Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What Might've Been: Riptide (1984)

In the 80's, Stephen J. Cannell was churning out action shows, one right after the other, for both ABC & NBC, including The A-Team and Hunter for NBC and Hardcastle & McCormick, Tenspeed & Brown Shoe, & The Greatest American Hero for ABC.

As 1984 began, Cannell added another notch on his belt at NBC with Riptide, about a pair of Army buds (Perry King, Joe Penny) who start a detective agency after mustering out of the military. Aided by a computer whiz (Thom Bray) whom they met while in the Army, the sleuths, operating out of the titular houseboat, took on the bad guys for 3 seasons total (1984-6).

Could it have gone longer? Maybe, but halfway through the 3rd season, NBC moved the show from Tuesdays to Fridays. At that time, they parodied ABC's Moonlighting, which conceivably could've been a jump the shark point. NBC's mistake was moving it off Tuesdays, where it had stablemate A-Team as a lead-in. After Riptide was cancelled, NBC doubled down on the stupidity by moving A-Team for Fridays for its final season.

Chuck Collins supplies the intro:

Currently, reruns are airing on Get TV (check listings).

Rating: B.

Baseball's silly season has begun

With baseball's trade deadline now less than 2 weeks away, teams are making deals either to enhance their chances for the post-season, or, if you're, say for example, the Chicago White Sox, building for the future.

Last week, the ChiSox sent pitcher Jose Quintana across town to the World Champion Cubs, and paid immediate dividends in his first start. Tuesday, the White Sox made another deal, sending closer David Robertson back to the Yankees, along with relief pitcher Tommy Kahnle and infielder Todd Frazier, for Tyler Clippard and some minor leaguers. Thus, Clippard ends his 3rd tour of duty in New York (2 with the Yanks, 1 with the Mets), while Robertson begins his 2nd go-round with the Yankees. Kahnle was, as memory serves, drafted by the Yankees, then shipped to Colorado a ways back, so he too comes home.

In a way, the trade is also a homecoming for Frazier, the 2015 Home Run Derby champ. As a youth, the New Jersey native led his team to a Little League World Series title. A 3rd baseman by trade, Frazier will likely move to 1st base, with Chase Headley the starter at 3rd, while the Yanks wait for Greg Bird to finally be healthy enough to play.

Kahnle, like Colorado's Jeff Hoffman, has local ties as he's a graduate of Shaker High in Latham.

That should kill the online rumors that had the Yankees eyeing the Mets' Lucas Duda, but that doesn't mean that the Mets won't still shop Duda, as it's more likely that they won't make the post-season this year. The usual wags are suggesting that veterans like Curtis Granderson, Addison Reed, and Jay Bruce, all in their walk years, could be moved. Bear in mind, too, that the Mets acquired Bruce at the deadline last year. To trade away the veteran leaders, however, would send a sign to the fan base that the Mets are giving up on the season. A lot can still happen in the final 2 1/2 months of the season to overcome the injury plague that keeps haunting the Amazin's. Just sayin'.

Meanwhile, former Tri-City Valleycat J. D. Martinez, who became a big star in Detroit, was sent to Arizona for some prospects. Why Houston gave up on Martinez, I'll never know, but now he's got a new sandbox to play in, now that he's in the National League, joining infielders Paul Goldschmidt & Jake Lamb to create a potent middle of the order that could reignite the Diamondbacks' offense in the stretch run as they attempt to chase down the Dodgers.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Musical Interlude: You're So Right For Me (1963)

I have read of the chemistry Judy Garland & Mickey Rooney shared on screen in the movies. Admittedly, the only one of Garland's films I can remember watching from start to finish as a youth was, of course, "The Wizard of Oz". I don't remember seeing any of the films she made with Rooney.

Just the same, Rooney was her first guest when she launched her self-titled variety show, troubled as that was, in 1963. It was actually the first show taped, but the 10th to be broadcast. Don't ask.

Anyway, from that episode comes this little number, "You're So Right For Me", which also appears on an album of duets.

I don't get the idea of Judy kicking her shoes off to dance. Still, the old magic was still there in this sequence. I can only imagine if the two of them actually did the entire series together. I'd think it'd be an upgrade from the buzzkill of having Jerry Van Dyke as the show's only regular aside from Garland. Just sayin'.

Sports this 'n' that

When the Colorado Rockies salvaged the final game of their series with the Mets at Citi Field Sunday, they actually had a cheering section rooting for starter Jeff Hoffman, who ran his record to 4-0 on the season in a 13-4 win.

Hoffman had 30-40 family members & friends who made the trip from Latham for the game. Hoffman was a graduate of Shaker High School. and the local media has made a point of running highlights of his starts whenever possible. Colorado sent Mets starter Steven Matz to an early shower, knocking him out in the 2nd inning, as Matz just didn't have it on Sunday. Hoffman may get another shot at the Mets when the scene shifts to Denver in a week and a half.
Back at home, the Tri-City Valleycats had a rare 1:00 (ET) Sunday start in Batavia, and made the most of it, beating the Muckdogs, 13-8. Monday's home game vs. Connecticut was suspended in the 2nd inning due to rain & lightning, and they'll pick things up today. Under minor league rules, they'll play it like a double-header, with each game going 7 innings instead of 9. The Tigers led, 1-0, when play stopped. Tri-City, which has won 2 straight, needs to make a big run if they want to get back to the playoffs this year.

Next month's All-Star FanFest in downtown will have a country beat, as the Eli Young Band has been signed to headline. 9 years ago, when the 'Cats first hosted the All-Star game, they had Eddie Money headlining the Monday festival. Well, at least they've moved up to current sounds.....
So Roger Federer won at Wimbledon for the 8th time on Sunday. Excuse me while I yawn. No, seriously. Federer is one of the best grass court players in the world, but this just doesn't excite me, and, yes, tennis has been known to put me to sleep from time to time. Just sayin'.
The Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League will have their All-Star game tonight in Amsterdam, but after that, there are only 11 regular season games left for the Albany Dutchmen, who sit in 3rd place, 5 1/2 games in back of front running Amsterdam. What that says is that the league might need to see if they can move the game so that it comes halfway through the season. Yes, it's a 2 month regular season, but still......!
Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball is actually inviting a bidding war among major shoe companies, after wearing Nike & Adidas shoes during Summer League games last week. Seems he realizes his father's Big Baller Brand is doomed to an epic fail because of overpricing, a by-product of Lavar Ball's sudden need for 15 minutes of fame, which are quickly evaporating. Smart move by the kid. Even smarter would be to move out of the nest and let a more experienced agent handle his business affairs, largely because pops has become a toxic presence.
Interesting read in the paper yesterday where a number of backstretch workers from Latin countries won't be at Saratoga Race Course when the season starts on Friday due to fears that immigration officials may be looking at deporting them if they don't have work visas or haven't been naturalized as American citizens. This is the world we live in now under President Trump, who still thinks he can have a wall built to block people from sneaking across the border from Mexico into the US. Even if it is built, people will find a way. Just sayin'.
Ever since WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle was appointed as GM of Monday Night Raw in April, you knew sooner or later the show's uncreative team would develop some lame storyline to build drama where it doesn't need to be.

Well, it's happened, but not in any way that had been teased since.....well, last week.

After dropping hints of an illicit affair with former TNA president Dixie Carter (who was interviewed for a WWE Network special on Angle last week) or Stephanie McMahon (who has been off TV since Wrestlemania, aside from non-WWE functions), they swerved and revealed that Angle "has a son" on the roster. Jason Jordan, 1/2 of American Alpha, was moved from Smackdown to Raw for this purpose, weakening the Tuesday show's tag division.

All that says to me is that, with ratings at an all-time seasonal low, CEO/Chairman Vince McMahon thinks recycling an old storyline with new players would solve the ratings problems. No, it doesn't. While a lot of people assumed that Angle would eventually serve as a mentor to Jordan and Chad Gable, McMahon decided to break up American Alpha and push Jordan & Gable as individual talents on each brand. It's another knee-jerk decision borne out of frustration over the low ratings. One more reason, though, why McMahon has to step down and let Stephanie and her husband, Triple H, who has a firmer grip on things per the success of NXT, take over full-time while he enjoys his sunset years. Vince just doesn't get it, doesn't want to, and doesn't care.

And, so, we are all poorer for his decision making deteriorating before our eyes.

Monday, July 17, 2017

George A. Romero (1940-2017) and Martin Landau (1928-2017)

Hollywood is mourning 2 legends this morning.

Zombie meister George A. Romero passed away early Sunday at 77. Best known, of course, for the rise of zombies as movie monsters nearly 50 years ago, Romero would transition to television in the 80's with Tales From The Darkside & Monsters. As fellow blogger Sam Wilson notes in Mondo 70, Romero was not at all happy with how the undead have been portrayed in recent times, particularly in Robert Kirkman's smash hit comic book & TV series, The Walking Dead. Seems Romero felt insulted that he was invited to direct an episode or two of The Walking Dead, which, in his mind, went against his overall vision of zombies.

A day earlier, Oscar winner Martin Landau passed away at 89. Landau earned his award for Tim Burton's bio of "Ed Wood", opposite Johnny Depp. However, Landau is still remembered more for two iconic TV series. Landau was an original cast member of Mission: Impossible, alongside wife Barbara Bain, but left the series after three seasons. The Landaus would return in the 1975-7 sci-fi series, Space: 1999, their last regular series work.

Landau won his Oscar on his third try, after being nominated in supporting roles in "Tucker: The Man & His Dream" and "Crimes & Misdemeanors" before scoring in 1994 for "Ed Wood". What you might not know is that Landau, at 17, began his career as an assistant to writer-artist Gus Edson on his comic strip, The Gumps.

Here's a clip from Mission: Impossible with guest star Steve Ihnat:

Landau was nominated for Emmy awards all three seasons he appeared on Mission, but didn't win.

Rest in peace, gentlemen.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

What Might've Been: It Takes a Church (2014)

On the heels of the success of American Bible Challenge (since cancelled), Game Show Network ordered up another Christian-themed "game show", this one with a reality bent.

Singer Natalie Grant was tapped to host It Takes a Church, which bowed in June 2014, during the 3rd and final season of Bible Challenge. The concept saw Grant travel to small towns where the congregations of local churches collectively played matchmakers for young couples.

Once it was decided that American Bible Challenge would not return for a 4th season, Church was essentially left to fend for itself, and, after 13 months on the air, was also cancelled. To be perfectly honest, it didn't belong on GSN anyway, but rather on TBN or Daystar or INSP.

Here's a sample clip:

No rating. I'm not big on reality shows, even this.

On The Air (for now): Talking Smack (2016)

These days, WWE is all about getting viewers over to their online network after Smackdown & Monday Night Raw, as well as "pay-per-view" events. WWE Network is also home to 205 Live, NXT, and various special events, such as the forthcoming Mae Young Classic.

To that end, as part of last year's Brand Extension 2.0, WWE launched a pair of weekly talk shows. Raw Talk now airs Mondays. On Tuesdays, well, until last week, there was Talking Smack, Smackdown's post-show, which instantly became a fan favorite after GM Daniel Bryan and current Intercontinental champ Michael "The Miz" Mizanin, both also on Total Divas, engaged in a verbal sparring match for the ages when Bryan called Miz out for his character's cowardice. Backstage reporter Renee Young hosts, with Bryan and Commissioner Shane McMahon alternating as co-host (color analyst John Layfield has also sat in), but the object of the show is to let the talent let their hair down. There is no script. This is, in effect, SportsCenter for wrestling fans.

Unfortunately, after the July 11 broadcast, CEO/Chairman Vince McMahon decided to be Donnie Downer and terminated Talking Smack as a weekly entity. The next episode airs following next week's Battleground show, but online observers believe it's a matter of time before Vince McMahon, who will be 72 next month, pulls the plug altogether.

That begs to ask. Just why does he have a problem with a show that steps away from the script and lets the wrestlers be themselves? Hey, I've tried psycho-analyzing Chairman Wackjob for the last 15 years from a safe distance, and concluded that you simply can't reason with a man who has played an insane person in front of the cameras for most of that period. The fact that the elder McMahon has again demonstrated his ignorance of his audience earns him another set of Weasel ears, by the way.

It's just a matter of time before Raw Talk similarly is phased out, just because. Just sayin'.

For right now, scope this sample clip as Shane chats up John Cena.

I've got one question for Vince. Jealous much?

No rating. I don't have WWE Network, and the above sample isn't enough for me to give a fair rating.