The genre of teen fantasy romance is an interesting one. Depending on the writer(s), the narrative and character arc can be either predictable/boring or compelling/different.
In the 1996 television movie Susie Q, Susie Q (Amy Jo Johnson) is a teenager in the 1950’s. She and her boyfriend are killed in a car crash. Decades later Zach Sands (Justin Whalin) moves into Susie’s former house with his sister and widowed mother, Penny (Shelley Long). Zach will soon discover that not only are they are not alone, but Susie’s ghost still haunts the property and he is the only one who can see her. In her own way, Susie tries to help Zach’s family and of course, it goes without saying that a romance develops between Zach and Susie.
Does this movie require a lot of thinking on the part of the audience? No. But it’s harmless and mildly entertaining.
Do I recommend it? Maybe.
Life, if nothing else, is full of surprises.
In the television series, Reba (2001-2007), country musician Reba McEntire plays Reba Hart, a suburban wife and mother whose world takes a complete 180.
First her dentist husband, Brock (Christopher Rich) has an affair with his hygienist and gets her pregnant. Then, if that was not enough change to make your head spin, her teenage daughter, Cheyenne (JoAnna Garcia-Swisher) announces that not only is she also pregnant, but she and her boyfriend intend on keeping the baby.
While this was not my favorite sitcom, I appreciated the reality that it reflected back to the audience Sh*t happens, and we have two choices. We can lock ourselves in the emotional closet and hide, or deal with that sh*t.
Do I recommend it? Maybe.
Many of us associate our childhood memories with Jim Henson productions.
In the early 1980’s, he broke away from his well known characters, The Muppets, to create a new world and a new group of characters. Fraggle Rock was on the air from 1983-1987.
Fraggle Rock is about creatures who live in a wall behind the home of Doc and his dog, Sprocket called Fraggles. Living with the Fraggles are Doozers. They all go to the Trash Heap for guidance while one of the Fraggles is exploring the world of humans and writes back to his family.
This show is an integral part of my early years. It was educational without the young audience knowing it (which is the point of this type of programming). It was also fun to watch.
I recommend it.
Last night, Will And Grace returned to our television sets after an 11 year absence.
Will Truman (Eric McCormack) is still a gay lawyer. Grace Adler (Debra Messing) is still his neurotic, straight interior designer best friend/roommate. Karen Walker (Megan Mullally) is as rich and boozed up as she ever was. Jack McFarland (Sean Hayes) is still the Jerry Lewis to Will’s Dean Martin. It’s as if the 2006 series finale never happened.
I have been a fan of Will And Grace for a very long time. Needless to say, the hype and the pressure to re-create the success of the original series was palpable. The cast, creative team and the crew succeeded with flying colors. Last night’s episode was pure Will and Grace, it was everything I hoped it would be and much more.
I absolutely recommend it. Welcome back Will And Grace, you’ve been sorely missed.
Will and Grace is on NBC at 9PM on Thursdays.
We have two choices when life throws us a curve ball. We can either roll over and take it or see the opportunities in the curve ball.
In 1921, future President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was crippled by polio. He sought treatment in Warm Springs, Georgia.
In 2005, this period of FDR’s was dramatized in the TV movie, Warm Springs. Stepping into the fictionalized shoes of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt were Kenneth Branagh and Cynthia Nixon. While FDR is being treated for polio, he is helping to revitalize the spa and inspire the other patients, in addition to trying to keep his marriage afloat.
In American politics and American history, both FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt are giants. In humanizing the main characters, the audience sees another to the late President and First Lady that only a select few during his time in office saw.
I recommend it.
From the perspective of someone watching the news at home on the television, it seems like everything is smooth sailing. But like everything in life once the curtain is pulled back, what appears to be smooth sailing is actually rough waters.
The Hour aired for two seasons on BBC America. Starring Romola Garai, Ben Whishaw and Dominic West, The Hour was a behind the scenes look at a 1950’s news program in Britain. Integrating the chaos of running a daily news program with the chaos of the character’s private lives, The Hour was a fascinating drama that captivated viewers. Unfortunately, like many shows who are not given the chance to last, The Hour was only on the air for two years. Led by show-runner Abi Morgan (whose film credits include Shame and Suffragette), The Hour had potential, but the network did not see it that way.
I really enjoyed this show. It had great writing, great acting and contained a cast of British actors that Austen fans and fans of British drama will easily recognize.
I recommend it.
For many comedians, the peak of their career is starring in their own television series.
Between 1993 and 1994, comedian Sinbad had his own sitcom, aptly named The Sinbad Show. David Bryan (Sinbad) is the foster-father to two precocious children: Zana and L.J. Beckley (Erin Davis and Ray J). While he tries to teach the children as much as he can while they are under his roof, David also learn a few things in the process.
Unfortunately, The Sinbad Show falls into the category of television shows that tried, but never quite made the connection with the audience that is needed to keep a show on the air.
Do I recommend it? Not really.
Being the child of famous actors is not easy, nor is it a golden key to success as a performer.
The television series, Movie Stars, aired for one season at the turn of the new millennium. Reese Hardin (Harry Hamlin) and Jacey Wyatt (Jennifer Grant, daughter of Cary Grant) both have successful careers in the entertainment industry. Reese and Jacey have two children of their own in addition to Jacey’s daughter from her previous marriage. Life is chaotic and busy, as it only can be when your part of a family of movie stars.
The problem with this show is that it was like a rocket without fuel. While the concept seems ok on paper, both the narrative and the character arcs were woefully underdeveloped.
Do I recommend it? No.
The best children’s programming appeals to both adults and children. It is entertaining and/or educational to the children watching, but can also be slightly subversive to the adults who are watching with their children.
Pee-Wee’s Playhouse was on the air from 1986-1991. Paul Reubens played the titular character, Pee-Wee Herman. It was a child’s dream come true. There was wacky characters, cartoons and household objects coming to life.
As a kid, I remember finding the show amusing. But now as adult, not only do I recognize that some of the jokes were very over my head at the time,but I also recognize that several actors, including the late Phil Hartman and Laurence Fishburne has Pee Wee’s Playhouse listed on their resume.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
When life gives us lemons, we try to make lemonade. When we are single after years of being in a relationship, what looks like a dark path of unknowns may actually be an opportunity to grow in new and exciting ways.
After 8 years of playing Grace Adler on Will and Grace, Debra Messing completely stepped away the world of Will and Grace to play a new character: the eponymous title character in the 2007 miniseries, The Starter Wife. Molly Kagan (Messing) has been married to Hollywood mogul Kenny Kagan (Peter Jacobson) for a number of years. All is well in her world until Kenny divorces her. Molly has to face her new reality as a single woman with the help of her friends, Joan McAllister (Judy Davis), Cricket Stewart (Miranda Otto) and Rodney (Chris Diamantopoulos).
I remember enjoying this mini-series. It had humor, it had heart and it also spoke to the idea that new normals happen all the time. It’s just a matter of rolling with the punches and putting one foot in front of the other.
I recommend it.