Flashback Friday: Boy Meets World (1993 to 2000)

Our adolescent years are not easy, as anyone who is or has gone through those years knows/remembers. The emotional experience of growing up, learning about the world, and who you are often come out of hard lessons and difficult experiences.

The classic (at least in my mind) 1990s sitcom Boy Meets World (1993 to 2000) followed Cory Matthews (Ben Savage) as he slowly changes from a boy to a young adult. Along the way, he deals with love, loss, heartbreak, etc, and learns that the simplicity of childhood does not last forever.

I don’t know about anyone else, but this show is one of the best of my generation. I grew up with Cory and feel a kinship with this character. Granted, it was television and not exactly reality. That being said, I can look back at BMW and parallel my preteen/teenage years with Cory and company.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Zack to the Future Podcast Review (2020 to 2021)

Every era and every age group has its own archetypal character that sort of sums up the creative ideas of the time.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, this character was Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar)  on Saved by the Bell. Zack was an overconfident, smooth-talking kid with a slightly used salesman con artist veneer. He had a good heart, but it wasn’t always on the surface.

Zack to the Future (2020 to 2021) is a rewatch podcast in which Gosselaar sits down with co-host Dashiell Driscoll to watch the program with adult eyes. Having never watched the show, it is an opportunity for the cast, crew, and fans to reminisce about the gang at Bayside High.

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I looked forward to this podcast every week. Gosselaar’s insight provides a unique perspective on his time playing one of television’s most well-known teenage characters. Unfortunately, it has since been canceled. But like its small screen predecessor, there are always returns.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Pod Meet World Podcast Review

Nostalgia is a funny thing. It can take you back to who you were at the moment in time. But there is also an element of understanding how the passage of time can change your perspective.

The new podcast Pod Meets World stars three actors from the 1990’s sitcom Boy Meets World. In the same vein as Zack to the Future, Danielle Fishel (Topanga), Rider Strong (Shawn), and Will Friedle (Eric) talk about their memories of making the show, watching it through adult eyes, and interviewing their costars.

This podcast is so much fun to listen to. I remember watching it as a kid and loving the program. Growing up with these characters, the experiences of my teenage years was perfectly reflected through Corey’s eyes. It was the perfect mixture of reminiscing and having the understanding of now being an adult.

What made me feel quite old was the episode with William Russ, who played the father. At the time of the show, Russ was the same age that Strong is now. Where have the last thirty years gone?

Do I recommend it? Yes.

New episodes of Pod Meet World are released every Monday and Thursday.

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Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers Movie Review

There seems to be a rule that in every generation, Hollywood looks to the past and uses nostalgia as a reason to reinvigorate old IPs.

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers is one of the newest releases from DisneyPlus.Thirty years after the original series has ended, they are living far from the limelight. Chip (John Mulaney) has a desk job. Dale (Andy Samberg) is still trying to cling to his past. When their old teammate Monterey Jack (Eric Bana) is kidnapped, they have to put their animosity aside to work together. Assisting them is Ellie (KiKi Layne), a cop who is determined to solve the case.

First of all, shoutout to the homage to Who Framed Roger Rabbit. It is a subtle touch, but if you know, you know. I loved that Chip, who is the straight man is still in traditional 2D animation while out there Dale is in the form of modern animation.

The best thing about the film is that it appeals to both adults and kids. For those of us who remember the cartoon back in the day, there is humor that the grownups will get but might go over the heads of younger audiences. There are also easter eggs and cameos that may require repeat viewing to catch. It has the flavor of its predecessor while also standing on its own as a sequel.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers is available for streaming on DisneyPlus.

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P.S. The show’s theme song is a total earworm. Just an FYI in case it gets into your head as it is now in mine.

Throwback Thursday: Hey Dude (1989-1991)

The fish out of water story is one of the oldest stories in the human literary canon. When we are in a place in which we are a stranger in a strange land, we have to either go along with the change or remain rooted in the past.

In the Nickelodeon television series, Hey Dude (1989-1991), Ben Ernst (David Brisbin) is a divorced father who has left his East coast, high-stress job behind with his young son Buddy (Josh Tygiel). Purchasing the fictional Bar None Dude Ranch out west, he has good intentions. But like any fish out of water, his vision does always gel with reality. He has four teenagers working for him. Melody (Christine Taylor) is the girl next door who works as a lifeguard and dance instructor. Bradley “Brad” Taylor (Kelly Brown) is a riding instructor who comes from a wealthy family in the Midwest. Danny Lightfoot (Joe Torres), hails from the Hopi Indian tribe and just wants to get along with everyone. Ted McGriff (David Lascher) is always looking for the next scheme. In between Ben and the kids is Lucy (Debra Kalman), who is the ranch hand forewoman and supervisor.

I remember watching this show as a kid. What was appealing was that it was set in a world that was and still is completely different from my own. And like any young person, you look up to those who are older than you.

These days, we talk about diversity and representation on screen. Having a Native American character who is not relegated to a stereotype or a background character was back then and unfortunately, still is revolutionary.

Do I recommend it? I would say so.

Flashback Friday: Nick Arcade (1992)

These days, technology changes in blink of an eye. What was cutting edge quickly becomes outdated.

In the 1992 Nickelodeon show, Nick Arcade, contestants competed in virtual video world. Hosted by Phil Moore, the game started with two different teams in the first round. The winner then moved into the “Video Zone”. Their goal was to win against the “Video Game Wizard” of that particular episode and ultimately, walk away the winner.

Almost thirty years on, the technology looks primitive, if not straight out of the stone age. But back then, it was top of the line and absolutely fascinating to watch.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story Review

There are two ways to create children’s television. The first is to talk down to the audience while advertising an inordinate amount of merchandise. The second is reach the children on their level and respect them as human beings.

The documentary, The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story, was released in 2018. The movie tells the story of the children television network, Nickelodeon, from its inception in the late 1970’s to the powerhouse it became in the 1990’s. Interviewing execs, writers, creators, and actors, it is the story of a channel that was ahead of its time and continues to push boundaries today.

As a child of the 1980’s and 1990’s, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was pure nostalgia for me. Talking about shows like All That, You Can’t Do That on Television, Hey Dude, Doug, etc was like going back to a simpler time when life was not as complicated.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story is available for streaming on Hulu.

Best New TV Shows of 2020

  1. Bridgerton (Netflix): This Jane Austen inspired series is based on books by Julia Quinn. Sexy and romantic with a feminist twist, it is the perfect BPD (British Period Drama) to lose one’s self in.
  2. Saved by the Bell (Peacock): The re-imagining of this much loved 1990’s teen comedy program will thrill both new fans and old.
  3. Cursed (Netflix): Based on the comic book by Frank Miller, it revisits the Arthurian myth via Nimue (Katherine Langford).
  4. World on Fire (PBS): This PBS/Masterpiece follows a group of individuals as World War II is on the horizon.
  5. Mrs. America (F/X/Hulu): In the 1970’s, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was close to becoming the law of the land. A tug of war begins between one group of women that is for it and another that is against it.
  6. Sanditon (PBS): Based off the unfinished book of the same name by Jane Austen, we follow Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams), a young woman who leaves her family for the seaside resort town of Sanditon.
  7. The Baby-Sitters Club (Netflix): This Netflix series is based on the books by Ann M. Martin.
  8. Flesh and Blood (PBS): Natalie (Lydia Leonard), Jake (Russell Tovey), and Helen (Claudie Blakely) are unsure about their widow mother’s new boyfriend.
  9. The Weakest Link (NBC): A delightful reboot of the early 2000’s game show of the same name. Hosted by Jane Lynch.
  10. The Windemere Children (PBS): World War II has just ended. 300 child survivors of The Holocaust are taken to England to heal. The adults have their work cut out for them.

Saved by the Bell Review

Reboots, revivals, and re-imaginings 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.

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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