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RECENT POSTS
• TV Watchers Has Moved!!!!

• BOOMER WATCH: ALL-TIME GREATS

• The Ticking Time Bomb

• On an Island of Mystery

• The Final Five

• VIDEO: When Aqua Teen and 24 Collide...

• Wedding Crasher

• Wheels Within Wheels...

• Lost: Are You My Father?

• A Clockwork Lost

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Blog: TV Watchers
TV Watchers Has Moved!!!!
Posted by Mergedigital.com - at 12:18:40 PM on February 14, 2007
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TV Watchers has moved from Mergedigital.com to Mcall.com!

Stay tuned for the same great TV Watchers content at its new home:

http://www.mcall.com/tvwatchers

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BOOMER WATCH: ALL-TIME GREATS
Posted by willy22 at 03:20:36 PM on February 13, 2007
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Another in an occasional series on the all-time greatest television shows.

GET SMART

The skinny: Spy parody created by comic geniuses Mel Brooks and Buck Henry. Key figure was Secret Agent 86 Maxwell Smart (played by Don Adams), who was supported by sidekick Agent 99 (Barbara Feldon). They were agents for CONTROL, which battled evil KAOS to ensure the preservation of the American way and the free world. Every week, Agent 86 stumbled and bumbled his way into luckily defeating KAOS and Maxwellsmart maintaining world peace. Catch-phrases included “Sorry about that chief,” while gadgets included the “cone of silence” and a shoe that doubled as a phone. (The shoe is at right, along with a photo of Don Adams as Maxwell Smart.)

Background: Ran from 1965 to 1970, four years on NBC and the fifth and final year on CBS. Reunion movie aired in 1989 on ABC. The comedy returned as a series for six episodes on FOX network in 1995. (That makes four networks and counting, by the way.) Also was a 1980 feature movie, “The Nude Bomb,” which, sorry to say, was indeed a bomb.

Why it’s a great show: Get Smart was the forerunner of Naked Gun and Police Squad. Nonsensical Smart got his man despite his incompetence and even though his methods exasperated his boss, the chief of CONTROL, played by Edward Platt. Gags, silliness and even physical comedy were fast and furious and often out of left field. Smart’s foes, especially Siegfried, were eccentric and funny in their own right. CONTROL agent Larrabee was possibly the stupidest person in the history of American television – with the exception, of course, being Eb from “Green Acres.”

Trivia: A) Don Adams was the voice of what two TV cartoon characters? B) Siegfried was played by what future star of ”Love Boat?”

Update: It’s difficult to find Get Smart on regular cable TV anymore. TV Land ran it for a bit earlier this decade. Before then, Nick at Nite had it on its schedule but also dropped it. … DVDs of the original series are available for purchase by doing an online search. … Next year, we should see the release of a Get Smart feature movie starring Steve Carrell (of “The Office”). That might spur some cable networks to air reruns.

For more info: Check out these Web sites, which also are sources for this blog: ilovegetsmart, wouldyoubelieve, Pete's Get Smart Page and The Museum of Broadcast Communications.

Trivia answers: A) Tennessee Tuxedo and Inspector Gadget. B) Bernie Kopell played Siegfried and, on “Love Boat,” played the ship’s doctor. (Kopell also had a recurring role as a neighbor on “That Girl,” which ran in the 1960s and starred Marlo Thomas.)

Would you believe? Agent 99 never disclosed her real name. She did give a name of Susan Hilton in one show, but at the end of that episode she said it was just a fake name.

-- Bill Kline

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The Ticking Time Bomb
Posted by Mergedigital.com - at 02:59:06 PM on February 13, 2007
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The New Yorker has a pretty in-depth profile of Joel Surnow, the creator of 24. Any questions you've had about his politics will be answered pretty quickly.

The most recent installment of 24 was tense, as usual, but the plotline involving Jack Bauer's dad needs to go. Much more interesting were the new villains introduced last night (communists, no less), who want the Islamic terrorist cell to take the fall for their attacks. The show being what it is, we'll probably find yet another mastermind behind these Russian guys before the season ends.

Tom Coombe

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On an Island of Mystery
Posted by Mergedigital.com - at 10:45:26 AM on February 13, 2007
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I turns out the Mittelos Bioscience website I posted a few days ago was created by fans, and not the actual Lost creators. Too bad; it had lots of neat stuff, even a suggestion that there's a third island.

Equally fake, and also hilarious is this video from Collegehumor.com. It's basically what the Lost opening credits would be if the show had aired, say, in 1991 in syndication.

  Tom Coombe

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The Final Five
Posted by Mergedigital.com - at 10:44:11 AM on February 13, 2007
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Good news: Battlestar Galactica is getting a fourth season, according to this story in the Los Angeles Times. The story also says that a "major" character will be outed as a Cylon by the end of the current season. If you're not a fan of BSG, you might want to move on. This gets a little "inside baseball," although I'll try to explain things as best I can. (Is using a sports metaphor to talk about geeky sci-fi stuff a crime?)

There's nothing like a good TV mystery, especially one done well. nip/tuck came oh-so-close with its Carver storyline in seasons two and three, but really dropped the ball by the end. Battlestar Galatica is faring much better this season with the final five Cylons storyline.

The villains on Galactica (although they're often as sympathetic as the heroes of the show) are a race of robots called Cylons, which have evolved to the point that they look, feel, and even act human. There are 12 models; BSG has introduced seven of them. No one, not even the Cylons themselves, know the identity of "the final five."

There's a lot of on-line speculation about which cast member is one of these last five Cylons. The link I've posted here is pretty interesting, although its rules seem a little arbitrary in some spots.

My money is on Sam (Starbuck's husband...and for fans of the '70s Galactica who have never seen the remake, this Starbuck is a woman). My reasoning works like this: D'Anna (one of the Cylons) had a vision of the final five. She apologized to one of them. The only character I can think of whom she'd really wronged was Sam (whom she tried to kill). I could be totally wrong here.

Man, reading this over, it does sound a little insiderish. That's the tough thing about BSG. You try to convince people that it's a serious drama for adults, and yet you have to talk about a race of genocidal robots and prophecies and the Eye of Jupiter and stuff like that.

Tom Coombe

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VIDEO: When Aqua Teen and 24 Collide...
Posted by Marc Rosenberg at 04:35:45 PM on February 9, 2007
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Even the likes of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force may be too much for CTU superhero Jack Bauer...

In (sort of) related news, Cartoon Network General Manager and Executive Vice President Jim Samples announced his resignation Friday over the failed marketing stunt that took place in Boston a few weeks ago.

-Marc Rosenberg

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Wedding Crasher
Posted by Tom Coombe at 09:38:52 PM on February 8, 2007
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Not an episode of The Office goes by without Steve Carrell's Michael Scott doing something that makes you want to crawl under your couch. But tonight's episode had me pulling up the floorboards. Maybe it's just because it's less embarrassing to see his antics in a contained environment, like the workplace. It's awkward, but you're used to it. Going public as an attention starved boy in a middle-aged man's body is something else entirely.

You have to wonder if Phyllis -- poor Phyllis, who seems like she escaped from that "who does depression hurt? everyone" commercial -- turned Michael down for a date in high school. (They're the same age and went to the same school, despite Michael's allusions to the contrary.) She's just so put upon, even at her wedding (the six week honeymoon is well deserved).

The TV promos gave away the "Easy Rider" line, but Michael's premature announcement during the ceremony was stomach-achingly funny. (It was one of those "May I present to you for the first time in public, Mr. and Mrs." things, only the minister hadn't finished yet.)

The "Webster's Dictionary defines 'wedding' as..." joke was done (sort of) on The Simpsons at least 10 years ago, although their version used the definition for "weeding," while Michael's came from "welding." It actually worked a little better, because of the way he tried to shoehorn it into his toast.

This being the ostensible Valentine's Day episode, the Jim-Pam-Karen-Roy love rectangle moved along. Roy is much more sympathetic than Lee, his dullard counterpart in the British Office, and his attempts to woo Pam back have only made him more likable. And take pity on Jim, who appeared to be rationalizing his happiness with Karen after seeing Pam and Roy leave together. For someone who makes playing pranks on gullible co-workers a second career, he's pretty good at deluding himself.

Other good moments:

  • Dwight's story about accidentally seeing Wedding Crashers.
  • Creed's amazingly cheap "gift."
  • The fact that Bob Vance's trademark ("Bob Vance, Vance refrigeration") was part of the wedding vows.
  • The return of Scrantonicity, Kevin's Police/Sting (and in this case) Jewel cover band. Take that, Police reunion.
  • Toby's little cheer to the camera after his date caught the bouquet.
  • This has nothing to do with The Office, but with a commercial that ran during the episode. That Ghost Rider movie looks pretty bad. It's almost like someone made an official ruling: the more obscure the Marvel Comics character, the lamer their movie.

Tom Coombe

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Wheels Within Wheels...
Posted by Tom Coombe at 10:53:56 AM on February 8, 2007
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A friend of mine who's a sort of conspiracy theorist uses that phrase -- "wheels within wheels" -- quite a bit. It comes to mind whenever I think of all of the Lost-inspired websites that pop up, purporting to be from the corporations on the show. I came across one last night for the Widmore Group, a name that's come up quite a bit. Make sure you look at its board of directors. (And for Lost fans who have known about this for months, assuming it's that old. I'm sorry if any of it is old news).

There are actually several Widmore sites out there (Widmore Laboratories, Widmore Technologies). One of them includes a short press release expressing condolences over the disappearance of Henry Gale, presumed dead during his balloon trip around the world.

Tom Coombe

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Lost: Are You My Father?
Posted by Tucker Hottes at 09:54:33 AM on February 8, 2007
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Awesome episode last night, great recap Tom. I won't bother covering the same ground, but yeah - that Clockwork Orange scene might have actually been more disturbing than the scene in Clockwork Orange itself.  Or maybe that's just how crazy scary it was in HD. I dunno.

Anyway, here's the only thing that bugged me about last night's episode, and honestly I tossed and turned last night until I came up with a plausible solution. Seriously, I have trouble sleeping thinking about these things. I know, it's sad. Don't judge me.

So they made it pretty clear that Alex was referring to Ben when she kept talking about "my father." I didn't like that one bit, and here's an attempt to logically lay out why:

Continue Reading "Lost: Are You My Father?"
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A Clockwork Lost
Posted by Tom Coombe at 12:48:04 AM on February 8, 2007
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A few thoughts on the most recent Lost. There might be some spoilers further down, so if the episode is still waiting for you via Tivo, DVR, VCR or Internet, be warned:

  • Even by Lost standards, that Clockwork Orangeish experimentation room where Karl was being held was really, really creepy.
  • I'm not sure how new this is, but there's a Mittelos Bioscience website up and running (at least it was late Thursday). You might want to wait until you've watched Wednesday's episode before visiting. Some of the names in the executive bios will be familiar.
  • Although it was pretty clear what was going to happen, that character getting hit by the bus (in a flashback, not on the island) was pretty shocking.
  • It was neat seeing character actors from other quality shows (Robin Weigert from Deadwood, and Zelijko Ivanek, who's been on everything, most notably 24 and Homicide).

And of course, we have the new questions raised by this episode. Among them:

  • Tom/"Mr. Friendly" tells Jack that they didn't take Ben to a real hospital "because ever since the sky turned purple..." He gets interrupted before he can finish. Is he referencing the hatch explosion from last season? If so, what did it do to keep them on the island?
  • Is Claire old enough to be the 29 (or was it 27) year old woman whose X-rays Juliet sees in the flashback meeting with the Mittelos guy?
  • Is the Clockwork Orange room the same room Walt was threatened with in the next to last episode of season 2?
  • Is Juliet the only other "Other" who isn't allowed to go home?

That's all I can think of for now. I'm sure other readers and bloggers have thought of other things. The next 15 Thursdays are going to torture my brain. In a good way.

Tom Coombe

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