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February 01 2006

Anthony Stewart Head in ABC sitcom pilot. Reuters says he'll star in "Him and Us", based on the life of Elton John. It's about an over-the-hill gay rock star and his relationship with his manager.

Well that sounds like a lot of fun and at the same time very 'Love Actually'.
I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO excited for this.
I guess his kids are now grown up and can't wait for dad to get out of the house ;-)
That's exactly what I thought when I read it Caroline. Either that or the weather's finally driven him away.

Sounds like it could be a laugh tho' and we all know he can act so I guess what i'm trying to say is it'll be a miracle if it gets picked up ;).
Wow, that sounds interesting. I'll definitely watch it.
Yep, I'll be there as well. Strange thing is: I never got into the rhythem of regularly watching Tony's British shows (shame on me! I'll make up for it by buying the DVDs, though), but I'll definately be here for that. Gay over-the-hill rockstar? Sounds like it could be great. And, yes, there's definately a 'Love Actually' vibe there, but I don't mind.

Also Caroline: that's exactly what I thought when I read this too :-).
And how lucky that it's an ABC pilot, since they've been doing so well with risk-taking in the past couple of years. I can't wait to see it.
Well, since it's a pilot and it's a sitcom, the chances of this being picked up are pretty small. ASH will be wanting to pick up some pennies over pilot season, no doubt.
First, no, actually, I really don't enjoy being a lone contrarian amid folks I like. Having said that...

Second, oh. Another "gay"-themed show. How... creative. < /s >

[ edited by Simon on 2006-02-01 15:38 ]
"Gay" themed? In quotes nonetheless? Hmm. Anywho. This is more self-congratulatory than anything. First Vegas, and now a sitcom? Et tu, Elton? I mean, it worked so well for Bette Midler. Oh, wait... Still, I love Tony and I love Elton, so I'd love to see this work.

[ edited by Samantha on 2006-02-01 22:58 ]
I very hope that this sit-com will be made it!!!! I love Tony and I want to see more shows with him on it!!!!!
ASH doing comedy and singing = good.
Possible cheesy "aren't gays cute" theme = bad.
Laugh track = bad

I think it does have a chance to get picked up because of the very success of previous gay themed shows. Add the attention that Brokeback Mountain is receiving, all the people who love Elton John because he sang at Princess Diana's funeral and I think someone can sell it. And I would dearly love to see ASH again on the little screen. He could do this easily, I think, but I would personally like to see more dramatic range than it sounds like this would allow him.
My first thought was, ‘this better be good’, as Dame Elton John is by now an official national treasure in Britain, much like the late Queen Mum, and surely we want to avoid any international incidents :)

My second thought was that after Hugh Laurie someone is raiding the British talent larder (hey, just help yourselves), hoping for the same sort of ratings effect Mr Laurie brought to the table.

Sounds like it could be potentially fun, and with Will & Grace disappearing, there obviously is a gap in the market, but somehow I rate the chances of this making it rather low. Not that I know anything about TV. And for the record: I hated Love Actually with a fiery passion reserved for people who sell their own culture down the river (or the Atlantic in this case).

Also I am still waiting for the moment when a gay person is actually allowed to play a gay person, by hey ho, baby steps.
dan we don't sign our posts here so that's why your post was edited. Another gay-themed show? I can only think of two shows in in the last few years that aired on American networks.

Also I am still waiting for the moment when a gay person is actually allowed to play a gay person, by hey ho, baby steps.


Wouldn't that be great if it actually ever happened? One day.
Another sitcom, huh? Greeeeeeat! ;)

Sorry! All the best wishes in the world to ASH for this project but i'm really not a sitcom fan at all. With the exception of the more unique styles of Ricky Gervais' The Office and Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights/Max and Paddy i just don't find scripted comedy funny. Give me stand up stuff any day of the week.
Well, in fairness Buffy The Vampire Slayer didn't overplay Willow's gayness too much. I almost wish they'd thrown the fact Mal is gay into Firefly, and just left it at that.
That's what networks do, they see a successful show and then they try to make other shows like it, except they miss what actually made it popular in a lot of cases and go straight for a surface element. If its a good show it will find its audience. If its uninteresting, poorly written, etc., it will most certainly not. So I like to believe... Looking forward to check out ASH on the small screen again as well.

And Simon was correct, it sounds like Love Actually to me as well. Expecting Bill Nighy to be mentioned now ;)

gossi - the Mal/Inara shippers are burning you in effigy whilst simultaneously preparing Mal/Operative slash.
If it's well-written, then I'd LOVE to see ASH in this project. He's funny and has a great singing voice, so I think he'd be pretty good. I never saw "Love Actually" but it's hardly unusual for Hollywood to rip-off, er, borrow ideas from anywhere they can. I'll bet the pitch starts with "It's "Love Actually" meets "Will & Grace" with a touch of "House" but no medicine, okay okay, just prescription drugs."

Oh, Zeitgeist. You had to mention the Mal/Operative slash, huh? I am simultaneously aghast and intrigued. You are a very bad man.

[ edited by punkinpuss on 2006-02-01 17:17 ]
lioness -- "ASH doing comedy and singing = good." Totally agree.

gossi -- sorry, I was unclear; I didn't mean "another in addition to Buffy"; I meant "another in addition to all the other ones" (four that I can think of offhand, broadly-defined).

Simon -- I don't understand the rule (you called me my name to explain to me that you were deleting my name!), but I certainly am willing to respect it. Sorry!

(Agh, two "sorries" in one post. Hope that means I'm done for the day!)
I can only think of two gay-themed shows on network television, one isn't on the air anymore ("Ellen") and the other won't be around much longer ("Will & Grace"). Which ones am I missing?
There were a few other shows.... uh Queer Eye for the straight guy(boring), and I think two other shows(sitcoms) but they didn't survive past 1st season. Right now, I am not a fan of sitcoms, I prefer Drama-Comedy's, but if its any good I will watch it. Although watching an aging queen... not exactly my idea of entertainment.
Queer Eye isn't network television. I can think of several shows on cable, but not on the networks.
filops My mistake I should have called you by your username to avoid confusion.
"The L Word". However, there really isn't an overload of gay culture programming - I mean, percentage wise, theres almost zero. Gay movies? Uhm, 1 in the last year... Yet I'm seeing lots of people elsewhere online complaining about the gay overload. Go figure.

Personally, I want all those female empowerment programmes off the TV - it's madness! Just look at those 3 adverts a year with positive, non-sexist female rolemodels. Madness I tells you.

[ edited by gossi on 2006-02-01 18:47 ]
I love (and Netflix) "The L Word" like I loved (and Netflixed) "Sex In The City". But it's too bad ASH's show is on ABC. They haven't had anything good survive on that network since Twin Peaks. The last thing I watched regularly on ABC was Push, NV. Which they killed.
*sigh*

[ edited by AmazonGirl on 2006-02-02 18:37 ]
Not so sure about that, AmazonGirl. Last time i checked ABC had Alias, Boston Legal, Grey's Anatomy and Invasion, all either doing very well or coming to the end of a good run.

Oh, and a couple of other shows nobody seems to be watching. Y'know, Lost and Desperate Housewives. ;)
AmazonGirl, having trouble understanding your post. Could you re-edit and maybe not put a linebreak after each sentence as well?

ETA - ok, turning it over in my head I think I understand what you were saying.
Oh no, "the gays" are at it again! It's just part of their nefarious world conquering scheme. Next they're gonna activate their Fruity Oaty commercial and we're all going to turn gay! Why, right after watching Brokeback Mountain I could only barely resist my urge to mount the nearest guy.
To be a bit more serious, I wonder why nobody ever complains about all those straight themed shows, i.e. just about every show ever made.
Lets try to keep it on track here :) It isn't 'the gays' its the 'evil networks', now proceed.

KernelM - not wanting to encourage this direction for the topic, but if you read the right forums and hang with the right crowds you WILL see that very complaint. Why you don't see it in general is probably because of the numbers involved. The general figure is that 10% of the population is gay (please correct me if I'm wrong but I've never seen good numbers north of 12% or so). Folks who are 'outnumbered' 10 to 1 and used to being persecuted aren't always the first to speak up, needless to say.
OH MY GIDDY AUNT SALLY!!! I'm so looking forward to this, that is if it is commissioned as a series and sold to a UK network!
"The L Word" is yet another example of a gay themed show that not on network television. I honestly don't think there's so much of it on network tv for the subject matter to feel over utilized. Now, crime procedurals, those are a dime a dozen.
Gays on TV? (Well the character he will play is).
Gosh, people here in the south will complain.......
I so hope this is well written, and NO laugh track. ASH is so talented and deserves some success! Would love a stronger theme rather than just "over the hill gay rock star". Surely there will be more to this show than that. I want some plot arcs and character developement. If it is well written, I hope it sticks around. Good for Tony!
Gosh, people here in the south will complain.......

I wish we could do away with Southern stereotypes as well. Yes, I'm sure plenty will complain, but we don't have a monopoly on prejudice down here.
I come from an extremely liberal family, and guess what...they live in Arkansas. I do understand what you mean though, Jonas. I also think you might have been a tad on the sarcastic side, too:) Sometimes it's so hard to tell in posting land. Anyway, us poor Southerners sometimes get the shaft when people assume we won't like something because it may have that slant to the left. Only time and education will help this problem. Thanks, for a shout out for the South, killinj, even though you're an Aussie.
I thought killinj was a Floridian, rather than an Aussie?
SNT is correct, I'm a Floridian from the part of FL where people still speak with a Southern accent. Although, I'd love to visit Australia if my wallet would ever permit a trip.

Corrected were to where.

[ edited by killinj on 2006-02-01 21:48 ]
You know, honestly Im sick of so many gay-themed programs(network or cable... or... movies). I would like to see programs that incorporate other under-represented minorities. Like those of the llamas. They have been largely ignored by mainstream society, its time they had their due. I want to see a llama sitcom with a llama-llaugh track. Maybe its just me.
I started to think 'Oh, here we go...', then I saw the word llamas and the name kurya and I laughed instead :)
Can I just agree completely with kurya regarding the woeful under-representation of llamas on our screens and having agreed can I also be the first to protest the potential future swamping of our screens with this potentially incessant stream of llamas ? It's potentially very annoying.
You are so right kurya, there should be more llama programing.
No, no, there should be gay llama programming.
Has anyone actually hung around with llamas? They really are not at all nice animals. They spit and kick and in generel are quite disagreeable. I for one have no interest in a series staring these vile creatures.
When I first read the headline before I read the article, I thought ASH would play the manager. He's a dry wit guy, and if he played the manager, then the relationship between the rock star and manager would be a different type than in Love Actually. Er, I guess I'm wrong, and this will be exactly like Love Actually, actually. :-(

Of course, the ideal casting would be ASH as the manager, and Llama McLlamerstein as the rock star. But then the llama llobby would be all up in our grill about stereotyping llamas as gay. ;-)

BTW, there was a sitcom for a short time a year or two ago about a man and a woman getting married, and the hi-larious joke was that the woman had two gay dads. So there's your "gay overload." ;-)

Too bad gay people are showing up in sitcoms kind of as the punch line, instead of leads in dramas. I mean, House could easily be gay, it would just be another part of his personality, but, no, he already has a "quirk." I guess we wouldn't root for Jack Bauer if he were gay and still tortured people every week (but now he'll torture them in a more kewl and interesting way because DF is writing it! ;-)). Or Vic on The Shield, or Bones, or one of the lawyers on Boston Legal (wow, they're pretty ragingly heterosexual! ;-)), or Curtis on 24, or anybody else who's a hero on a drama could be gay, but, no, I guess then they wouldn't be "heroic" enough. :-( /rant

Well, the important part is, like gossi said, ASH will earn some money during pilot season. Yay ASH! :-)
With ya, billz. It needs to be a part of the character, not the sum total of the character. One dimensional characters get boring, even (or especially) when their one dimension is sex.
Gay Llamas that practice witchcraft.
Something like sliders...
Where they jump into DVD covers they don't belong in and have adventures.
To get serious for a moment(It is possible for me Im not a llama-maniac), I agree with Billz whole-heartedly. Thing is the queer community, it is estimated to be 10% of the population, if you looked at tv... in terms of "gay"-themed shows on cable and network, its not a whole lot(less than 10%), and when the "gay" card is used, its used as a quirk... part of the concept( a punchline as billz puts it), and not just a natural facet of the character. The gay character has to be really manly butch or just this flaming queen who loves cher, at least thats my impression of how its shown in tv. It just doesnt feel natural, its taken to the absurd. I know in sitcoms thats how it works, but I would like to see queer characters in a more natural light in dramas etc.

Although it is network television, and we all know it never reflects the real world completely anyway(don't get me started on reality shows). I mean in terms of the percentage of North America's population that is black, latino, south asian, east asian, is not proportionally represented on tv, except in certain situations. Anyways I am not complaining about television not being PC(politically correct) enough, it is what it is, mostly a lot of crap, PC or non-PC.

And to respond to the gay-llama thing....Ok I can handle gay programs, and llama programs I would love to see(just as long I dont have to smell the llamas....), but gay-llamas? I am sorry that is just morally objectionable and against God's plan.(or the plan of numerous Gods, depending on your belief system).
ASH portraying Elton John? Cakewalk. It'll be entertaining in much the same way it'd be funny to see Samuel L. Jackson portray Mr. T.

That being said, I haven't watched regular TV in over half a year, and haven't missed it either. I left LOST when they did that absurd countdown thing in the basement. Never did more than gawk at Desperate Housewives early on, but had to turn the sound off. Nice eye candy, but the dialogue is like chalkboard scratching. I preferred that one chick when she portrayed Lois Lane, and I HATED her back then.

Alias requires more suspension of disbelief than Kirstie Alley's last twelve diet attempts. Jennifer Garner would be more believable portraying an actress than she would be portraying a spy, which isn't saying much.

Boston Legal. Great to see Shatner still making a living. Candice Bergen's still milfy after all these years. However, and I don't care how funny those two guys are together: yet another show about lawyers? *YAWN*

Grey's Anatomy: yet another medical dramadie? *YAWN*

Invasion: yet another thriller about aliens taking over humankind? *YAWN*

Thank you for reminding me why I stopped watching regular tv. LOL
As far as I'm concerned, in many ways it is currently the golden age of TV. Shows like Deadwood, BSG, 24, Buffy and Lost have pushed the envelope of what has been possible with TV. Go back 20 years and you have shit soaps, nowhere near the production values and even more restricted story lining.
As a gay male, I must say that I find most "gay programming" quite horrible. Will & Grace is cringe inducing, Queer As Folk (US) was a parade of stereotypes, and don't get me started on the Queer Eye movement. Ugh. I'd much rather have a well drawn gay character on an otherwise "straight" show, such as Willow. I also admit that it'd be nice if Dr. House, Jack Bauer, or Jack on Lost could be gay without it ever being an issue. Oh well.

I'd have to see how this would turn out before I could say I'd watch it. ASH is awesome, but ABC sitcoms are always fairly awful.
MindPieces (or anyone else for that matter) - Did you catch the UK Queer as Folk or just US? Big fan of Russel T Davies here and I was wondering if it was worthwhile. Just watched Bob & Rose a little while back and found it didn't try to simple things down, which I appreciated. I know I'm wandering into Whedonesque.org territory and if I pursue it any further I will make myself go over there and post :)
So, wait... you're saying ASH is going to play a "gay," singing llama?

Well, okay then -- that would be different....
All of this makes me think of the farcical ASH as PM skits on Little Britain with David Walliams as Sebastian fawning over him.
I've seen episodes of both versions of Queer as Folk, and I can't really judge, but I have heard alot of people prefer the UK version to the US one.

Ok this sitcom is sounding more absurd... "ASH playing a gay singing llama", that is ludicrous. Everyone knows llamas can't sing for the life of them! That would require some serious acting chops for that to work out....and I don't think anyone could pull it off, let alone ASH.
As a gay male, I must say that I find most "gay programming" quite horrible.

As a straight male suffering from self-imposed abstinence, I must say that I find the idea that there needs to be "gay programming" about as absurd as the idea that there needs to be "black" or "women" or "small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri" programming. Shows like Queer As Folk and Will & Grace are terrible not because they're gay, but because they're poorly produced and the petty talent hams at the camera like a bunch of pruning storks in a zoo. The sexual proclivities of the characters are not relevant.

[ edited by ZachsMind on 2006-02-01 23:11 ]
Also I am still waiting for the moment when a gay person is actually allowed to play a gay person, by hey ho, baby steps.


Well, how do we know for sure who's gay and who's straight? Some people like to keep that private. But I always wondered about the actors on Queer as Folk. Also, Laurel Holloman of The 'L' Word (who also played Justine on Angel) - her first role was Randy, the teenage lesbian protagonist in "The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls in Love", and I'm guessing she's probably gay herself. Not that there's anything wrong with that.* Or not that I care.

I just think it's fantastic that a straight actor (especially male) is able to act out gay love scenes for a part, ala Brokeback Mountain.

MindPieces, I agree with you about the gay programming. There should just be a show where the main character is gay, but it's not what the show is about. It would be cool if Jack on Lost were gay, and before we saw his backstory there was speculation about that.

I think our society is ready for gay characters who are more fleshed out, who aren't just about "being gay". Willow is definitely a good example of the kind of thing there should be more of. Btw, there's a new series called Crumbs starring Fred Savage as a gay character. The show isn't about him being gay, it's about his family. I haven't seen the show, but it looks like it's an Arrested Development-type of show.

Back on topic, I think a sitcom based on Elton John has a good chance of winning a pilot, and having the talent of ASH doesn't hurt. Good luck to Mr. Head!


*Obligatory Seinfeld reference

[ edited by ElectricSpaceGirl on 2006-02-01 23:10 ]
As far as I'm concerned, in many ways it is currently the golden age of TV.

What? You better have tongue firmly in cheek if you're saying that with a straight face.
Well, in my firsthand experience, gay people take out the garbage, pay taxes, worry about their jobs, fall in love, have boring lives, (or not) and do a WHOLE lot of stuff just like straight people!!

And watch out for those singing llamas, especially those of you in the front rows at their shows - spit'll be flying everywhere, I tell ya!

(Whoa, and looky, ZachsMind is back!!)
kurya Accept the Flying Spaghetti Monster into your heart. I've a feeling he/she/it doesn't mind llamas, gay or otherwise ;).

I think if you are discriminating enough there's always good TV to watch tho' currently there does seem to be a lot of decent programmes on (possibly some kind of scripted backlash against the 'reality' tsunami of recent years). That said, I probably have around 50 or 60 channels many of which are on for 15-20 hrs a day so there's (very conservatively) 200 hours of original programming broadcast every week and I probably watch around 15-20 hours of that (and I have very broad tastes, some of my friends consider me a bit of a telly addict in fact) so there's also plenty of crap on now, just like 20 years ago (in fact the proportion may be higher today).

I'm hoping that gay characters will progress the same way as black characters on TV. To start with there'll be very few and they'll be occupying niche roles (in the UK only about 30 years ago we had 'Love Thy Neighbour' a show about a black family and white family who were - surprise ! - neighbours and a show more full of crude stereotypes and racist innuendo you couldn't - and wouldn't want to - imagine). Now, although there's still a long way to go for black TV characters, a lot of progress has been made and it's much more noticeable when there are none in a show or where the casting smacks of tokenism. Hopefully all minorities will progress the same way and their TV roles will reflect greater social acceptance (and then i'll teach the world to sing in perfect harmony ;).

Without meaning to stray into very dodgy territory, if more people spent a little time thinking for themselves instead of blindly adhering to the views proposed in some old book (whichever one it may be) I think we'd all get to a happier and more tolerant society that much quicker.

Er, ladder ? I find myself stuck on a rather high soapbox ;).
It would be cool if Jack on Lost were gay, and before we saw his backstory there was speculation about that.

Wait a second, ElectricSpaceGirl, you've got me thinking. If you look back on it, the flashbacks on Lost show Jack's marriage plainly was in trouble, and he married a woman whose life he saved. I don't see anything there that really says "Jack's not gay." Yeah, the more I've read you and other posters mentioning Jack as a character for whom being gay would just be one facet of an interesting personality, the more I think this would be perfect.

*clears throat* Er, Mr. Abrams, sir, if you read this site, could you please think about the idea of Jack on your show being gay? Thank you!
Well, Jack on LOST could be gay. He might have become a workaholic to avoid facing reality, and maybe he got married for the same reason.

Or not.

Just saying. :-)
Hey, ZachsMind, I'm not going to debate with you about the quality of current TV programming, but if you haven't checked out the new Battlestar Galactica yet, you're truly missing out. Best Sci Fi show since Firefly.

Also wanted to let you know that I was one of the people inquiring about your whereabouts. I hadn't seen you post in like a year and I thought you were dead or something. I'm glad to see you're still breathing - or that is, still able to type. ;) Good to see you popping your head in.

As for "it is currently the golden age of TV", I see why someone would say that. TV is changing. We now have a hip, witty, well-scripted teen mystery (Veronica Mars), an old-fashioned space opera (Battlestar Galactica), a wacky family sit-com on crack (Arrested Development) which is soon to be cancelled but may be picked up by Showtime, a hospital show centered around a mean but hilarious curmudgeon (House), a wacky hospital sitcom on crack (Scrubs), three shows about Alien invasion (Invasion, Surface, Threshold), a comedy/drama series about best friends who happen to be mother and daugher set in a wacky small town (Gilmore Girls), a creepy deserted-island mystery (Lost), and an authentic old-time Western with all the cussing you can't handle (Deadwood). None of these shows are terrible, imo. Most of them are really good. No, they ain't Buffy, but they have a style and talent all their own. This is why I'm loving TV right now.

Sure, I'd love TV more if Joss Whedon came back to the small screen. I'd actually like nothing less. But TV-without-Whedon doesn't necessarily suck, you just have to be willing to give other shows a chance (like Battlestar Galactica).

[ edited by ElectricSpaceGirl on 2006-02-01 23:27 ]
Wow, billz! We had the same thought at the same time. :-)
Saje - we want to avoid discussions of old books and their impacts on people's views, thanks!

What? You better have tongue firmly in cheek if you're saying that with a straight face.


Not at all. I really do think TV drama is better than it's ever been.

That said, of course, I think the reality movement is flawed - and frankly 99% shit. But, in terms of drama and production values, some of the shows on the air at the moment you simply wouldn't find many years ago.
Very kewl, barbara! I am such a slow typist, it usually looks like I have thoughts hours after other people do (and sometimes that is exactly true)! ;-)

Back on topic, I think it's hard to say what is a golden era of TV. It would be whenever your favorite shows are on! There's so much TV now, including networks and cable, that there's certainly more chances for good shows to be on, and more chances for crap to be on. Plus, I'm with ElectricSpaceGirl feeling the Deadwood love, but lots of people think it's offensive. So it's a little gold, a little sh*t, depending on how you see it.

Nice to see what ZachsMind has to say. A lot of people were posting about you the other day, and now I see why -- you totally state your mind! Welcome back! :-)
Sorry zeitgeist built up a head of steam only to crash through the 'appropriateness' barrier and come to a juddering halt in full on 'here there be philosophical monsters' territory ;).

I think to some extent comparing 'golden ages' is a bit apples/oranges. TV drama can go a lot further than it could 20 years ago (something like 'Deadwood' would probably have been considered a video nasty) and the viewing public are much more media savvy and aware - even if only subconsciously - of storytelling conventions.

There was still great TV drama back then, however, sometimes with a real edge (anyone who remembers watching 'Threads' on UK TV will probably back me up on this, if you thought nuclear war was a bad idea before, boy, were you convinced afterwards ;), or Callan (kind of a younger, more nihilistic version of The Equalizer) or Shoestring (has to be one of the best TV themes ever). And the list could go on. The US had 'Cheers', 'Mash' on the comedy front, 'St Elsewhere', 'Hill Street Blues' for drama among many others. Were they as dark ? Probably not, nor cut as quickly nor as event packed but those were just the conventions back then and what people expected.
if you haven't checked out the new Battlestar Galactica... Best Sci Fi show since Firefly.

And it's a sad day in the 'verse if that's true. ROTFLMAO! Dude. Starbuck? NOT a babe. That's about as much Battlestar Galactica as home movies by The Star Wars Kid are Empire Strikes Back.

This is SO not a golden age. Reality television has made it a laughing stock. Producers kissing marketing's orifices and bossing artists around like they're dime a dozen cattle. There's no way this can be a golden age. "Talent" that creates network prime time television wallows in mediocrity and predictable 'safe' territory, while the few daring souls braving actual storytelling and making things people love as oppose to just tolerate? Those talents are having to find other venues for crafting their art.

Veronica Mars is erratic fluff. Arrested Development is forced kitsch. Scrubs is forced humor. The only time I ever enjoyed Scrubs was when Michael J. Fox had that two episode special appearance. Now that was a pleasant surprise. Any other time I accidently catch Scrubs I wanna stick my head through the tube and wear the television like a lampshade.

You want golden age shows? Try I Love Lucy, Perry Mason, Honeymooners, Your Show of Shows, Steve Allen's Tonight Show appearances. Jack Parr's Tonight Show, Burns and Allen, Jack Benny, Twilight Zone.

You want the best hour of television in the history ever of all TV? ROD SERLING'S REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT starring Jack Palance! Nothing before or since has topped that.

As for more recent memory, how about MASH, St. Elsewhere. L.A. LAW, Hill Street Blues, Northern Exposure, The X-Files, Star Trek franchise... Even the best shows that are on right now pale in comparison.

Any producer for shows that take place in hospitals, court rooms, or "set in a wacky small town" should be lined up against a wall and SHOT. And any producer for a show that deals with alien invasion should be locked in a tiny room filled with FaceHuggers.
U.S. tv dramas have come a long way since the A-Team, Magyver, Dallas, and Knight Rider. When I think of bad tv dramas - I think of the 80's.
As far as I know, our noodly master the Flying Spaghetti Monster loves Gay Llamas.

It may be the straight Llamas that are closeted in his view.
The U.S. (really Canadian) version of Queer as Folk had some episodes where the most "out there" character was hired by the local TV station to add some hip "gayness" to the station. But when he tried to do anything but give decorating tips, he was booted off. That is, when he tried to talk about what activities defined him as gay, it was far too explicit for them.
A very good commentary on how gays are portrayed on mainstream TV.
I'd have to agree that television is about as good now as it has been in quite a while, as far as i'm concerned. For a very long time it was Joss' shows that were my whole reason for owning a television, with a little Farscape on top for good measure.

It began slowly in 2001 but since then there has been a steady build up of good quality television shows appearing. Maybe not all to my personal taste (i don't watch Grey's Anatomy or Desperate Housewives myself but my girlfriend is addicted to both) but ultimately what matters is that there is a wide variety of decent dramas making their way onto our screens to suit pretty much everyone's tastes.

Personally i currently look forward to new episodes of 24, Alias, Battlestar Galactica, Lost, Veronica Mars, Invasion and Supernatural, with the possible future inclusion of House and Deadwood when i get chance to give them a look. I don't think that is a particularly bad selection at all.

Maybe not quite a golden age of television (for that we would need a weekly dose of the Buffyverse on our screens again) but certainly a silver age! ;)
ZM - welcome back! Totally disagree with you on BSG, VM, Arrested Development and Scrubs - though I haven't seen Scrubs beyond S2, so... Having watched the original BSG growing up, all I can think is THANK THE GODS that the new BSG is not the old BSG. Your shouts to old school stuff like Lucy, Jack Parr, Steve Allen wherever he showed up are well taken, though...

MASH - never really dug it.
L.A. LAW - started great, but became repetetive and gave birth to an army of feckless one armed clones of itself (not directly but)
Northern Exposure - loved it.
The X-Files - it was good for a couple dozen episodes, too bad you would have to watch six bad ones per good one.
Star Trek - In hindsight, Deep Space Nine was the only good Trek.

Any producer for shows that take place in ... should be lined up against a wall and SHOT.


One might've said that about high schools or vampires once. Its how the story is told and what it means that matters.

ETA - just noticed you link Kingdom of Loathing in your profile, right on :)
Zeitgeist, keep watching Scrubs because the show just gets better and better. It must be good because it is the one and only US sitcom that i have any time for at all.

As for the shows mentioned by ZachsMind, i pretty much have to agree with most of the opinions given by Zeitgeist. Mash and L.A. Law were really not my thing growing up and having seen them in later years i still don't get why they were so popular. I did actually enjoy Northern Exposure when i was at school but again having seen repeats in later years i don't think it aged all that well. Star Trek is what Star Trek is, nuff said.

The X Files is a different story though. I was a very big fan of the show for many years and even enjoyed the occasional episode of the final two Mulderless seasons. That is one series (coupled with Millennium) that i would have to agree deserved to be considered a classic.
Its how the story is told and what it means that matters.

Hear hear. I couldn't agree more. The premise, or setting, of a show has so little to do with its greatness. I certainly would never have been sold on the premise of Buffy, Angel, or Firefly. It's the writers, actors, and how the story is told that makes the difference.

ZachsMind, Love reading your opinions, but I'm not with you on this being the dark ages of television. I second the love shown for many of the programs already mentioned – Veronica Mars, Gilmore Girls, Deadwood, etc – and would add a pitch for The Wire – for my money, one of the best TV shows ever made. Rescue Me and Nip/Tuck have had their moments, and West Wing is also brilliant - i still haven't seen it in its Sorkin-less years, but i hear it's a lot better this year. While there certainly are a lot of great classic TV shows now off the air (though I'd be more a fan of shows like Freaks and Geeks and SportsNight than The X-Files, L.A. Law, or Star Trek), I think there's lots of good stuff out there today as well. Admittedly amid much trash, but that's always been the case on television. Premium stations like HBO and Showtime have pushed TV dramas into directions never really seen on the networks - higher production values, more willingness to take risks with plotting or characters or difficult plots and subject matters. And smaller cable stations like F/X are also pushing in new directions.
I feel like the reality juggernaut has hit its peak and is on the descent, and in its wake its making room for some really innovative storytelling.
Heh, I just have to laugh. The Random Whedonesque Quote Generator gave me this for this page: "And hello, gay now." I wonder if it really is a random quote after all? ;-)

Back on topic, maybe we're not talking about an "age" of gold or sh*t at all. We're really singling out individual shows. There are some bad, bad trends *coughrealityshowscough* but there is still some room for good shows. For me, it seems like the shows I like most get taken off quickest -- Wonderfalls, Firefly, Freaks and Geeks, and so on -- but some survive a while, too -- Buffy, Angel, BSG, Six Feet Under, Deadwood, Veronica Mars, Everwood (please don't laugh and point, I live in a small Colorado town for gods' sake!), Simpsons, Arrested Development, Scrubs. Then there's the ones I watch because I keep hoping for that occasional moment that really rocks, surrounded by stuff that's not so rockful -- Lost, 24, Family Guy, Bones, House (more House & his buddy, less of his too-pretty-too-caring young underlings, please!).

Looking back at my list, I realize how much Fox has got me by the short and curlies. Gods help a poor boy! ;-)

Maybe I can say that in a "tin age" there are some "golden shows!" :-)
killinj is from Florida **hitting forehead** of course. Not sure what I was thinking. When you said "down here" ...anyway.

Zachsmind - I love reading your posts, so good. Of course I disagree with them entirely, but I still love reading them. Welcome back.

[ edited by Harmalicious on 2006-02-02 06:29 ]
VWaG, have you tried 'My Name is Earl' ? It's a bit schmaltzy at times but it usually has a bunch of chuckles and at least 2 laugh out loud moments per episode (IMO obviously, nothing's more subjective than humour).

Second the original BSG non-love (especially compared to the current brilliant incarnation, the female Starbuck is more 'Starbuck' than the old one ever was. Cat meet pigeons, Pigeons, cat ;). Even as a youngster I thought it was cheesy nonsense. And of Galactica '80 we shall never speak.

Mash without the laugh track was classic comedy with occasional genuine poignancy. With, it was basically unwatchable.

For my money, X-files jumped big style when 'Samantha was in the starlight' and then repeatedly after that right up to the long overdue (and utterly dull) ending.

billz I read that as 'golden showers'. Now that's an image definitely more descriptive of 'reality' TV ;).
Yes, welcome back, Zachsmind. But I, too, have to disagree somewhat. I don't disagree with your choices of classic TV shows, but, although there was some overlap, the shows you list cover a number of years. If we look at the number of quality shows on right now, I think I would have to agree that we have quite a bit to be thankful for. Golden Age? I don't know. That's in the mind of the beholder. But there is quality on TV.

And, excuse me, but why does Starbuck have to be a babe (assuming for the moment that people don't think she is)? Thank the gods BSG has strong women of diverse types, who can be tough and sexy in their own ways, and we don't have to be force-fed the same cookie-cutter cuties that appear in virtually every other TV program on air. Thank goodness for diversity on TV -- and some alternative choices for young women to follow.
I think Starbuck redux is a babe - assuming we define babe as "a woman I am attracted to." And Boomer redux is quite a bit cuter than the previous incarnation too.
billz I read that as 'golden showers'. Now that's an image definitely more descriptive of 'reality' TV ;).
OMG! LOL, but not what I meant at all! But, I have to say, last night's episode of Distraction (really bad game show on Comedy Central that puts Fear Factor into a game show format) had a totally gross round of questions where the contestants had to pee before they could buzz in to answer a question. Believe me, I have tried to destroy those memory brain cells that were affected, but no success. Maybe this disgusting incident clouded my mind when I was typing! ;-)
24? Lost? My Name Is Earl? House? Everwood? Simpsons? Gilmore Girls? Veronica Mars?

This is why mediocrity reigns on television today. So many people are willing to settle for it. And it's why I no longer watch. I see no quality television. Numb3rs and The Medium are close, but like Joan of Arcadia quickly fell into formulaic patterns by end of first season, just as Lost has. There is no golden television today.

...Still glad I'm back?
ZM, still haven't tried Deadwood? And House is good!

And yep, nice to see ya alive and very obviously kicking! :)
Deadwood is a great DVD series.

...

As is Dead Like Me. Awesome.

...

To me, cable died when MST3K was cancelled. I don't understand paying for cable, but I got no problem buying or renting good DVDs

[ edited by ZachsMind on 2006-02-02 03:30 ]
Thought to add my two cents to the mix.

I have to agree with many of the posters that TV drama is really the best it has been for a really long time.

Lost, Battlestar Galactica, Desperate Housewives, Rome, House, Grey's Anatomy to name a few. And Veronica Mars, definitely. I even like Boston Legal - it occasionally manages to combine drama and comedy in thought-provoking and touching ways.

Grey's Anatomy - most definitely NOT just 'another medical dramedy'. This show really delivers the goods on a weekly basis - heart-wrenching drama, gripping emotions and witty dialogue with an intriguing set of characters. If nothing else, watch it for Sandra Oh. Seriously.

House - kind of like CSI in a hospital, but with far superior writing and acting. David Shore's season 1 episode 'Three Stories' was just phenomenal storytelling - if you don't feel like watching the series, at least check out this episode. And Hugh Laurie. He IS the series - he's in almost every scene, at least that's what it feels like. Those Brits ;)

ZM - Yeah, Dead Like Me is up there with the best.

[ edited by AngelEd on 2006-02-02 03:35 ]
Deadwood is untouchable. It's the only currently running drama that I'd hold up to anyone who says there's nothing great on TV right now. At the same time, it's important to acknowledge that it's not everyone's thing. They might not be into the setting, characters, pacing (important to note for all comedies as well, humor being even more hard to peg for people. I loved Arrested Development, at least the first season of it. And Scrubs was great fun and often very smartly written those first three seasons I was able to keep track of it)...some are inexplicably put off by Deadwood's swearing.

ZachsMind, if you're willing to give other HBO dramas a shot, Six Feet Under's well worth a try on DVD. Again, not for everyone, but one of the best dramas in existence, IMO. Lasted five seasons and had one of the best final years, no cop-outs.

Rescue Me is well made. I didn't care for the series premiere, but the rest of the season was entertaining. It's a very male-centric series, but not in a stuffy male-dominated cop, lawyer, or doctor drama fashion (to be fair to cop shows, there is The Shield).

Lost's hatch cliffhanger for Season 1 was cheap and not a very suitable reward for having watched all season, but I stuck around anyway for Season 2 and it's turned out pretty well...have to see how February sweeps go. I try not to worry to much about the present day island weirdness storyline, that's just the fun trappings. Eventually I hope it'll build to some really interesting revelations and explosive events, but for now I'm cool with it being all about the characters. The cast really is one of the best on TV.

I gave up on Dead Like Me after an overly treacly solution/conclusion to the third or fourth episode of the first season turned me off. Bryan Fuller went on to create and run the often excellent Wonderfalls with Todd Holland and Tim Minear though, after he more or less abandoned DLM over problems with Showtime and/or MGM. I wanna give DLM another chance, people have said it was a strong show throughout its two seasons--did it get much of a proper conclusion though?

Looking forward to the sixth and final season of The Sopranos that premieres on my birthday in March...!!!
I've only seen Season 1 of "House" but I love it- though I will be interested to see how they develop it further. They'll need to flesh out the other characters a bit more to make them more than just playthings for House and it will have to move away from 'wierd illness of the week' as that is already getting old. I think another poster said "oh, someone having a convulsion at 9.02pm, must be another episode of 'House'".

It also freaks me out when I hear Hugh Laurie's real life English accent. It's the reverse of when I listen to James Marsters and Alexis Denisof speak in real life. Like twins separated at birth. Like they're putting it on. Like Lindsay Lohan in Parent Trap only.....way better.
Since we have loved the DVDs of 4 seasons of Blackadder forever, I'm still freaked out by Hugh Laurie talking American! ;-)
I think the problem with Lost is that people are asking too much whilst half expecting it not to deliver. The show raised itself to such a high level so quickly out of the box that now if it doesn't deliver anything spectacular for a few weeks it is somehow considered to be a failure, judged by its own standards.

I tend to look at season two of a successful series as "the difficult second album" of the television world. It's a well known fact in the music business that when a new band start out with a smash hit first album they often struggle to match its success with the follow up. The second album either makes or breaks their longterm career in the business.

Lost is currently suffering in the same way. A spectacular first season has led to the expectation of an even better second season and that may not be possible, at least not immediately. Personally I'm happy with the way season two looks to be developing and I'm more than okay with the writers treading a little water for the moment. They have more than earned a little time to build the story up again. I get the feeling that they won't let us down.

ZachsMind, i'm assuming that by "The Medium" you mean Medium, the Patricia Arquette vehicle? If that is the case then that really does go to show that one man's gold is another man's lead because I found that series to be highly average and extremely predictable. I'd put series like Battlestar Galactica, Veronica Mars and Lost over that any day of the week.

Saje, I've caught bits of My Name is Earl and haven't been too impressed so far. It doesn't suck, by any means, but it hasn't grabbed me either. If I'm home this Friday night I'll give it another look.

Billz, sharing the Blackadder love. Now THAT is comedy! :)
ZachsMind, all I'm going to say is you have to give a show a chance and reserve your judgement until you watch a handful of consecutive episodes. Don't discount anything just because it sounds silly or crappy or anything. Trust me. Rent the BSG mini-series and come back and tell me what you think. If you don't think it's well-written or has interesting characters and you just don't want to watch any more, fine. But give it a chance.

This is all just opinion. I think TV is pretty good this year. I'm excited about it. I know most shows pale in comparison to Joss shows, but they don't have to be Joss shows for me to like them. BSG and VM and Deadwood have me finally convinced that there are other show-runners of the same caliber. And all I can say is, you don't know what you're missing. ;)
ZachsMind wrote:
Shows like Queer As Folk and Will & Grace are terrible not because they're gay, but because they're poorly produced and the petty talent hams at the camera like a bunch of pruning storks in a zoo.


While W&G is far past its prime, it was once a good sitcom.

And I think I would be right in saying you've never seen an episode of QAF if you think it's poorly produced and, well, whatever you said about hams and storks in a zoo.

As a straight man who has imposed abstinence of himself (which makes you more qualified to say what?), maybe you should watch things before actually commenting on them.

I would argue with MindPieces' assertion that QAF (US) is full of stereotypes. Given that there are six lead male characters, all of whom are different (and gay), I can't see how they could all be stereotypes.

What I will remind people of is that QAF (US) is basically just a soap opera - although a very well written and produced soap opera. It's different from the UK original, yes, but that doesn't make it worse.

ElectricSpaceGirl wrote:
Well, how do we know for sure who's gay and who's straight?


Well, we don't. But mostly we lament the fact that out-gay people aren't playing gay characters. If an actor is in the closet playing gay... it's not exactly the same thing!

As far as I'm aware (and I'm only talking about L Word S1 as that's all I've seen), there's only one gay actress on that series - whereas QAF (US) had three gay male actors out of its six leads.

Anyone lamenting "gay programming" might want to think about what it's like to be a gay television viewer who is bombarded with straight programming 98% of the time their entire lives.
Just because no has mentioned it, the new sitcom Crumbs (ABC) has a lead character who happens to be gay. Other than being in the closet to his family, he is not portrayed as a stereotype which I find refreshing. I am not saying the show is any good. All the other characters ARE stereotypes and I find that extremely annoying. Kinda cool that the only sane and normal person on the show happens to be gay.
keith G said ...

I would argue with MindPieces' assertion that QAF (US) is full of stereotypes. Given that there are six lead male characters, all of whom are different (and gay), I can't see how they could all be stereotypes.


I haven't seen QAF US but to put it in slightly more neutral terms (and closer to home for me), the canny Scotsman, the tight-fisted Scotsman, the inventive Scotsman, the violent Scotsman, the highland country-bumpkin Scotsman and last, but by no means least, everyone's favourite, the drunkard Scotsman. You can have 6 different characters that are all stereotypes since everyone is a varied mix of qualities rather than belonging in one simple to label box.

I dunno Zachsmind, most of the shows you don't enjoy have a fairly large, fairly passionate following. It's all subjective anyway (except for Deadwood and Dead Like Me, they're just objectively brilliant, how can you like those and yet be so utterly and verifiably wrong about House and Veronica Mars ? ;).

I also don't agree with whoever said House needs to get off the disease of the week format (I was already ignoring the disease by about episode 5). To me, that's a bit like saying 'Columbo's good but it just needs to steer away from this whole murder thing';). It's all about the characters (and really it's all about House himself, IMO, one of the most brilliant TV creations in 20 years). Second the weirdness of Hugh Laurie's accent, BTW. After a steady diet of Blackadder and 'A Bit of Fry and Laurie' hearing him with what, to my British ears (feel free to correct me if i'm wrong), sounds like an immaculate American accent is just plain strange.
Well I for one am glad llamas are coming out of the closet, they really are rather large to be stuck in there for too long. Plus it was starting to smell.

zeitgeist I believe you asked about ‘Queer as Folk’ UK version versus the US version earlier. I can’t find the post in this long thread now, so I hope I remember correctly.

I loved the UK version because I felt it was very open about the sexual aspect of the characters. IMHO the show said ‘these people are having full on homosexual relations, and yes dear viewer, that means buggery, now bloody well get over it and start focusing on the characters’. And the characters were overblown of course but in a “we are making an entertaining TV show” sort of way, not in a we are “now going to caricature gays sort of way”.

I am straight, so obviously I watched the show from my perspective, but I thought it was an excellent show, a show about being in love and highly entertaining to boot. I would recommend the UK version without hesitation.

I only caught one episode of the US version on cable and was utterly shocked how insipid, watered down and prettified it looked. Didn’t watch any more after that, so these are merely my first impressions. Well, I wasn’t really shocked because US remakes usually stink to high heaven (sorry, but they just do).

we want to avoid discussions of old books and their impacts on people's views, thanks!

I didn’t realise we felt this strongly about Mrs Beetons Traditional Cookerybook here, but I won’t argue with a mod :)
Oh, yes. The two different versions of her apple crumble recipe have had the cooking community at loggerheads for years now ;).

(i'm carefully avoiding the topic of custard after barely escaping from the Women's Institute AGM with my life. Won't make that mistake again I can tell you).
Best not to mention flans either.
But I thought this was a flan website? ;-)
Yep, you can tell by the soft yet moist base ;)
Saje said:
Second the weirdness of Hugh Laurie's accent, BTW. After a steady diet of Blackadder and 'A Bit of Fry and Laurie' hearing him with what, to my British ears (feel free to correct me if i'm wrong), sounds like an immaculate American accent is just plain strange.

I'm just waiting for Stephen Fry to guest star as a butler bitten by an adder ;-)
*grins re: cookery/flan/Hugh talking all American like* Stephen's off polishing his Doctor Who script :)

miranda - glad to hear re: QAF(UK) as I've really enjoyed RTD's other work.
Well...Here I am.
Harmalicious,
I live in Virginia, home of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. While I know that the most northern tip of Virginia is more relaxed. People around here complain about Will & Grace. My father in law is furious about Brokeback Mountain. I seriously doubt the local movie theatres dare to show it.

I do agree that Southerners tend to get stereotyped as intollerant rednecks.
While I can not speak for other parts of the south but too many (not all) of my fellow Virginias tend to fit the stereotype.
Sadly.

PS - I ran into Jerry Falwell outside the mall once. Very surreal........

[ edited by Jonas on 2006-02-02 18:48 ]
Jonas - did you throw it into reverse and back over him just to be sure?

Also - NIXY!!!
zeitgeist - ROLFLMAO

"Also I am still waiting for the moment when a gay person is actually allowed to play a gay person."

I don't know, gay men have been playing so many of the straight heart throb roles over the years, it seems like turn about should be fair play. ;-)

Seriously though. There are an awful lot of factors involved. If you are just talking about "out" gay men doing a long term stint on a series, you could be condeming them to being type-cast as gay for the rest of their careers. Actors are going to be thinking seriously about that. An actor who can honestly say "I am straight." is less likely to be pushed into the corner of never being cast as straight again than one who says they are gay...and then is seen that way week after week, year after year.
zeitgeist:
:-)
I had for years thought of WHAT I would say and do when/if I ran into Falwell, "You son of a %***!##" or maybe "$#@% *(#"
He waived at me and smiled "Hello young man".
I just waived back all dumb founded....

As I said, very surreal.
That's a great story Jonas. Wow, I've missed you all!
You've been missed, too, nixygirl! I was starting to think that ZachsMind was your secret identity, because he appeared while you were gone. ;-)
Hahahahah no!
I was on holidays...then bloody net got dced!
Funnilly enough, cutting my net just the incentive I needed to pay the bill!
Wha...? As long as it all turned out OK, nixygirl!

BTW, all! I just found this update to the whole report, that it's not an "over-the-hill, gay rock star," but a "fictitious, popular rock star," not "based on Elton John" but "produced by Elton John," according to corrections on Reuters. Wow, more Love Actually than ever before! :-(
grr, argh, double posted. D'oh! Sorry! :-(

[ edited by billz on 2006-02-03 06:37 ]

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