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April 19-25, 1999

As of April 25, 1999, my grandparents Edwin and Florence Olson have been married for 64 years. Wow. Happy Anniversary, Grandma and Grandpa! (No, they aren't online, but I'm saying it here anyway).

Sunday TV


I really hate reading all the articles about good shows that may not get renewed. Well, I'm glad to see the press coverage, maybe someone at NBC will pay attention (yeah right). If NBC doesn't renew Newsradio and Homicide, they're shooting themselves in the gut. And pissing off a lot of viewers. If both shows are killed I might even be sick enough to just not watch NBC or cover their shows for awhile (really). It sickens me that much.

This is, after all, a network that renewed Suddenly Susan. And keeps airing Veronica's Closet. Uggggh.

Newsradio is arguably the best sitcom of the 90s. Homicide is arguably the best drama ever aired on TV. Both shows may not be what they once were, but their weak episodes are usually better than the best of the rest of NBC's Must-See-Crap-A-Thon any day of the week.

And they both deserve decent send-offs when they go off the air. Something that really isn't possible at this late date if they're not renewed. Sure, maybe both shows planned their season finales to work at series finales if they have to. But that's not the same. Lord knows NBC could milk the last year of Homicide if they wanted to, guest directors and actors would line up to be a part of it. Old favorites might be willing to return. It could be an Event, it could be a nice reward for longtime viewers, help the show in syndication, all sorts of good stuff. And it'd be the right thing to do.

Somehow I'm not holding my breath. NBC do the right thing? The network that aired Jesse? Puhlease.


Philip Michaels makes the case (yet again) for Newsradio:

The writers and producers have created an offbeat, quirky world populated with distinct, memorable characters. The ensemble cast feeds off each other -- there's really no weak link. And even if every episode doesn't soar, I'm guaranteed to laugh out loud at least twice each week.

Put simply, NewsRadio is a well-crafted show that delivers the goods on a continual basis. In a world dominated by swill, it's one of the few programs out there that makes me think I'm not wasting my time by turning on the TV with the expectation of being entertained.

So very true.

Washington Post's Lisa de Moraes on which shows have been renewed, which are ended and which look like they're on death's door:

Things are looking grim for locally grown Homicide: Life on the Street.

After 6 1/2 years of raves from critics and a lukewarm reception from the American public, it looks like NBC may finally bench the Baltimore-based drama series next fall. Officially, the show's fate is still undetermined; the networks are set to announce their fall schedules next month, and NBC is tight-lipped for now. But Homicide is looking a lot like a dead show walking, with a 4 percent decline this season from its none-too-high '97-'98 audience, and with even some of its staunchest fans acknowledging it's not up to snuff creatively this season.

What will have done in Homicide?



Fabulously funny Brit TV website: TV Go Home [via memepool and ntk].

Boy do I feel silly, how'd I go this long without knowing that Bob Mould has an official website? Cool. [via memepool]

Nifty! It's the RCA Videodisc webpage (a.k.a. CED Magic). My parents still have a player and many videodiscs, I've fond memories of watching many movies on videodisc during the 80s. [via memepool]

F/X guy for The Matrix on George Lucas' fab 60 Minutes comments:

On "60 Minutes" a few weeks ago, "Star Wars" maven George Lucas discussed with Diane Sawyer the artifice involved with special effects - and the people who complained about what they saw as this newfangled computerized trickery. Hey, he said, in effect, wake up. It's movies! It's all make-believe, every bit of it. Filmmakers have always used whatever tools and technology have been available to attempt to enhance the cinematic experience. Georges Melies did it in "A Trip to the Moon" in 1902. Even poor old Ed Wood did the best he could with strings and wires in "Plan 9 From Outer Space" in 1959..

"Totally, absolutely," says Gaeta, wholeheartedly backing Lucas's comments. "It's like Impressionism. What are you going to do? Shoot down Impressionism because it's not totally realistic paintings like the masters did?" The anti-special-effects comments "are like a joke as far as I'm concerned. Technology and movies were made for one another."

It's a cool profile, thanks to robotwisdom for the heads up.

Forbes looks at ReplayTV and TiVo [via robotwisdom]. Interesting review of the two boxes, I'm waiting for the next gen of digital VCRs, I think, at this point.

An interesting list of The 100 Greatest SF TV episodes ever [via camworld]. I'd beg to differ with some of 'em and feel certain shows are overrepresented, but I'm pleasantly surprised that many of my favorites are there. Hrm. Almost makes me wanna try to pull together my own list (had I the time).

When I first heard folks online talking about amazon books, I was confused, too. I thought maybe the local bookstore had a cool online presence, but soon realized it wasn't the case. I'm sorta surprised the original store didn't sue sooner.
Amazon Bookstore / startribune story / WCCO story

Monday TV:
Two Dilbert reruns (7pm CST, UPN)
It's Ally's birthday on a new Ally McBeal (8pm CST, FOX)
Cool Law & Order reruns (one at 6pm, different one at 10pm CST, A&E)
My Fair Lady on AMC (7pm, letterbox at 2:30am CST)
Peter Krause (of Sports Night) on Politically Incorrect (ABC)
Surreal Tonight Show rerun with Calista Flockhart and Kevin Costner(NBC)
More details, picks . . .

Ingmar Bergman (and others) want Sweden to lower taxes on books (thanks for the tip, Felix).

I told ya someone would write to Lileks re the whole moon as planet thing. Another Backfence column, this one's re taxes, "Minnfestation," and junk email. Or something.

I love it when Jon Carroll writes about cats:

Sometimes, in the morning, I will wake up to find Archie's face not two inches from mine. He has learned that jumping on me to rouse me leads to instant explosive expulsion, so he just curls up next to my face and gazes soulfully into my closed eyes. Maybe he's trying reverse hypnosis. "You are getting wakeful . . ."

The cat needs a life. I understand that.

Ultimate TV interview with Michael Badalucco ("Jimmy" of The Practice).

Finally some critics are urging NBC not to cancel Homicide. It's about time (though lord knows I can understand having a hard time deciding this year). I don't agree with some of EW's Bruce Fetts early arguments, but I've been saying this all along:

But as the finest drama series of the '90s, "Homicide" at least deserves to die with dignity. The network still hasn't decided the series' fate, so the writers had to script a season finale without knowing whether it was also the series' finale. If "Homicide" goes out with a whimper instead of a bang, NBC will be guilty of a true crime.

Excellent article by Rick Ellis about Homicide: Life on the Street:

Like most fans of the show, I've always had mixed emotions about the NBC drama Homicide. I often love it, but it's a show constantly in turmoil. Actors change, storylines careen in all sorts of unexpected directions. It's not an easy show to watch--even for its fans. Which may explain why the show has always been a month away from being canceled.

It's true, you know. He goes on to mention the survey, Fontana's reaction, all that. But he's got some alleged plans for revamping the series for next year (bleah) that sounds scary. Let's hope that doesn't happen.

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