October 24, 2012

Top 10 Least Favorite Nostalgia Critic Episodes

With Demo Reel coming next week and Nostalgia Critic officially done, I thought I would take an opportunity to list my least favorite episodes. Not every episode can be a classic, and either because it was boring, or not funny, or I just disagree with the comments these are ten reviews that I don't really like.


I know what you're thinking, "How can I possible hate that? It was awesome, getting to meet all the creators and people who worked on the show". One problem, I never ever watched the show and couldn't care less about it. Not saying this was bad, at all, but it does no interest me and remains the one episode I have not sat through.

#9.Top 11 Batman TAS Episodes

Same reason as the previous, I did not watch the show. I will admit that this episode was more interesting, it made want to check out an episode or two, but all in all this one was still boring for me and not a favorite.

October 20, 2012

Top 10 LEAST Favorite TV Theme Songs

I've talked a lot about the theme songs I loved, but what about the other side of the coin. Those themes which just plain suck. Sometimes it’s a good song which just does not fit the show, other times the song is just plain awful, so awful the theme is literally replaced.

This is not limited to sitcoms. Here are 11 of my least favorite themes, this is all just opinion.

#11.Home Improvement

This theme isn't god awful, it does fit the show, but the metal tune has never been a favorite either. It's sort of annoying especially the beginning. It does get better as the theme plays. In fact when I watch this show in re runs I often fast forward through the opening. To be fair the animation is pretty cool.

October 19, 2012

Top 11 Favorite Theme Songs from Cartoons and Kids TV

I said before how theme songs are important because it helps make a connection to the show. We remember the cool song or music. In my day, before the internet, themes were one way for people to share their love for programs. You hear someone singing The Brady Bunch theme, and suddenly everyone in the room start singing. In fact, an early episode of Friends acknowledged this very thing in one episode which begins with the six singing to a theme song  (Sanford and Son I think).

My point is that as true as this is for adults, it's even more so for kids. Theme's to children’s shows and cartoons have to draw you in and get you excited. Even today they still do, when I first heard the SpongeBob theme I admit, I liked it. Not enough to watch it or anything, but I can see why little kids are drawn to it. I still remember that moment when a certain show would start with the kick ass theme, and suddenly we were paying attention.

Ok, enough rambling here my ten favorite theme songs from children's programs and cartoons. Of course I was an 80's kid so most of these are going to be from that era though a few 90’s stuff is here. The only 70’s show I really remember was The Brady Kids and I hated that show.  And as always just my opinion.

#11. DuckTales

I give my baby sister credit because if not for her I never would have been exposed to The Disney Afternoon. Rescue Rangers was awesome, and Tail Spin was pretty good. The best show of course was DuckTales, and had that theme that you will never get out of your head. I think what is so cool about this is that it's an original song, not some rip off or pointless music. #11 because I didn't exactly grow up with it, but I have to acknowledge how awesome it is. By the way, my baby sister now has a baby who is one years old. How scary is that?

October 17, 2012

Top 10 Favorite Theme Songs (Instrumental)

As I continue my look at my favorite theme songs, I turn to the instrumental ones. Sure the silly songs with fun lyrics are more memorable, but that doesn't mean the one's without lyrics are not memorable at all. In fact it can be argued they make a bigger impact. When a theme has lyrics it's easy to make a connection with a viewer. The best of these are the ones where you hear the music; you think of the show and can’t imagine one without the other. When there are no lyrics it's harder, the theme needs to be something memorable and interesting enough to get the viewer excited and make them want to see what is coming next.

For example, when I first heard the theme for Dinosaurs (a Jim Henson production from the 90's which was very good) I was interested. The music was suspenseful, and made you feel like something very different was coming. Then we see the reveal of Earl Sinclair, and the music changed to something more light to inform me it was a fun show involving dinosaurs.  I was really curious, and couldn't wait to see what this show was going to be all about. This is an example of very, very well done theme music. Check it out:

Here’s another good example, from Coach. This show was about a college football coach. Of course there is more to it than that, but is the basic premise. So the show would need a theme which makes you think of collegiate sport, maybe sounding like a school band is playing in a half time show, to get the idea across. That’s what we get, and it’s done very well. The theme is one of the first things I loved about that show.

Final example before I get to my favorites. Say you have a show about a group of aliens landing on Earth.  You need something with a unique sound, with kind of a sci fi angle to it. That’s what 3rd Rock From the Sun did very well with this guitar riff.

Now for my top 11. This is only for sitcoms, I will get to the other amazing themes later on. The only rule for this list is it has to be a theme which had no lyrics when it was on TV. Many of these tunes do in fact have lyrics, but they were not presented when the series was broadcast.

#11. MASH

Ok this is the top for several reasons. The first is that I argue if this is even a sitcom. The series is so depressing how does adding a laugh track make it a sitcom? No disrespect to the show. Second is that this is a very well know song. Suicide is Painless was played, with lyrics, in the movie. Third, I was never a MASH fan as you may know so while I love the theme there are others I like more. All that being said, this was an amazing show and the theme music fit the mood perfectly.

October 15, 2012

Top 11 Favorite Sitcom Theme Songs (Lyrics)

I love TV theme songs! I bought the CD compilations, used torecord my own tapes (remember doing that?), and have tons of TV theme audio files sitting on my computer and Ipod. Finally going to discuss my favorite tvtheme songs. I thought about doing this as a look at the evolution of themesongs, but decided that would be boring. Also I was going to make this ageneral list, but it's not possible.

Instead I will share the theme songs I love more than any other.Today I focus on sitcoms tunes with familiar lyrics. I will try to not make this just an 80's list, though that would be easy for me to do. This is all opinion, not saying that there aren't better or more famous themes out there.  The only rule is they have to be songs with lyrics being sung by someone. I will deal with the instrumental stuff later on.

Theme songs are important to TV, it's what connects us to the  show. Is there anyone who can think of The Andy Griffith Show and not start whistling? These little songs bring back happy memories of better times, and that's why we love them so. And that's why it sucks people don't use them as much anymore! Ok, off track. Though I can understand why theme songs have faded a bit, in our society of hundreds of channels it is very easy for people to switch channels so a cute little theme song doesn't quite do it anymore. But once upon a time they were enough, and they were loved.

What makes a great TV theme song? Especially for sitcoms,there are a couple rules to making it a very memorable one:

It has to explain the premise of the show like The Beverly Hillbillies, Fresh Prince, or The Nanny did so well. If not specifically the theme has to at least give us some idea what the show is about. The Jefferson's theme song simply tells us they are "movin on up", and that's enough for us to get the idea. Alice was the new girl in town who was starting over,ok got it. Listen to the Mad About You theme you figure out it was a show about a couple who loved each other. And on and on.

It has to be a catchy tune we can't get out of out of ourheads like The Golden Girls theme for instance or Punky Brewster (which is areally good song if you listen to it), or saved By The Bell which did anamazing job of drawing us in.

It has to introduce us to the cast and/or characters.Sometimes the theme will give us actual insight to the characters, take ThePatty Duke Show as an example. We learn all about Patty and Cathy in the courseof the sixty second opening! I have never seen an episode of that show, but I know they're cousins..Identical cousins. And then there's Maude. True this is the one often broken rule in most themes, the shows rely on the title sequence more than the song for this, but some shows will be creative like having thecast literally sing the song like All in the Family, Green Acres, or even The Monkees did.

and most importantly it has to make us interested in watching the show. I had no interest in Perfect Strangers at first, but the theme song made me curious. Don't you want to know more about Mr.Ed afterwatching the opening to that show?The theme used for Big Bang Theory is a perfect tone setter for that series.

Before I get into my list I wanted to ask a question. So what is the most perfect theme song ever? Hard to say, but the Ballad of Gilligan’s Island is pretty close. It literally does everything I just said. It is a catchy memorable tune. It explains the backstory of the show and sets up the premise. It introduces us to the characters, and makes us curious enough to want to see more. It’s not on my list because there are themes I like more, but Gilligan’s’ Island has to be acknowledged as possibly the most perfect theme song ever recorded.

Here are the sitcom theme songs I love. Yes I will cover other areas in future articles including cartoons.

October 14, 2012

Did you Know?-Recycled Sitcom Sets

May start something new here, where I talk about interesting things (to me) which maybe not everyone knew. Today I wanted to talk about when sets from popular series are reused.
The genesis for this was learning that The Brady Bunch living room was used in an episode of Mission:Impossible. "Double Dead", it's on YouTube check it out! It is so surreal! But this has happened other times. Here are some quick examples:

The pilot of Hangin with Mr.Cooper used the set from Growing Pains

Everybody Loves Raymond's pilot episode was filmed on the set of another sitcom (couldn't verify which)

The kitchen from The Golden Girls appeared in the failed series It Takes Two starring Patty Duke and a very young Helen Hunt and Anthony Edwards (and I saw it used as a backdrop in an episode of Benson which was also a Witt/Thomas/Harris production)

I have heard Laverne & Shirley used The Odd Couple set, but found no real evidence of this. If you find the unaied pilot fo Laverne and Shirley you will see they used the set from Fonzie's apartment from Happy Days (this was filmed after a Happy Days episode one night)

The school sets in Saved By The Bell can be seen in That's So Raven!and ICarly

The Miller/Boyett shows had similar sets which serious fans could recognize

The Bewitched interior was also used in Gidget and I Dream of Jeannie  (and an old Jerry Lewis movie)

704 Hauser was an intended spin-off of All in the Family in the sense that the character was the opposite of Archie Bunker and lived in his house. The same sets from the old show were used, just modernized.

Of course some shows do this within their own series. Boy Meets World reused an apartment set as well the school hallways and classrooms. When Benson stopped being budget director the set for his office vanished, but was reused as a psychiatrist office in a later episode. And many times on shows like Frasier or Will & Grace they will just re-dress the main set to represent a different apartment in the same building.

Not a sitcom, but Star Trek did this a lot, with The Enterprise, Ds9, Defiant, and Voyager standing in as other vessels (and stations) even in other shows (and the movies)

This is just a sample of course. I am Sure there are others I didn't mention. If I have forgotten any let me know, this is kind of thing fascinated me. Not sure why exactly.

October 11, 2012

Five "WTF??" Movie Scenes From When I was Young

Yesterday I discussed movies which scared me as a kid. Either because they were deliberately scary, or because it was a little too mature for me to be seeing when I did. Of course some movies are intentionally scary, even comedies. Ghostbusters and Beetlejuice are two great comedies, but there are some creepy, even flat out scary, scenes in these films. So saying that you scared makes sense, But what about films which were not supposed to be scary, but have that one moment which scares the crap out of you?
Today I wanted to talk about movies which were not scary, and yet contain a scene which scared me as much as any intentionally scary movie. These are usually moments that people remember very well because they come out of nowhere, and leave a strong mark on us making us ask "WTF?". These are mostly 80’s films because, well, I was a kid in the 80’s. And as always, just opinion.

#5. Raiders of the Lost Ark
This is cheating, but this story has always been one of my favorites from being a kid so I thought I would share. We all remember Raiders of the Lost Ark. It was a great action movie, in fact I’ll go so far as to say it set the standard for action movies in the 80’s. Harrison Ford was fantastic, and the film was a lot of fun. The thing I remember the most about the movie was the ending. We all know how it ends; the ark is finally uncovered and opened. Indy and Marion shield their eyes, and then the villains discover why you should never stare at the ark very long. My father was sitting next to me at the theatre, and just as the villains faces began to melt I felt a hand clasp onto my face to shield me from the scene. It probably startled him to, that was a gory image. So I never saw that, until years later when I did finally see it and realized that my father may have made the right choice. So that was a scary moment averted, and I love that story.

October 8, 2012

Top 5 Favorite TV Flops, Part 2-The Worst Ideas Ever!

A few months ago I did an article on my five favorite TVdisasters, those shows which just flat out bombed they were so bad. Today Iwant to talk about five more, but these are more than just bad shows. They wereflat out stupid ideas that never should have been green lit never mindproduced!

What's the difference between a flop and a flat out stupididea? Simply put, some ideas are good ideas it’s just something happens whichmakes the idea poorly conceived. For example The XFL wasn't a bad idea, butsome mistakes along the way made it a flop. What I have put together is a listof five television shows which were so stupid, how they ever got off the drawingboard I will never know.

#5. The Trouble With Larry
Bronson Pinchot starred in this sitcom about a man who was carried off by baboons on his honeymoon. The man returned sometime later to discover his wife was remarried.  He moves in with his wife and new husband, and antics ensue! Not kidding, this really happened and  it is so bad it was almost cancelled before it even aired. Even ”Cavemen” had a longer runtime than this turkey and that show was truly heinous.The part I loved was that Brosnson Pinchot was actually proud of this, bragging about it before it aired,. He probably still regrets that.

#4. My Mother The Car-You have to see it to believe it. Inever understood why people liked Mr.Ed, but while it’s a silly premise thereis a charm to that show which is why it was a hit. This show was just…who cameup with this? Jerry Van Dyke plays a man who discovers this mother’s spiritlives in the new car he just bought. No, really. This happened! Her voice wouldliterally come out of the car! The biggest casualty of this show was Van Dyke’scareer, which suffered for years until his supporting role in Coach finallygave him a little respect back. NBC really blew it with this one, but as anyonewho remembers Supertrain or Emeril can tell you, it wouldn’t be the lasthorrible idea they would have.

#3. Baby Bob
This idea was even worst! There had been a series of adswith a baby who talked like an adult person. They were cute, so why not createan entire sitcom around that idea? So CBS premiered this show and the baby hadthe voice of comic Kevin Meaney. It was just…odd. Why the network thought thiswould work is beyond me. Hard as it is to believe, something like this happenedback in the 90’s. The Look Who’s Talking movies spawned a series called BabyTalk. This show was so bad the female main lead left the show before an episodeaired, the male lead (George Clooney believ it or not) left after a coupleepisodes, and the premise was just lousy. Tony Danza provided the voice of thebaby. ABC was determined to keep the show alive, so the next year it came backwith yet another actress in the lead role and a totally different premise. Theshow was a bit better, but not good enough and it quietly disappeared; becomingthe TGIF show no one talks about or remembers.

#2. The Brady Bunch Variety Hour
Thank heavens I missed this one. I understand how it may have seemed like a good idea, The Brady Kids had been a popular group and of course Florence Henderson and Robert Reed were pro’s. This could have worked,if not for one idiotic mistake. Here was the premise, Mike Brady sells his families home and move them to California so they can perform in a variety show. See the problem? WHY WERE THEY IN CHARACTER ON THIS THING????  If they had been the actors as themselves itmay have worked, but were people supposed to buy the Brady’s were actually singing and dancing like that? IT MADE NO SENSE! I finally got to see some clips a few years ago,and wow! If you can imagine the Brady’s dressed up like characters from TheWizard of Oz while they sing “Carwash”….well, you get the idea. Susan Olden who played Cindy has a book all about this I would love to read someday. Thank heavenst his was not in canon with the later reunion movies. The one interesting thing about  this is that the cast kind of laugh about this now. Yeah it was absurd but they look back at it and still remember it kind of fondly. This cannot be said of the people involved in the next show.

#1. The Star Wars Holiday Special
Several years ago I was searching the internet when I came across an article about something called a Star Wars Christmas Special. I had never heard of it, and wasn’t sure if it was real. I did some more digging anddiscovered it was real, and was something George Lucas was ashamed of. I managed to download a copy and watch it. Wow, what in the world were they thinking? As luck would have it I was only four years old when this came out,so I really can’t vouch for the reaction at the time. I can say that over theyears this has developed a cult following. This was awful. Having the Wookie’s screechingwithout subtitles, pointless sketches and music number, and the actors allappearing as if they were heavily medicated as they performed in this. I do understand the initial idea. In an age before home video Lucas was afraid everyone would forget Star Wars by the time Empire came out. He just should have had alittle more control over the product. I just discovered the most amazing thing about this, it was a two-hour special!! Are you kidding me? It amazes me whatprogrammers Okayed back in the 70’s. They watched this thing and thought, “Yeah, thiswill be awesome!”. Really? This show makes me so glad I was a product of the 80's.  If you’re curious one of the best Nostalgia Criticepisodes was on this, check it out.

Honorable Mention-Turn on

What show was canceled faster than any other? How about this show, which premiered on the East coast and was cancelled by the time it airedon the west coast the same night! Some stations which aired the show refused to return to it after it went into commercial break! What was in this show? Debutingin 1969 this was a sketch show to compete with (or rip off)  Laugh-In. However the material was a little toedgy and offended people almost instantly. Tim Conway is the most famous nameassociated with this dud, as he was the host of the first and only episode.

The list of horrible programs on television is endless, and maybe I will come back with yet another five examples of horrible television.

October 2, 2012

Five Things I Hated in "Superman II"

I  touched on this in another article, but decided to get into more detail. The first Superman film was amazing, just very well done. In fact, in that movie it takes over an hour to get to really see Superman in action, and yet we don't seem to care. The story is so well done that we're invested even if the main plot hasn't even come close to starting. Superman II was the follow up and had lots of problems. Today I am going to talk about the classic version we all saw in theatres, not the Donner recut which is actually better. I saw this film in theatres, and hated it. Well, most of it. This weekend I watched the film again, to see if I was just being picky when I first saw it. I was very young when this came out. I admit, I hit the fast forward button a few times. I will be fair and point out where cut scenes explain my complaints if it applies.

Before I begin let me stress I am not saying the film was horrible, it's not Superman III or, god forbid, Superman IV bad. I just had a lot of issues with it. Here are my top 5 :

#5. Pointless Eiffel Tower scene
This is straight up nitpicking because this scene is here for a reason, just not a reason which serves the main plot of the film except to get it started. The whole opening of the movie involved a nuclear bomb attached to an elevator in the Eiffel Tower. Lois sneaks aboard, and to be fair, this is the one time I like Margot Kidder's Lois. I always preferred Teri Hatcher, or forgive me even Erica Durance, over her performance in this film. I don't know, she always seemed a little old and way to whiny. Of course this was the silver age Lois, so I should give her a break. I did hate that she was a smoker. Getting off track, the point is Lois is saved by Superman who takes the elevator into space and lets it explode. The explosion frees the Phantom Zone prisoners, but originally it wasn't supposed to be the elevator that did that. It was a nuclear missile from the first movie which was supposed to do that, which makes the whole Eiffel Tower scene a tacked on moment to get the plot going, which of course is never mentioned again. Not a bad scene, just ultimately pointless (and gone from the Donner cut by the way).

October 1, 2012

Sitcom Face Off-Happy Days vs Wonder Years

Another sitcom face off where I take two similar shows and see which one is better. Today’s involved two very different  nostalgic comedies which both take a look at specific period in history.

These shows are basically about the same thing, looking back at a different era with wonder and nostalgia. Happy Days was set in the mid-50’s, while Wonder Years was set in the more turbulent late 60’s. So that meant Wonder Years was a tad more serious, but Happy Days was on the air twice as long. So which is better?