Category Archives: TV Review

Flashback Friday-Say What? Karaoke (1998-2003)

For some karaoke is chance to let loose, relax and pretend to be a rock star. For others, it makes their skin crawl.

So of course, MTV had to make a show based on karaoke. Say What? Karaoke aired from 1998-2003.  The premise of the show was that contestants sung karaoke in front of celebrity judges. As with any reality competition show, the contestants are judged and one is named the winner.

 

Say What? Karaoke is one of those shows that you watch when your a certain age. While I certainly watched it when I was in my late teens and early 20’s, I wouldn’t watch it now.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Filed under Flashback Friday, Music, Television, TV Review

Throwback Thursday-America’s Best Dance Crew (2008-2015)

One of the surprising results of the meteoric growth of reality television is the opportunity for those in the arts to prove that they have what it takes to succeed in their chosen field.

America’s Best Dance Crew aired on MTV from 2008 to 2015. Produced by Randy Jackson, the premise of the show was for dance crews from the around the country to introduce themselves to audiences and to compete for the title of America’s Best Dance Crew. The show was hosted Mario Lopez and the contestants were judged by three well-known performers within the music and dance industries. Each episode had a theme and each crew had to come up with their own dance based on that theme. As with any reality competition show, at the end of the season, one dance crew was named the winner.

Looking back, I feel like this show was both very cliched and very niche. Though the dancers who were competing were obviously talented and working their tails off, it was a little too predictable for my taste.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Filed under Music, Television, Throwback Thursday, TV Review

Flashback Friday-Pop-Up Video (1996-2002)

Compared the course of the history of music, the music video comparatively speaking, is still a new format. But like anything in life, one can only watch so many music videos before it becomes overkill.

This is where Pop-Up Video comes in. Airing on VH1 from 1996 to 2002, the program added to the music videos by including brief tidbits of information that had something to do with the song or the artist(s).

What I liked about Pop-Up Video is that the information that popped up was not just bland facts. Some of the pop ups contained trivia and some contained details that could be construed as naughty by some viewers. Looking back, I remember enjoying Pop-Up Video because you never knew which videos would be chosen and what information was going to be shared during the video.

I recommend it.

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Flashback Friday-Restaurant Stakeout (2012-2014)

The success of a company depends not just on those at the top, but those on the bottom.

Restaurant Stakeout aired on the Food Network from 2012-2014. The premise of the show is as follows: restaurant owners suspect that something that is not on the up and up within their restaurant. Famed NYC restaurateur Willie Degel assists the owners by recording and observing staff via hidden cameras. Using the evidence gathered, Willie is able to assist the owner by identifying and correcting the issues that are plaguing the restaurant.

I like Restaurant Stakeout. I like it because unlike other shows that fall into the sub-genre of “restaurant based reality shows”, the focus is solely on the service that the diners receive. The truth of eating out is that the meal may be the most delicious meal you have ever had, but if the service is not up to snuff, it is unlikely that you will come back for another meal.

I recommend it.

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Filed under Flashback Friday, New York City, Television, TV Review

Throwback Thursday: Restaurant: Impossible (2011-2016)

The statistics when it comes to the success of small businesses is startling. In the US, most small businesses fail within ten years of opening their doors.

Robert Irvine was trying to change those odds, one restaurant at a time.

Restaurant: Impossible aired on the Food Network from 2011-2016. The premise of the show was to Irvine had two days to help a failing restaurant not only survive, but thrive. The drama comes from the either the owners or the staff, who for any number of reasons, are resisting the changes that Irvine is suggesting.

Restaurant: Impossible is one of those shows that I enjoyed. Robert Irvine reminds me of the tough teacher in school. They were not tough on you because they could be, they were tough on you because they wanted you to succeed.  Irvine was tough on the restaurant owners and staff not because he can be, but because he wants them to succeed.

I recommend it.

 

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Flashback Friday-Worst Cooks in America (2010-Present)

For some food is more than physical sustenance. It is joy, it is pleasure and the creation of the food only adds to that joy. But for others, cooking is akin to a science experiment that has the potential to go very, very badly.

Worst Cooks in America premiered on Food Network in 2010. It has been a staple of the network’s schedule since then. The contestants on the program cannot cook to save their lives. Guided and judged by several well-known and well-respected celebrity chefs, the contestants learn how to create various dishes. The winner of the competition is the contestant who proves to three food critics that they can create a  restaurant style three course menu and lose the title of the worst cook in America.

Worst Cooks in America is an interesting program, at least from my perspective. While it falls in the “reality competition show” genre, it also teaches viewers about the proper preparation of food. Learning does not end when we leave the classroom. Sometimes, we can learn something from a reality show.

I recommend it.

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Flashback Friday-Unsolved Mysteries (1987-2010)

There is nothing like a good mystery to get the imagination going.

Unsolved Mysteries (1987-2010) premiered in 1987 and was on the air for 23 years on a number of networks until its formal cancellation in 2010. Hosted for most of the series by the late actor Robert Stack, the show was setup in a documentary style. Each episode told the story of yet to be solved mysteries. Everything from murders and missing persons cases to unexplained paranormal phenomenon was profiled on the show.

 

Unsolved Mysteries is one of those shows that can only be defined as addictive. You cannot watch just one. The more you watch, the more you want to watch. You want to be able to figure out the mystery and solve the case.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Flashback Friday- Cupcake Wars (2009-Present)

On the surface, baking seems like a simple process. You mix the ingredients together, put them into the oven and let them bake. But is there something more than the purely physical act of mixing ingredients and putting them in the oven?

Cupcake Wars premiered on Food Network in 2009. Hosted first by Justin Willman and then by Jonathan Bennett, the contestants are put through their paces as they are challenged to create a variety of cupcakes. The winner of each episode wins $10,000 and the opportunity to showcase their work at a related event.

I like Cupcake Wars. I like it because the contestants are not just baking for baking’s sake. They love to bake and it shows in their work. I also like the show because it’s an engaging program, the audience is rooting for the contestants and trying to figure out along the way who will win.

I recommend it.

 

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Throwback Thursday-Beat Bobby Flay (2013-Present)

There is nothing like a challenge, especially when one goes up against a master in your field.

Beat Bobby Flay premiered on the Food Network in 2013. The purpose of each episode is for one of the contestants to beat celebrity chef Bobby Flay in a cooking contest. The structure of the game is as follows: Two professional chefs create a meal based around a single ingredient of Bobby’s choice. The winner is chosen by two of Bobby’s celebrity friends who would like nothing more than to see him lose. The winner of the first round then takes on Bobby using a dish of their choice. This dish is judged by three additional professional chefs/restaurateurs. Can Bobby Flay be beaten or will he win to fight another day?

Beat Bobby Flay is interesting because there is nothing like going up against a master to teach you. It’s also a little bit of a nail biter to make a guess as if Bobby Flay will live up to the title of his program.

I recommend it.

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Throwback Thursday-Finding Your Roots (2012-Present)

Discovering previously unknown parts of one’s family tree is akin to being a detective.

Finding Your Roots premiered on PBS in 2012. Hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr., each episodes focuses on two or three well-known personalities as they learn about their family trees. The cumulative research of genealogists, historians and genetics experts is then compiled into a book of life. As the subject of each episode follows along, Mr. Gates either reveals their family history or answers questions to long-held family secrets.

Genealogy is a fascinating subject, at least from my perspective. It’s more than knowing where your ancestors came from. It’s about connecting the past to the present and revealing that the human experience is a universal one.

I recommend it.

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Filed under History, Television, Throwback Thursday, TV Review