Category Archives: TV Review

Throwback Thursday: Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County (2004-2006)

The reality television genre generates a variety of opinions, depending on whom one speaks to. It could be seen as a guilty pleasure and a reason to chill out after a long day of work or school. It could also be seen as brainless, trashy television that claims to be “reality”, but is actually as scripted as fictional programs.

Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County aired on MTV from 2004-2006. The prequel to The Hills (2006-2010), the the show followed a group high school students from Laguna Beach High School in California as they went through the normal teenage growing pains.

I hated this show. The kids who were the focus of the program were just a bunch of Caucasian, 1%-ers whose narratives were not as “real” as promised.

Do I recommend it? No.

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Saved by the Bell Review

Reboots, revivals and reimaginings are all the rage these days. However, there is a catch. Not every television program or movie is worthy of its predecessor.

The reboot of Saved by the Bell premiered last night on the Peacock network.

When Governor of California Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) wastes a bunch of money, the ax falls on a low performing high school. Daisy Jimenez (Haskiri Velazquez), Devante Youg (Dexter Darden), and Aisha Garcia (Alycia Pascual-Pena) are forced to transfer to Bayside High School.

Used to a lower income neighborhood and a school lacking in resources, they are shocked to see what the kids at Bayside view as normal. Paired up with Mac Morris (Mitchell Hoog), Jamie Spano (Belmont Camell), and Lexi (Josie Totah) as “Bayside Buddies”, they don’t always see eye to eye or understand each other.

Trying to help the new students adapt are alumnus turned staff Jessie Spano (Elizabeth Berkely Lauren) and A.C. Slater (Mario Lopez). Above them is Principal Ronald Toddman (John Michael Higgins). Though we only see First Lady Kelly Morris (nee Kapowski) briefly, she is ever present in the background.

I only watched the pilot, but I can say with certainty that is as close to a perfect remaining as one can get. Old school fans of the original series (myself included) will instantly be taken back thirty years. Younger viewers will be able to connect to the story, as it is very relevant for 2020.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Saved by the Bell is available for streaming on the Peacock network.

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Throwback Thursday: Wild & Crazy Kids (1990-1992)

One of the joys of childhood is the freedom from inhibitions.

Wild & Crazy Kids aired on Nickelodeon from 1990-1992. Hosted by Omar Gooding, Donnie Jeffcoat, Annette Chavez (season 1), and Jessica Gaynes (seasons 2 and 3), the premise of the show was that two teams of kids would face each other in a series of physical challenges.

When I was growing up, this show was pure fun to watch. The creativity of the games and the enthusiasm of the participants radiated from the screen, almost daring the kids at home to take part themselves.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

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Flashback Friday: The Simple Life (2003-2007)

The fish out of water narrative has compelled humanity for generations.

The Simple Life aired between 2003 and 2007. Then Hollywood socialites Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie leave their 1% world behind to see what life is like outside of their bubble. This reality show followed them as temporarily lived with other families and worked low paying jobs.

This show is nothing more than the reality television drama at its worst. Now granted, this program aired when the genre was in its infancy. As it was then, this is television trash and will always be television trash. It also set the stage for other “reality” television shows that took viewers into the lives of the rich and famous.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely not.

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Liar Review

In some cases, the accusation of rape is clear and simple. But in other cases, it is a complicated case of he said vs. she said.

In the television series Liar, both Laura Nielson (Joanne Froggatt) and Andrew Earlham (Ioan Gruffudd) are at crossroads in their lives. Laura is newly single after a long term relationship has just ended. Andrew is a widower with a teenage son. They meet at the school where Laura teaches and Andrew’s son is a student.

After they go on a date, they go back to her place to hang out and share a bottle of wine. One thing leads to another and they end up in bed. The next morning, Laura cries rape while Andrew claims it was just a one night stand. The consequences of that evening and the questions of what really happened will have far reaching consequences.

I only watched the first couple of episodes and was riveted. Both Froggatt and Gruffudd are superb in their roles. Unlike the open and shut cases is seen on Law & Order and other police dramas, this one is not black and white.

I was also drawn to the show because there was an instant comparison to the rape of Froggatt’s Downton Abbey character, Anna Bates. While Laura is both believed and her reputation is initially intact, Anna is not sot lucky. If she is to retain both her job and her good name, she must pretend that it never happened.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Liar is available for streaming on the Sundance Channel.

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Flashback Friday: The Big Bang Theory (2007-2019)

Of the hundreds of television pilots that are filmed every year, only a few are given a season to develop. Even fewer last well beyond the first thirteen episodes they are granted by the network.

The Big Bang Theory aired from 2007-2019. The narrative of the show followed the relationships between pretty girl Penny (Kaley Cuoco) and her nerdy neighbors, Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki) and Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons).

I’ve seen enough of this show to know that I didn’t get it. There was obviously enough people watching for it to last as long as it did. But it was not one of those television shows that I would say that I watched with any amount of regularity.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

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Throwback Thursday: MTV’s The 70s House (2005)

Every generation, in their own way, looks back on the previous decades with questions and perhaps a wistful vision of fantasy.

MTV’s The 70’s House aired back in 2005.It was a cross between The Real World and a reality competition show. 12 members of the older millennial generation are taken back to the 1970’s. Any mention of anything modern is forbidden. The thrust of the competition is to see who (for the lack of a better term) can be the most 70’s.

As an older millennial, I understand the fascination of the 70’s. But this was a niche program, in terms of both the network it aired on and the program itself. It was ok to watch 15 years ago, but I wouldn’t watch it now.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Flashback Friday: Law & Order: UK (2009-2014)

Television viewers have been taken with police procedurals since the beginning of television.

For thirty years, Law & Order has been a staple of our television schedule. Between 2009 & 2014, the British spinoff, Law & Order: UK was on the air. The plot of every episode is standard for the genre. The inciting incident is a crime being committed. The police investigate and then hand their findings over to the attorneys. Their job is to convince the jury that the accused is guilty.

I only watched a few episodes of the series, but I can say that I enjoyed it. The show had the same hook and energy as it’s American’s counterparts. The language and terms are slightly different because it is obviously set in another country, but that does not negate the program’s ability to entertain.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Flashback Friday-Halloween Wars (2011-Present)

When most of us think of sweet treats on Halloween, we think of pre-packaged candies and chocolate sitting in bowl, waiting to be distributed.

Halloween Wars (2011-Present), airing on Food Network, takes that concept and blows it up. Five teams compete to create the scariest and most delicious Halloween related deserts.

I’ll be honest. Among the seasonal cooking competition shows on the Food Network schedule, this is one that I pass on. It’s a fine program, it’s just not one I want to spend my time watching.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

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Throwback Thursday: Brother Vs. Brother (2013-Present)

Sibling rivalry is for many, part and parcel, part of the growing up experience.

Since 2013, Brother Vs. Brother has aired on HGTV. In the series, Drew and Jonathan Scott each buy and flip a rundown home. At the end of the season, the winner is the one whose newly renovated property sells for the highest purchase price.

Among the catalog of shows starring the Scott brothers, this is five out of ten for me. It’s fine and entertaining, but I can’t say that it is appointment television.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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