Monday, October 14, 2013

Strong Medicine (1986) (TVM)

Strong Medicine` A Potboiler Of Intrigue
April 28, 1986|By Bill Kelley, Staff writer

"Guilty pleasure" aficionados will have a good time tonight and Tuesday with Strong Medicine (8 p.m., WCIX-Ch. 6, both nights), an Arthur (Hotel ) Hailey potboiler about intrigue in the pharmaceutical industry in 1957. Pamela Sue Martin is the noble young heroine who uncovers a nest of vipers, and the spot-the-stars cast includes Patrick Duffy, Ben Cross, Douglas Fairbanks and Dick Van Dyke. Produced independently for first-run, off-network syndication -- which means it`s a little juicier than network fare.
Strong Medicine (1986) (TVM)
Cast: Alan Oppenheimer, Annette O'Toole, Ben Cross, Dick Van Dyke, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Gayle Hunnicutt, Pamela Sue Martin, Patrick Duffy, Sam Neill

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

TV Guide's Truth Behind the Rumors (TV) (2001)

Recalling of the 1970s sitcom Laverne & Shirley, that focuses on rumors of the supposed tension between costars Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams. Later, various cast members look back at the 1980s hit sitcom Cheers.
TV Guide's Truth Behind the Rumors (TV) (2001)
Host: Mark Thompson

Bob Hope's Funniest Out-Takes (TV) (2002)

NBC reminisces about Bob Hope's long history with network

By FRED SHUSTER Los Angeles Daily News
POSTED: April 29, 2002

8 p.m. tomorrow, Channel 10.

He broke ratings records in radio and revolutionized television by perfecting the opening monologue.

Bob Hope's 60-year broadcast career at NBC was marked by more high points and memorable moments than anybody's. From his early years in vaudeville and radio to movies and television, Hope was an unparalleled success due to a carefully honed persona that included a sly, speedy delivery, relaxed personality and topical gags that let audiences feel they were in on the joke.

"He was a natural because he'd done vaudeville, Broadway, radio and movies, and by the time he got to TV, he was an expert," veteran comedian Phyllis Diller observes. "He was such a brilliant, brilliant showman. And he worked so easily. It was never work for him. Wanda Landowska, the great harpsichordist, once said, 'I never practice. I only play.' And with Bob, it was all play."

Hope, who turns 99 on May 29, still lives at his sprawling compound in his beloved Toluca Lake with wife, Dolores. Among the wealthiest and best-known entertainers and most savvy of property owners, the British-born, Ohio-raised Hope - initially billed as master of "song, patter and eccentric dancing" - conquered every show-biz arena.

Practically everyone agrees Hope was a scream, but just how funny was he when he departed from the script? You can find out tomorrow when Kelsey Grammer hosts "Bob Hope's Funniest Outtakes," an hour-long look at some of the best ad-libbed moments from the 284 variety programs the legendary comic taped for NBC. Along with never-before-seen footage, famous faces including Lucille Ball, Sammy Davis Jr., Garth Brooks and Dolly Parton discuss the impact of Hope's long and influential career.

"When NBC approached me to host the program, I simply said, 'Yeah, I'm in,' " Grammer said from the "Frasier" set. "I've been a lifelong fan of Bob along with all my family members when I was growing up. Not only is he a great comedian, he's also a great American. His contribution to the war effort is something to be honored and respected. So, to tip my hat to one of history's greatest comics and patriots was a real joy."

The Hope outtakes reveal the spontaneous and unrehearsed Bob, said Linda Hope, the entertainer's daughter and executive producer of the program.

"You get a good sense of the man behind the show," she says. "One of my favorite segments is a sketch Bob does with Jack Benny and Rosemary Clooney where they just break each other up."

The program is part of NBC's 75th-anniversary celebration in which a series of shows and reunion programs honor the country's first commercial broadcasting network. Hope's last special for NBC was in 1997.

"He's been with NBC almost as long as NBC has been around," says Ron Simon, a television curator at the Museum of Television & Radio in New York. "He started in radio there in the '30s and moved into TV when [NBC] did. His opening monologue where he kidded politicians and had fun with the news everyone was talking about was a direct influence on people like Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, David Letterman and Jon Stewart. He had a major, major impact on the medium and, of course, comedy."

With the age of 99 just weeks away, how is Hope doing?

"Like any of us, he has good days and bad days," Linda Hope says. "Some days we see a lot of the old Bob Hope, but otherwise he does a lot of sleeping."

She said the idea of Hope living to 100 "is something that really appeals to him," adding that he wants to beat longtime pal George Burns, who lived to be 100 years and 49 days.
Bob Hope's Funniest Out-Takes (TV) (2002)
Host: Kelsey Grammer

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Wall $treet Week with Louis Rukeyser: The First 30 Years - (TV) (2000)

After all, an hour-long "best of" show to be telecast immediately after the Carnegie Hall performance is called Wall $treet Week with Louis Rukeyser: The First 30 Years. 

This is that show.
Wall $treet Week with Louis Rukeyser: The First 30 Years - (TV) (2000)
Host: Louis Rukeyser

Wall $treet Week with Louis Rukeyser - 30th Anniversary (TV) (2000)

Louis Rukeyser celebrated 30 years of Wall $treet Week in November 2000. This story appeared in USA TODAY on Nov. 3, 2000 to mark that anniversary:

TV's financial dean celebrates 30 years

Louis Rukeyser brings markets home to individual investors

By Gary Strauss, USA TODAY

BALTIMORE — Louis Rukeyser is kicking back with a fat stogie and glass of burgundy at 2 a.m. in the Havana Club cigar bar. Judging by the fawning he's getting from several women, it's obvious that Wall Street's best-known financial commentator is one heck of a babe magnet.

Unwinding after the Friday wrap of Public Broadcasting's Wall $treet Week with Louis Rukeyser, the show's courtly, white-haired star is resplendent in tailored navy blue suit, pale blue shirt and a yellow power tie. Gracious and charming, Rukeyser relishes the attention from several women, as any happily married, 67-year-old grandfather might. Two are shushed away by the bar manager, only to sneak back over to gawk and banter. Rukeyser smiles broadly, eyes a dinner companion but says nothing. The look, though, is pure "Ain't life grand?"

Comely young groupies adore him. Modern Maturity and People magazines have attested to his sex appeal. Viewer letters contend he's sexier than actor Brad Pitt. Clearly, though, Rukeyser has much more to feel good about these days. In the ever-expanding world of flashier TV, Internet and even print competitors, Rukeyser remains the biggest hottie of financial journalism. Wall $treet Week, already TV's longest-running program with the same host, celebrates its 30th anniversary tonight with a live show from New York's Carnegie Hall.

Two years past what many consider normal retirement age, Rukeyser shows few signs of slowing down:

• He'll host a four-hour program on election night for cable network CNBC, gauging the impact on the economy, business and stocks. Two more CNBC shows are planned within the next year.

• His investment newsletters on the stock market and mutual funds are the largest monthlies of the genre, with combined circulation of 400,000. Rukey-ser's Web site — now undergoing a revamp to offer expanded market advice and service — got nearly 500,000 hits in September.

• Rukeyser's twice-yearly investment seminars aboard European and Caribbean cruise ships sell out months in advance. His most recent annual Las Vegas financial seminar drew 11,000.

• As a public speaker, Rukeyser commands $80,000 to $100,000 a speech, fees typically reserved for former presidents and top-flight CEOs. He makes about two dozen a year. Based on demand, Rukeyser says he could book a couple hundred a year.

Casual observers may regard the sedate Rukeyser and his talking-heads format show as a charming anachronism in a high-octane media world of fast-flowing screen tickers and hyperkinetic financial reporters. But Wall $treet Week spawned the genre and cable TV networks devoted to investing, such as CNBC and Financial News Network. Without Rukeyser, some say, there'd be no specialized market programs for financial junkies, such as CNBC's Squawk Box and its glib, wisecracking commentators. Most were born long after Rukeyser began his journalism career in 1949 as a 16-year-old sportswriter for his hometown paper in New Rochelle, N.Y.

Rukeyser's enduring legacy is as the impartial champion of the individual investor — a prime reason about 3 million households continue to tune in Wall $treet Week. The audience is four times the combined average daily viewership of CNN's Moneyline and CNBC's News Center, Nielsen Media Research says.

"Despite the advent of all the expanded coverage and choices, Rukeyser's perspective remains important and relevant," says former Moneyline host Lou Dobbs. "You can't ask for a better emblem of what a business journalist and market commentator should be about."

Wall $treet Week has changed little in content and style since its November 1970 launch at Maryland's Owings Mills PBS station near Baltimore. While Owings Mills is an outpost from both Wall Street and Rukeyser's Greenwich, Conn., home, the station holds the rights to the program, and neither Rukeyser nor Wall Street heavy hitters seem to mind trekking there.

Being a guest on the show, in fact, is being a player in the financial world's version of the Super Bowl.

"People will try anything to get on the show. There's a backlog of good analysts, portfolio managers and economists," says Frank Cappiello, head of Maryland-based money manager McCullough Andrews and Cappiello and a panelist since the first show. "It's good for business, and it's a mark of esteem. When you can say you've been a guest, that's big stuff."

Rukeyser, as always, opens Wall $treet Week with a wry, pun-laden monologue, which he writes Friday afternoons, then fiddles with until the 7:45 p.m. taping. Many viewers consider the monologue the most entertaining part of the show, because Rukeyser deftly weaves the week's market action with economic news, topical items such as politics or the World Series, and an occasional oddball story. So predictable is the format that it was parodied on Saturday Night Live.

During the Oct. 20 taping, a klieg light blew midway through Rukeyser's four-minute monologue, popping with the intensity of a rifle shot. Unfazed, Rukeyser kept talking in sonorous baritone. Most of the 1,430 shows have been taped, but technical glitches and other snafus occasionally prompt live airings.

Monologues are followed by the "Elves Index," the show's only nod to what could pass for market timing. Ten market strategists track assorted market influences, predicting changes in the market's direction — or misdirection. Rukeyser then saunters over to a dining table, where he affably schmoozes with his three panelists about the market's weekly action and some of their latest stock picks. Panelists rotate each week from a group of about two dozen market sages, portfolio managers and technical analysts.

Rukeyser and his weekly threesome then amble over to two facing leather couches. From there, they greet and grill guests. Financial biggies such as Prudential Securities strategist Ralph Acampora and PaineWebber's Mary Farrell are regular panelists.

In recent years, both guests and panel members have skewed younger and expanded ethnic lines. Rukeyser brought women and minorities to the show long before they began breaking through Wall Street's gender and racial barriers that are still prevalent today.

Unwavering strategy

Rukeyser has delivered a consistent message to viewers the past 30 years.

"What I've tried to teach is no big secret: Buy good stocks. And don't get spooked every time the market panics," he says. "It sounds dull, but it's worked."

Rukeyser practices the same buy-and-hold strategy he preaches, and he's made himself, as well as many viewers, wealthy. On a May 1976 show, then-Wall Street analyst Ben Rosen — recently retired chairman of Compaq Computer — recommended semiconductor maker Intel. The stock, then trading at a split-adjusted price of 20 cents a share, has since climbed 23,000%. Microsoft, recommended by a 1989 guest, is up more than 5,000%.

"It may be more exciting to hear about the three hot stock picks of the week," Rukeyser says. "But the short-term predicting game is hopeless." Of the now-burst Internet bubble, he can barely hide his contempt. "I think a lot of people have awakened to the shallowness of the Internet's adolescence," he says.

Rukeyser maintains some basic tenets for Wall $treet Week: Keep it simple and understandable, and do it with flair. That means dialog free of the often-undecipherable market jargon bandied about on most market shows. And have some fun.

Rukeyser has dressed up as Superman, Dick Tracy, Bugs Bunny and a Mighty Morphin Power Ranger. Even without the superheroes, Wall $treet Week fits viewers like a comfortable leather chair.

"For me, the show is a way to relax at the end of the week," says Dave Peace, a Lincoln, Neb., stockbroker who rarely misses it. "Even if I have an invitation to something, I watch. I guess I need to get a life."

Ouch! Eek! Medic!

Viewership tends to jump after particularly grim weeks in the financial markets, with spooked investors tuning in for advice and reassurance that no matter how badly the market behaved, things will be OK. The evening of the Friday market crash on Oct. 19, 1987, Rukeyser refused to serve as Wall Street's somber undertaker.

"Let's start with what's really important tonight," he told viewers. "It's just your money, not your life. Everybody who really loved you a week ago still loves you tonight. And now that that's all fully in perspective, let me say. .. Ouch! And: Eek! And: Medic!"

Long-time panelists such as Farrell are amazed not only at Rukeyser's staying power, but at the enduring loyalty of viewers. Farrell says strangers still approach her to ask how her son is doing. Rukeyser announced the 1982 birth on air.

"You go to the Las Vegas financial show or one of the investment cruises, and what really comes through loud and clear is the strong feeling people have that Louis has been their champion, the defender and protector of the individual investor," Farrell says. "He's earned some extraordinary trust."

Indeed, when Rukeyser decided on tonight's Carnegie Hall show, he invited 2,000 viewers to attend. About 16,000 requests for tickets came in. Many were poignant, expressing deep, long-standing admiration for a droll raconteur who's been a longtime Friday ritual.

Rukeyser graduated from Princeton University in 1954, then spent two years in the Army. He later joined The (Baltimore) Sun newspaper, working in London and Asia. He joined ABC News in 1965, working as a Paris correspondent, then London bureau chief. When he returned to the USA in 1968, he became the network's first economics editor and commentator.

Wall $treet Week was a part-time gig for Rukeyser until he left ABC in 1973. At the time, he was 40 and wondered whether the warnings from friends that he was nuts to quit a network TV career would ultimately prove true. These days, he politely deflects questions about his income and personal investments. Between the newsletters and personal appearances, he's obviously made up for lost income.

Rukeyser could make some really big bucks shilling financial products. But he's spurned all offers, including one eight-figure deal with a company he declines to name, saying it would undermine his role as journalist and commentator.

"You better always be on the level with people," he says. "Not everyone is going to agree with you, but they better have confidence in you."

Rukeyser's list of more than a thousand guests includes Alan Greenspan (before he joined the Federal Reserve) and former Fidelity Magellan Fund manager Peter Lynch. But his favorite was his father, Merryle Rukeyser, a highly regarded financial columnist who wrote 10 business books over a career spanning more than 60 years.

The younger Rukeyser waited until Wall $treet Week had been on 14 years, hoping by then, he now quips, that the show had gained respectability and he'd avoid the appearance of nepotism. His dad, who died at 91, made appearances until 1988.

Rukeyser says he'll continue with Wall $treet Week "as long as it's still fun." That likely means 35th and 40th anniversary programs.

After all, an hour-long "best of" show to be telecast immediately after the Carnegie Hall performance is called Wall $treet Week with Louis Rukeyser: The First 30 Years.
Wall $treet Week with Louis Rukeyser - 30th Anniversary (TV) (2000)
Host: Louis Rukeyser

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Tenth Month, The (1979) (TVM)

Robert Altman protégé Joan Tewkesbury called the directorial shots on the made-for-TV "The Tenth Month". After a whirlwind affair with famed concert pianist Keith Michell, middle-aged, unmarried Carol Burnett becomes pregnant. Rather than seek out the father, she decides to raise the baby by herself. Though she'd previously played comparatively "straight" roles in such films as "The Front Page" (1974), "The Tenth Month" represented Carol Burnett's TV dramatic debut, as well as her first post-Carol Burnett Show project (the producer was her husband Joe Hamilton). Adapted by Ms. Tewkesbury from a novel by Laura Z. Hobson, "The Tenth Month" premiered on September 16, 1979. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
The Tenth Month (1979) (TVM)
Cast: Carol Burnett, Cristina Raines, Dina Merrill, Keith Michell, Martine Beswick, Melissa Converse, Richard Venture

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Harmony: A New Way of Looking At Our World (2010) (TV)

Prince Charles' new documentary “Harmony: A New Way of Looking At Our World” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in London on April 28. The movie is a companion to the Prince of Wales' book of the same title, and makes a case for living in harmony with the environment, going small and local instead of global.

Prince Charles was there to watch his film premiere and said that he simply hoped most would stay awake for it, according to “The Guardian.” He need not have worried. Robert Redford said afterwards that the “Harmony” movie was “incredible.”

Redford was trying out a "premiere" of his own; “Sundance London” marks the first time the Sundance Film Festival has taken place anywhere other than the United States.

“Harmony” highlights Prince Charles' efforts in the environmental field and his hopes for a sustainable future. Stuart Sender and Julie Bergman Sender made the film, but Prince Charles narrates.
Harmony: A New Way of Looking At Our World (2010) (TV)
Host: HRH Prince Charles

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Best in Film: The Greatest Movies of Our Time (2011) (TV)

The top five films are counted down in various genres, as determined by an online poll and selected from lists of nominees chosen by film industry experts.

most comprehensive collection of clips from decades of feature films deemed to be "the greatest movies of our time" by the ABC television network. Ultimately boring and redundantly superfluous, hosted by the two great film historians, Tom Bergeron and Cynthia McFadden. He of the "funny videos" show and she of the severely compromised late night news(?) program. One big Hollywood ass kiss from the most liberal of networks.
Best in Film: The Greatest Movies of Our Time (2011) (TV)
Hosts: Tom Bergeron, Cynthia McFadden

Friday, July 5, 2013

100 Years of the Hollywood Western (1994) (TV)

TV REVIEWS : Tip of the Hat to 'The Hollywood Western'
November 25, 1994|KEVIN THOMAS

Jack Haley Jr.'s "100 Years of the Hollywood Western" manages to survey with some insight and admirable comprehensiveness a genre with more than 20,000 titles, spanning footage taken of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show a century ago to a spate of Westerns currently in production.

Sure-fire entertainment, it's deeper on research--the clips are terrific--than on thought. The special's hosts are Charles Bronson, James Coburn, James Garner, Gene Hackman, Robert Mitchum, Kurt Russell and Jane Seymour.

Haley points out that the "Old West" lasted only a few decades but captured the popular imagination enduringly with its endless possibilities for tales of high adventure. He and co-writers Aubrey Soloman and Phil Savenick touch many bases, and they constantly keep us aware of the movies' peerless capacity to turn sometimes sketchy history into potent myth; in doing so, they also manage a tip of the hat to the most famous Westerns.

What they might have made clearer is that the Western became America's morality play, and that the difference between John Wayne and Clint Eastwood is that, in the 1960s, Sergio Leone and the spaghetti Western injected an existential quality to Westerns, blurring the distinction between the good guys and the bad guys.

Once past a nod to pioneer Bronco Billy Anderson, William S. Hart, who brought realism to the Western, and Tom Mix, who brought glamour to it, Haley gives the silent era short shrift; surely, "Covered Wagon" and "The Iron Horse" rate at least mentions. (Serials--silent and talkie--aren't dealt with at all.)

There are apt discussions of the treatment of legendary historical figures, and there are entire sequences devoted to cliche expressions, lawmen, gunslingers, saloons, singing cowboys, Native Americans, frontier women and the eradication of the buffalo.

John Ford and John Wayne were so inextricably linked that Haley is able to deal with Ford's career in the context of the Wayne homage. Most other major directors of Westerns barely rate a mention, however, even though their films are glimpsed. You'll not hear the names of Budd Boetticher, Raoul Walsh, Michael Curtiz or Anthony Mann; perversely, Haley credits the direction of Mann's 1960 remake of "Cimarron" to his former father-in-law, Vincente Minnelli.
100 Years of the Hollywood Western (1994) (TV)
Hosts: Charles Bronson, James Coburn, James Garner, Gene Hackman, Robert Mitchum, Kurt Russell and Jane Seymour

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

20 Years of Must See TV (2002) (TV)

CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK; The Sincerest Form of Flattery: The Networks' Self-Commemoration
Published: May 8, 2002

Try not to weep if you missed ''CBS: 50 Years From Television City,'' the network's loving tribute to (get out your handkerchiefs) its studio building. There are plenty more chances to get choked up during this emotional television month. In ''20 Years of Must-See TV,'' NBC will celebrate something dear to the hearts of all viewers, the network's ratings dominance on Thursday nights. (The program doesn't flinch from the traumatic moment when ''Frasier'' moved to Tuesdays.) ABC will look back at ''That's Incredible!'' letting us relive those exhilarating moments that disappeared from our lives back in 1984 along with the show's believe-it-or-not tidbits. We're promised another look at a 2,000-person human domino chain.

Maybe the networks think we all own stock in them and care, but one thing's for sure: Carol Burnett has a lot to answer for.

It was ''The Carol Burnett Show: Show Stoppers,'' a cast reunion and compilation of clips from her old variety show, that became a surprise ratings hit in November and set off this ludicrous deluge of nostalgia. NBC had already been planning specials to celebrate its 75th anniversary (if you count back to radio days), but the Burnett show made the networks act more sheeplike than ever, offering at least 17 clip shows and 4 cast reunions during the May sweeps. A recent Fox special celebrated four whole years of ''That 70's Show,'' which amounts to nostalgia about nostalgia.

These shows serve a purpose: they offer an irresistible opportunity to keep up with celebrity surgery. So many unnaturally wide eyes are on screen this month that it looks like E.T.'s relatives have taken over television. But there are more practical reasons for the overload of clips and reunions. The recycled shows are cheap to produce and presumably foolproof, offering entertainment that audiences have already embraced. And as many people in and outside the networks have observed, they are comfort food for a nerve-racking time.

But the soothing appeal of the shows is not assured; most of the ratings have been middling. And their place in the television landscape is more complicated than it might seem. These televised security blankets offer a counterpoint to the cutthroat reality shows that are still thriving and moving to further extremes, like the recent naked edition of ''Fear Factor.'' When Ralph Kramden ate dog food on ''The Honeymooners,'' it was by accident; now worms are a delicacy on reality shows. Clips and reunions function as extreme unreality shows.

The most surprising recent hits, ''The Bachelor'' and ''The Osbournes,'' work because they satisfy both extremes at once. ''The Bachelor,'' with two dozen women competing for a marriage proposal from one man, has a retro soul. Yet, its up-to-the-minute veneer features ruthless competition and sexual freedom. And beyond all the bleeping on ''The Osbournes'' there is a tight family in which Ozzy Osbourne warns his children about the evils of drugs. (''Just look at me,'' he says, his hands perpetually shaking.) When he goes on tour and the family shows up to surprise him on his birthday, he asks his wife, the now-famous Sharon, if ''the babies'' (their teenage children) have come along. What could be sweeter? It's that tension between the manners of today and the longing for a simpler past that best captures the present moment, when so much seems askew. Few shows pull that off.

No wonder the nostalgia shows, looking backward in such a blinkered way, fail to generate much excitement. Most are triumphs of packaging, with bogus claims of something new. A reunion of the ''Cheers'' cast playing their old characters on that show's spinoff, ''Frasier,'' was a lamely written partial reunion. (Ted Danson wasn't there; he was competing against ''Frasier'' in the dreadful but successful CBS mini-series ''Living With the Dead.'') A ''St. Elsewhere'' reunion on ''Scrubs'' meant a couple of scenes in which actors from the old hospital series turned up as doctors, though not their old characters.

Even the fresh material seems old, like Michael Jackson's performance on the ''American Bandstand'' 50th anniversary special or Cher's on the 10th anniversary celebration of ''The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.''

The promised glimpses of long-unseen moments from ''The Honeymooners'' on its 50th anniversary special on Monday included a horrible musical number; it was kind to keep the clip short. Otherwise, there were classic scenes we can catch every night on reruns. And if we don't need a ''Honeymooners'' retrospective, there's no excuse for ''Everybody Loves Raymond: The First Six Years,'' a recent tribute to a show available six times a week.

So far, the one major ratings success for a nostalgia show this month almost deserved it. Sunday's three-hour extravaganza, ''NBC 75th Anniversary Special,'' was a mix of live appearances and clips that until its floundering final hour was funny and brisk. Produced by Lorne Michaels, it included a touch of the irreverence of his ''Saturday Night Live.'' As Jerry Seinfeld said opening the show, ''Our mood is festive, our tone is self-aggrandizing."

More typically, NBC and the other networks take themselves and their branding more seriously than any viewer ever would. When you see a promo for this Thursday's ''E.R.,'' a flashback to Dr. Green's last days, and hear the solemn announcer promise ''an 'E.R.' to cherish,'' what can you do except laugh, even if you're sorry to lose the guy? When is the last time you heard anyone in real life say, ''I think I'll watch a little must-see TV''?

You will hear plenty of platitudes from the other side of the screen, though. ''I loved going to work,'' Phylicia Rashad, who played Bill Cosby's wife, recalls at the start of the two-hour ''Cosby Show: A Look Back'' (one of the few available in advance for review). We can make a reckless assumption that the same will be true when the cast reminisces on ''M*A*S*H: 30th Anniversary Reunion Special'' and ''Mary Tyler Moore Reunion.''

''L.A. Law: The Movie'' is the only genuine, fully original reunion in sight, and it's a perfectly pleasant if unexciting diversion. Harry Hamlin holds the film together and demonstrates that he can still charm as Michael Kuzak, who has stopped practicing law but goes back to help a man he unsuccessfully defended for murder a decade before. Nearly every actor from the old series is worked into the plot (except Jimmy Smits), and they spend a lot of time on dialogue like this:



And, ''Hey, Douglas.''

''Michael Kuzak!''

Or, ''Hey, Leland.''


Like ''Hill St. Blues,'' ''L.A. Law'' was fast, tough and groundbreaking, but this mild, efficient movie reveals how much those qualities have been overtaken by series like ''The Practice.'' Before he created ''The Practice,'' David E. Kelley was an ''L.A. Law'' writer; he had nothing to do with this reunion. More important, Steven Bochco, a creator of both ''Hill St.'' and ''L.A. Law,'' was not directly involved with the movie and is called ''an unseen cheerleader'' in the production notes. The truly creative people in television have better things to do than look back.

But as programmers search for sure things, that's exactly where they're looking. The so-called new shows being considered for the fall include remakes of ''The Twilight Zone,'' ''The Lone Ranger,'' ''Family Affair'' and ''The Time Tunnel.'' If we did land in a time tunnel, who could tell the difference?

More Nostalgia Coming Soon

''L.A. Law: The Movie,'' Sunday on NBC

''Mary Tyler Moore Reunion,'' Monday on CBS

''NBC's Funniest Outtakes,'' Tuesday on NBC

''M*A*S*H: 30th Anniversary Reunion Special,'' May 17 on Fox

''The Cosby Show: A Look Back,'' May 19 on NBC

''20 Years of Must-See TV,'' May 20 on NBC

''That's Incredible: The Reunion,'' May 21 on ABC

''The Most Outrageous Game Show Moments,'' May 22 on NBC
20 Years of Must See TV (2002) (TV)
Host: Eric McCormack

Monday, July 1, 2013

Funniest Comedy Duos (1996) (TV)

Special salutes great comedy duos, featuring clips from television and film.
Funniest Comedy Duos (1996) (TV)
Host: Jeff Foxworthy

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Spy Magazine's Hit List: The 100 Most Annoying and Alarming People and Events of 1992 (1992) (TV)

Based on "Spy" magazine's annual feature, the year-end summary of top 100 most annoying, appalling and alarming people, events, and trends.
Spy Magazine's Hit List: The 100 Most Annoying and Alarming People and Events of 1992 (1992) (TV)
Host: Julia Louis-Dreyfus