November 27, 2017

Five Ways Christmas Specials Have Changed

It still makes me sad that we don’t have Christmas Specials like they had back in the old days. Some may be wondering, they still have Christmas specials! Well, yeah they do but the one’s they had when I was growing up were really special and unique. It’s kind of hard to explain how if you weren’t fortunate enough to be around all those years ago. But the specials we got in the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s weren’t the same as the stuff we get today. Some of these things were fading away when I was a kid, and I still miss them.

Here are some examples of things those specials did that you just don’t see today :

Talking About Jesus

I mean, why in the world would you want to bring religion into a Christmas special? Before everyone became so worried about being PC, these specials would in fact discuss what the holiday actually means. Going all the way back to Linus’s speech (to be fair even then the network didn’t like that). But yeah specials back in the day didn’t shy away from talking about WHY we celebrate the holiday and, heaven forbid, saying Merry Christmas at the end instead of Happy Holidays!! John Denver and The Muppets is a great example of this, with John Denver reciting passages from the bible.

November 24, 2017

Five Christmas Movies that Ignore Christmas Day

Last year I talked about how very often a TV episode will be set at Christmas, with decorations and all, but Christmas has almost nothing to do with the actual story. Now the natural follow up would be movies set at Christmas which have nothing to do with the holiday, but let’s be honest. We all know those films and you’ve probably already thought of five of them just reading this (Die Hard, Gremlins, Lethal Weapon, Batman Returns, Red, etc etc).

November 19, 2017

Five Reasons I love "It's A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie"

The Muppet movies tend to be easily categorized. The original three which are classics, though "Manhattan" is kind of the weakest. The horrible one's like Muppet's in Space and Muppet Wizard of Oz. The fan favorites like Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island. And of course the two recent installments which are pretty damn good. But this TV movie from NBC doesn't seem to fit any category. It never gets mentions or talked about, but I don't think anyone hates it per se. For me it's a guilty pleasure that I watch every year.

The Plot? Well if you know "It's a Wonderful Life" then you can probably guess the plot. The Muppets need money to save there theater, Despite getting it in time Fozzie proceeds to lose the money which causes Kermit to have an existential crisis. It's only the intervention of a kind angel that reminds him what's really important. So, let's take a closer look at the five reasons I love "A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie".

This is one of the few Muppet movies that remembers that The Muppet Show existed. Why is that? Even "The Muppets" didn't do as good a detailed job recreating that ole studio the way this one recreated it. They got the stage right and auditorium but the backstage felt larger in scale and not quite right, the recreation in "Very Merry" is just beautifully done. It's just like it was on the show! The Moulin Rouge parody is one of the best things in the movie, it does feel like something out of the old show even if the number is a tad dated today. A lot of care was clearly put into those moments.

November 16, 2017

Five Christmas Commercials That Have Run Forever

What’s that? A week before Thanksgiving is to early to discuss Christmas commercials? Hey, if these stupid networks can begin playing Christmas commercials BEFORE HALLOWEEN EVEN ENDS, then I can discuss this today.

Now then….

It’s always amazing when something becomes so much part of a holiday that it’d hard to believe there was ever a time when it wasn’t. Yes Santa wasn’t around the way we love him today until the 1900’s. Rudolph came years later and became just as big a part of the holiday. Even It’s a Wonderful Life came out in 1946 so there was a time when people didn’t watch it every single year. But something that truly fascinates me are the commercials.

Christmas commercials are always a cut above the norm, especially back in my day when actual thought and effort was put into them. They were clever, they were cute, and they were memorable. But usually they aired during one Christmas season, ok maybe for another year or two, and then disappeared. Oh sure we remember them, but most ads come and go and are never seen again (aside from YouTube and old VHS’s of course). That is except for a few ads which are so memorable that they seem to air year after year and never go away.

Now I could do (and have done) a list of all the memorable ads out there but here are five Christmas ads that are so simple and yet so perfect that they’re more than just memorable. They have almost become synonymous with the holiday!

Norelco Razor
Oh sure this as has been updated, from black white to color to CGI. But these simple ads, Santa riding on a Norleco Razor, are pretty popular and well know. I’ve even seen sitcoms make references to the famous ad. To be fair these kind of come and go a little, I dont think they air every single year, but we all remember them.

November 12, 2017

800th Blog Special:Ten Archaic Technology That I Had Growing Up

On January 17th I published my 700th blog.This amazes since when I to 600 I wondered what else I had to talk about. However thanks to the Everybody Loves Raymond episode guide, I have hit 800 blogs before the end of the year. As you may or may not know I always celebrate the milestone of 100 blogs with something special. Either something a little bigger or something I’ve put off, but always something personal. So what am I discussing this time?

As I have approach another birthday and find myself getting even older, I can’t help but look back at awe at the way things have changed since I was a kid. The things we have today and the thing amazing technology from the era that we’ve discarded since. So I decided to list ten pieces of tech that is either nonexistent or just plain outdated today. Now of course, I am not THAT old. You could go back further than the 80’s, but since that is when I was a kid that is the time period I will be comparing to today.

Analog TV’s

Do I even need to get into this one? While I didn’t grow waaayyy back when households only had one TV, and no color, I did grow up in a time when not every TV was wired to cable. Ah, the endless hours desperately trying to pick up a station using antennae! Whatever happened to UHF anyway? When we did watch cable, the choices were a lot more limited than we have today. And of course we didn’t have flatscreen, HI-Def or 3-D Plasma. Remotes were primitive to, basically they changed the channel and that was all!

November 9, 2017

A Look at AT4W Storyline Segments

As you may know I have been a fan of AT4W for a long time now. I have discussed episodes I loved, and episodes I hated, and gone over jokes from that show I love. But a big part of the show that I haven’t discussed is the storyline segments. So, let’s go through them quickly. In my opinion the AT4W segments rise above the usual reviewer story lines, the effects are decent and the characters are realistic. Add to that Lewis’s Lovhaug’s wonderful writing and these storylines comes close to professional caliber. How do they fare broken down?


Ok I wont be offering long plot summaries, I’d be here all day and if you don't know the storylines than my giving you the plot breakdown wont mean much. The first storyline is the Terminator knockoff (er, homage) and the introduction of Mechakara. And compared to later stuff the storyline doesn’t hold off that well. The effects aren’t bad, aside from the makeup, but it feels a lot less professional and the seams show a lot more. There also isn’t as much plot, with very little real build up. I am biased since I didn’t experience this first run but compared to later arc’s this one isn’t bad but not the best.

November 5, 2017

Ten Theme Songs Which Transcend Pop Culture

I’ve talked about TV theme songs before, and how some of them are so good not only do they get you hyped for the show but they help you to remember and want to come back to the show. Sometimes though, a theme goes one step even beyond that. There is something about the lyrics or the way they are sung that makes a part of the theme, if not the entire theme, a part of pop culture itself.

November 3, 2017

Five Most Forgettable Star Trek Episodes

So when I was talking about “Impulse” I noted that the episode wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t very memorable either. In fact I had to watch it again to even remember it. But that isn’t the only episode that doesn’t quite make the cut.

Even a bad episode of Trek can have something in it I remember. Spock’s Brain is goofy, Threshold is astoundingly dumb, Heart of Stone is just ridiculous. Even  Plato’s Stepchildren and Sub Rosa may be nauseating but I remember them. When an episode leaves you with nothing, it’s failed at a level that only a select few episodes can achieve. Here are my five most forgettable episodes of Trek.

Requiem for Methuselah (TOS)    

Picking a forgettable episode from TOS third season is not that easy. There were a few. But this one is especially bad. The plot involves Kirk, Spock, and McCoy meeting a man named Flint who has a female android. And the episode becomes a love triangle as she develops feelings for Kirk and Flint. Then they fight over her like two lovesick teenagers. What? The android is so torn up she dies, sure. Did I mention Flint was also Leonardo DeVinci and Brahms? Whatever. Except for a scene were the Enterprise is turned into a tabletop model (for ages I remembered that scene but couldn’t pinpoint the episode), there is nothing in this episode. Spock echoes my sentiment when in a gesture of friendship to the heartbroken Kirk, he does a mind meld and just says “forget”. No problem.