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  1. #766
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    Past Tense


    Another band new entry! This time out we get offbeat journalism in "This American Life".



    "This American Life: Season One" was released on home video on January 29th, 2008.

    It streeted against "Invasion" ["Invasion Of The Body Snatchers" '08 remake], "King Of California", "Groundhog Day: 15th Anniversary Edition" and "The King Of Kong: A Fistful Of Quarters".

    This release was not issued a slipcover, nor insert.

    - - -

    This was a limited time exclusive release from Borders.



    Streeted for the store with a price tag of $15.99. Season one's nationwide release happened on September 23rd, 2008 for $19.99. Both seasons were released on home video. I'll cover the second at a future date. As you can see I scanned it before opening the DVD.

    This is an adaptation of the long running NPR, award-winning radio program (and podcast) on terrestrial radio. Done for Showtime. Both seasons were six, half hour long episodes.

    To give a perspective - the radio show started on November 17th, 1995 and continues today, weekly, hour long. That's a lot of content.

    There was an attempt to adapt the program in 2002; as I understand a pilot was shot, but never aired. That pilot isn't here, kinda curious.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Rant.

    Watching, I'm reminded of a failed newsmagazine series that few even remember. "The Wilton North Report" on Fox was hosted by Phil Cowan and Paul Robins.

    This Monday through Friday, hourly program aired after the nightly news; it replaced another bombed program, "The Late Show". It began on December 11th, 1987 and didn't last a month. All and all, twenty-one episodes were made and aired. But many segments were produced that never saw the light of day. Including the promo trailer.

    I should, this had rage from TV critics for being malicious, hated the show. They did stories on people and places with a comic slant, often with dark humor. It would've been a hit today. Ads for the premiere had scenes from a missing piece - a sperm bank.

    The doctor interviewed was so utterly giddy on all the... white gold in their possession. C'mon, that writes itself. But that segment didn't air. Could've been seen by the network as too unkind or perhaps there was a lawsuit by the company NOT to air; makes themselves look bad. Details?

    A sperm bank for... eugenics, designer babies; couples selecting from donors which have the traits they want in their child. I'm not joking, the doctor they interviewed was way too happy; funny, disturbing and creepy all mixed together. I still remember his laugh all these decades later, almost maniacal.

    Can barely find any info for this series, like it was buried. This did exist and was funny to hilarious. They had different reporters who did different styles: Nancy Collins and Greg Jackson did the serious stories; Wayne Satz did the whimsical stories and Paul Kassner did the satirical stories. With Jack LaLanne for health and science stories.

    Would call it impartial, they gave just enough rope to let their interviewee to hang themselves.

    Some were funny since it was so outlandish and the people or person involved was so sincere. Others were uncomfortable funny since all you can do is laugh - they truly believes this. Given enough time, they would've done a story on 'Flat Earthers'. Should be noted, a pre-famous Conan O'Brien contributed to segments.

    Why is called "The Wilton North Report" when the hosts are Cowan and Robins?

    When it was being sorted, producers had the title "Nightcap", the network didn't like it. So they went back, brainstormed for a better name. Some time later - they settled on what we have. They took the show's studio location, the "Wilton North Building"; on the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and North Wilton Place in Los Angeles. Producers thought it sounded prestigious like the "The MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour" on PBS. And it stuck.

    "This American Life" is like that, but less dark. I liked it. Have both seasons. Bought them from different sellers on eBay. Season one was acquired on December 27th, 2020 for $7.52 total with free shipping. Arrived on January 7th, 2021, mint. As you can see I didn't open it until I did a scan of the cover.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Void.

    Haven't done one in months. And this is a short entry, okay. Welcome to Volume Six of "Dead TV Shows Not On Home Video". Since this is a large write up, just one.



    "The Gates" - The dead show aired on ABC in 2010; The series centered on the Monohan family who have moved from Chicago to an exclusive gated community (can't recall where, had better weather). Nick Monohan (Frank Grillo) has gotten a job here as the new chief of police. A job that became available when the original chief disappeared. What should have been a tranquil new life isn't - friendly neighbors and manicured lawns are a disguise.

    The secret unfolds once his predecessor is found dead; mangled, ripped to pieces.

    Turns out this community is a sanctuary; haven for vampires, werewolves, witches and other supernaturals. Someone has broken their truce and murdered. Nick now knows and is afraid of telling his family, not because he's under threat, but because of how they would react. These folks are different, not evil (well not most). Some secrets have a way of bubbling to the surface.

    The episode that stands out for me; the lycan alpha is killed by his son. Under wolf rule, the one who kills the leader becomes the new head of the pride. The problem is that the man was a drunk and an abusive husband. The kid was trying to save his mom (from a beating), accidentally killed him. He's a boy, unfit to be the new alpha. The werewolf pack is coming apart; sides being drawn. Nick is an outsider and since he has no affiliation - can mediate the dispute. He got into the mire while investigating the death.

    Left with no other exit, Nick negotiates a compromise; this can't happen now. The kid is too young, but there could be another in his stead - only as an administrator, who will take the teen under his wing, teaching him how to become an alpha and to stand down when he's ready; Lukas Ford (James Preston) is respected among the pride and is voted in as surrogate, saving the wolves from a civil war.

    Another part I liked was the vampire couple had an adopted child (can't conceive). The girl is now a pre-tween, the parents discover their ruse is exposed. The mother (Rhona Mitra) is panicking - how this news will destroy their family. The kid isn't scared or horrified; she's fascinated, full of questions and knew for years, kept it to herself. Thought that was sweet. The mother was embraced in the 1960s. The dad is... considerably older.

    All thirteen episodes aired. It also starred Marisol Nichols (who looks like Shannen Doherty), Travis Caldwell, McKaley Miller, Luke Mably, Chandra West, Skyler Samuels, Janina Gavankar and Colton Haynes. Sadly ends on a cliffhanger.

    This was the first time Haynes played a werewolf (as Brett Crezski). Once again later as Jackson Whittemore on MTV's series, "Teen Wolf" (2011).

    What's depressing is that extras already exist. The ABC website had behind-the-scenes footage filmed by the cast (Gavankar seems like a fun girl) on a flip cam AND five episode commentaries; these were only available via streaming...

    "Jurisdiction" (episode six; August 1st, 2010) - commentary by co-creator/executive producer Richard Hatem.

    "Digging The Dirt" (episode seven; August 8th, 2010) - commentary by West.

    "Dog Eat Dog" (episode eight; August 15th, 2010) - commentary by co-executive producer Gabrielle Stanton. The episode mentioned.

    "Identity Crisis" (episode nine; August 22nd, 2010) - commentary by writer Scott Nimerfro.

    "Little Girl Lost" (episode ten; September 5th, 2010) - commentary by consulting producer Robert Hewitt Wolfe.

    Plus the site had twelve audio podcast with the stars and creators. These could be put on disc, DVD-ROM extras. And yes, I downloaded them all (podcasts). They ran from four and a half minutes to fifteen and a half minutes each. It also had mock blogs by the characters Mia Mueller (played by Devyn A. Tyler) and Nick.

    If this were on The CW it would still be on the air.

    - - -



    Not sure when I'll do season two. But it's on my 'to do' list. And yeah, it's gonna be another short entry, not much I can do about it. Oh well. Come back here on April 29th, 2021 for another entry. A roll of the dice; could be a brand new, could. See you then.

    One final thing. Yesterday was the 109th anniversary of the sinking of Titanic; hit the iceberg before midnight on April 14th, 1912. Less than three hours later it fell below the Atlantic waves and into legend.
    Last edited by JohnIan101; 04-29-2021 at 04:57 AM.

  2. #767
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    Past Tense


    Another band new entry! This time out we get a second slice of offbeat journalism in "This American Life".



    "This American Life: Season One" was released on home video on January 20th, 2009.

    It streeted against "The Express: The Ernie Davis Story", "Max Payne: Deluxe Unrated" and "Repo! The Genetic Opera".

    This release was not issued a slipcover, nor insert.

    - - -

    This was another limited time exclusive release from Borders like with season one.



    Streeted for the store with a price tag of $15.99. Season two's nationwide release happened on July 21st, 2009 for $19.99. Only two seasons were made, done.

    As said in the last PT, this was an adaptation of the long running NPR, radio program (and podcast) on terrestrial radio. This show was made for Showtime. The season comprised of six, half hour long episodes.

    Like the last DVD, there are no extras.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Rant.

    The season one entry spoke of a short lived Fox series, "The Wilton North Report" from 1987.

    Very much like "This American Life", but I am wrong.

    There was another, much earlier variant - not much of a difference with TWNR. I'm speaking of the NBC show, "Real People".



    "Real People" ran from 1979 - 1984. Five seasons on the air and could've gone five more. It was rather cheap to produce. The show could very well be one - if not, the first reality television program.

    Starting from the chair, clockwise; Byron Allen, John Barbour, Bill Rafferty, Sarah Purcell and Skip Stephenson. Not pictured is Fred Willard. Even as a child I was puzzled by Stephenson's hair. Why does an adult have a little kid's hair cut? That promo pix does not do it justice - it became his signature image. Why?

    A secret. Purcell was my crush back in the day. She's so pretty.

    The program? Odd people who did odd things. One of the stories burned to my memory was about the guy who wanted to live in a boat. Said screw it - built his own house boat for him and family. Just one thing. He's too inland for it to ever sit on any body of water, it sits on struts, dry.

    It was funny because of his sincerity. He was so proud of this work, he made a boat. But, yeah.

    The series showed their journalism and clips before a studio audience. So you got a laugh track, TV was different back then.

    Popular segement involved viewers who sent in photos of bizarre happenings. This had to have happened in 1981. A photo from a drive-in marquee, a triple feature bill...

    "Alien" (1979)

    "Meatballs" (1979)

    "Escape From New York" ('81)

    I added the release year - now say the titles as a sentence. Damn, forty years later, still makes me smile. If meatballs can rain - why can't alien ones, flee the Big Apple?

    Some of the segments can be found on YouTube, but only a handful. Kinda wonder if eventually Time/Life will release a remastered box set, the complete series on DVD. But one thing is certain, that box will be overpriced.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Void.

    Did one earlier this month. But have need for more *cough* 'caliber' filler. Welcome to Volume Seven of "Dead TV Shows Not On Home Video". You get two titles with a theme!



    "Adderly" - The dead show aired in America (made and broadcast for Canadians) on CBS in 1986. This was the network's answer to the long running juggernaut that was "The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson" on NBC; 11:30 pm. "Late Night With David Letterman" aired after this spy show.

    The series was adapted from the novel "Pocock & Pitt" (1971) by Elliott Baker who was also the show runner. It lasted two seasons, all forty-four episodes aired, an hour long program.

    Ex-spy, V.H. Adderly (Winston Rekert; V.H. is for Virgil Homer - his parents were fans of classical poets) was given a massive blow on assignment. He got captured and they mashed his left hand with a meat tenderizer. The higher ups felt he can't be an agent with one hand. And they took his dominant hand. Had to learn to be right handed.

    After recovery, Adderly learns he's been transferred to a new bureau within the agency; low level assignments - that don't require active attentions... filler. He is horrified by his fate at 'Department Of Miscellaneous Affairs'. And discovering he is the only agent for DMS, that trivial. Even worse, his new boss, Melville Greenspan (Jonathan Welsh) relishes in the banality of the job. Pretty much his only relief is Greenspan's secretary, Mona Ellerby (Dixie Seatle) - who wants more than this position too, ready to inject herself into trouble.

    Much to his boss' chagrin, Adderly manages to do his former job, being a spy, successfully. He's trying to prove that he can be an asset just like before. His boss' boss, Major Jonathan B. Clack (Ken Pogue) is intrigued, but doesn't move him up - no matter how much Adderly tries.

    A spy show, but Adderly had no gadgets. There was no budget for them at Miscellaneous Affairs. He is left to his ingenuity to solve and get himself out of troubles. This was a hybrid; action adventure, dramedy, spy series. It wasn't shown if he completely lost his hand - with a static prosthetic or if his hand is lame, it didn't moved. He wore a leather glove on his left hand.

    Season two finale, series finale; Adderly learns this was always the goal. Gen. Clack knew he needed someone outside of the system to get things done, not muddled in bureaucracy. So he created the department JUST FOR Adderly. It was so cheap compared to other departments - would fly under the radar. And knew that Adderly wanted to prove himself; so he would work any simple assignment, seek troubles, fishing out wrongs. Greenspan got his tasks directly from Clack; he didn't make the connection until told.

    This was a huge game changer - had this gone to season three, V.H. Adderly would've gotten high leveled missions disguised as do-nothing jobs. Getting what he wanted in a roundabout way. The show had a long running subplot; he was seeking the man who did this to him, took his hand. Not some super villain, but a high leveled hired thug.

    It was charming, funny and cool - lost to time.

    - - -



    "Spies" was another CBS series which didn't last long, not even a full season. There were seven episodes made, one of which was the unaired pilot. The rest were broadcast. It was a failed mid-season replacement in 1987.

    This told the story of Ian Stone (George Hamilton) a one time, top spy who is getting up in years, yet behaving like nothing has changed. As in spending and breaking property like James Bond without a care. He does get his tasks completed each time. The agency is sick of him. Spends too much and doesn't care about the consequences. Kinda like Sterling Archer, but more muted. And yeah, Stone IS a social drinker too.

    The agency's chairman, Thomas Brady (Barry Corbin) is getting ready to fire him. This happens as reports were being delivered by company accountant, Ben Smythe (Gary Kroeger) who is a great fan of Stone. The young agent attempts to make a case for Stone, still valuable. Tired and doesn't want to hurt his friend; assigns Smythe to Stone - be his voice of reason and accountant; ordering him to move in with his idol.

    'Keep this guy's frivolity in check or both of you, lose your jobs.'

    He is a low level spy, not the training nor experience for these kind of cloak and dagger scenarios. As expected Ian is ticked off having a partner, gonna stifle his style.

    This or get fired, reluctantly agrees. Ben proves his worth and together they get into all sorts of global troubles. All the while keeping tabs on Stone's spending. This is like the above, a mash-up. It was a fun series too.

    The unaired pilot had Tony Curtis as Stone. Don't know how I feel about that. Hamilton is debonair. Curtis is right to the point, kinda harsh. Sure it could've worked, but it works better with Hamilton. *nods*

    - - -

    "This American Life" season two was bought off eBay.

    It was acquired on December 31st, 2020 for $10.76 total with free shipping. Arrived on January 4th, 2021, mint. I didn't open it until I did a scan of the cover. 'Cause I care for you guys. Sway! I liked it. Same as season one, more of the same and that's not a bad thing.

    Okay, not one of my better Past Tenses, but it is functional, mostly. And that's fine! Come back here on May 13th, 2021 for something I'm just as clueless as you. We'll both be surprised... hopefully in a good way. *weak grin*

  3. #768
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    Dirty Dancing
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  4. #769
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    The Fast And The Furious
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