Classic TV

Appointment TV: Perry Mason

One of my earliest memories is curling up in the daybed at my Grandmother’s home listening to (or occasionally watching) Perry Mason. The bed was in the dining room right next to the living room where the TV had pride of place. Perry Mason was a regular visitor to that home, my parent’s home, and as I left my parent’s home, my own home.

I can’t recall how many times I watched the original series with Raymond Burr, let alone the remake with Monte Markham, but I do know that I’ve seen all the original show’s episodes and when the Perry Mason Movies debuted, that was a cause for celebration.

Recently MeTV added the Perry Mason Movies to its Sunday lineup and, once again, it is appointment TV.

Check out THIS for more information about the original Raymond Burr series along with information about the subsequent series and the films.

Mason originated via books written by Earle Stanley Gardner. There was a radio series, too. The radio series was serialized, think soap opera, which portrayed Mason and company quite differently than the TV series. HBO Max has also created a prequel series, if you will that takes place prior to the time period in the 1957 series.

Perry Mason is intelligent TV. It is well written, well performed, and provides a high quality experience. It set the bar for the type of legal drama I watched over the decades.

I will be honest, I’ve never read the books and have limited knowledge of the radio series, so I don’t know how well they do, or don’t, hold up over the years. The Burr version of the series, including the movies, might be a tad dated, but they are a true reflection of the time they were produced.

Frankly, I’m just happy to have something to look forward to each week that is engaging, familiar, and a pleasant thing to watch that is family friendly.

Enjoy!

TV

A Visit with “The First Lady”

You might have heard about a new series on Showtime called “The First Lady” which focuses on several trailblazing first ladies in our history. The ladies in question are:

  • Eleanor Roosevelt played by Gillian Anderson
  • Betty Ford played by Michelle Pfeiffer
  • Michelle Obama played by Viola Davis

And those are just the Ladies. This cast includes some stellar performances played by some stellar performers, not just the three mentioned above.

The concept is interesting, putting each in her own time and place but all three at the same time; at the beginning of her role as First Lady of the United States.

The times might have been different for each woman for a variety of reasons but the underlying theme of all three was ‘hope’.

I had the opportunity to watch the first two episodes via the Showtime Select channel on PlutoTV. This free platform gave me the opportunity to dip my toe, as it were, before I forked over any cash. Note: to watch all episodes in the series, you will have to subscribe to Showtime.

The platform is free, you can use it pretty much anywhere, so if you are inclined, check it out.

All that aside, ‘The First Lady’ brings an interesting perspective on a difficult position in times that were anything but calm and comfortable. Granted, as stated at the beginning of each episode, the writers did take some creative license with the subject matter and time period, but the end result is captivating, amusing, interesting, and occasionally wowing. Things you don’t always find in what could be termed a ‘docudrama’. Some complain about the bouncing from one time frame to another, but I found it interesting. I was able to compare and contrast rather than focus to the exclusion of the other stories.

Enjoy!

Classic TV · Cord Cutting · Media · TV

Rediscovering Old Favorites

Are you a fan of classic TV? It could be dramas, mysteries, comedies or any combination in addition to other shows that don’t quite fit those categories.

I have a fondness for quite a few classic TV shows. Some going back quite a few decades. 🙂

While I understand TVLand was one of the pioneers in what I call the formal rerun network programming, since I don’t have cable, it was never a possibility for me to watch. However, thanks to MeTV, Antenna TV, COZI TV, and various other networks, it is now possible to revisit old favorites without the expense of cable or streaming.

In my neck of the woods, and not having cable, over the air programming tends to be at the mercy of weather. In other words, when weather is bad, signal is bad. This is where streaming platforms come in to play and are very helpful.

I recently rediscovered ‘Murder, She Wrote’ along with several other favorite shows on COZI TV. They have a great line up with lots of great programing. The problems arise when weather isn’t great. After being caught in the middle of a two-parter, I found myself searching to find the second half of the two hour season finale. Turned out that I was able to not only find the episode guide (IMDB.com) but also find the series for free – and all the seasons – over on the Roku Channel.

Now I know that not everyone has a Roku box in their home. But this does not mean that they won’t be able to take advantage of free streaming services. It just means that there might be a bit more research involved.

For the record, I do wish that all the classic (rerun) networks/channels would have a streaming platform for those who can’t or don’t have access, but <shrug> …

In the meantime, I’m checking out all my options to determine what I can find and the best way to access it.

FYI: If you subscribe to streaming services like Paramount+, AcornTV, or any other service, be sure to check all their programming options. And do it regularly. Why? Because these services add movies and shows often and you never know what you might find that you already have access to.

But don’t limit the check to just those subscription services. Check all your platforms to see what is available. IMDB.com adds a lot of programming (new and old) quite often. You might score the entire series of a classic show that you can binge to your heart’s desire. You might also find shows or films that you forgot you wanted to watch.

I’m on the lookout for my Summer Binge. This is the series I want to deep dive into during the summer months when the rest of TV is up to its collective ears in reruns.

So far, I’ve found ‘Julia’ over on HBO Max, which has quite an array of other programming that I haven’t seen yet. I also have a lot to catch up on over on Disney+.

I do spend a lot of time over on PlutoTV where I can binge on some old favorites and discover new shows, too. And, it is free!

So, what are you looking to curl up with? Let me know!

Media · TV

Arthur – All Growed Up

I’ve been a fan of PBS’ ‘Arthur‘ since the beginning. To be honest, I’ve been a PBS Kids Junkie for decades. The programming may be aimed at kiddoes, but us older folks can find a lot to enjoy, too. I’ve been known to set my VCR and DVR to record many PBS Kids shows over the years. ‘Arthur‘ was a regular on that roster.

The show has been around for a long time, even though the kids seemed to never really leave third grade. What I enjoyed the most was the opportunity to not be blasted by loads of energy, noise, or the inevitable frantic silliness that some shows steeped themselves in. Arthur, Buster and friends told tales that reflected what was going on in the lives of third graders dealing with, among other things, allergies, questionable advertising, little sisters, pets, parents, and the scary realization that teachers were people, too.

The shows were tasteful, humorous, a touch ironic, and were often written with adults in mind. They would occasionally play with satire taking on Downton Abbey or Masterpiece with tongue in cheek humor. And they did it very well.

In addition to the regular shows, there were holiday specials, too. These brought something extra to the holidays that I look forward to each year.

Want to learn a bit more?

Arthur on Wikipedia

How Arthur Grew Up on The Los Angeles Times

Arthur Fans React on TV Insider

Are you a fan, too? Let me know!

Audiobooks · Books · Media · Movies · TV

To Binge Or Not To Binge

I admit I’m still trying to maneuver my way through the streaming process. I’ve been around for quite a while. When I began watching TV, there were three – yes 3 – networks, no cable, satellite, recording or streaming. Shocking to some, I know. LOL!

All that means is that I have a different POV than some. And, odd as it might sound, a different appreciation, too. You see, I’m one of those folks who love the extras that were on the DVDs. You know, the behind the scenes, deleted scenes, etc. I’ve spent time on film sets on back lots, and parking lots, too. As a result, I appreciate what it takes to produce what you see on the screen.

I often recall a time when I had two recorders set up to capture a week’s worth of programming that I would work to keep up with in addition to what I watched ‘live’. I haven’t done that in years – mostly because there really wasn’t enough that interested me to watch.

Cable and I have had a mediocre relationship since the beginning. Way back when it was interesting and exciting. Now, the majority is simply boring and repetitive. My opinion, true, but I am certain I’m not the only one who thinks that, too. As a result I haven’t had cable in 2 decades. I have tested it out on occasion just to see if I was missing anything and, much to my dismay, I wasn’t.

I find it interesting that so many cable outlets have discovered that (a) they needed to provide their own material and (b) the audience isn’t going to sit around until they figure it out.

One of the biggest complaints about cable was being stuck with channels you never watch but had to pay for. Streaming took that out of the equation and for the consumer (me) it was the beginning of an entirely new world.

Thanks to On Demand I can pull up things I want to watch when I want to watch and not have to set a machine to capture it all. This means that I can indulge in some amazing programming or ditch a show when it just doesn’t capture my attention.

Which brings me to binging. Some shows are meant to be binged. Some really do need a break in between episodes to allow the viewer (me) to contemplate what I’ve seen.

A few years back I discovered Agents of S*H*I*E*L*D on whatever streaming platform it was on at the time and was hooked. Good thing, too, because – if memory serves – season 4 was coming up. That discovery literally made my summer!

I recently checked my watchlist over on Hulu and found Only Murders In The Building. I sat down to watch the first episode to see if it might make the cut and 5 hours later I’d seen the entire first season. (And that soundtrack is simply delicious!)

Other shows like Murdoch Mysteries or Frankie Drake Mysteries I take a couple of episodes at a time. Both end up on my list after the first run of their season so I am obliged to either wait until the entire season has dropped or keep up with them weekly.

Normally I don’t mind reruns but there is one show I don’t watch as a rerun; NCIS. I love NCIS! For some unknown reason, however, I don’t look for reruns of the series. The entire catalog is on Paramount+, so it isn’t as if it isn’t available.

One thing I have to say is that I appreciate it when providers like Paramount+ or Disney+, to name only two of what is available, provide a wide variety of programming. I’m a PlutoTV fan, too. These providers allow me to pick and choose what I want to see, not what they think I want to see. And, the icing on that cupcake: The price is fair, too.

For an old codger like myself who remembers a time when you made the time to sit down to watch a show or you hoped the rerun would air so you didn’t miss anything, this new era of streaming is almost a wonderland.

To binge or not to binge… Depends upon the day, the inspiration, the show, and whether or not you are ready to move on without taking a break in between.

Right?

Classic TV · Media · TV

The Evening Routine

As I write this, it is roughly that time of the evening where I am and the hour before Midnight in London, England. I mention this because it is at this time of day, Monday through Friday, when I sit down to listen to Pumpkin FM. Pumpkin FM has several channels that cover a variety of nostalgic radio, some USA based, some U.K. based.

At this time of the weekday (night?) I sit back to enjoy the latest episodes of ‘Allo, ‘Allo and Are You Being Served?. Both of the very old BritComs are aired audio only allowing the listener to occupy hands otherwise while listening to some rather fun shows. It also allows your imagination to run a bit wild filling in the images.

If you have never seen, let alone listened to, these shows, please note they are vintage 1970 or 1980 shows that are more parody and farce. Please keep that in mind. 🙂

If you need to learn more, or have a refresher, check the following links:

‘Allo, ‘Allo

Are You Being Served?

Check out the schedules for the rest of Pumpkin FM channels. Among the variety of programming you will find comedies, serials, variety shows and a collection of crime dramas There is something for everyone.

Enjoy!

P.S.: If you are interested in actually watching these shows, check out imdb.com who will have the latest places to watch.

Media · TV

Memory Lane: The Big Bang Theory

Like millions of other folks, I tuned in every Thursday night to watch Sheldon, Leonard, Raj and the rest in the latest adventure on “The Big Bang Theory”. I even watched the reruns so much, I knew the script. 🙂

Even now, I enjoy a visit with the gang, but there are a few moments that stand out for me. Turns out Ms Mojo was thinking along the same lines:

Are some of these your favorites, too?

Now, I would add a few things. “Please pass the butter!” is a bit that is so beautifully rendered it is priceless. The scavenger hunt show is a particular favorite of mine.

Absolutely Brilliant!

These characters were drawn from people known to the creators of the show. I like to say (and still do) that I, too, know folks like those in the show. Their quirks, along with their passions, are what make them interesting. Not to mention, a lot of fun.

I’ve never been to a Comic Con, but I have been to more than a few fan conventions, so I get it. Maybe a bit more than I should, but I do get it.

Perhaps the best thing about The Big Bang Theory isn’t just the friendships but the window into a world of comic books, super heroes, fandom, along with that group of brilliant minds. When the writing was good, it was great fun.

What are your favorite episodes?

Cord Cutting · Media · TV

Streaming Options: How to Pick A Device

For many people streaming has become a way of life. I, for one, have had some version of a Roku device for years. Why? I wanted flexibility and options in my viewing and didn’t want to be locked into a contract with a cable/satellite provider that set a price (that usually kept increasing) included channels I never watched, and routinely had carrier arguments with major networks that kept me from getting access to local news and weather.

Where I live, it is Essential to have access to the latest weather. Having my access tied to a cable system that might, or might not, be working just isn’t feasible. And, to be clear, I live in the middle of a metro area where such access shouldn’t be an issue. Some would say, just use your cell phone. Well, if that service isn’t working, either, then what?

I still use an over the air antenna for a lot of my viewing. Why? For many years it was an easy way to get local feeds – not to mention those extra digital channels – that hadn’t yet made the upgrade to a streaming feed. That being said, I spent decades having access to local PBS feeds only to lose it years ago when, for some inexplicable reason, all the PBS signals evaporated. At least my local PBS affiliate had no clue. I found my best access was either via streaming the PBS apps or subscribing to channels through Amazon.

Speaking of Amazon, their channel offerings are astounding. And the prices are usually quite competitive, too. Keep in mind, some think they are providing super luxury high end programming when really all they are doing is increasing price to keep the illusion of luxury. It works only if the consumer wants to pay for it. I don’t.

For some folks, however, cord cutting (getting rid of cable) and diving into streaming can be confusing and a bit scary. I’ve got articles on the blog about this, so be sure to check them out for more information.

As for finding a new Streaming Device, check out this article from TV Insider: How To Pick a Streaming Device. Good information with a tip or two that us long time users can find handy.

Things To Think About

As you consider making the change, take a few minutes to think about the following:

  • What network (ABC, CBS, NBC, etc.) do you primarily watch?
  • What types of programming do you prefer? Sports, cooking shows, documentaries, etc.
  • What networks from cable do you want to continue to use? Do they have their own streaming channel? Do they require a cable subscription?
  • Are you a binge watcher? If so, you might consider subscribing to a channel/network only long enough to catch all the episodes of a series that are currently available and then resubscribing when the next batch is available.
  • Are you a major fan of a franchise? Check out their home bases. Disney+, for example, has tons of material including Marvel, Star Wars, Muppets, in addition to the regular Disney fare. That service alone will keep many people happy for months just catching up, revisiting or exploring.

I’d suggest browsing the channel stores at Roku, Amazon, Google, and Apple+ to see what they offer and what is required. You will be surprised.

Classic TV · TV

Reconnecting with The Muppets

When I heard that “The Muppet Show” from the 1970s would be added to the Disney+ lineup I was thrilled. Any opportunity to visit with Kermit and Company is never wasted. Way back before I actually owned a working television set, I owned a TV Radio that played the audio from television channels. I would listen to the syndicated show every night and imagine what was going on. You could say I’m a fan. 🙂

I still watch Sesame Street to see the other part of the Muppet Family. Also, time well spent. (Like I said, I’m a fan.)

There is something timeless and classic about all the Muppet characters. Each is its own individual personality and together they are unique.

Check out this great article in the Los Angeles Times: HERE.

One thing I continue to comment on is the breadth and depth of material available on Disney+. Pretty much any and everything you can imagine is there. And if it isn’t… it wasn’t for lack of trying.