Tag Archives: Star Trek

The Jay Leno Show, R.I.P.

PythonI guess I’m the last person on the entire planet to see this, but I’ve just found an entertaining video clip and thought I’d share it. Scenes from Star Trek set to the sountrack of Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Now, I know, people are always trying to make quirky ideas like this work and failing, but I like it. And believe me, it seems positively ingenious when compared to the new and dismally disastrous Jay Leno Show this week.

leno picIf you caught it – and 17.7 million people out of curiosity watched the first night – you’ll probably be feeling  somewhat soiled right now, after falling for NBC’s $10 million advertising campaign and witnessing an hour of the most embarrassing, witless, and humor-free rubbish to be dumped on us in a long while. Basically, Jay’s rehashing The Tonight Show, only an hour earlier and with much less entertainment value.   

It took 22 writers – 22!!! – to come up with the dancing in a car wash sketch leno 3and Jay cringeingly mock-interviewing President Obama. There was a green car challenge that was apparently lifted from the BBC’s Top Gear show. The monologue sucked, the interviews dragged. Truly, it was some of the most awful comedy TV I’ve seen. And I watch this crap for a living. 

The funniest part was Jerry Seinfeld suggesting that, having left the Tonight Show and gone away, Jay maybe should have stayed away. If I weren’t on this raw food diet and not drinking, l’d drink to that.

A lot rides on the success of this show for NBC. By cancelling their five nights a week drama strand at 10pm – the slot for all the old classic crime shows: NYPD Blue, Law and Order, Hill Street Blues – they’re saving $200 million dollars a year. But at what cost to their brand and their reputation? Actors are pissed, writers are pissed, the audience is feeling weirded out and shortchanged. It’s not a happy situation.

Viewing figures for the second show plunged substantially. That, I predict will continue. I give it a few months before it’s axed in a cloud of ignominy, billed as a brave experiment that went wrong.

Anyway, here’s Star Trek. Enjoy.



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MacBOOM! MacBANG! Guess who’s back.

I’ll keep this short, but oh so sweet.

They’re bringing back MacGyver!

The show, a delicious piece of iconic escapist claptrap that snagged the imagination of a generation too high most of the time to debate story structure or ask any rational questions, featured Angus McGyver, a secret and very resourceful operative from the Phoenix Foundation who was always jumping over hedges and dangling from helicopters, and who could escape from any dangerous situation, any at all – just give him a roll of duct tape, a set of salad servers, and something long and very thin – ran for seven fabulous seasons on ABC in the late-eighties-early-nineties and made a star of Richard Dean Anderson.

Then, apart from two TV movies, including one where MacGyver found the lost treasure of Atlantis (some might say,But of course he did, you ass – he’s MacGyver!”), it was cancelled, to live on only in parody and in an endless roster of comedy shows, including The Simpsons and, most recently, MacGruber, an extremely unfunny and labored skit on Saturday Night Live.

It was this, the SNL thing, that became the final straw, I suspect. Hollywood loves taking your money way more than it loves entertaining you with movies. And the recurring  MacGyver references in popular culture must have proved to someone somewhere that the American public still has an appetite for crap that makes no sense. So New Line thought, “To hell with this! Enough with comedians mocking our hero and devaluing a potential cash cow, let’s revive this brothersucking franchise right away and make some serious dough, guys.” 

As a result, MacGyver will live again, this time as a full length feature film. If you don’t believe me, go check with someone reliable.

My memories of the show are hazy, I admit. Maybe it’s not as good as I remember it. As with Love Boat and Fantasy Island and Falcon Crest and Dynasty and The Munsters and Jonny Quest (which is also being filmed right now, as is Tintin), these programs hold up far better in the memory, where they’re packaged in a wrapping of fondness and stored in a quiet attic beyond the reach of ruinous modern-day scrutiny, alongside episodes of Get SmartRowan and Martin, the bear that kept falling over on The Andy Williams ShowDoctor Who in black and white, and Bewitched with a Darren you recognize, than they do in real life. 

MacGyver, though, was a great idea that still has legs and could be a hit. First, it had the best TV theme tune EVER…


…and also, despite coming under investigation by the IPIAF, the International Pretending Isn’t Acting Federation, the ludicrous characters and situations were often very engaging.

A recent special episode of Mythbusters kinda gave MacGyver even further credibility. The two host weirdos proved that some of his scientific jiggerpokery actually would work in reality. I mean, how cool is that? The MacGyver writers did research. That makes me so happy.

The only drawback, as far as I can see, to New Line’s plan is the long record of miserable and ghastly-to-horrendous failures when it comes to reviving TV shows as movies. Some have worked: Mission Impossible, South Park, Brady Bunch, X-Files, Star Trek, Batman, even The Addams Family, for example.

But let’s not forget Mod Squad, Bewitched (Nora Ephron and I had dealings with the same agent years ago. “She just doesn’t get it,” he wailed, holding his head at the forthcoming disaster. “It’s awful.”), Thunderbirds (horrrrible! What moron agreed to one frame of this travesty being shot?), The AvengersDukes of Hazzard, Inspector Gadget, Lost in Space, and Scooby Doo

And they’re not done yet. 24‘s going to be a movie soon. As is The A-Team. Which is like MacGyver, only he has a team! And then there’s Dallas. That’s been in the works for ages, with John Travolta as JR, though it never quite showed its face, and Baywatch too, which nobody at all is waiting for, except maybe teenage boys either too small to reach the top shelf or too young to buy anything on it.  The only one they haven’t attempted and failed at yet is The Man from UNCLE. Oh, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which, given the death (actual or imminent) of its cast, is thankfully right off the table. 

So I’m happy today. I think we should welcome the news of MacGyver‘s resurrection with flung hats and open arms.

I won’t go see it, mind. I say I will, but when it finally arrives I’ll probably back out. Same with Transformers 2. I got so badly burnt the first time around that I’m not wasting another second on that overblown, pretentious bilge. All the same, let’s be positive. Let’s encourage New Line to do a good job, lead them into believing there’s a market for a new MacGyver, wait ’til the film’s release in 2011, but then stay away in droves, just to show them who’s boss and who pays their wages.


The idea of remaking MacGyver gets five magic carpets out of five.

TV Swami – he say YES.

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