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Old 01-06-2023, 11:07 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 1001 of Trollheart's Favourite TV Shows

1001 of Trollheart’s Favourite TV Shows

To somewhat paraphrase Grampa Simpson, I may not have seen that much of life, but I sure have watched a lot of TV. And so, in a companion thread to my 1001 of Trollheart’s Favourite albums thread, this will list 1001 of my favourite TV shows, everything from stuff I grew up on to stuff I watched yesterday. All genres, all languages, and in no order at all. Feel free to chip in, shake your head in despair, call the man at Happy Valleys Home for the Terminally Bewildered, or just laugh at the role TV has played in my life. Hey, maybe it'll spark some memories for some of you, who knows?

1001

Title: Parker Lewis Can’t Lose
Genre: Comedy
Year(s): 1990 - 1993
Basic premise: Parker Lewis is a somewhat geeky kid trying to survive at high school with his friends and fit in, while still maintaining his own “coolness”.
Starring: Corin Nemec, Troy Slaten, Billy Jayne, Melanie Chartoff
Seasons: 3
Written/created by: Clyde Phillips/Lon Diamond
Nationality: American
Best episode(s): Been so long now I can’t remember
Worst episode(s):
Status: Cancelled
What does or did this show mean to me? At the time it was one of the coolest shows on TV, featuring a sort of pioneering directing effect where things happened quickly, with sound effects; the characters broke the fourth wall, and pop culture references abounded.
One good quote: Mikey (seeing Parker write HELP on a mirror): “Quick! Park needs our pleh!”

With a slew of teen comedies coming out of every studio in the US, it took a lot for something to stand out, but Parker Lewis Can’t Lose took the idea of the geeky high-school teenager and kind of stood it on its head, long before Buffy. Centred around a core group of three friends - the de facto leader, the eponymous Parker, Mikey, the older student who was almost at times a father figure, and Jerry, a total geek who was as slavishly subservient to Parker as Marcy was to Peppermint Patty (he refers to both Parker as "sir" or "Mr. Lewis, Mr. Randall", the show was full of crazy capers and jokes, yet often took a more sobering look at growing up, a little like South Park’s “I’ve learned something today” bit. Ostracised in ways by the other students, Parker and his friends chart their own course though school and home life, sharing in-jokes and getting involved in ever more unlikely situations.

Ancillary to the show are Larry “Kube” Kubiak, a giant with the mind of a child, Grace Musso, the disturbingly sexy principal, Frank Lemmer, her pasty and slavish sidekick, Dr, Pankow, principal of a rival school, and Shelly, Parker’s sister. The show is narrated partially by Parker, before and during the episode, and often to the camera, in one of I think the earliest instances in comedy of breaking the fourth wall. There are plenty of the pop culture references of the time used, particularly those concerned with music, as Mikey is a guitarist and aspiring rock star, and there was a really bouncy theme tune. Each episode opens with one of the characters doing something that more or less defines them, but may not necessarily be a part of the episode. An example is Frank Lemmer, who is white as a sheet, so pale he could be an albino, coming into a chemist and asking for “Factor fifty”, then pausing, and adding “thousand.”

Although cancelled in 1993 after three seasons, Parker Lewis Can’t Lose was referred to nearly twenty years later in Seth MacFarlane’s animated comedy Family Guy, when Lois says to Peter “Nobody cares about your cancelled show” and Peter defiantly tells her “Lois, Parker Lewis can’t lose. Don’t even try to think of him losing, cos you’ll fail.” Good to hear.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_dvn3RtA-c
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Old 01-07-2023, 08:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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You've watched 1001 TV shows? That must have been an exciting life.
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Old 01-07-2023, 11:29 AM   #3 (permalink)
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You have no idea.
And I'd say that figure is very much on the conservatively low side. This is only 1001 I enjoyed enough to put in the list.
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Old 01-07-2023, 12:14 PM   #4 (permalink)
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1001 TV Shows
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Old 01-07-2023, 12:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Over 50-odd years (some of them very odd!)
That's only 20 a year
Less than 1 a week.
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Old 01-07-2023, 01:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
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How do you figure that when many of these shows lasted for several seasons or more?
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Old 01-07-2023, 02:14 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Well we're talking about shows, not seasons. I mean, it's not 1001 seasons of shows. So Star Trek is one show, Blake's 7 is one show and so on. I was asked the question "1001 shows? How did you watch 1001 shows?" and I'm pointing out that over a life not very well lived it's not at all a high figure. If you were talking seasons we'd be well into five, even six figures.
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Old 01-08-2023, 11:09 AM   #8 (permalink)
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1000


Title: The Booth at the End
Genre: Mystery/Drama
Year(s): 2010 - 2012
Basic premise: A man who sits in a particular booth (the one of the title) in a particular diner is rumoured to be the last hail mary gasp chance if you are in a situation where nobody else can help, if you’re desperate. He offers each person a task, and if they complete it their wish will be granted.
Starring: Xander Berkeley
Seasons: 2
Written/created by: Christopher Kubasik
Nationality: Canadian I think
Best episode(s): Can’t recall
Worst episode(s): Don’t think there were any
Staus: Ended
What does or did this show mean to me? I loved the clever writing in it, and the understated acting of Berkeley, who’s almost more like a clerk or agent passing on instructions that have nothing to do with him.
One good quote: “How far would you go to get what you want?” (It’s the tagline)

Proof that a series can be understated and clever and yet very successful, The Booth at the End never made clear who Berkely, who is only ever referred to as “The Man” was. Could he have been Satan? A minor demon? God? A saint? An alien? Yes he could have been all of these things, or none of them, but that wasn’t the point. Though “The Man” was the epicentre of the show, the real action took place with his “clients”, and how they approached their tasks. Some were pretty mundane, or seemed so, others more direct and even brutal. Reminds me in a way of that old Twilight Zone episode, “The Button”, where a couple are presented with a box that has a button on top. If they push it, they’re told, someone will die. It will be someone they do not know, and tomorrow they will be fabulously rich. So, would you push the button?

That’s what’s at the centre of this show: how desperate are the characters, and what are they willing to do to achieve what they need? Are they, in effect, ready to sell their souls? There seems to be no question they will not get what they desire if they carry out the instructions, but when one such directive is to kill a child, another to make a bomb, as the tagline above says, how far would you go? It’s been years since I watched it, but I seem to remember that some, or even all of the tasks dovetail together, so that, for instance, the guy building the bomb ends up crossing paths with another person trying to stop a bomb they have no idea of the location of, and so on.

It’s clever, suspenseful stuff and it did a great job at asking where people draw the line? Is there anything you won’t do to, for instance, save your child from dying? Or yourself from bankruptcy? Or ensure your wife won’t leave you? All these questions are faced by the characters - a different one every episode - and how they respond tells us a lot about the sort of people they are. Where does The Man get his orders, if he gets any? Nobody knows. He checks a ledger book, writes in it, but we never see it, and nobody ever comes near him with messages. He’s always there, always ready to grant your fondest wish… provided you’re ready to pay, provided you’re ready to do anything. And I mean anything.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLyzvc8QHL0
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Old 01-13-2023, 04:55 PM   #9 (permalink)
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What if they ordered a 4th season of Parker Lewis this year?
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Old 01-18-2023, 03:37 PM   #10 (permalink)
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FYI, for those who were amazed (apparently) that I had watched 1001 shows in my life (it's far more), this week alone I've watched a full season of Resident Alien, True Detective and Upright, and am beginning on season 5 of Killjoys. If you average that, then, to 5 shows a week, that's 20 a month, over 200 a year. So in only 5 years I'd have watched 1000 shows. Given that I'm nearly 60, but allowing for my first real TV shows being from say 15 on, that's what, 45 years? So I should theoretically - and possibly literally - have watched in the region of 9 - 10,000 shows. So it's not such a big number really and I'm surprised there was doubt about my having watched so many.

Anyway, back with the next in the list soon.
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