Current TV Shows LB is Now Giving Up


by Larry Brody

The latest list of series I’ve recorded the latest episodes of but know damn well I’m never going to watch:

    When Russell T. Davies brought back DOCTOR WHO 10 years ago the Doctor was a hero who took as much delight in being in danger as he did in extricating himself and others from it. Under Steven the Imposter Moffat the Doctor became, first, a self-doubting human-like fool, and now, a true villain who destroys everyone with whom he comes into contact. I love Peter Capaldi as an actor but won’t watch the show again till the Moff’s been replaced by a real showrunner who knows what the gig’s all about.
    This cute romantic buddy show has aged into one in which star David Boneanaz has aged into a new personification of the role that made him famous. No, I don’t mean Angel from the show of the same name, I mean Angelous, Angel’s dark side. This is what happens to formerly nice people who become producers, whether they start out as actors, writers, or lovers.
    I tried, really I did, but if I wanted insipid pseudo-science adventures about ancient, magical artifacts, I would have watched WAREHOUSE 13. And THE LIBRARIANS, unfortunately, is an even weaker version of the same premise, proving that TNT makes even worse sci-fi than SyFy.
    The stupidity of this series’ action-packed yet purely technological MacGuffins and the absurdity of its premise that high I.Q.s are what define genius and all geniuses have the most obnoxious forms of Asperger’s Syndrome have combined over the past year and a half to create genius-level boredom. The show has been pure self-parody since halfway through the pilot, and although I wanted to believe that was deliberate, I’m sad to say that I can’t fool myself anymore.
  • NCIS
    I discovered NCIS while recovering from a heart attack and accompanying surgery. Now, after seeing almost 13 full seasons I finally have healed enough to realize that as much fun as this series’ ’70s TV-like presentation can be, its gung-ho chauvinism and repetition of the same 2 plots week after week have severed its spine…which ain’t easy considering that it was made of jello.

And here’s a special bonus disappointment currently on Netflix:

    This BBC loser started off as a serious drama about something to which I totally related: Romance and the rediscovery of what’s important in life at an age when most people are just sitting around and waiting to die. I identified with Derek Jocobi as the male lead, Alan (even though both the actor and the character are substantially older than I am), and my wife felt the same about Anne Reid’s female lead, Celia. But at this moment, with 3 episodes left to watch in the third series, I’ve had it with the weak, self-pitying men and strong but catastrophically rigid women. All the characters keep on making the same mistakes, over and over and over, and I’ve written – and maybe lived – enough soap opera to never be able to put myself in a place where I can enjoy it.

That’s it for now, kids. Off I go to spend a few pleasant moments of pushing, “Delete, delete, delete….”



Diana Vacc Sees Wicked City

Nope, this isn't a pic from the TV series. It's from a review of an anime by the same name we found at Brandon's Cult Movie Reviews.

Nope, this isn’t a pic from the TV series. It’s from a review of an anime by the same name we found at Brandon’s Cult Movie Reviews.

by Diana Vaccarelli

Wicked City is a classic story of a man looking for love…or it is it? The thriller opens up with Kent Galloway (Ed Westwick) hooking up with a young girl on the Sunset Strip in the 1980’s.  

When Kent can’t perform sexually, he pulls out a knife and stabs the woman to death, at which point enter Detective Jack Roth (Jeremy Sisto) to investigate the murder. From there on you get a classic cat and mouse game, but, sadly not one nearly as interesting as in, say, Criminal Minds.

The Good:

  • The chemistry between Jeremy Sisto and his partner, played by Gabriel Luna. They make the absolute best of their familiar characters, playing the hell out of their roles as rival Cops.

The Bad:

  • Creator and writer Steven Baigelman writes a pilot so offensive to women that it made me cringe. Right before each murder Kent commits, the female victim is down on her knees giving him, well, you know.  And then there’s the fact that Kent himself is so predictable that no matter how hard Ed Westwick, who plays him, tries, there’s no way he can breathe life into the character.
  • We’ve seen all of this before, and most of the time, sadly, we’ve seen it done better.


The one thing keeping me watching this show is Jeremy Sisto. I want to see his Jack Roth character win and keep the bad guy from ever having a chance to bore me again. Sisto is a fantastic actor, who plays the part in a way that saves it from being a typical detective, but not even he can keep this going for an entire series.

EDITOR’S NOTE: As surprising as this may seem to more cynical TV viewers, Diana’s words in her conclusion have proved prophetic. ABC demonstrated a modicum of good sense and cancelled WICKED CITY shortly after we received her review. 

Diana Vacc is TVWriter™’s Critic-At-Large. Find out more about her HERE

Forgotten TV Gems: HE & SHE

HE AND SHE Capture 1

by Lew Ritter

In the late ’60s, three networks ruled the airwaves. The Internet and Streaming were not even a gleam in a Sci-fi writer’s eye. Network comedies consisted of rural comedies filled with country bumpkins outsmarting the bumbling city slickers. A big star dominated every show, their gleam illuminated by contrast with a few minor character actors.

In 1967, in the midst of this drought, CBS programmed HE & SHE into the middle of their hit Wednesday night lineup of shows including highbrow fare such as THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES and GREEN ACRES. It would be a smart urban comedy surrounded by the bucolic waste land. It proved to be the proverbial fish out of water, but only lasted one season.

The brilliance of the show was in three areas:

1) Wonderful Theme Music:

A bright bouncy theme with images of the stars racing in Central Park. In those days, the networks cared about having classy theme songs designed to hook an audience. For example, just about any show using the music of Mike Post included HILL STREET BLUES, ROCKFORD FILES and my favorite, MAGNUM P.I

HE AND SHE Capture2) Impeccable Casting:

Richard Benjamin portrayed New Yorker Dick Hollister – cartoonist and creator of popular comic strip and TV character ‘Jetman’. His real-life bride Paula Prentiss, with her lovely soft southern accent, played his wife Paula – a city traveler’s aid worker. It was very unusual at this point in television history for a TV wife to be working. It seemed to be a normal part of life. In a way, Paula Hollister broke the mold forever.

The fact that the couple were actually husband and wife also helped the believability. They brought a warmth and realism to the parts. Prentiss with her husky, sexy voice, was the perfect foil for husband Dick. Benjamin had a droll delivery that made even ordinary comic lines into polished comedic gems.

Kenneth Mars was an accomplished character actor from Mel Brooks film THE PRODUCERS. He played Harry, the lovelorn fireman. The joke was that the Hollisters lived next to a firehouse. A wooden plank connected the two dwellings. Harry could glide over into the apartment by walking across the plank.

Hamilton Camp played Andrew, the inept handyman, with the wonderful Boston accent.

The crown jewel of casting was Jack Cassidy as Oscar North. Cassidy was obnoxious, egotistical and hilarious as Oscar North, the star of the Jetman TV show. He stole the show, whenever he appeared. Ironically, he later turned down the role of Ted Baxter on THE MARY TYLER MOORE show. He felt that the character was too similar to the Oscar North character.

3) Slick, Sleek Writing:

The show was written by Chris Burns, Allan Hayward, Dave Davis and others who would go onto write for THE MARY TYLER MOORE and many of the MTM hits of the 70’s. Produced by Leonard Stern (GET SMART), it was smart, and funny in the vein of CHEERS and FRASIER. In retrospect, I should have known that the dialog was so good that the show would never last.

Oh, that dialog!

Landlord: (looking around at the apartment) Its’s wonderful, impressive. We’re going to have to raise the rent.

And, after Oscar North brings the ailing Dick a life-sized stand-up of himself as Jetman:

Oscar: Dick, It’s like having me in your room.
Dick: No, Oscar, it’s better than having you there.

At the end of show, Dick recuperates and Paula told him that Harry is going out to purchase some ice cream.

The show was a hit with just about every critic except Cleveland Amory,  TV Guide’s resident curmudgeon. Even Mike Dann, the head of CBS programming program at the time, would call it ” the finest series, I ever cancelled.”

Had HE & SHE been developed just a few years later it might have been part of the MTM stable of beloved and popular comedies. It was unique in the way the writers made the best possible use of its entire cast. The show was filled with actors who could have entire episodes revolving around them instead of just the star. In short, it was the perfect prototype for what we now think of as the Mary Tyler Moore brand of comedy.

Recently, I caught the show in cable reruns and then found some mediocre DVD copies. Even today, it’s top notch.Unlike many shows from the past, HE & SHE definitely stands the test of time.

Diana Vacc Sees VACATION

vaca movie poster number 1by Diana Vaccarelli

The Good:

  1. The chemistry between Ed Helms and Christina Applegate was fantastic and laugh out loud funny. Everything overall about this film was fantastic and nostalgic.
  2. Although this is a sequel of sorts to NATIONAL LAMPOON’S SUMMER VACATION, there’s absolutely no sign of Chevy Chase in it anywhere.

The Bad:

  1. There was nothing at all bad about this film.
  2. Really, there wasn’t.
  3. I mean it.


VACATION really has it all. Fresh new humor and nostalgia for the original. It will have you laughing from beginning to end. Get your viewing on with VACATION.

In other words, I highly recommend it…unless dystopias are your thing. Although, come to think of it, this could be viewed as a comic dystopia. So, yeah, I’m recommending this for everybody.

Diana Vacc is TVWriter™’s Critic-At-Large. Find out more about her HERE

What ‘Agent Carter’ has that ‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Doesn’t

…And why it matters:


by Andrew Bloom

While watching the first season of Agent Carter, I couldn’t help but wonder why I enjoyed it so much more than Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., its much maligned and mildly resurgent Marvel television counterpart. Although the two shows have different teams behind them, they are, nevertheless, small screen cousins, with Peggy Carter making more than a few flashback cameos on AoS. The two series would seem to have too much shared DNA for anyone to have such different reactions to them. But in investigating this mystery, I kept coming back to one, overwhelming factor – Hayley Atwell.

Atwell soars as the protagonist of Agent Carter and commands nearly every scene she’s in. She portrays the titular character as a woman of quiet strength, with a steadiness in everything she does despite the tumult that surrounds her. But Atwell’s take on the character transcends the trope of the typical “action girl”, instead making Peggy a fully realized, three-dimensional character. Atwell acquits herself well when Peggy is exhibiting a steely resolve in a tense situation, and can just as convincingly show the character’s vulnerability and empathy in a private moment, with each emotional state feeling genuine and inhabited. She brings an undeniable presence to the character, and her rising tide lifts all boats in the series.

Perhaps that’s the all-important piece of the puzzle that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has never seemed to be able to place – a compelling, versatile lead. Agent Carter certainly has other advantages—its narrower focus, the period setting, a closer connection to the films—but Atwell is the lynchpin that holds it all together. To the point, the material Atwell works with is good, but not great. Much of the production design and score on Agent Carter are often hokey or heavy-handed. And most of the other performances on the show range from serviceable to enjoyable, but rarely wow. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.contends with all of these same problems, but lacks a ringer like Atwell to help the show rise above them.

What’s funny about this sentiment is that, to be honest, I barely remembered Peggy Carter from the character’s appearance in Captain America: The First Avenger. The enjoyableness of Agent Carter prompted me to watch that film again, and while Atwell still makes an impression opposite Chris Evans’s Captain America on the silver screen, Peggy Carter is best realized on a smaller one, where Atwell is given enough time and space to develop her character and display a fuller range of her talents. When given that opportunity, she anchors the show and becomes an essential part of what makes it work….

Read it all at Under Scoop Fire

Dennis O’Neil: Our Superhero Posses

Flash-Arrow-Supergirl-Archieby Dennis O’Neil

Time was when superheroes operated pretty much alone, or with a sidekick, who could be anyone from the original Green Lantern’s cab driving Doiby Dickles to Batman’s intrepid though preadolescent Robin. Oh, there were other continuing characters in your basic superhero saga – think Jimmy Olsen and Commissioner Gordon – but when it came to doing the daring deeds the folk in the costumes usually flew solo.

Then things evolved and –

Almost certainly, a lot more people will see Supergirl on television this week than ever read one of the Maid of Might’s comic books. She’s plenty super – give her that – and as bonuses, attractive and charmiing, but she doesn’t fight evil by herself. No, she’s allied with a brainy group of colleagues who hang their doctorates in a secret lab. And if we scan the videoscape, we see that Supergirl has peers. The other two television title characters most like their comic book inspirations, Arrow and the Flash, also have lab-dwelling cohorts who can always be depended on to have the information the good guy/girl needs.

Structurally, the three shows – Supergirl, Arrow, and Flash – are virtually identical. And, again structurally, they’re pretty close to Archie Andrews, that teenage scamp, and the gang at Riverdale High. The biggest difference is that the Riversiders have no laboratory, but nobody’s perfect.

There’s a lot to be said for adding pals to the superheroic landscape. They give the hero someone to talk with, thus allowing readers/audience to eavesdrop on vital exposition (though sidekicks can do this, too, and if you don’t believe me, ask Dr. Watson.) Supporting players can also provide story opportunities. And they can add texture and variety to scenes. And the occasional comic relief. And, by their interactions with the chief evil-queller, they can add depth to that individual’s psyche. But mostly they can serve the same function as those stool pigeons and confidential informants served in the old private eye and cop shows, the scruffies who always knew what the word on the street was: they can quickly and efficiently supply data that enables the hero to get to the exciting part, usually a confrontation.

Finally, the pals and gals give the hero what seems to be absolutely necessary: a family. It’s usually a surrogate family, to be sure, and it may not be much likeyour family, but it has a familial dynamic and it allows the audience to experience, by proxy, what might be missing from their real lives: a secure knowledge that there are people who can counted on, who will always forgive you and have your back. And such nearests and dearests have to hang out somewhere, so why not a secret laboratory?

And while they’re there, they can supply the location of that master fiend, the one with the purple death ray and the really atrocious table manners.

Dennis O’Neil is one of the top writer-editors in comics, having guided the careers of just about every superhero the world has ever heard of. He’s also a damn fine writer of TV. LB still remembers that time he and Denny collaborated, without ever knowing they were doing so. Or knowing each other either. Ah, the magic of TV! This column was first published in Denny’s column at ComicMix.