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by Sam Juliano

Our nine day trip to Sunset Beach, North Carolina, which also included a few trips over the state border to Myrtle Beach SC is now over, though Lucille is with her Florida cousins who picked her up by car on our day of deprature to escort her down to Atlantic Beach, a part of Jacksonville.  She will be taking a flight to Newark on this coming Wednesday, and we’ll all be there to greet her.  Though our trip included much more rain than we’d have liked it was still loads of fun.

The Top 80 Television Countdown resumed on Saturday with Marilyn Ferdinand’s essay on The Bob Newhart Show.  It will run unabated till late September.  Thanks to all who have made it the monster hit it is. (more…)

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He was a towering figure in music, a country singer extraordinaire whose music inspired generations.  A lifelong fan, my favorite by him is Jimmy Webb’s love ballad “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” which Sinatra considered “the best torch song ever written”, but not even Sinatra himself could touch Campbell with the song for a number of reasons.  Brian Wilson thought he had the greatest tenor voice, and in country music he was a titan.  He outsold the Beatles in 1968, but there are so many other incredible statistics connected to his work.  Though ailing for years with Alzheimer’s it was still such a shock to hear the news today.  R.I.P Glen, a bonafide, venerated superstar.

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The gang with Angelo D’Arminio in Myrtle Beach, SC.

by Sam Juliano

The family is half way through our nine day Sunset Beach, North Carolina vacation.  We’ve certainly had a splendid time, visiting the beach, pool, miniature golf spot, turtle nesting ground, and a full day down in Myrtle Beach, SC where we met up with our longtime friend Angelo A. D’Arminio Jr., who presently resides there, though he plans to move back to Fairview in November.  We have been enjoying the magnificent, spacious condo owned by our very dear friends, Dawn and Joseph Murray (I was best man at their wedding some 32 years ago) in the Sea Trails complex, and remain eternally grateful for this relaxing location.  We do plan on seeing the film Detroit at a multiplex in town on Tuesday evening, and will be meeting up with Angelo again this evening for a seafood dinner at a popular eatery in Myrtle Beach. Other daily activities will continue until our departure on Friday morning (August 11) when we again face that marathon 12-13 hour ride.  Two of Lucille’s female first cousins from Atlantic Beach, Florida (part of Jacksonville, Florida) are “kidnapping” her on that same morning we depart, to take her down with them to spend time with their mother (Lucille’s mother’s sister) and their large brood until August 16th when Lucille will board a flight to Newark, where we will be waiting.

The wildly popular Top 80 Greatest Television Series Countdown (Part 1 now actually) will be continuing on Saturday, August 12th with an essay from Marilyn Ferdinand.  It will run unabated till late September, when it concludes with the #1 review.  I’ve stated this before, but I’ll say it again.  By way of quality comments, page views, likes and masterful essays we have a monster hit, one of the site’s all-time best projects.  Thank you to all who have made this happen. (more…)

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by Sam Juliano

With the Greatest Television Series countdown closing in on the half-way point we are taking a break, as per the original specifications.  The purpose is two-fold:  to allow the writers and those placing comments to regroup and take a rest, but on a personal note I found it mandatory in view of our family’s nine day vacation in Sunset Beach, North Carolina (just a few miles from the South Carolina border), commencing on Wednesday morning when our Honda Odyssey departs Fairview, New Jersey.  In order to administer the project -though many of the writers have handled their own postings quite well- and keep abreast of the dialogue, I felt I need to take a break.  Many have e mailed me to let me know how happy and relieved they are to receive the extra time, so I think it was a good idea no matter how you cut it.  Hence for the site readers there will not be any other posts aside from the Monday Morning Diary of next week (August 7th), which I will post from Sunset Beach.  Our ace witer extraordinaire Jim Clark, may be posting, and if so I easily enough negotiate it.  Once again -and I can never thank everyone enough- I want to express my appreciation to the many people who have worked on the essays, in the comment sections or just to view and click likes.  All of it has worked to bring this remarkably worthwhile project to fruition.  This week I sent on the new schedule revision, which included a few more assignments that now are getting a bit more breathing room.  Note:  The countdown will resume on Saturday, August 12th with an essay from Marilyn Ferdinand. 

As I have announced on the previous group e mail, I have received several requests from writers and friends to move forward on the second half, as a television polling is massive by its very essence.  80 essays is far too few, in fact it should rightfully be at least doubled.  Of course this will mean more work from many, but I assure you I will be keeping up my end of the bargain.  We will begin on January 17th, 2018 and will contine through late April.  It will be a full 100 (now revised to 108), meaning this entire project (both parts) will be covering 188 shows.  If Allan was able to do 100 British shows in his Top 100 all by himself, well our group can do this methinks, especially as we are covering the entire span of the art form and from all countries even with US and UK dominant as expected. My co-chair Adam Ferenz and I feel that 81 through 188 (why the strange final number of 188?  Well it has to do with the cut off of point totals), will be the best way to give television its full due.  Needless to say there will not be another WitD project for 2018, aside from the much, much shorter 12 to 14 day Allan Fish tribute in May which may well happen for the second year in a row.  The TV extension project is our main 2018 project, and it is a whopper to say the least!!  I expect to hear some groans, but my e mail box has been recipient to nothing but excitement for the expansion! (more…)

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by Robert Hornak

Weird to think, but in the late ’90s, Ricky Gervais was Stephen Merchant’s boss at the London radio station Xfm. In a prime example of life imitating future art, Gervais claims he lied to get his job as head of communications and needed someone around who actually knew what they were doing, and Merchant’s application was the first that looked reasonably good. “You’ve charmed me,” I can hear him saying to Merchant in the interview. The squat boss and his lanky assistant were fast friends, their bond being comedy… and comedic ambition. Later, Merchant made a short film for his BBC production course that featured a game Gervais as a sniveling, loutish boss. BBC saw it, commissioned a pilot, and The Office was born. Not a hit at first, it would eventually win BAFTAs and spin itself off into multiple international versions, including the American iteration, which barreled through nine successful seasons. Yet even after the world consumed it, then reconstituted it into its various images, the British original still stands as the greatest, purest examination of its themes, namely negotiating in realistic terms that critical gap between the tedium we must endure to sustain our lives and the relationships to be mined from the perfect strangers who populate that tedium.


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The Wire Police

(characters from left to right: Roland Pryzbylewski, Cedric Daniels, Jimmy McNulty, Lester Freamon, Rhonda Pearlman, Kima Greggs)

by Adam Ferenz

Executive Produced by Robert F. Colesbury, seasons 1-3 & Nina K. Noble, Seasons 3-5.

Written or story by: Simon, Burns, Rafael Alvarez, Joy Lusco, George Pellacanos, Richard Price, Dennis Lehane, David Mills, Eric Overmayer, William F. Zorzi, Kia Corthron, Chris Collins.

Directed by: Clark Johnson, Peter Medak, Clement Vigo, Ed Bianchi, Joe Chappelle, Gloria Muzio, Brad Anderson, Steve Shill, Tim Van Patten, Elodie Keene, Thomas J. Wright, Dan Attias, Rob Bailey, Robert F. Colesbury, Ernest Dickerson, Leslie Libman, Agnieszka Holland, Alex Zakrzewski, Christine Moore, Seith Mann, Jim McKay, David Platt, Anthony Hemingway, Scott Kecken& Joy Kecken, Dominic West.

Starring:  Dominic West, John Doman, Idris Elba, Frankie Faison, Lawrence Gilliard, Jr. Wood Harris,  Deirdre Lovejoy,  Wendell Pierce,  Lance Reddick,  Andre Royo,  Sonja Sohn,  Chris Bauer,  Paul Ben-Victor,  Clarke Peters,  Amy Ryan,  Aidan Gillen,  Jim True-Frost,  Robert Wisdom, Seth Gilliam,    DomenickLombardozzi, J. D. Williams, Michael K. Williams, Corey Parker Robinson,Reg E. Cathey,Chad L. Coleman, Jamie Hector, Glynn Turman,Clark Johnson, Tom McCarthy,GbengaAkinnagbe, Neal Huff,Jermaine Crawford,Tristan Wilds, Michael Kostroff,  Michelle Paresi, Isiah Whitlock, Jr. Michael B. Jordan, Felicia Pearson, Robert F. Chew.

There Will Be Major Spoilers in this discussion.

For those who are interested, this video is a collection of the variations of the theme song, the original of which was heard as the second season variation, (more…)

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by Sam Juliano

The dog days of August are approaching, and many of us are doing what we can to stay clear of the oppressive heat.  Others couldn’t be happier to indulge in outdoor pursuits.  The Greatest Television Series Countdown moves ahead triumphantly with all the writers and comment section regulars making for an astoundingly successful venture.  Another great week for essays, comments, page views, likes and diversity.  The countdown will be taking a brief break from Friday August 4th until Friday August 11th, but will resume on Saturday, August 12th, continuing on till the final day, September 23 when the Number 1 finisher will appear.  Thanks to all who have been placing the comments, with a special shout out to Jeff Stroud, Jon Warner,  Dennis Polifroni, Frank Gallo, Ricky, Bobby J., Adam Ferenz, Celeste Fenster, Robert Hornak, Karen, Peter, John Grant, Tim McCoy, Pierre de Plume,  Maurizio Roca, David Schleicher, Patricia Hamilton,  and David Noack for your regular engagement.

Lucille and I managed two films in theaters this past week.  The total would have been higher, but viewing writing time for countdown entries and other responsibilities, prevented anymore than that.  We saw: (more…)

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