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January 30th, 2003

Really Good TV

It’s easy to think about trash TV and come up with names like Jerry Springer, Jenny Jones, Dr. Phil, and all of Fox. But it seems that it’s a little more difficult to come up with good quality TV programs, sometimes.

I’ve taken a strong liking to PBS, akin to my increased enjoyment of NPR, but I don’t watch as many shows on PBS as I’d like. Our local affiliate runs a number of Chicago architectural tours that I enjoy, as well as a restaurant review show. That I like, a lot. Beyond that, I find that the History Channel airs a lot of interesting things. Discovery, TLC, and the Food Network do as well, but they are a bit lighter in material and substance.

Have you found a show that is really good and worthwhile?

Posted in Television, Movies, and Music

FROM: Chris [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday January 30, 2003 -- 10:06:54 am
I really like Good Eats with Alton Brown on the Food Channel. I've burnt out on Trading Spaces, you can only watch so many before they all start to seem the same. We are aping the History of Freedom series running on PBS right now. Michelle is using it as part of teh kids history curriculum this year.



FROM: Ryan
DATE: Thursday January 30, 2003 -- 12:11:05 pm
The tagline for Trading Spaces should be "Oh my God! Oh... my... God! Ohmygodohmygodogmygod!" since that's what every damn person on the show says immediately after opening their eyes and seeing their new room.



FROM: Greg C [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday January 30, 2003 -- 4:49:33 pm
I agree with Chris on Good Eats. Recently I discovered the Canon Photo Safari on OLN Network that's outstanding... basically a celebrity and a photographer go out to take pictures. The photographer guides the celebrity while at the same time instructing the viewer, and the celeb does the voiceovers.

I have 3 of them on the TiVo right now waiting for me to watch.

One of my favorites was the one with Kurtwood Smith on it... Clarence Boddicker taking pictures! I suppose it's less violent.



FROM: jk
DATE: Thursday January 30, 2003 -- 5:54:24 pm
I discovered Gilmore Girls last season and I enjoy it for all it's quirkiness.

I don't watch as much Trading Spaces as I used to because I only want to watch certain designers, and they have featured wayyyyy too much Hildi lately.

I enjoy Unwrapped on Food TV, and If Walls Could Talk on HGTV. OH! I think my favorite show is $40 a Day on Food TV with Rachael Ray. She travels all over the world and shows you how you can enjoy the best local fare for....you guessed it, $40 a day.

My mortgage went up $45 a month this year, and that amount is ironically what my cable bill is....but I just can't give it up. No way.

Now I just need to convince the cable company to stop broadcasting over Jeannie Moos' segments on CNN.



FROM: vlm
DATE: Thursday January 30, 2003 -- 8:19:58 pm
Ooh, thank you, Greg, for the Photo Safari tip.

"Changing Rooms" has much more bite and schadenfreude than "Trading Spaces," imho, and "Gilmore Girls" is brilliant enough for my unfeminine husband to put as a must-see.

"The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" keeps getting better and better, I think--excellent counterpart to NPR. "Rough Science" is like "Survivor," but if the team actually worked together and was composed of scientists. "The Jeff Corwin Experience" is by FAR the most entertaining naturalist-immersed-in-environment show--way, way higher quality than the much better known "Crocodile Hunter." IFC's "Dinner for Five" is invariably amusing as well.



FROM: Robert [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday January 30, 2003 -- 11:22:18 pm
I don't have cable, so all I ever watch is Friends, Seinfeld, and the Simpsons.



FROM: Matt
DATE: Friday January 31, 2003 -- 10:19:20 am
Anything with Carson Daily!



FROM: Rob [E-Mail]
DATE: Friday January 31, 2003 -- 11:57:45 am
I know this makes me sound like an even bigger dork than usual, but... I like the Antiques Roadshow. :P



FROM: The Lizard
DATE: Monday February 3, 2003 -- 8:09:51 pm
I have no cable - but FOX seems to have some good sitcoms on just about anytime of the evening...and cable doesn't seem worth paying for these days...i'm addicted to NOTHING that's actually on all the other channels I like Fox. and that's pretty much it!



FROM: Wycked [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday February 18, 2003 -- 3:21:24 pm
PBS here runs The Red Green Show, Monty Python's Flying Circus and Red Dwarf, but that's about all that's worth anything. Back when I was a kid I liked the wildlife shows, until they stopped showing them having sex. I was a little perv.



FROM: Sara
DATE: Monday March 17, 2003 -- 3:13:13 am
i really liked Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends before Bravo canned it... it's a BBC import so maybe it airs elsewhere on the vast cable spectrum? anybody know if it runs on BBC America?



FROM: IanC
DATE: Monday March 17, 2003 -- 8:23:08 am
Sara, Louis only did a pretty small number of 'Wierd Weekends' a few years back. In more recent times he's done a few one-off shows called "Louis Theroux Meets..." in which he has lived very closely with some celebs and politicians that are pretty well known within the UK, but probably not elsewhere. These shows have been as quirky and pretty much as good as the Wierd Weekends, but are probably less commercial in overseas markets.
I'm not sure what projects he's got in the pipeline, but I'm sure we'll get them first on the good old BBC.



FROM: Andrew Schroy
DATE: Friday July 11, 2003 -- 4:23:00 pm
Speaking of PBS, does anyone remember watching PBS Kids shows in the 1970s and 1980s? These are some shows I can think of:

Sesame Street
Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
ZOOM
The Electric Company
Degrassi Junior High
Villa Allegre
New Zoo Revue (was this show on PBS?)
Magic Garden
Long Ago & Far Away
3-2-1 Contact
Shining Time Station (OK, that was early 90s)
Square One TV (hey, Michael Carrington does a more comfortable job as a host on this show's game show parodies, such as Piece of the Pie [a Family Feud rip-off], Close Call [I thought that was Phil Moore hosting as a kid, back in '91 when I was watching the show on KVIE in Sacramento], and The $500,000 Trapezoid [you probably know that ripped off the $xxx,000 Pyramid])

Also, does anyone remember the logos? Before 1993, I remember PBS had used their own logo animation on both kids and adult shows. But here are the 70s and 80s logos:

The PBS logo of the 1970s had a blue P zooming out on a black background, then morphing into a P-Head, facing left, then, "PUBLIC", in Century Gothic font, appeared on screen, then both the P-Head and the "PUBLIC" text shifted to the left, at which point, an orange "B" pops up, and two black dots appear, the last dot appearing with the "BROADCASTING" text positioned under the "PUBLIC", and then a green S appeared, also with two black dots, and again, the last dot appeared, but with "SERVICE" positioned under "BROADCASTING".

The PBS logo of the 1980s had a blue P-Head (looks purple), now facing right, stretching, then, a piece of the head is seperated and shifted to the right about 1/2 inches away. Then the "PBS" text appeared under the blue-purple P-Head.

Here's the music for the logos:

The 1970s logo had a weird synthesizer tune that descended rapidly, then, five more tones on the same synthesizer would play, while the 1980s logo had a beautiful piano tune, that had a chord playing, then six pizzicato tones, and then a quiet version of the piano chord.

The 1970s logo could scare a lot of children, but the 1980s logo probably wouldn't scare many children. Do you remember these logos (and these TV shows)?



FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Friday July 11, 2003 -- 6:39:12 pm
For me, The best show on TV is The Amazing Race. Half Game Show, Half Reality Show, 100 percent exciting. One episode will make you a fan, and makes Survivor that much more boring and slow.

No Immunity. No Alliances. Just one big race around the world. The camera work is some of the best on TV, and host Phil Keoghan lets the game itself create the drama instead of sitting around a campfire and provoking people.

This show really does have it all.



FROM: Andrew Schroy
DATE: Saturday July 12, 2003 -- 10:25:55 am
For me, one of my favorites is Supermarket Sweep (I'm not kidding). It's a great show with a fun premise. Just one week, I'd like to see employees from grocery stores from all over the nation compete in a tournament for $10,000. Do you agree?



FROM: marc [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday September 9, 2003 -- 7:19:42 pm
my cable box recently became a dvr and i've been trying to find good shows worth watching. it's more difficult than it would seem.

for the past 10 months i've been a huge fan of trio. they've got some really interesting cultural programming.



FROM: Mark
DATE: Saturday October 11, 2003 -- 11:13:16 am
The 70s PBS logo scared the heck out of me when I was a little kid (I was only about six when they changed it back in 84 or so). I recently found the animation on the web at http://ctwmedia.tripod.com/videos/ (click on 1970s PBS logo) in case you haven't seen it in 20 years and miss it.



FROM:
DATE: Tuesday March 1, 2005 -- 7:54:18 pm



FROM: Stephanie Rossi
DATE: Wednesday May 18, 2005 -- 2:45:20 pm
I remember seeing the The PBS logo of the 1970s on Macneil/Lehrer news it scared children from 1975-1985



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