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Posts tagged: TV

Just wondering

Did it bug anyone else that on numerous TV programs ranging from Bob Newhart's set-in-Chicago show to “Frasier,” the titles “psychiatrist” and “psychologist” were often used interchangeably?

“Ed Sullivan Show” on this day in 1966

Lou Rawls, Corbett Monica, circus elephants and Topo Gigio, among others.

Back to the future

There isn't a fan club or an association of devotees.

At least not that I know about.

But for some longtime TV watchers, there are few program themes quite so beguiling as old sci-fi stories that depict life in the future — a future that, for us in 2011, was actually quite a few years ago.

Consider a terrific 1963 episode of “TheTwilight Zone” called “On Thursday We Leave for Home.”

It's about a weary contingent of settlers from Earth who tried to establish a colony on a planet in a solar system with two suns.

So when did they journey to this distant world? Answer: In the far-in-the-future year of 1991.

Of course, TV has no monoply on this. Didn't one of the “Terminator” movies forecast a specific date for the end of the world that in real life has come and gone?

And, of course, there is Orwell's “1984.”

The amusement value is part of the appeal of this dynamic. But perhaps there is more to it.

Any sci-fi fan can tell you that the future can be a scary place.

So any time we actually pass one of those imaginary milestones, it is further evidence that sometimes hope trumps fear.

And despite everything, we endure.

This date in “Jetsons” history

On October 7, 1962, an episode called “Jetson's Nite Out” aired for the first time.

According to various online guides, the story features George telling Jane he has to work late and can't attend a PTA meeting with her. His real plans involve going to a robot football game with Mr. Spacely.

This date in “West Wing” history

On Oct. 6, 1999, a first season episode called “A Proportional Response” aired. It featured an angry President Bartlet trying to decide how to retaliate for the downing of a U.S. jet in the Mideast. Also, Charlie Young is hired to be the president's personal assistant.

This date in “Mad Men” history

“The Inheritance” aired on Oct. 5, 2008. As put it, “Don and Betty try to keep up appearances as they go to Betty's parents after her dad has a stroke.”

It's a terrific series, stylish and smart. But no one ever called it feel-good TV.  

Up in the air

I saw a former colleague Friday afternoon on my way home from work.

I suggested that she ask her dad, a long-retired Pan Am pilot, to watch the new show “Pan Am” and file a report on his impressions.

Obviously inspired by the success of “Mad Men,” it focuses on stewardesses in the '60s.

My friend said she would pass along the message. But I'm not really expecting to hear from her dad, whom I've met and like. Something tells me his gag reflex will force him to bail.

It's on ABC tonight at 10. 

If civilization could survive ‘Baywatch’…

Feel free to complete that sentence.

The perfect equation

It has been quite a few years since “The Wonder Years” went off the air.

Oh, you can still see it in reruns on obscure cable channels or on DVD. If you want, that is. Frankly, aspects of the show have not aged all that well. The sometimes treacly narration, the predictable mood song at the end…it can be a tad cloying.

But I suppose it wasn't easy to be genuinely poignant week after week.

That said, certain episodes were unqualified home runs. I'd put what I call the Mr. Collins trilogy in that category. And it's kind of sad to think there are recently minted algebra teachers out there who probably never saw the three episodes where Kevin forges a special relationship with a teacher who seems at first to be a cold fish but isn't.



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About this blog

Features writer Paul Turner is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review in the Features department. He writes "The Slice" column, which appears six times a week and produces general features stories for the Today section.

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