said out loud in the movie theater "This cannot be what I think it is." Yet what does one say when the contestants leave the studio after the taping of such a show and start getting death threats?

The movie follows four of the top ten. Perhaps surprisingly, two are women. While the men can (and do) run around Kabul campaigning with posters and blaring trucks, Setara Hussainzada causes something of a national scandal when she - horror of horrors - dances while singing her elimination number. She is forced to go into hiding.

More than one Islamic council declares the show Afghanistan's downfall; the Taliban threatens to break the cell phone network to stop people from voting. Yet this does not dampen the enthusiasm of the nation, many of whom are watching on barely working TVs with improvised antennas. The show's producers (and contestants) seem fully aware that they are an important part of the future of Afghanistan, yet they can only go so far. The country's various provinces and ethnic groups seem more than a little isolated from each other; Setara is told not only that a woman shouldn't dance on TV, but a woman from Herat certainly shouldn't.

Can a television show change the world? I can't answer that question in a blog post; I recommend you go see this movie and decide for yourself. A world where more people vote for singers than for politicians may seem ridiculous, but this is the word we live in; and to paraphrase Ryan Seacrest, THIS...

is Afghan Star.


Friday, August 7, 2009

The Most Embarrassing Moment Of My Life

Transcribed from Whad'ya Know? Broadcast February 14, 2009 on public radio stations around the country, distributed by Public Radio International.

Michael Feldman (host): Jim Packard?

Jim Packard (announcer): Yes Michael?

Michael: How does someone, uh, join Linda?

Jim: Grab the telephone away from anybody around you, dial 1-800-942-5669 and then answer this qualifying question...

Michael: You know it doesn't even matter, the lines are filled up with people who have already called in.

Jim: They must know the answer to the question.

Michael: I guess so. Good point Jim...let's ask Aaron here, from Boston...Aaron, what's the question?

Me: You want to know what the question is?

Michael: What is the question Aaron?

Me: You want me to ask any question I want?

Michael: No, I want to know what the question is for the quiz that you want to qualify for.

Me: Um...can I play the quiz?

Michael: That's not the question. All right, I'll give you a question there Aaron, cause you're not gonna come up with it. Researchers at Fermilab, in Batavia, down here in Illinois, are up to their ears in a, uh, in a, uh, nuclear particle that they didn't expect to find. What subatomic particle is it, that they have just too many of, at Fermilab?

Me: Is it protons?

Michael: I'm sorry?

Me: Protons?

Michael: No, not protons. I'm sorry Aaron.

Me: Well thank you.

Michael: Thank you.

That was it. That's the only time I've ever been on a game show, and after that, they hung up on me. The correct answer, which the next caller got after many, many hints from Michael: muons. Yeah. If you want to hear this, the official site of Whad'ya Know? is I'm on about twelve minutes into the fourth half-hour (Part D) of the February 14, 2009 show.

At least I didn't miss much - Linda eventually won a "grand prize package" consisting of a copy of Michael's book, a bottle of wine, a half-dozen 2009 calendars, and a copy of the Whad'ya Know? home game from Out Of The Box Publishing.

One more thing: despite Michael's statement that Fermilab is located "down here in Illinois," Whad'ya Know? is taped in Madison, Wisconsin.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

No More Morphin Time? Part Two

...Kamen Rider Dragon Knight!

Remember Masked Rider? Maybe it's better that you don't. The third live-action production of Saban Entertainment (after Power Rangers and VR Troopers,) it ran from 1995 - 1997. The Power Rangers even met the Masked Rider (in a three-part episode of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers - I'll put up the YouTube link if you don't believe me.) Of course I liked it then, but watching it now, it is really bad. I like the old Saban shows and I think it's bad.

Why am I bringing up an awful show that was canceled twelve years ago? It was the Americanized version of Kamen Rider Black RX, the 1988 entry in Japan's long running Kamen Rider series - and while it was the first time Kamen Rider was Americanized, it wasn't the last. Adapted from 2002's Kamen Rider Ryuki and produced by Adness Entertainment, Kamen Rider Dragon Knight premiered on December 13, 2008 on CW Saturday mornings - and while Masked Rider was a flat-out disaster, this is terrific entertainment.

A brief (I hope!) review of Kamen Rider Dragon Knight's mythology: the Kamen Riders are the defenders of a parallel universe called Ventara. According to Len in A Rider's Challenge (episode four), there are twelve of them...or there were, until the evil alien Xaviax defeated all but one, turning Ventara into a wasteland in the process. Now he is coming for Earth. The sole remaining original Rider - Len\Kamen Rider Wing Knight - manages to cross dimensions, but he can't fight Xaviax alone, and the eleven remaining Advent Decks (transformation items - the Riders summon weapons and attacks via cards) will only work for the dimensional doubles of the original Riders. The series protagonist - Kit\Kamen Rider Dragon Knight - is one of those people, and he is brave enough to fight alongside Len. Some of the others are not...

This show is a lot of fun, but not perfect by any means. First, as you might have noticed, I said the other Riders were defeated, not killed. This being a kids show, the writers were forced to make constant reference to defeated Riders being "vented" and trapped between dimensions forever, but not killed. Second, and perhaps even worse, the various "bad" Riders are so undifferentiated that I have a hard time even telling them apart. I know who Kit and Len are, since they're the good guys, but someone else will start transforming and I'll be like "Wait, which one is this?" Given that the ending is obvious - the remaining Riders put aside their differences and team up against Xaviax - shouldn't there be a little more character development?

Still, this beats Power Rangers by far - and probably won't outlast it by far. Kamen Rider Ryuki had fifty episodes; these have been adapted into forty. While new episodes are aired far enough apart that the show may outlast Power Rangers, I seriously doubt ratings are high enough to justify another season - and then what will we be left with? Ninja Turtles?

Yes, they're still on too.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I Finally Watched It

It's supposed to be one of the best game shows on television.

The Emmys certainly think so - if I have my information right, it's been nominated for best game show at the Daytime ceremony every year since it began (in 2005). I've heard many, many people talk about this show - and I had never watched it, until today. That's right, I'm talking about...Cash Cab! I don't know what show you thought I meant.

Cash Cab is an interesting idea, to say the least - a game show filmed in a New York taxicab, with contestants who don't know they're on a game show until they get in the cab and are told such. Once that happens, host\driver Ben Bailey asks four questions worth $50, four worth $100, and if there's time for any questions after that before arriving at the contestant\passenger's destination, those questions are worth $200. Every wrong answer gets a strike, and three strikes means the contestant not only goes home with nothing, but must get out of the cab immediately, where ever it might be at the moment. To help the contestant, there are two shout-outs - mobile shout-out (Phone A Friend) and street shout-out (a bit more interesting - the contestant can pull over and enlist the help of whoever is nearby.) If the contestant makes it to his\her destination, he\she is offered the chance to go double or nothing on one final question, without the use of shout-outs.

Sounds like fun, right? Well...I don't know, it just seems like a one-joke show to me, more suited for a ten-minute segment on another show than a show of its own. There's no game mechanic here that hasn't been done before, and the novelty of it all taking place in a moving taxicab quickly wears off. Ben, while certainly deserving credit for hosting a game show while driving a taxicab, isn't particularly enthralling either, and the music is pretty bland. As I said, it might have worked as a segment in another show, but there are three games in a half hour episode and the Discovery Channel (yes, this show is on the Discovery Channel) frequently shows four episodes in a row. For the record, I gave up after two. thought I was about to rate the set of Cash Cab? You must be out of your mind.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Well, That Answers My Question

Apparently, during the two weeks between Guiding Light ending and Let's Make A Deal starting, CBS will show reruns of The Price Is Right.

My mother is so going to be upset.


Monday, August 3, 2009

Revisiting September

It's time to revisit that September post I made on July 28. Here, again, are the start dates for five-day-a-week game shows in 2009.

September 7: Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
Family Feud (apparently bringing back the Bullseye round)
Deal Or No Deal (now taped on the east coast)

September 14: Wheel Of Fortune

September 21: Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader? (long-awaited five-day-a-week version)
The Price Is Right

October 5: Let's Make A Deal

At long last, it's official. CBS's replacement for legendary soap opera Guiding Light, which ends on September 18 after seventy-two years, is an hour-long, five-day-a-week revival of Let's Make A Deal.

In my book, this is good news. I've always liked Let's Make A Deal, and I could care less about soap operas, even if my mother is talking about the cancellation of Guiding Light as if it were the flat-out end of an era (to be fair, I feel pretty much the same way about the uncertain future of Power Rangers.) A new network daytime game show is something that's been needed for a long time. Then comes the kicker. The new host of Let's Make A Deal is...Wayne Brady.

Why Wayne Brady? I didn't think his performance on Don't Forget The Lyrics was all that great. Of course, I know why CBS picked him: because (A) he's a friend of Drew Carey and (B) all new game shows are hosted by washed-up comedians these days. They all offer a $1,000,000 jackpot that what we're getting? $1,000,000 Let's Make A Deal, hosted by Wayne Brady?

I guess we'll just have to watch on October 5 and see how Fremantle puts this together. Here's the real question: what on Earth will CBS show for two weeks between Guiding Light ending and Let's Make A Deal starting? You don't show reruns of soap operas.

Finally...what about No More Morphin Time? Part Two? How is the legacy of Power Rangers going to live on? I'll say this: if on Sunday, August 9, I still have not put up No More Morphin Time? Part Two, I will explain what it is and why I can't post it. Until then, you'll have to will I...


Sunday, August 2, 2009

No More Morphin Time? Part One

Call me crazy, but a show that was a major part of my childhood, and that I still have a soft spot for, is in serious danger of cancellation. If you haven't already figured it out from the post title, that show is...drumroll please...Power Rangers.

I grew up watching Power Rangers. I remember thinking it was the coolest thing ever...and I remember when everyone, not just preschool boys, thought it was the coolest thing ever. Now, however, when I tell anyone that Power Rangers is in serious danger of cancellation after seventeen seasons, they say "I thought Power Rangers was canceled years ago."

Nope. Now produced by Disney, season seventeen, Power Rangers RPM, runs on ABC on Saturday mornings. We've been getting conflicting reports on whether the show will continue, and I just had to know how it ended, so I've been watching.

Power Rangers RPM is hugely entertaining, but presents its own set of problems. It's set in a post-apocalyptic city dome, after a sentient computer virus called Venjix destroyed most of the planet. Unless this is the future, I seriously doubt it's the same world as seasons one - Jungle Fury. There are references to Venjix first being unleashed three years ago. Correct me I'm wrong, but I don't think there was anything about that in Mystic Force.

Nonetheless, a new team of Rangers has been formed to fight Venjix, and although the setting has changed, the Ranger team dynamic really hasn't changed at all. We have the fearless leader (Scott\Red Ranger). We have the girl (Summer\Yellow Ranger). We have the bad boy (Dillon\Black Ranger). We have the comic relief (Ziggy\Green Ranger.) We have the one with no personality whatsoever (Flynn\Blue Ranger.) We have the mysterious pair of Rangers added later (Gem\Gold Ranger and Gemma\Silver, really!) To tell you the truth, their boss, Dr. K, is a more interesting character than all of them.

We're eighteen episodes into a season of thirty-two, and rumors for next year range from an animated series (which I actually think could be really cool if done right) to season one episodes being passed off as new (which would just be wrong on so many levels.) I'm simply not capable of making a prediction about the future of Power Rangers, but I will say this: even if the show does leave television after RPM, its legacy may very well live on in the form of...


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Osgood Sigerson Lives!

I just listened to the first episode of The Adventures Of Sexton Blake. Apparently, Sexton Blake is a preexisting character whose first adventure was published in 1893. That may be so, but this radio show doesn't feel like any preexisting character - it just feels like a plain old Sherlock Holmes parody, with Blake (played by Simon Jones, who played Arthur Dent in The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy radio show and TV show) as Holmes and his assistant Tinker (played by Wayne Forester) as Watson.

It's funny, no doubt, but it's not original at all. Indeed, every joke in this show was done better by my favorite living author, Daniel Pinkwater, who created the character Osgood Sigerson for his Snarkout Boys books. you get the post title!