There are various shows from the early days of television that seldom appear today, even in the age of TV Land and YouTube. One is the famous Christmas episode of I Love Lucy from 1956, which among other things featured the entire cast at some point in Santa Claus costumes, and also had very imaginative (for that era) use of flashbacks that gave the audience new insight into the Ricardos and Mertzes.
For some of us I Love Lucy is the definitive half-hour comedy, not Seinfeld or Friends, but that's a debate for another day. CBS kept the Christmas episode out of syndication and pretty much out of sight for more than 30 years before finally allowing it to be released in home video on VHS back in 1989. It never pops up, however, on any of the cable networks that air I Love Lucy reruns.
But CBS (WTVF-Channel 5) is bringing it out of the vault 7 p.m. Friday for a rare showing, pairing it with the episode many feel is the funniest in the series, the grape-stomping madness called "Lucy's Italian Movie."
Unfortunately, CBS is (ugh!) colorizing both episodes, although CBS Home Entertainment executive Vice President Ken Ross supports that decision.
"Why not see grapes in purple rather than black and white?" Ross tells TV Guide. He adds that "It looks like it was shot in color in the '50s. It doesn't look like a 2013 show." Lucie Arnaz also endorsed the move, saying, "I am happy it continues to bring joy to folks 57 years later, whatever color it is."
Well, that's certainly a sentiment few would dispute. CBS also used the occasion to announce that the first season of I Love Lucy will be on Blu-Ray in March with a bunch of extra features. "We're calling it The Ultimate Lucy," Ross tells TV Guide. "It's going to be breathtaking."
I'll assume they're not going to colorize that package.
Our friend Rayna is spending some time with country fella Luke Wheeler, and they let me know that apparently you still have to have “R U my GF?” “IDK!” conversations even in your 40s. They segue into gossip about label head Jeff Fordham, who has his fingers allll over this episode, seriously, there was more Jeff than, like, Gunnar. Luke tells her that his buddy Jeff has some big plans for her album release, and woah, she’s mad. She’s so mad that she busts over to Fordham’s house to find him nekkid in the pool. He tells her that he’s dropping a bunch of her songs and releasing the album thanks to her duet with Luke and very famous near-death-experience. She’s mad because her art is being compromised. He’s mad because “people don’t care about albums.” (Someone needs to tell Rayna that he’s right.)
As you can tell from the above preview for tonight's episode of Nashville, it looks like someone's gonna bite it. We've already lost one great character on this show (RIP Jolene, you are an angel watching over us now) — who will suffer at the gnarled hands of fate this time? I've listed the most pertinent characters from order of least to most likely to come to an end. Read along and share your guesses in the comments!
Rayna: Daughter Drama
Let’s go ahead and get Daphne out of the way: she’s on a “trip to D.C.” Sure. Okay. Anyway. Rayna drops Maddie off at Teddy’s office (or the other way around, whatever) and Maddie is mad stoked about the Big Music Festival that’s coming up. She’s got an all-access pass and everything! Deacon is also performing at the festival, and she would like to take a guitar lesson with him, please. Teddy Does Not Approve of this, and Rayna says that Deacon and Maddie have a “musical connection” that should be nurtured and Teddy is like “Don’t give me that DNA crap!” and it sounds like he should have been a defense lawyer instead of a politician. How about this: Maddie learns music and alcoholism from Deacon, and fundraising and embezzling from you? Everyone’s happy!
It has been almost eight decades since the violent deaths of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, and yet they remain icons of outlaw Americana. That owes less to their bloody deeds, which weren't romantic or stylish, than to Arthur Penn's landmark 1967 film Bonnie & Clyde, which was.
Enormously popular in its day, and just as controversial, it featured Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty at the peak of their Hollywood glamour. To be sure, the movie uses their star power somewhat ironically: Beautiful Bonnie is a psycho thrill-seeker, handsome Clyde is an impotent braggart, and together they're fools for their own myth-making. Nevertheless, they cemented the bank-robbing couple in the popular imagination as a combination of Robin Hood and Nick and Nora Charles — so indelibly that few have even tried to challenge their claim on the roles.
The first major attempt in many years arrives next weekend, when three cable networks join forces for the two-night production Bonnie & Clyde. It airs 8 p.m. Sunday and Monday, Dec. 8-9, simultaneously on A&E, Lifetime and the History Channel. Holliday Grainger and Emile Hirsch take the roles immortalized by Dunaway and Beatty in a presentation that is reportedly bolder than its predecessor in terms of setting the killer couple's record straight. Despite their folk-hero images, they were hardened criminals who didn't hesitate to mow down anyone who got in their way, especially near the end of their run.
William Hurt portrays the retired Texas Ranger who picks his guns back up to catch them, and Elizabeth Reaser is a reporter whose excesses mirror the worst behavior of 21st century tabloid types. It will be intriguing to see whether viewers far too young to have seen the '67 production will be attracted to this grittier work. Likewise, will fans of the original want to see a different, updated version?
History Channel has enjoyed great success with similiar productions (e.g., the Hatfields & McCoys miniseries) that use famous figures and incidents as a foundation, then enliven them with detailed scripts and top actors. The channel has equally high hopes for Bonnie & Clyde, while Lifetime and A&E would also like to see this two-night epic pump some firepower into their nightime lineups.
Southern Foodways Alliance has announced that a celebration of Egerton's life has been scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, at the downtown Nashville Public Library, 615 Church St. Those attending are asked to bring a printed remembrance of him. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that mourners contribute to any of a list of Egerton's favorite charities.
In addition, starting Monday, the long-running John Seigenthaler series A Word on Words will run a week of classic Egerton episodes on NPT2. More from Nashville Public Television:
To celebrate the life of John Egerton, who died unexpectedly last week, we will dedicate an entire week of A Word on Words on NPT2 to Mr. Egerton’s appearances. The shows will air at 3:30 p.m. on NPT2 from Monday, December 2 through Friday, December 6. In these episodes, Mr. Egerton and host John Seigenthaler discusses Egerton’s books Where We Stand: Voices of Southern Dissent, Nashville: An American Self-Portrait and more.
NPT2 is available over-the-air on 8.2, on Comcast Channel 241 and Charter Cable channel 191.
Read also the Southern Foodways Alliance remembrance here.
CBS has ascended to top-dog status among broadcast networks through a careful strategy of maximizing predictable programs that earn critical scorn (at best) and viewer acclaim. From CSI and Criminal Minds to Survivor (whatever this year's emphasis might be) and Big Brother to The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men, no one ever accused a CBS show of deviating from whatever formula works.
Which is why it's been stunning to see The Eye make bold moves with two cornerstone programs in midseason. During the same week CBS took huge, potentially unpopular steps with two highly popular shows, and one has already generated an online firestorm.
The death of Joss Carter (superbly played by Taraji P. Henson) on Person of Interest hasn't gone down well in some circles, notably among black viewers. Henson brought a mix of elegance, integrity and resourcefulness to her character, who was determined to expose the corrupt element within the NYPD known as "HR." Carter had already endured the loss of a close friend and lover, survived a demotion, and outwitted previous attempts at permanently silencing her.
But her death on the Nov. 19 episode, while a marvelous move in terms of plotting, hasn't been universally applauded. In fact, Henson has been doing some post-episode diplomatic work, explaining that she knew on the front end her character had two, at best three years within the story line — and that while she felt sad to see Carter killed, she loved working on the program and understood the creative necessity for taking that plot step.
That hasn't satisifed the legions of viewers who complain — rightly — that there's not exactly a surplus of strong, positive black female characters on network TV. And now here's CBS killing off one of them.
Still, that sets up an exceptional revenge finale to the three-part arc billed as "Endgame" on the Nov. 27 episode (WTVF-Channel 5, 9 p.m.). Reese (Jim Caviezel) will display a side of his personality that has always been present, but before has been muted by his efforts to help others. Now that he's on a vigilante crusade, all bets are off.
Whether the death of Carter ultimately helps or hurts Person of Interest, it is the type of shocker rarely seen on a show in mid-season. Usually, producers and writers either do it at year's end to propel interest for a new season, or at the start of a final season to provide a hook through the year.
Packing up a suitcase full of Target lingerie, Rayna is getting ready to head down to Tampa and join Luke Wheeler on tour for companionship/sex. Tandy is going to watch the kids (even though their father lives in town and is the mayor and should probably spend time with them) and asks Rayna to compare Luke to previous kind-of boyfriend, Liam. Rayna says that Liam was “fun and simple,” AND THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT, is also going to be on Game of Thrones, a great program that prominently featured horse blood, the classiest of all mammal bloods.
As expected, both cable and broadcast networks plan a host of specials this week to note the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963. On Thursday, Turner Classic Movies is offering a special night of vintage films charting Camelot from its optimistic origins to its abrupt and tragic end, most seldom seen in recent years. All were done by documentarian Robert Drew.
The night begins at 7 p.m. with Primary, a 1960 examination of the Wisconsin Democratic primary battle between Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey. (New Yorker critic Richard Brody discusses it in the clip above.) Adventures on the New Frontier (1961) at 8:15 is taken from the ABC series Close-Up! and examines his early period in office. Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment (1963) follows at 9:30, documenting the struggle Kennedy faced with then Alabama Gov. George Wallace over the integration of the University of Alabama. After those come Faces of November and Four Days in November (1964), somber portraits of the impact the assassination had on random Americans.
For those who only want to see at most one special, The Discovery Channel airs JFK: The Lost Tapes at 9 p.m. Friday. The show is culled from government tapes taken aboard Air Force One, featuring radio recordings from the Dallas Police Department that have never been heard before on any program.
If you want a sense of the desperation and anguish that wracked the country on one of its darkest days — recorded for posterity by television when it was still in its formative years — tune in.
Tonight at 7 p.m., HBO spotlights a figure who was never widely known outside the black community, and was rather controversial inside it. Jackie "Moms" Mabley was a comic genius light years ahead of her time. As a black lesbian in an era when entertainers like Liberace were still pretending to be straight, she did brilliant, profane routines on everything from racism to having sex with men 30 and 40 years younger.
That particular routine was a marvelous bit where it was obvious to those who knew her background exactly who and what she was talking about in her detailed, highly descriptive commentaries. She wasn't afraid to insert political elements into her standup, while alternating between pretending to be semi-literate and revealing exactly how smart she was.
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