ABC & Dramas: A question?

This year’s cancellations at ABC, for the most part, confused me.  While many of the so-called comedies return, many of the dramas were cancelled.  That led me to question ABC’s intent.  Even Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D was renewed for a limited run.  Now, as of Tuesday, June 5, 2018, we learn that FreeForm is cutting back on dramas and cutting Shadowhunters.  My question is:  Why?  The only explanations I can come up with are below.

  1.  Actor Contracts:  While some shows like Grey’s Anatomy remain, the show has changed actors so many times that almost (if any) of the original cast remains.  The most expensive component of any television show are actors’ salaries.  With many of the shows with actors up for renewal, you have to wonder if the cast cost was the problem.  The eight characters who made Once Upon a Time a success had contracts up for renewal.  Kiefer Sutherland’s contract had to include a big pay clause.  And let’s face it.  Most of the hour long shows that survive are what I call “ShondaLand” favorites.  Let’s face it.  They could bring back a new version of Once Upon a Time in the future with new actors and less expense on contracts.
  2. Special effects on programs:  Let’s face it.  Blue/green screen projects are more expensive than a simple three camera set up and more time consuming.  Was it because of this that some of the shows were pulled?  If so, maybe it’s time to support good production values than sticking with methods that have been used and cheaper.
  3. Location, location, location:  Every time a show does location filming it is expensive.  Not only do you have to pay the show’s expenses but also for crowd control, shutting down streets, damage to property, etc.  Many of the hour long dramas do not depend on fixed sets so could this be an expense that networks hate.
  4. The Rise of Reality:  Programs like The Bachelor, Dancing with the Stars, American Idol has a much lower overhead.  Who wouldn’t chose this over a more expensive 60 minute show.  Honest answer:  Me.  I want stories that I can relate to and while I watch Dancing with the Stars, I decide which celebrities I was to see.  I readily admit that I didn’t watch a single edition of the athletes edition.

Whether these are contributing factors or not, ABC will never tell us.  It’s just funny that most of their new programming will be 3 camera shots instead of the more expensive green/blue screen shows.

Roseanne and the Aftermath

Roseanne drew some interesting reactions.  We all knew it would, but let’s take a look at a few of them.

President Trump:  Used it as a way to tell the press they need to apologize to him and not attack his daughter.  There are some subtle differences in what happened.  Roseanne attacked someone outside of government.  The Trumps are still very active in government.

Samantha Bee:  She’s not a commentator.  She has a view of the world.  While her comment was inappropriate, she said it in the sense of commentary.  Granted, Ivanka doesn’t deserved to be attacked due to her father, but Ivanka needs to be aware that when you are in the public eye everything you say has an impact.

Roseanne’s quitting and staying with Twitter:  Did she leave or did she stay?  Evidently, she stayed as she made comments about what people were saying and attacking Fishman and Gilbert.  Roseanne thinks that they threw her under the bus.  I think it was the other way around.  Roseanne said what she thought (not the drugs making her) and got the show cancelled.  When the others didn’t come to her defense, she mouthed off at them.

Gilbert and Fishman:  I’m not going to condemn them for what they said.  They have a right to state their opinion.  And, as they are no longer children, they have the right to disagree with someone who thinks she’s their superior.

What I have learned from this whole mess is that everyone is responsible for what they say.  We also have to be aware of fact-checking and the use of the internet to check what you say and be accurate in what you say.  While I don’t agree with Roseanne’s attitude at all and feel Bee went to far, I understand the context in which all spoke.  To those in public view like Roseanne and others named above, your actions sometimes speak louder than your tweets or voice.

2017-2018 State of Television in Review

As another television season draws to a close, I want to reflect on a few things that stands out with the shows ending their run and the shows returning.

ABC and It’s Cancellations

ABC is the hardest channel for me to figure out.  They have dynamic dramas but the comedies are the pits (more on Roseanne in a minute).  I’m sorry, but Fresh Off the Boat annoys the heck out of me.  And, while keeping the annoying shows like Fresh Off the Boat, they are getting rid of quality shows like Once Upon a Time and Designated Survivor.  Granted Once lost steam by losing 6 majors characters but it could have come back strong, especially after the second half of season eight.  And let’s not forget that it was the head of ABC programming that “changed” the emphasis of Designated Survivor when she took over.  Next up, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. which was only given a limited run.

Game Shows

Okay, I don’t mind a good game show but everything should be done in moderation.  Take, for example, Candy Crush.  Sure I play the game occasionally and tried the show a few times but it was just too long and annoying.

ABC seems to be heading in the same direction.  While 25,000 Pyramid is a standard and who doesn’t love the naughty Match Game, you never know when they are on or how many episodes they will do.  The Match Game had a good host, Alex Baldwin, but is missing the same person staying in the bottom middle seat.  We always had some regulars and now there are none.  And one more thing about ABC’s “game shows”.  I hated To Tell the Truth when I saw it as a child.  Why would I watch it now?

Reality Shows

Granted, Celebrity Big Brother wasn’t what I expected.  In fact, I rather enjoyed it and was surprised by some of the celebrities who did the show.  Yet, I’m not sure that the time was right to bring back American Idol.  That show seemed to have a shortened time line as if they were afraid that it wouldn’t work out.  Have more confidence in your shows.  America’s Got Talent, on the other hand is considered an 18 summer show and I already have developed a love for the show again this year.  It’s all in the personalities doing the show and they need to learn that.

Roseanne’s Quick Rise and Fall

This is not aimed at any of the stars of Roseanne, but it was never my favorite show the first time around.  To say I was surprised when they brought it back, is putting it mildly.  When it was renewed, I was shocked.   I am not surprised by Roseanne’s comments.  I’m just surprised it took this long for the show to be cancelled AGAIN.

 

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Celebrity Big Brother: US Style

Wednesday, February 7, saw the premiere of something unique, Celebrity Big Brother.  I must say that the whole experience intrigued me and had me wondering just who would go in the house.  I must say, I was pleasantly surprised.

The celebrities in the house are not unknown to me.  You follow pop culture long enough and they get at least one hit on your radar.  Brandi is not one of my favs but I want to see just how far she can get in this game.  Omarosa, the surprise guest, is the one I really want to see play.  I’ve seen her on two versions of The Apprentice and know she’ll do anything to win.  I love Marissa and remember watching her in Hairspray.  Keisha is a kid we watched grow up on screen.  I don’t really know much about Shannon or Ariadne.  Last night both showed they were a force not be ignored.

On the men’s side, I have to wonder about their thought process.  When I heard one say that Paul was BB royalty, I had to laugh.  That role is reserved for those who really have made a name for themselves like Evel Dick.  All Paul has done is played the game twice and lost.  But I digress.

Chuck is the one male who I saw with real potential followed by James.  If they don’t let their egos rule their heads, they may win.  Also Ross has a chance but it will be because he played a close to the chest game.  Metta World and Mark are both clueless.  I look for them to depart early.

So Celebrity Big Brother is underway.  Right now, I’d give the winner’s crown to the ladies but much can happen over two weeks.

Once Upon a Time Cancelled?

Last night we Oncers learned that Once Upon a Time will end with the finale for season 7.  I expected it — and honestly think most of you did.  The problem though is not that it lost its originality though.  I extend my heartfelt thanks to Adam, Edward, Jane and the rest who conceived, created and oversaw the show.  My eternal thanks also goes out to Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parilla, Robert Carlyle, Josh Dallas, Ginnfer Goodwin, Jared Gilmore, Rebecca Mader and the other actors who brought their characters to live.

The concept drew me in immediately.  I loved the pilot and the entire first season.  As usual, a drama like this has a bumpy second season but Neverland, Oz, and even the visit of Frozen characters kept the story going.  With season six, I knew the end was near.  The show had to give happy endings to most of the characters and did.

Sadly, the move to Friday night hurt the show.  Most of us had our Sundays planned around the eight o’clock hour.  The move to Friday was annoying at best.  Fridays used to be for small children and families.  Most adults don’t make it a point to watch a show on Friday night and the key audience (18-24) are out at school functions, football games, or parties.  The show had some good episodes but don’t think most of the old timers could really warm up to some of the new characters.

My wish for the Once Upon a Time creative team is to continue giving us shows we can cheer for.  For the actors, I will look for you in your future projects.

Hey, I followed Adam and Eddie from LOST where I am sure I was one of the banes of their existence.

 

Television Rebootitis: Good or Bad It Appears to Be Here to Stay

Yesterday, TVLine ran a story about the reboots and people’s reactions to them.  I must say, it was right on the money but I have a somewhat different take on the situation.  Here’s my take on the situation.

The game shows of ABC.  Sure, it’s a cheap way of making television shows and putting “programming” on the air.  Let’s admit it.  You only have to pay the hosts, maybe a few guests, and anyone who wins a prize.  Production values are low but America has moved beyond this concept.  What’s My Line and To Tell the Truth didn’t even seem to intrigue my parents and the episodes that I saw didn’t seem to have any “game” to them.  While I use to enjoy the Gong Show, it’s time has passed and the old standards either need to be revived with more energetic hosts or with a new concept to the show.  Of all the game shows ABC has rolled out, The Match Game is the best due to Alec Baldwin as host.  It misses the mark because no one personality is continually or has any star power like Richard Dawson and Brett Somers had. The best episodes of this were the Leah Reimini ones!  With ABC trying to buy the FOX network, I’m worried about what we may get.

While they called Riverdale a reboot, I call it a re-imaging because the Archie of my childhood was vastly different than Riverdale.  I’ve been studying the reboot that the  comic series has undergone and the television show is a reboot of even that.  Riverdale is intriguing even though I hardly recognize the Jughead character and Reggie is all but absent.  This new show seems to be a mix of Twin Peaks meets Dawson’s Creek and is intriguing enough for me to revisit.

Dynasty, which follows, on the other hand is ringing flat.  Blake has no charisma (even though I like the actor), Crystal is a dumb down character, and Fallon is too over the top.  I watch it occasionally but don’t want to get to heavily invested in it.  I dislike shows that bore and this one borders on it.

And since I have mentioned comic books, let’s deal with the superheroes side of things.  I have nothing against any of the CW’s shows but wish that the CBS network had shown more courage in keepint Supergirl on the home network.  And I readily admit that FOX’s Gotham is just too dark for me.

Instead both CBS and NBC are banking on their old standards of CSI and Law and Order.  Granted the originals were good shows but how many different versions are too many before we have nothing but repeating stories but on different shows with varied details to suit the locations!  Come on CBS and NBC.  You use to be more original than that.

In closing for this long overdue piece, let me add this.  It’s okay to do an update but why use the original plot devices.  We’re use to the old stars in the shows.  We can see the old shows on reruns on other networks.  The best “reboot” works when you take the premise and update it with a new cast, a new setting, a new year, and a new ship (Star Trek anyone).  Even Fuller House is working because it’s the original cast but aged appropriately.  I’m getting tired of repeats but if I have to chose the repeats, I will go with the originals every time.

 

 

 

The Story of the “Casting Couch”

Okay, just how many Hollywood executives (and politicians) have now been charged with making inappropriate actions toward young girls and women.  I seem to be losing count and I know there are probably many more to come.  Since I don’t want to ruin cases against them, I decided to look at this issue from another angle.  So maybe it’s time we review ancient history and the mention of the “casting couch.”

In the heyday of motion pictures, such noteworthy actresses as Jane Russell, Claudette Colbert, and even Shirley Temple (at a very young age) were exposed to bosses who either exposed themselves or expected sexual gratification to allow the women to work in Hollywood.  In 2006,  Alan Royle wrote this brief history of the early days in Hollywood and “the casting couch.”  To advance, producers expected to get side benefits.  Money made off movies was not enough.

Some of the more interesting stories revolve around “great film and actresses.”  In an article entitled, “The Casting Couch: Hollywood’s Dirty Secret”  some history is giving.  According to Joan Collins, she missed out on Cleopatra because she wouldn’t sleep with the studio boss.  Marilyn Monroe spoke of Hollywood as a brothel.  The man who helped her achieve her fame, Darryl Zannuck, was rumored to meet young actresses wearing nothing more than his dressing gown.

Maybe the question that these producers/professionals didn’t understand revolves around what constitutes sexual harassment and what constitutes an affair.  The article quoted above also listed famous “Hollywood” executives who had notable affairs with famous actresses.  Howard Hughes is pointed out for having affairs with Ava Gardner, Bette Davis, and Ginger Rogers.  I wonder if these women did it for love or for fame.  Sexual favors can be said to be love if the right inducement exists.

And about politics.  In histories I have read of John F. Kennedy you see mentions of what appears to be affairs with other women besides Jackie.  Again, most notably is Marilyn Monroe.  It has been said that all presidents up until the Bushes had had affairs with women but we didn’t know about it.  I will also point out that Clinton had the Monica “Black dress” incident and let’s stop there.  There were ladies called “Madames” in Washington in the 1800s who held salons for political discussions.  While some were legit, it always raised the question of how they got so powerful.

Something has happened that is good.  People are stepping forward and saying what is happening.  Will it make a difference?  Who knows because it is the same old “he/she said” business?  The  thing is to recognize that people in power can do power plays to attain their ends.

 

 

Once Upon a Time: And Now We Know More of Rumbelle’s Great Love

Once Upon a Time has done it again.  They made me cry Friday night.  So, let’s get on with it.

Three cheers for Adam and Edie, the writers, the actors and all involved.  Once Upon a Time gave Rumbelle their happy ending.  I loved how Rumple went looking for a place to lose the dagger.  Too bad, though, for him that the dagger always remained.  But there is hope.  He now knows that he must find the Guardian to give the dagger to so darkness cannot return.  Unfortunately, he hasn’t found that person yet as “darkness” is now in the hands of Lady Tremaine.  Thanks to Tilly shooting Rumple, he knows two things:

  1. he will be reunited with Belle
  2. he’s been cursed and made to forget the past (loved that dearie at the end).

So where does he go from here?  Probably the harder question is where is the dagger?  And what type of “tapes” does Victoria have on him anyway?

Now on to the Guardian…just who is he?  We know that Rumple knew where to find him.  First person he meets is Tilly.  Some are thinking that she is the one who gets the dagger.  Me, I think we need to look a little further into the scene of his arrival.  Could it be Henry?   He zoomed by on his bike and didn’t even notice his grandfather.

Ad we actually had one more question answered for us.  In the “Comic Con” version of the opening, Regina asks Henry why didn’t Snow, Charming or Emma stop him from the quest.  I wondered then why Rumple wasn’t mentioned.  Now I see he had probably already left the town trying to get rid of  “said” dagger.

Tilly is an interesting character.  Speculation on Twitter and Facebook feel that she is Hook’s 2 daughter.  She does appear to be the LGBT character the show promised last year.  The real question is how Tilly, who is really Alice, came to be the only person not affected by the curse?  Could she be immune due to her arriving late in Seattle?  Could she be a magical fairy that sees beyond the veil?  And what is in those pills she takes?  Could Victoria be pumping it into everyone.

One last note:  I really didn’t think the Ivy scenes played true to the show.  Now, she seems to be developing feelings for Henry.  Has it got something to do with his “pure heart?”

 

DANCE MOMS: The End of a Series and the Beginning of Life

What can you say about the end of a series like Dance Moms.  I won’t do a recap but I want to talk about what viewers have experienced.  The show has run seven years and let us watch Nia, Kendall and Chloe (to a certain extent) grow up.  It’s let us see other girls like Maddie, MacKenzie and JoJo move on in a different career path than competition dance.  Nia, Kalani, Chloe and Kendall have found other options besides dance in their future and have the strength to continue on the path toward success.  We are still unsure where their path will lead but the future is bright.

When you think of the early Dance Moms, you think of seven little girls going out into the world and competing for national championships.  Now, the circle has come full cycle.  The teacher may not be the same.  Some of the girls have change but the cycle has been complete.  While three girls from the early years are there to see the end, the additional two — Kalani and Camryn — have won places in our hearts.  These girls have stayed the course of the season, remained true to themselves, remained true to their beliefs, and maintained a friendship that has survived the test of time, confusion, and rejection.  They have come out the other side as National Champions once again and should be very proud of their accomplishments. At this level, they have met the challenge.

I want to express my thanks to each girl and offer their strengths and commend their success.

To Nia — you were always cast as the underdog.  What you found within yourself was strength and purpose.  Your strength is in your ability to see beyond what is before you to what is underneath.  You didn’t take things at face value.  Your struggles have made you the performer you are today.  Whatever career path you pursue, you will have success.  The reason:  you have the tenacity to continue to strive for success.

To Chloe — you too suffered as an underdog.  Your early success seemed always to be overshadowed and forgotten.  It may have made you insecure at times but look at where it has led.  While you were away from dance, you found success as an actress.  Your friendships there are strong but you haven’t forgotten your old friends like Nia, Kendall and Kalani.  You have a bright future and when you set your mind to something you WILL succeed.

To Kalanii — you have success written all over your fashion design.  You have the dancing skills but your fashion vision may take you further than any dance will.  You came to the show late and I had my doubts about you but you have proven to me that you are not only a strong dancer but a dedicated friend.  Your support of Nia and Kendall showed that you care for others.  Go for it girl!  Your fashion sense (and socks) will take you far.

To Kendall — Kendall, you are at a crossroads.  You are a singer and a dancer but are you a dreamer.  I can see you succeeding on so many levels and my advice to you is to stay the course.  Don’t forget your friends.  Stay true to yourself.  Stay true to your ideals.  Stay true to your friends.  Don’t get distracted by the “noise” or advice of those who say have your best interest at heart.  Remember the lesson that came from Abby’s taking on your music career.  Do what you think you need to do to succeed.  Success is right around the corner for you.

To Camryn — Camryn, though we have only known you a short time, we see your strengths.  You have determination, you have the will to success.  Go for it!  Your life is an open book.  Your future is your destiny.  Whether you stay in dance or move into other venues take the lessons learned and stay true.  Remember your friends — the ones who are there for you and don’t lose the contact with them.  They are your source of strength, an enabler and encouragement source.

And a special note to all the moms.  Thank you for sharing your girls with us.

Holly— Thank you for having a level-head and being a source of wisdom.  Thank you for taking care of not only Nia but all the other girls.  When you saw things were getting out of control, you took control of the girls and kept them from harm.  You are an inspiration, and should be so proud of your daughter.

Christi — I know you take a lot of online abuse from people who feel you are combative and argumentative.  To me, you are just stating the truth and calling things like you see them.  Thank you for being an advocate for the girls.  Thank you for standing up for the girls.  And thank you for reminding people of those who came first and started the success (of which I understand you can take part credit).  Chloe has a bright future.

Kira — Kira, I heard some of the things that Abby dished on you last night.  Yes, I know you have problems but who doesn’t.  Would Abby be in jail if she was innocent?  Anyway, I want to thank you for your fairness.  You never forgot there were other girls there and never put Kalani’s interest before the others to their detriment.  While you wanted Kalani to shine, you didn’t forget there were others there who need the spotlight. Continue to let Kalani explore options.  She has greatness written in her stars.

Jill — Jill, thank you for being you.  While I don’t always agree with some of your methods, your goal has always been to have Kendall be a success.  Some of the time you took the wrong path but you always found your way.  As I told Kendall, don’t always listen to the bright promises.  You need to step back and evaluate decisions that the two of you make.  Kendall has a promising future.  It’s up to you to help guide in the right path.

Camille — Camille, I don’t know you from your television persona as well as I know the others, but I have a wish for you.  I want you and your beautiful daughter to continue to gain strength and rely on the people around you for support.  Remember the lessons you learned from Dance Moms.  Remember the advice given.  Take the good to heart and the other use when necessary.  Give your daughter guidance, encouragement, and love.  The path is unsure for Camryn but the future is bright.

Now to future Dance Moms participants I offer  the following advice.  Don’t go into any television show with stars in your eyes.  The show may not last.  It may not make you a success.  It may not even show you in a good light.  Remember what people see on television is what they expect you to be.  We don’t see the hours that are edited out.

Which brings me to one more note for Ashlee and Brynn.  Ashlee, you seemed to forget you were on a reality show.  You and Brynn didn’t take into consideration that your actions might have ramifications.  I was brought up to say nothing if I couldn’t say something good.   Both of you have done some things, said some things, and had looks on your faces which were in opposition of what you say you meant.  Always remember that your actions speak more than what you think they are saying.  If you do reality, remember that we don’t see everything that goes on.

So seven season of Dance Moms is over.  Will the show return with a new cast?  That is still to be determined.  Will fans accept a new cast?  Again, it’s too soon to tell.  But I will always remember this team of girls (Nia, Kalani, Kendall, Chloe, and Camryn) and these moms (Holly, Kira, Jill, Christi and Camille).  You maintained your beliefs in a test of fire.  Congratulations.

 

 

 

Once Upon a Time — Changes and Season 7

Once Upon a Time returned two weeks ago and I have intentionally remained silent.  The reason is simple.  I didn’t want to say anything until after Emma’s story was told.  Now I feel a little (notice little) more confident in what I have to say.

I don’t mind the new Henry.  I don’t mind the fact that we are reliving the opening of the very first episode.  What I do mind is that we have no idea of the curse or who cast it.  The Henry we know and love would never forget his daughter unless under extreme circumstances.  So, who caused the extreme circumstances.  And why does Henry appear to be the last one to have arrived in Hyperion Heights.  Alice made a point of telling Rumple (I mean Weaver) that he was in town.

I just love the names and symbolism associated with the old characters.  Weaver for Gold is very appropriate as he weaved gold out of straw.  I can even see Roni for Regina. Roni is the Hebrew for word for “song” and she did do an excellent job with her musical number.  And the bar is the most appropriate place for her to work since she met Robin at a bar.

Now, on to Hook or should we say Wish Hook or Hook 2?  I’m not sure but Hook’s new name of Rogers is also appropriate as he sailed on the Jolly Roger.  The real question though comes from his change.  Lady Tremaine used our Storybrooke’s Hook’s blood to make Hook 2 look younger and our Hook.  Okay, I’ll buy this but that leaves a whole new can of worms.

Lady Tremaine/Victoria (I think is her Seattle name) evidently has some experience with magic.  She states that she hates magic and seems to want the landscapes around her cleansed of all magic yet she can sure use that wand!  If she is so against magic, why can she use it.  And what “price” did magic have for her?

Unfortunately, Emma’s return wasn’t what I expected (not exactly).  I’m happy that she and our original Hook are starting a family but her appearance wasn’t for the entire show much less mind blowing.  There’s some speculation over on Twitter that Emma’s not telling Henry everything but I am not thinking along those lines.  If Emma wanted Henry to know she was pregnant, she would have told them not to say anything.  She would want to tell him herself.

Now that brings us to the last questionable issue that we have.  We know that Henry had graduated high school when he left on his grand adventure, now he’s a young man who has married.  None of our returning characters have aged that much.  Even Emma didn’t seem any older.  I’ve always speculated that the time runs different in the different worlds so could this be evidence.  Or, is my mind seeing a potential set-up for this being the entrance to Narnia and the Last Battle (as C. S. Lewis wrote).  Only time (and renewal) will tell.