My favorite new show on commercial TV is Alaska Daily airing on Thursday nights at 10PM on ABC. The show’s focus is on the importance of local journalism which has been slowly dying over the years. Too many people getting their news information online from questionable sources and seeing news reporters as the bad guys.
The show stars Hillary Swank as a hard-ass former New York City reporter who has been pushed out of her job. She moves to Anchorage, Alaska to work for the city’s local newspaper (Daily Alaskan). A running theme throughout each show is Swank, along with an Indigenous reporter, portrayed by Grace Dove, investigating the unsolved death of an Indigenous woman (A continuing problem in real life). Each show also contains a standalone story.
Alaska Daily is both intelligent and entertaining. It is also streaming on HULU.
Season 2 of YOU is now streaming Netflix. If you are not familiar with the show you need to get on board. YOU speaks volumes about our society’s addiction to social media, and the image we project of ourselves online and who we are in real life. YOU is dark, intense, unsettling and creepy.
If you like black comedy, check out the Netflix’s show, DEAD TO ME. Two women (Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini) meet at a grief counseling session and become close friends. The bitter Applegate lost her husband in a hit and run. The flakey Cardellini lost her rich boyfriend who is still very much alive. Though this “Odd Couple” become friends supporting each other, there are dark hidden secrets and unexpected compelling twists that could rip their relationship and lives apart if exposed.
I’m more than halfway through season 1 of YOU the Netflix series (originally on Lifetime). The show has a lot to say about our society’s addiction to social media, and the image we project of ourselves online and who we are in real life. YOU is a dark, sexy show about Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley), an intelligent, seemingly well-mannered young man who works in a bookstore. It’s there he meets Beck (Elizabeth Lail), a beautiful wannabe writer/student. Joe is immediately attracted to her and begins to stalk her, following her on social media, and eventually controlling her life and other relationships. Mild-mannered Joe will do anything for Beck including eliminating others in her life. YOU is intense, unsettling and creepy.
Season 2 is coming soon on Netflix.
I have been wondering how many people have seen the Netflix series Lilyhammer? After three seasons that began in 2012, the show was canceled. It seems unclear why. Steve Van Zandt who starred in the series only stated at the time in a tweet, “business got too complicated,” a vague statement at best. Lilyhammer never got the attention that other Netflix shows like House of Cards received at the time. I never heard of the show until recently when I was browsing the Netflix catalog and came across it.
Van Zandt portrays an offshoot of his Sopranos character, Silvio Dante, but do not misunderstand there’s no connection to the earlier show. Still, his character is so close to Silvio you would think there has to be a genetic connection (a brother from another mother). Van Zandt portrays Frank “The Fixer” Tagliano, a New York hood who after co-operating with the Feds, testifying in a trial against a former mob boss, now has a “hit” ordered on his head. Frank is put into the Federal Witness Protection program and requests he is relocated to Lillehammer, Norway (he saw the town on TV when they hosted the 1994 Winter Olympics). He figures whose going to look for him there? Frank’s given a new identity, Giovanni “Johnny” Henriksen, a Norwegian/American immigrant. Frank/Johnny has to learn to adapt to the small Norwegian community, and they to him. It’s not a smooth transition. When certain situations arise that are troubling, Johnny finds it necessary to resort to some of his old tactics.
Lilyhammer is not your typical crime show; it’s offbeat, funny, dark, edgy and as you may imagine bloody. As you may expect the soundtrack is superb thanks to Van Zandt. The show may not be to everyone’s taste, but I found it to be a show to savor and wished it had last longer. If you haven’t seen it, check it out.
My parents and I moved to Bensonhurst when I was three days shy of my eleventh birthday. Like the Kramden’s we were a blue collar family and lived in an old apartment house. However, it was in better shape than Ralph and Alice’s two room apartment. For one thing, we had three and a half rooms! We also had a refrigerator instead of an icebox, a better sink and stove, and my Mom eventually got her first clothes washer! Alice, on the other hand, in the first of the classic 39 episodes, complains to Ralph that they have been living in their dingy place for 14 years, and their electric bill was still an embarrassing thirty-nine cents! Cheap even for the mid-1950’s.
Ralph Kramden and company made their first appearance on the now long defunct Dumont Network. The show was called The Cavalcade of Stars, and…
Your Show of Shows premiered on Saturday, February 25th 1950. It was a live 90 minute variety show consisting, for most seasons, of 39 episodes. It was the equivalent of putting on a new Broadway show every week. The show starred Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca with Carl Reiner and Howard Morris as regulars. James Starbuck would join the cast in 1951. Among the show’s writers, were Mel Brooks, Neil and Danny Simon, Mel Tolkin and Lucille Kallen. One of the misconceptions is that Larry Gelbart and Woody Allen wrote for Your Show of Shows. Gelbart actually wrote for Caesar’s Hour and Woody Allen worked on a few episodes of The Sid Caesar Show.
The man behind the idea was Viennese born Max Liebman who for years before the show’s premiere was in many ways priming himself for his big moment. In the 1930’s Liebman worked…
Sam Fuller’s gritty Korean War film, The Steel Helmet, will be on Turner Classic Movies on Saturday May 27th (4:30pm ET) as part of its annual Memorial Day Weekend tribute. Despite being over 60 Yeas old, the film is quite contemporary in its view of the high cost of war. Gene Evans, Steve Brodie, Robert Hutton and James Edwards star in this under the radar film.
You can read more about it in my book, Lessons in the Dark, available at Amazon.
Here is an excerpt…
“Fuller has filled the screen with brutal battle scenes presenting one of the harshest views of the realities of war. Bloody, horrific and deadly. The men are dirty and scared. There are no heroes and no cowards, just men trying to survive and survival is precarious. Fuller’s Americans are multi-cultural, from different backgrounds, filled with misfits and offbeat characters. From John Wayne’s patriotic war films to Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan (1998), we have seen the unit composed of the misfit, the hotheaded kid, the kid from Brooklyn, the kid from the mid-west, the pacifist and so on. What makes The Steel Helmet unique is a coarse quality that filters throughout separating it from the others” – Lessons in the Dark