On Friday, September 12, 2014, 60 years of television had passed by, since “Lassie’s”
first debut episode. The show was simple, meaningful and encompassed all areas of
rural living, (1954 – 1973). When they list the ‘longest lasting television series,’ they
place this show close to top of the list.
The years I remember the show, “Lassie,” best had June Lockhart as portraying my
favorite mother of all time. The father was genuinely well-acted by Hugh Reilly and
my favorite little boy, “Timmy,” was played by Jon Provost.
Although the leading “human” roles changed over the years, there was always the
faithful dog, “Lassie.” (Many dogs played this role, of course, through the years.) I
enjoyed the various transitions of “Lassie,” having family values and including life
Fast forward to September and October, 2014 for the New Fall, 2014 television
It would be nearly impossible to picture most of the newest additions to our current
television programming to last ten years, let alone 19 years.
The “CSI” and “NCIS” shows are still going strong and on this Fall’s t.v. line-up.
I am going to miss having the original show, “CSI,” with its location of Las Vegas,
when it moves to its new Sunday evening slot. Sunday is my favorite ‘catch up’ night,
with PBS, Hallmark and I still am a big fan of “Once Upon A Time” and “Revenge.”
The new Fall line up is already getting over-crowded on my own Sunday night.
I was talking to a good friend who thinks some of the shows sound “silly” and was
pointing out a Columbus Dispatch critic thought Debra Messing would be hard to
imagine being a cop, in the new show called, “”Mysteries of Laura.”
Since I would first respond, I love the silly show, “Mike and Molly.” I may be quite
blasphemous to say that “Mike” would NEVER make it on a real police force, due
to his large size…
Criticism from someone who loves all kinds of wild SyFy shows like, “Haven” and
“Eureka,” and on regular network t.v., “Under the Dome,” should be wondering
about their own ways they stretch their imagination! I am laughing with you; not
at you, my friend!
Can you suspend your sense of disbelief and let your imagination go?
I remember the funny ways we learned, as children to open our ‘escape hatches’
and step into the Lands of Wonderment.
I shall try all the shows with female-driven plot lines. They have had ‘good fortune’
in the past. Imagine “The Good Wife” not being on, not receiving another round of
Emmy Award nominations. I think it is nice to see women in professional situations,
not wearing an ‘apron’ and carrying out the character of a ‘housewife and mother.’
This is not to say that I don’t enjoy programs that have women who have chosen to
stay at home to do
this very important job and having this be part of the plot line, too. Choices are what
makes this a different world from the Fifties and Sixties’ television programming.
“We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!”
I like the characters in this sweet little show about a single mother with a son, you may
recognize him from big screen movies, I “About a Boy.” I am sadly not pleased with
where they tucked this show into a 9:30 time slot. It is ‘not cute’ but original and quirky.
We, if you are a viewer, are ‘rooting’ for the handsome neighbor man to become the single
mother’s date. Although it is about a boy, it is definitely about the mother, too. Having
raised 3 children on my own, I am particularly happy to watch this one. I also like the
upcoming role of Katherine Heigl getting another chance on television in “State of
Affairs.” While Katherine Heigl left “Grey’s Anatomy,” definitely getting better comedic
roles in movies, she is still sorely missed as the character of “Izzy,” on that show. I am
looking forward to seeing her as a CIA agent. She was funny in “One for the Money,” a
movie based on the hilarious antics of a bondswoman in more than 20 books by Janet
If you liked Tea Leoni’s funny past roles you may have seen her show her acting chops
in serious dramas, too. We will see which direction she heads in, “Madame Secretary.”
She was one of the wackiest women on television for 2 years in a show called, “The Naked
I have read a decent review of “Red Band Society.” It is not a “Breakfast Club,” nor
is it one that will be all laughs, but will tackle diseases and illnesses with a touch of
humor and give it an uplifting spin. It is a group of young people who are ones who
have hospital experiences, who are dealing with personal challenges. I picture it more
like the movie, “Stand By Me,” in its tone and togetherness. It is about a ‘band
of young misfits.’
Critics are harsh when it comes to some and not so much with others. I remember
when I discovered, “How I Met Your Mother.” It was before the critics endorsed it,
awhile back. I am sad how they chose to end it, with the death of the mother but
happy the main gal, Robin, got her ‘man.’
The serious shows genre are tougher to predict. I would imagine Scott Backula will
knock the New Orleans’ version of “NCIS” out of the park. I happen to have liked his
‘goofy’ portrayal of character in “Quantum Leap.” I am not sure about, “Stalkers,” but
will support Dylan McDermott, since he is still okay after all these years since his role
as a non-supportive ‘husband’ for Julia Robert’s dying ‘wife’ role in “Steel Magnolias.”
Another serious plot line can be found in “Gracepoint.” (Not to be confused with the
CIA/FBI show about the safe house, “Graceland.”) David Tennant, from the British
show, “Broadchurch,”and Anna Gunn are two strong actors that will head up the
already critically-acclaimed and well-promoted television show. This show is set in a
fictional California coastal community.
I think that the “Forever” show that is listed on two consecutive days, for its kick-off
first two episodes sounds good. Sadly, I lost “Journeyman” and also another traveling
through time show just in the past two years. I will hope this one ‘sticks’ because I like
the concept. I used to enjoy “Time Tunnel” on television and “Back to the Future,” on
the movie screen.
I have been a fan of Josh Dushamel ever since the show, “Vegas.” I have enjoyed his
forte into romantic comedies, too. The actor, Dushamel will be on a new show called,
“Battle Creek,” This will be loosely based on likely crimes to be found in Battle Creek,
Michigan. His co-star/partner will be that of Dean Winters. You will recognize him,
but not necessarily ‘place’ him. I will check this one out simply because I love crime-
solving television series.
I will return to comedies. This is what a good friend in Lancaster, Ohio mentioned
when we turned 50: “Try to laugh more, watch comedies!”
I came up with a slogan, which I will hope no one else has coined:
“Humor is found in the ‘ear’ of the listener.”
(“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”)
So, if you liked “My Favorite Martian” did you ever try 2 seasons of “Neighbors?”
I think not, since it did not make it. This was clever, witty writing with four likable
adults, along with poking fun at Suburbia. I will miss this, unless it is on a later
schedule, it did not make the ‘cut.’
If you liked “Scrubs,” you probably followed the guy who was the janitor on over
into “The Middle,” who became the ever patient, sometimes ‘clueless’ Dad in this
sit-com. This also includes Patricia Heaton, who played the Mom/wife roles in
“Everyone Loves Raymond.”
If you liked “Taxi,” “Barney Miller” and “Psych,” you may have discovered last year’s
Emmy-awarding comedy, “Brooklyn 9-9.” Hilarious, quirky and goofy at times, but
watch out, you may laugh out loud anyway.
I am wishing that Nielson’s Rating chart were in my mailbox, because I had such a
lovely time about eight years ago, studying and analyzing the television Fall Season
Line-ups back then. The first time I had the full control of a remote control. I wrote
some comprehensive and profuse notes for those receiving my multiple page Nielson
Ratings Report. I am not a paid writer nor do I write for a newspaper. I was able to
honestly say this, it was all for the love of television and the future of programming
that I was inspired to carry out my ‘duties’ in this report.
My final thoughts on the Progress television has made since “Lassie” was on.
You are invited to ‘debate’ these comments, too. I love a good and lively discussion!
I personally feel current shows embrace more ethnicities, culture and show characters
with wider world views in our programming. They encompasses much more ‘diversity’
on television since my childhood days. This means the people who are represented
are not stereotyped as much, anymore.
I like that there are two children with special needs included in some popular shows.
I recommend, “Parenthood,” and if you have never seen this, start by watching the
first shows. It is cool to watch this fine young actor, “grow up” with two caring
‘parents’ who disagree about how to handle him, along with a supportive ‘family.’
I am not sure how they would ‘label’ the character, “Brick,” in the show “The Middle,”
but the family accepts him just as he is.
I feel the shows today give better examples of the way families really act, showing
varied relationships, how to handle or not able handle serious and controversial
subjects such as addictions, challenges and sexual orientations.
We have heroes and villains. The same as in the past, sometimes more graphically
(and honestly presented.)
World conflicts and images are horrifying. We cannot ignore what is going on, bury
our head in the sand. Powerful, and yet maddening, events are daily depicted (some
consider, ‘bombarded’) on our television sets.
We are urged to ‘act’ and ‘choose’ which side of the dilemmas we will take, as a nation
and other countries must, too.
Along with this serious, somewhat negative impact of television’s immediacy to
situations, we have positives.
We have the opportunity to watch the Olympics, sporting events and international
specials, shown across the world. My coworkers and friends from the Philippines
were captivated by Pope Francis being chosen to be the Roman Catholic Pope.
Other friends were entranced by the wedding of Prince Charles to Diana. Then,
many followed the tragic ending to Lady Diana’s life. They were hopeful for the
more recent wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton. The baby’s birth and
now, the next one on its way, are subjects that many feel are happy bits of news.
History, social studies, geography and science are subjects of programs, for
everyone to learn about, grow to enjoy and get more educated. There are so
many fascinating shows to watch. Nature, musical and art works may never be viewed
or listened to, first hand. Other countries and animals, places that may not be within
everyone’s budget or ability to travel.
Some people are not necessarily able to buy or read the newspaper. They find out
information about the world they live in, from the television news shows.
Hurray For National Geographic, Travel Channel, PBS, Weather Channel and
other quality network programming!
We have real and make-believe images still, with our magic carpet rides taking off,
from our own homes.
There are subjects and shows I may never care to watch. I embrace and support
those who like QVC shopping, cooking shows, reality shows and true dramas,
because they are part of the wide community of television watchers.
Many of the shows I choose to watch, you may not want to watch. I got hooked on a
soap opera, during our second break at work. For the past six years, I am ‘guilty’ of
watching, “The Bold and the Beautiful.”
All the years I stayed home and babysat, I did not watch any soap operas. I did in
college, much to the chagrin of my parents, when I mentioned I was scheduling my
courses around a couple of soap operas!
I was listening, the first year of American Idol, to all the animated conversations in
the teachers’ break room. They were talking about the ‘bad’ try-outs and the odd
characters. It was in the very beginning of the national search for those who would
make it to “Hollywood.” This caught my attention and I am so glad that I started
watching it. I can say, “I remember when I first heard Carrie Underwood’s fantastic
voice, was medium built and had frizzy hair!” Along with several well-known singers
who made it to the Top Ten or higher.
I am grateful that I don’t have to sit on a sofa and listen to radio to imagine the
great radio characters of the “Green Hornet,” “Gracie Allen and George Burns,”
or how the President of the United States looks like as he is speaking. I enjoy
hearing my Mom’s excitement when she heard about Amelia Earhart’s trans-
Atlantic plane trip and her memories of the “Fireside Chats,” with President
I liked how we used to watch to find out if we had school on Snow Days. Later,
if our children or grandchildren have school cancelled. I enjoy watching to see
how ‘my’ candidates or ‘my’ issues are doing, as the voting polls report in their
I am saddened that there are blind people who cannot see, but grateful for the
inventions of special devices and increased equipment due to new technology
allowing them ‘to see’ the shows. The descriptions of the setting, characters and
other visual ‘clues’ are given. I have read about these and think the inventors are
brilliant for creating and providing this service. There are new creations in hearing-
impaired equipment, too.
Many people cannot afford to go to the movies or take a vacation with their families.
They may not go to Broadway but on PBS, they can see a Broadway play or musical.
They get their main form of entertainment from television.
There are others, lying on their back sometimes, healing from surgery or permanent
disabilities. My Dad liked to watch the comedies, while getting his chemo treatments.
Laughing made him feel so much better on those days he was nauseous.
The elderly in the nursing home I worked at for 4 1/2 years, liked to watch the shows
on TV Land, old reruns of “Lawrence Welk” and “Bonanza,” along with their church
programming on Sunday mornings. The beauty of fireworks in our country and
celebrations around the world, brought big smiles to their faces. They enjoyed, as
I still do, the lovely creations in the Tournament of Roses Parade.
We get a sense of conscience from our ‘small screens.’ The night I watched, “Stand
Up 2 Cancer” impacted me, along with millions of other people watching. It moved
us to donate to some form of Cancer (Society) fund-raising, including Hospice Care,
research and local hospitals.
Remember “One Small Step for Mankind?” We now look forward to continued
space travel, inventions and research. When we hear of satellites making it to
Mars or other planets this gives us information that we may use in the future.
A quote about freedom from H.L. Mencken, American author and journalist
“We must be willing to pay a price for freedom,
for no price that is ever asked for it,
is half the cost of doing without it.”
My soap box, put away for now. . .
What do you watch?
Have you heard about any new t.v. show compelling you
to ‘set your DVR’?