A unique and different kind of TV action series, MacGyver made its television premiere in the Fall of 1985 to much fanfare. Audiences immediately responded to the title character and his unusual penchant for turning everyday items like chewing gum and paperclips into elaborate life-saving contraptions. In this way, it maintained a slight resemblance to The A-Team, and this recurring plot device helped MacGyver build a strong cult following… Richard Dean Anderson plays the title role of MacGyver, an energetic employee of the fictional Phoenix Foundation for Research. An unorthodox hero by action series standards, MacGyver has a deadly fear of heights. A pacifist who refuses to use weapons, he relies heavily on his ability to use his brain and tinker with the various materials at his disposal. MacGyver's best friend, and the director of the Phoenix Foundation, is Pete Thornton (Dana Elcar). Pete often sends MacGyver on Foundation missions and sometimes comes to his aid (usually after MacGyver has saved the day). In addition, MacGyver is joined on a regular basis by his airplane pilot friend Jack Dalton (Bruce McGill), a man who constantly entangles himself in illegal activities and other troublesome situations. Between the usual slew of bad guys, the vendetta of archenemy Murdoc (Michael Des Barres), and his multitude of troublesome friends, MacGyver is always in the midst of interesting and dangerous events, and the show's true entertainment value derives from watching MacGyver's distinctive method of dealing with each one… The MacGyver DVD features a number of action-packed episodes including the series pilot in which MacGyver is forced to race against the clock when a team of scientists are trapped underground after a lab experiment goes awry. Wanting to contain the leak, the Army allots a small time window for MacGyver to pull off his mission before they destroy the facility… Fans will make note of some interesting aspects of the pilot episode such as Dana Elcar's role as another character, MacGyver's use of a gun, and MacGyver's boss is a man named Gantner (Michael Lerner)… Other notable episodes from Season 1 include "Trumbo's World" in which MacGyver, while on expedition in Brazil, encounters and wages war with a mile-wide column of army ants, and "Every Time She Smiles" in which MacGyver meets up with a beautiful, yet talkative, artist named Penny Parker (Teri Hatcher) and the two must escape the clutches of the KGB… Below is a list of episodes included on the MacGyver (Season 1) DVD: Episode 1 (Pilot) Air Date: 09-29-1985 Episode 2 (The Golden Triangle) Air Date: 10-06-1985 Episode 3 (Thief of Budapest) Air Date: 10-13-1985 Episode 4 (The Gauntlet) Air Date: 10-21-1985 Episode 5 (The Heist) Air Date: 11-03-1985 Episode 6 (Trumbo's World) Air Date: 11-10-1985 Episode 7 (Last Stand) Air Date: 11-17-1985 Episode 8 (Hellfire) Air Date: 11-27-1985 Episode 9 (The Prodigal) Air Date: 12-08-1985 Episode 10 (Target MacGyver) Air Date: 12-22-1985 Episode 11 (Nightmares) Air Date: 01-15-1986 Episode 12 (Deathlock) Air Date: 01-22-1986 Episode 13 (Flame's End) Air Date: 01-29-1986 Episode 14 (Countdown) Air Date: 02-05-1986 Episode 15 (The Enemy Within) Air Date: 02-12-1986 Episode 16 (Every Time She Smiles) Air Date: 02-19-1986 Episode 17 (To Be a Man) Air Date: 03-05-1986 Episode 18 (Ugly Duckling) Air Date: 03-12-1986 Episode 19 (Slow Death) Air Date: 04-02-1986 Episode 20 (The Escape) Air Date: 04-16-1986 Episode 21 (A Prisoner of Conscience) Air Date: 04-30-1986 Episode 22 (The Assassin) Air Date: 05-07-1986
Far different from the usual television action series, MacGyver premiered in Fall of 1985 to widespread audience acclaim. Fans fell in loves with an action hero who used his brain instead of his brawn to get himself out of jams, and the interesting and elaborate methods deployed by the title character made for interesting water cooler talk. These unorthodox escape plans were very similar to The A-Team, another popular 80s action series. Overall, the first several seasons of MacGyver are the best… The MacGyver (Season 2) DVD features a number of action-packed episodes including the season premiere “The Human Factor” in which MacGyver and the Phoenix Foundation are called upon to test the security of a top-secret military installation. When MacGyver makes a bet with the security designer, Dr. Jill Ludlum, he successfully gains entry, but the automated system traps them both inside (with a dwindling supply of oxygen) where they’re forced to race for their lives against a ticking clock… Other notable episodes from Season 2 include “The Road Not Taken” in which MacGyver encounters his former fiancйe while helping a nun, and “Birth Day” in which MacGyver must guard a pregnant woman from her husband, who’s out to kill her… Below is a list of episodes included on the MacGyver (Season 2) DVD: Episode 23 (The Human Factor) Air Date: 09-22-1986 Episode 24 (The Eraser) Air Date: 09-29-1986 Episode 25 (Twice Stung) Air Date: 10-06-1986 Episode 26 (The Wish Child) Air Date: 10-20-1986 Episode 27 (Final Approach) Air Date: 10-27-1986 Episode 28 (Jack of Lies) Air Date: 11-03-1986 Episode 29 (The Road Not Taken) Air Date: 11-10-1986 Episode 30 (Eagles) Air Date: 11-17-1986 Episode 31 (Silent World) Air Date: 11-24-1986 Episode 32 (Three for the Road) Air Date: 12-15-1986 Episode 33 (Phoenix Under Siege) Air Date: 01-05-1987 Episode 34 (Family Matter) Air Date: 01-12-1987 Episode 35 (Soft Touch) Air Date: 01-19-1987 Episode 36 (Birth Day) Air Date: 02-02-1987 Episode 37 (Pirates) Air Date: 02-09-1987 Episode 38 (Out in the Cold) Air Date: 02-16-1987 Episode 39 (Dalton, Jack of Spies) Air Date: 02-23-1987 Episode 40 (Partners) Air Date: 03-02-1987 Episode 41 (Bushmaster) Air Date: 03-23-1987 Episode 42 (Friends) Air Date: 04-06-1987 Episode 43 (D. O.A.: MacGyver) Air Date: 04-27-1987 Episode 44 (For Love or Money) Air Date: 05-04-1987
One of the best shows of the 1980s, MacGyver has a dedicated fan base even to this day. Richard Dean Anderson plays the role of MacGyver, a cerebral and charismatic agent of the Phoenix Foundation for Research. A different hero even by the standards of today’s TV series, MacGyver had an exaggerated fear of heights. He was also a pacifist who never relied on weapons, but instead on the ability to deploy his brain and think his way out of dangerous situations. MacGyver’s boss and best buddy was Pete Thornton (Dana Elcar). Pete regularly sends MacGyver on missions and oftentimes comes to his rescue (mostly in the moments after MacGyver has saved himself and someone else). MacGyver is also often accompanied by his airplane pilot friend Jack Dalton (Bruce McGill) who constantly gets himself and MacGyver into compromised predicaments with his illegal activities and hair-brained schemes. Along with the usual bad guys, archenemy Murdoc (Michael Des Barres) is MacGyver’s constant nightmare. With something interesting always in the works, there isn’t a boring episode of this fascinating series… The MacGyver (Season 3) DVD features a number of action-packed episodes including the season premiere “Lost Love” in which a woman from MacGyver’s past (a woman he once loved) returns to his life. She also happens to be a known Soviet dissident who begs for his help in aiding her escape from the evil regime. But before MacGyver can help, the KGB kidnaps her and demands a priceless artifact as her ransom, leaving MacGyver as the only man who can save her… Other notable episodes from Season 3 include “The Widowmaker” in which MacGyver mourns the death of his friend at the hands of a former enemy, and “Mask of the Wolf” in which Jack and MacGyver aid in the search for an ancient Indian wolf mask while two mercenaries follow their trail… Below is a list of episodes included on the MacGyver (Season 3) DVD: Episode 45 (Lost Love: Part 1) Air Date: 09-21-1987 Episode 46 (Lost Love: Part 2) Air Date: 09-28-1987 Episode 47 (Back from the Dead) Air Date: 10-05-1987 Episode 48 (Ghost Ship) Air Date: 10-19-1987 Episode 49 (Fire and Ice) Air Date: 10-26-1987 Episode 50 (GX-1) Air Date: 11-02-1987 Episode 51 (Jack in the Box) Air Date: 11-09-1987 Episode 52 (The Widowmaker) Air Date: 11-16-1987 Episode 53 (Hell Week) Air Date: 11-23-1987 Episode 54 (Blow Out) Air Date: 12-21-1987 Episode 55 (Kill Zone) Air Date: 01-04-1988 Episode 56 (Early Retirement) Air Date: 01-18-1988 Episode 57 (Thin Ice) Air Date: 02-01-1988 Episode 58 (The Odd Triple) Air Date: 02-29-1988 Episode 59 (The Negotiator) Air Date: 03-07-1988 Episode 60 (The Spoilers) Air Date: 03-14-1988 Episode 61 (Mask of the Wolf) Air Date: 03-28-1988 Episode 62 (Rock the Cradle) Air Date: 04-18-1988 Episode 63 (The Endangered) Air Date: 05-02-1988 Episode 64 (Murderer’s Sky) Air Date: 05-09-1988
Nominated for 45 Emmys, and winner of 16 during its eight-year run on NBC, Mad About You became an instant smash hit among TV viewers, in large part due to its Seinfeldian portrayals of married life in the big city. Sporting a catchy piano-laden theme song, the series showcased the unique comic talents of co-creator and co-star Paul Reiser, who sought to produce a show telling the true story of married life (he would later publish the bestselling book Couplehood, a compilation of various anecdotes on relationships)… Mad About You follows the lives of newlywed couple Paul (Paul Reiser) and Jamie Buchman (Helen Hunt), two urban professionals sharing an apartment in New York City. Although they are head-over-heals in love, the two appear to be near total opposites. Paul, a documentary filmmaker, is extremely meticulous, cautious, and careful. Jamie, on the other hand, is a public relations expert with more of a free-spirit outlook on life. With a number of friends and family always in the picture - Jamie's sister Lisa (Anne Ramsay), Paul's cousin Ira (John Pankow), and friends Mark (Richard Kind) and Fran (Leila Kenzle) - Paul and Jamie are constantly bombarded with job-related stress, the strange antics of their friends, and the discovery each others' individual quirks and habits. And it's a recipe that translates into great sitcom entertainment… The Mad About You DVD features a number of hilarious episodes including the season premiere "Romantic Improvisations" in which, following a mere five months of marriage, Jamie informs Paul that their sex life in not quite what it used to be. To rectify the situation, Paul comes home early from work intent on planning a romantic evening, but everything unravels when the two discover that both of them thought the other one had cancelled their scheduled dinner plans with friends… Other notable episodes include "Out of the Past" in which Paul invites Jamie to a personal reunion with his ex-girlfriend, and "Token Friend" in which Paul avoids the subway when he discovers a former friend from film school is now a token clerk at the local station… Below is a list of episodes included on the Mad About You (Season 1) DVD: Episode 1 (Romantic Improvisations) Air Date: 09-23-1992 Episode 2 (Sofa's Choice) Air Date: 09-30-1992 Episode 3 (Sunday Times) Air Date: 10-07-1992 Episode 4 (Out of the Past) Air Date: 10-14-1992 Episode 5 (Paul in the Family) Air Date: 10-21-1992 Episode 6 (I'm Just So Happy For You) Air Date: 10-28-1992 Episode 7 (Token Friend) Air Date: 11-04-1992 Episode 8 (The Apartment) Air Date: 11-11-1992 Episode 9 (Riding Backwards) Air Date: 11-18-1992 Episode 10 (Neighbors from Hell) Air Date: 12-09-1992 Episode 11 (Met Someone) Air Date: 12-16-1992 Episode 12 (Maid About You) Air Date: 01-06-1993 Episode 13 (Togetherness) Air Date: 01-13-1993 Episode 14 (Weekend Getaway) Air Date: 01-27-1993 Episode 15 (The Wedding Affair) Air Date: 02-06-1993 Episode 16 (Love Among the Tiles) Air Date: 02-13-1993 Episode 17 (The Billionaire) Air Date: 02-20-1993 Episode 18 (The Man Who Said Hello) Air Date: 02-27-1993 Episode 19 (Swept Away) Air Date: 05-01-1993 Episode 20 (The Spy Who Loved Me) Air Date: 05-08-1993 Episode 21 (The Painter) Air Date: 05-15-1993 Episode 22 (Happy Anniversary) Air Date: 05-22-1993
One of the top rated shows on the 1980s decade, Magnum, PI thrilled audiences with its exotic setting and fast-paced action. Winner of multiple Emmys and Golden Globes, the show was a mainstay in the Top 20 Nielsen Ratings. Its Vietnam flashbacks (exploring the combat experiences of the main characters) were widely lauded, and Magnum, PI is considered the first television series to give recognition to the obstacles faced by Vietnam Veterans reentering American society. The range of topics, combined with a clever wit and heightened suspense, make Magnum, PI one of the more widely appealing TV series of its era… Magnum, PI covers the life of Thomas Magnum (Tom Selleck), a former Naval Intelligence officer who resigns his position in order to set up his own private investigation business in Oahu, Hawaii. Through either luck or acquaintance, he lands a job as head of security for bestselling author Robin Masters' luxurious beachfront estate. This enables Magnum to drive around in Masters' sporty flame-red Ferrari, make use of various high-tech toys, and live a life of relative ease in the estate's guest house. But Magnum constantly butts heads with estate manager Jonathan Higgins (John Hillerman), a former British military man in his own right, and one with a strict penchant for order and discipline. Despite their conflicts, Magnum and Higgins maintain a healthy friendship, while Magnum's friends Rick Wright (Larry Manetti) and T. C. Calvin (Roger E. Mosley) are forever being drawn into Magnum's dangerous investigations… The Magnum, PI DVD features a number of exciting episodes including the season premiere "Don't Eat the Snow in Hawaii" in which Magnum learns of the death of his childhood friend and Navy buddy Dan Cook. Skeptical of the officially cited cause of death, Magnum launches an investigation of his own with the aid of Dan's sister Alice. Eventually, the trail leads to an old military friend from Vietnam who might possibly be involved in a smuggling operation. Meanwhile, Magnum and Alice put their own lives on the line as they discover that someone is determined to put an end to their investigation… Other notable episodes from Season 1 include "No Need to Know" in which Magnum is hired to protect one of Higgins' friends from IRA assassins, and "Lest We Forget" in which a veteran of Pearl Harbor turned (Supreme Court Nominee) hires Magnum to investigate when he receives blackmail threats relating to his past… Below is a list of episodes included on the Magnum, PI (Season 1) DVD: Episode 1 (Don't Eat the Snow in Hawaii: Part 1) Air Date: 12-11-1980 Episode 2 (Don't Eat the Snow in Hawaii: Part 2) Air Date: 12-11-1980 Episode 3 (China Doll) Air Date: 12-18-1980 Episode 4 (Thank Heaven for Little Girls, and Big Ones Too) Air Date: 12-25-1980 Episode 5 (No Need to Know) Air Date: 01-08-1981 Episode 6 (Skin Deep) Air Date: 01-15-1981 Episode 7 (Never Again, Never Again) Air Date: 01-22-1981 Episode 8 (The Ugliest Dog in Hawaii) Air Date: 01-29-1981 Episode 9 (Missing in Action) Air Date: 02-05-1981 Episode 10 (Lest We Forget) Air Date: 02-12-1981 Episode 11 (The Curse of the King Kamehameha Club) Air Date: 02-19-1981 Episode 12 (Thicker Than Blood) Air Date: 02-26-1981 Episode 13 (All Roads Lead to Floyd) Air Date: 03-12-1981 Episode 14 (Adelaide) Air Date: 03-19-1981 Episode 15 (Don't Say Goodbye) Air Date: 03-26-1981 Episode 16 (The Black Orchid) Air Date: 04-02-1981 Episode 17 (J. "Digger" Doyle) Air Date: 04-09-1981 Episode 18 (Beauty Knows No Pain) Air Date: 04-16-1981
One of the more surprising films of 2005, and perhaps the most intriguing, was March Of The Penguins, a full-length feature film documentary cut from the same mold as a PBS National Geographic special. Directed by Luc Jacquet, the film had its origins in France, but the narrative theme is neither French, nor English, or for that matter, reflective of any nation’s cultural influence. Instead, March Of The Penguins is a truly rare cinematic masterpiece that transcends borders, language, and culture. Its brilliant portrayal of the Emperor penguin in his natural habitat offers universal appeal to audiences everywhere by reinforcing the themes of love, companionship, life, and the struggle to overcome the hardships of an oftentimes cruel and unforgiving world. The US version of March Of The Penguins is narrated by Morgan Freeman, a stellar choice for the role as his precise, yet folksy, voice serves to underscore the magnitude and the magic of the annual journey endured by these fascinating animals. The visuals of the film are powerful in their own right, but I doubt the movie would’ve enjoyed the massive commercial success it did without the strength of Freeman’s performance. In the opening scenes, Freeman introduces us to the Emperor penguin and its icy homeland of Antarctica. As winter approaches, penguins from all over the continent make an instinctive annual voyage across rugged and inhospitable terrain in search of the ancient Emperor penguin mating ground. Along the way, audiences learn every particular detail of the arduous task that awaits the Emperor penguins. With thousands gathered together, each must find a mate. Once the relationship has been consummated, a single egg is the product of their pairing. But the egg is fragile, subject to easy fracture and the hazardous conditions of extremely low temperatures. As such, the male penguin must protect the egg while the female returns to the ocean in search of food for herself and her yet to be born offspring. In the interim, high winds, driving snow, and freezing elements pound away at the swarm of male penguins as they desperately protect their respective eggs. Amazingly, the herd instinctively protects itself from the relentless cold by rotating those on the outside into the middle and vice versa, so that the burden of the cold weather is shared equally by all. Once winter subsides and the females return, the newly hatched baby penguins face the additional threat of predators. The males must make their own journey to the ocean, and the budding toddler penguins must be initiated into the ways of their world, all so the process can take full-circle and start all over again next year… One of the highest grossing theatrical documentaries ever released, March Of The Penguins is an utterly fascinating film. In contrast to the usual mind-numbing action-packed blockbusters produced by Hollywood (and demanded by those of us in the viewing public), March Of The Penguins is both educational and entertaining. You’ll find yourself perched on the edge of your seat in anticipation as these rugged creatures engage with the harshest elements of nature. You’ll root for the heroes and boo the villains, but despite the absence of a contrived Hollywood plot, you’ll find yourself truly captivated by this charming film – the story of struggle, the story of triumph, the story of life… March of the Penguins.
Premiering in April 1987, Married With Children became a staple of the growing Fox Network's original prime time programming, paving the way for further original creations such as The Simpsons. The total opposite of what a TV family should be, the original working title for the show was Not The Cosbys (a reference to the perfect family atmosphere of the popular 80's sitcom The Cosby Show). Paving the way for ABC's Roseanne, Married With Children more than lived up to its working title, chronicling the pathetic life of a Chicago shoe salesman and his equally dysfunctional family… Married With Children follows the exploits of the Bundy family, a dysfunctional trailer-park trash family living in American suburbia. The family is headed by Al Bundy (Ed O'Neill), a shoe salesman who's lewd, crude, sarcastic, and completely dissatisfied with his life as a loser. Al's wife Peg (Katey Sagal) spends her days watching Oprah and spending what little money Al brings home (she's also Al's greatest source of annoyance). Al and Peg's lives are complicated by their children, Kelly (Christina Applegate), a beautiful yet stupid teenager, and Bud (David Faustino), a sex-starved adolescent. With neighbors Steve (David Garrison), Marcy (Amanda Bearse), and Jefferson (Ted McGinley) dropping in on a regular basis, Al's dreams of a normal family life or a spare moment to relax are continually interrupted by the tortuous reality of his mediocre existence… The Married With Children DVD features a number of hilarious episodes including the series pilot in which Peg and Al, worried because they have no friends of their own, meet the new neighbors, Steve and Marcy Rhoades. Steve and Marcy have the perfect marriage, but the bad influences of the Bundys conspire to turn them against each other… Other notable episodes from Season 1 include "Whose Room is It Anyway?" in which Steve and Marcy decide to add a new room onto their house while Peg and Al pit the couple against each other in order to serve their own selfish interests, and "Peggy Sue Got Work" in which Al's refusal to buy Peg the VCR she wants prompts her to get a job in a local department store… Below is a list of episodes included on the Married With Children (Season 1) DVD: Episode 1 (Pilot) Air Date: 04-05-1987 Episode 2 (Thinnergy) Air Date: 04-12-1987 Episode 3 (But I Didn't Shoot the Deputy) Air Date: 04-19-1987 Episode 4 (Whose Room is it Anyway?) Air Date: 04-26-1987 Episode 5 (Have You Driven a Ford Lately) Air Date: 05-03-1987 Episode 6 (Sixteen Years and What Do You Get) Air Date: 05-10-1987 Episode 7 (Married… Without Children) Air Date: 05-17-1987 Episode 8 (The Poker Game) Air Date: 05-24-1987 Episode 9 (Peggy Sue Got Work) Air Date: 05-31-1987 Episode 10 (Al Loses His Cherry) Air Date: 06-07-1987 Episode 11 (Nightmare on Al's Street) Air Date: 06-14-1987 Episode 12 (Where's the Boss) Air Date: 06-21-1987 Episode 13 (Johnny Be Gone) Air Date: 06-28-1987
Based on a Richard Hooker novel of the same name, MASH was released in 1970 as a full-length feature film by 20th Century Fox before experiencing widespread success as a groundbreaking television sitcom in the Fall of 1972. The show's brilliant integration of drama and comedy made it one of the most celebrated shows in TV history, culminating in an eleven year prime time series stint. The 1983 series finale of MASH made history as the program with the single largest audience in television history, beating out several SuperBowls and the fabled "Who Shot J. R." episode of Dallas. With the proliferation of new television mediums, it's a record likely to never be broken… The sitcom is set in South Korea during American involvement in the Korea War (with M*A*S*H standing for "Mobile Army Surgical Hospital"). Buffered from the front lines by a mountain range and a minefield, the men and women of MASH were tasked with patching up wounded American soldiers. Unique to its genre, the cast of MASH was unusually large. Surgeons Dr. Benjamin Pierce (Alan Alda) and Dr. "Trapper" John McIntyre (Wayne Rogers) play the roles of excellent doctors who enjoy women and booze, while Dr. Frank Burns (Larry Linville) and Nurse Practitioner Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan (Loretta Swit) play foil to the two men's shenanigans (due to a contract dispute, Rogers' character was later replaced by Dr. B. J. Hunnicutt - played by Mike Farrell). The character of Frank Burns was also later replaced by Dr. Charles Emerson Winchester (David Ogden Stiers)… Corporal Max Klinger (Jamie Farr) provides comic relief with his early attempts to procure a discharge by dressing in women's clothing, and Father Francis Mulcahy (William Christopher) adds flavor to a diverse cast of characters. Also rounding out the cast are Lt. Col. Henry Blake (McLean Stevenson), Corporal Walter "Radar" O'Reilly (Gary Burghoff), and Col. Sherman Potter (Harry Morgan)… The MASH DVD offers a number of hilarious episodes including the series premiere in which Hawkeye Pierce and Trapper John McIntyre learn that their houseboy, Ho-John, got accepted to Hawkeye's alma mater. In order to raise money for Ho-John's trip to the United States, the two auction off a weekend pass to Tokyo with Nurse Dish and celebrate the college acceptance with a lavish party… Other notable episodes from Season 1 include "The Moose" in which a GI arrives at camp with a Korean female slave he purchased, and "Cease-Fire" in which the MASH camp prematurely celebrates a purported cease-fire which never takes place… Below is a list of episodes included on the MASH (Season 1) DVD: Episode 1 (The Pilot) Air Date: 09-17-1972 Episode 2 (To Market, to Market) Air Date: 09-24-1972 Episode 3 (Requiem for a Lightweight) Air Date: 10-01-1972 Episode 4 (Chief Surgeon Who?) Air Date: 10-08-1972 Episode 5 (The Moose) Air Date: 10-15-1972 Episode 6 (Yankee Doodle Doctor) Air Date: 10-22-1972 Episode 7 (Bananas, Crackers, and Nuts) Air Date: 11-05-1972 Episode 8 (Cowboy) Air Date: 11-12-1972 Episode 9 (Henry, Please Come Home) Air Date: 11-19-1972 Episode 10 (I Hate a Mystery) Air Date: 11-26-1972 Episode 11 (Germ Warfare) Air Date: 12-10-1972 Episode 12 (Dear Dad) Air Date: 12-17-1972 Episode 13 (Edwina) Air Date: 12-24-1972 Episode 14 (Love Story) Air Date: 01-07-1973 Episode 15 (Tuttle) Air Date: 01-14-1973 Episode 16 (The Ringbanger) Air Date: 01-21-1973 Episode 17 (Sometimes You Hear the Bullet) Air Date: 01-28-1973 Episode 18 (Dear Dad, Again) Air Date: 02-04-1973 Episode 19 (The Long-John Flap) Air Date: 02-17-1973 Episode 20 (The Army-Navy Game) Air Date: 02-25-1973 Episode 21 (Sticky Wicket) Air Date: 03-04-1973 Episode 22 (Major Fred C. Dobbs) Air Date: 03-11-1973 Episode 23 (Cease-Fire) Air Date: 03-18-1973 Episode 24 (Showtime) Air Date: 03-25-1973
One of the funniest films of 2004, Mean Girls ranks among some of the best high school comedies of all time. Right up there with Clueless, Fast Times At Ridgemont High, and American Pie, Mean Girls has some of the most hilarious comic scenes of the decade. Written by Saturday Night Live mainstay Tina Fey (who also stars as a teacher in the film), Mean Girls is supposed to chronicle some of the author's personal experiences in the social world of academics. Irrespective of its similarities to real life, Mean Girls is a light-hearted comedy with likeable characters, and it's just plain funny… Lindsay Lohan plays Cady Heron, a previously home-schooled, sixteen year old daughter of two world-traveling anthropologists. When her parents decide to settle down, Cady attends public school for the first time in her life. While there, she befriends social outcasts Janis Ian (Lizzy Caplan) and Damian (Daniel Franzese) who tell her all about the inner-workings of their high school. Cady learns about The Plastics, a group of three girls who compose the social elites of the school. The previous beneficiary of Plastics leader Regina's wrath, Janis longs for the day when she can exact revenge on her former best friend from eighth grade. When The Plastics - Regina George (Rachel McAdams), Gretchen Wieners (Lacey Chabert), and Karen Smith (Amanda Seyfried) - take a liking to Cady and give her an exclusive invitation to eat lunch with them, Janis sees her opportunity for revenge. She concocts a plan to send Cady into the world of The Plastics as an "undercover agent," and together, Cady, Janis, and Damian work to dig up dirt on the girls. However, the line between pretend and reality starts to blur for Cady, souring her relationship with Janis. And Cady's affection for Regina's former boyfriend Aaron (Jonathan Bennett) threatens to create a permanent chasm between the two girls… Throw in a showdown between two groups of math-letes, and you've got yourself quite a movie! As the lead character, Cady, Lindsay Lohan portrays a very likeable person, an intelligent, sweet girl who experiences her first foray into the world of public school. The audience's ability to identify with and like Cady makes it easier to enjoy a film where she alienates two groups of high school clicks and virtually everyone else around her. Meanwhile, Rachel McAdams (rising Hollywood star and lead from The Notebook) is brilliant in her performance as the socially aggressive, backstabbing Regina George. Mean Girls is a classic Darwinian high school comedy, similar to the hit TV show Freaks And Geeks, except with a little less edge. If you enjoyed the high school comedy films of the 1980's, like Can't Buy Me Love, then you'll thoroughly enjoy Mean Girls. With a well-written screenplay and supporting appearances by Saturday Night Live regulars Tina Fey and Tim Meadows, Mean Girls is a hilarious comedy and a definite must-see film…
Arguably the best comedy of 2004, Meet The Fockers is a hilarious, humor-filled marathon. Screenwriters Greg Glienna and Mary Ruth Clarke (who should have received Oscars for their flawless penmanship of Meet The Parents) turn in another blockbuster manuscript. But, as with its predecessor, Meet The Fockers wouldn't be the comedy masterpiece it is without the onscreen chemistry of Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro. Stiller, son of comedian Jerry Stiller (Seinfeld & King Of Queens), is a comic genius in his own right and has recently dominated the Hollywood box office with a string of smash spoof comedies such as There's Something About Mary (1998), Meet The Parents (2000), Zoolander (2001), Along Came Polly (2004), and Dodgeball (2004). De Niro, on the other hand, moves from the less serious roles of his early career into the comedy genre with an ease fully indicative of his enormous talent. Earlier comic roles in Wag The Dog (1997), Analyze This (1999), and Meet The Parents (2000) prepared movie-goers for the veteran actor's zinging one-liners. Throw Dustin Hoffman (who's also surprisingly funny) into the mix, and Meet The Fockers becomes one of those rare comedies that movie aficionados will want to see over and over again... Meet The Fockers follows the continuing hardship of Gaylord "Greg" Focker (Ben Stiller), a male nurse whose future father-in-law, Jack Byrnes (Robert De Niro), is a never-ending source of torment. A retired CIA operative, Jack is paranoid and controlling, and Greg's previous attempts to win over Jack's affections have always come up short. Now, Greg's life problems are multiplied by the imminent first meeting between his in-laws-to-be and his "birth parents". Traveling by RV, Greg, his fiancйe Pam (Teri Polo) and the rest of Byrnes family arrive in Florida where Bernie (Dustin Hoffman) and Roz Fockers' (Barbra Streisand) free-love, hippie lifestyle stands in stark contrast to Jack's serious faзade. Throughout the visit, Greg works overtime to avoid having Jack learn of his mother's thriving sex therapy business, his own youthful indiscretion with the family maid, and his inability to supervise Jack Jr. for even a single afternoon. When Jack gets the idea that Greg fathered a child back in high school, he administers truth serum to Greg, sparking a series of events that is sure to make even the most ardent critic of ridiculous and juvenile movies (and this is one of them) burst forth in laughter... Meet The Fockers is a rarity in that it's a sequel to a fairly successful film that manages to live up to the reputation of the original. Although Meet The Parents is probably the better film, Meet The Fockers is a truly hilarious comedy in its own right. Directed by Jay Roach (director of the Austin Powers franchise), Meet The Fockers is a highly entertaining comedy, deploying all the tricks of the trade - slap-stick, bathroom humor, zinging one-liners, classic "fish-out-of-water" sequences, and situation humor. By no means is it a cinema classic worthy of artistic awards and praise from sophisticated critics. But it delivers on its promise. It promises to make you laugh, and it performs that task with relative ease...
Nominated for six Academy Awards, and winner of three, Memoirs Of A Geisha holds its own as one of the best films of 2005. Veteran Hollywood screenwriter Robin Swicord does a superb job of adapting Arthur Golden’s bestselling novel to the big screen. This film has all the elements of a classic drama – jealousy, politics, intrigue, forbidden love, and an abundance of internal and external conflicts of varying types. Viewers in search of a typical Hollywood blockbuster will be greatly disappointed, but those who appreciate a good character-driven film which takes the time to develop the motivations of its cast and build to a climax will discover a splendid gem which offers a welcome escape from reality. Memoirs Of A Geisha is narrated from the viewpoint of a nine year-old Japanese girl named Chiyo (Ziyi Zhang). Born into a poor fishing family, Chiyo and her sister are sold into slavery by their father. Chiyo is soon separated from her sister and finds herself in a geisha house where her new master, Mother (Kaori Momoi), will determine her destiny. Although only nine years of age, Chiyo sparks the ire of the much older Hatsumomo (Li Gong), the most celebrated geisha of the house, who accurately perceives Chiyo as a fitting rival. Li Gong is excellent in her role as the vindictive, yet human, adversary, and her character manages to have Chiyo removed from geisha school and condemned to the life of a common slave. However, Chiyo’s life takes a turn for the better following a chance encounter with The Chairman (Ken Watanabe). Flanked by two geisha, The Chairman extends his kindness to Chiyo, prompting her to develop a lifelong crush and to dream of one day becoming a geisha herself. Chiyo’s wish comes true when a geisha from another house, Mameha (Michelle Yeoh), offers to personally train her, setting up an inevitable conflict between the two and Hatsumomo and her understudy. Meanwhile, the horrors of war and her lifelong pursuit of The Chairman’s love burden Chiyo with additional hardships. Although some traditionalists and geisha experts might take issue with the portrayal of geishas in general, the film certainly offers an interesting glimpse into a world and culture most Americans will find intriguing. Despite its two hour and twenty-five minute running time, Memoirs Of A Geisha is a captivating film that seems much shorter in duration. Like most films adapted from a novel, those who enjoyed the book will either love it or hate it depending on how well they perceive the switch to the big screen. But even those who hate it must admit that the costume and set design are exquisite and leave little room for improvement. At times, the cast speaks with heavy accents which can be confusing at moments, but overall, the scenes flow well from one to the next. With the exception of some American actors near the conclusion (Ted Levine of Monk fame plays a US Army Colonel), the majority of the cast is composed of Chinese and Japanese actors/actresses who are relatively unknown to American audiences – although Ken Watanabe might be recognizable given recent roles in The Last Samurai (2003) and Batman Begins (2005). The utilization of this cast helps focus audience attention on the merits of the film itself and not on a cast of stars, and this helps, rather than hinders, the film. As such, Memoirs Of A Geisha is a film most fans of the genre will thoroughly enjoy.
Nominated for 5 Golden Globes and 7 Academy Awards, including Best Motion Picture of the Year, Million Dollar Baby opened to widespread critical acclaim and excellent audience reviews. Director Clint Eastwood, whose career spans multiple decades in Hollywood, creates perhaps his greatest film to date, and co-stars Morgan Freeman (Shawshank Redemption) and Hilary Swank (Boys Don't Cry) light up the screen with their deft character portrayals and unique charismabining all the inspiration of Rocky with all the drama of a Greek tragedy, Million Dollar Baby is well-deserved of its Best Picture victory (despite the many protests of competing directors who think Eastwood won based on nostalgia for his heralded career and his personal likeability)... Million Dollar Baby focuses on tough-skinned boxing manager Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood), proprietor of a local training gym who has long been estranged from his lone daughter and seems to have only one friend of note - Eddie "Scrap-Iron" Dupris (Morgan Freeman). Eddie lives in and helps manage the gym, and he was once one of Frankie's fighters. With Big Willie Little (Mike Colter, who once appeared in ER) under Frankie's management, the gym hosts the daily workouts of a legitimate heavyweight title contender. But Frankie's reluctance to move Big Willie along prompts him to switch to a less conservative manager, and Frankie must watch his years of hard work pay off for someone else. Meanwhile, 30-something Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank) has scraped together the pennies and nickels necessary to train at the gym on a daily basis. Despite Frankie's advice to quit making a fool of herself, she borrows equipment from Eddie and works out until all hours of the night… With Big Willie out of the picture, Frankie finally confronts Maggie and agrees to train her. Over time, the two develop a close relationship akin to father/daughter. Maggie rises in the ranks of the female circuit until she reaches the title fight where a cheap sucker punch leads to tragic consequences… With emotional depth and colorful characters, Million Dollar Baby brings one of the most controversial issues of modern society into the forefront for an up-close-and-personal glimpse of the conflict and struggle experienced by trauma victims and their loved ones. Hilary Swank's Oscar winning performance is on full display, and Morgan Freeman is his usual mesmerizing presence… In the end, Million Dollar Baby beat out a number of excellent films in order to claim the Oscar for Best Picture - Finding Neverland, Ray, Sideways, and The Aviator (which prompted director Martin Scorsese to flee the awards ceremony in a huff). A case could be made for each of these fine films, but needless to say, Million Dollar Baby's victory is highly indicative of the film's enduring value. Each of the main characters comes across as likeable, the relationships as believable, and the storyline as inspirational and stirring. Million Dollar Baby is one of those rare films that stays in your head for hours on end long after you've walked out of the theater. Its subject matter is serious fodder for debate, and few viewers will fail to develop a strong emotional connection to Eastwood, Swank, and Freeman as they spring to life on the big screen. Quite simply, Million Dollar Baby is one of the best films of the decade and one you won't want to miss…
One of the more clever television creations of the new millennium, Monk combines the high-grade suspense of a traditional TV drama with the quirky humor of a big screen comedy. Originally developed for ABC, the show became an instant prime-time lynchpin for the USA network, proving itself one of the more successful shows on cable TV… In Monk, Tony Shalhoub stars in the title role of Adrian Monk, a former San Francisco detective placed on psychiatric leave. A true legend in the community, Monk solves unsolvable crimes via his towering intellect, photographic memory, and meticulous observations. But the one case that alludes Monk is the 1997 murder of his wife Trudy, which forever altered Monk's capacity to perform his job. Suffering from severe obsessive-compulsive disorder and a number of odd phobias, Monk requires a personal assistant, Sharona Fleming (Bitty Schram), for even his most basic daily activities. Yet Monk remains a police consultant on difficult cases, and he hopes to persuade Capt. Leland Stottlemeyer (Ted Levine) to give him his old job back. But Stottlemeyer and colleague Lt. Randall Disher (Jason Gray-Stanford), harbor doubts about Monk's mental faculties. As Monk solves cases though, those doubts dissipate and Stottlemeyer and Disher learn to appreciate Monk's special talents - despite his inability to cope with the day-to-day activities of a normal detective… Nevertheless, he remains a de facto investigator as he and Sharona aid the San Francisco police department in solving numerous high profile cases… The Monk DVD features a number of hilarious episodes including the season premiere "Mr. Monk and the Candidate" in which the audience first learns the background of Adrian Monk, a modern day Sherlock Holmes beset by mental problems. After Monk solves a mysterious murder simply by looking at the crime scene, Capt. Stottlemeyer enlists him to help in the investigation of a failed assassination attempt of mayoral candidate Warren St. Claire…Other notable episodes from Season 1 include "Mr. Monk and the Billionaire Mugger" in which Monk investigates the death of a billionaire shot while trying to mug a police officer, and "Mr. Monk and the Earthquake" in which Monk investigates the murder of a wealthy businessman (which occurred during an earthquake) while suffering verbal difficulties as a result of the earthquake's numerous aftershocks… Below is a list of episodes included on the Monk (Season 1) DVD: Episode 1 (Mr. Monk and the Candidate: Part 1) Air Date: 07-12-2002 Episode 2 (Mr. Monk and the Candidate: Part 2) Air Date: 07-12-2002 Episode 3 (Mr. Monk and the Psychic) Air Date: 07-19-2002 Episode 4 (Mr. Monk Meets Dale the Whale) Air Date: 07-26-2002 Episode 5 (Mr. Monk Goes to the Carnival) Air Date: 08-02-2002 Episode 6 (Mr. Monk Goes to the Asylum) Air Date: 08-09-2002 Episode 7 (Mr. Monk and the Billionaire Mugger) Air Date: 08-16-2002 Episode 8 (Mr. Monk and the Other Woman) Air Date: 08-23-2002 Episode 9 (Mr. Monk and the Marathon Man) Air Date: 09-13-2002 Episode 10 (Mr. Monk Takes a Vacation) Air Date: 09-20-2002 Episode 11 (Mr. Monk and the Earthquake) Air Date: 10-04-2002 Episode 12 (Mr. Monk and the Red-Headed Stranger) Air Date: 10-11-2002 Episode 13 (Mr. Monk and the Airplane) Air Date: 10-18-2002
Nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Munich is undoubtedly director Steven Spielberg’s best work since Band of Brothers (2001). At 2 hours and 44 minutes, the film moves along at a surprisingly quick pace. Spielberg makes adequate use of the time, providing added depth to the characters and illustrating the changes each undertakes in the course of his mission. Writers Tony Kushner and Eric Roth, the latter of whom is best known for Forrest Gump (1994), team well together in producing a splendid screenplay. The characters are well-rounded and the dialogue well-constructed. Instead of aiming for zinging one-liners or melodramatic sound-bites, Kushner and Roth craft the film’s dialogue to mark the pace of the of story, illustrate character motivations, and make subtle but not overblown commentary on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Overall, it makes for an enjoyable and worthwhile movie experience. Munich chronicles the historical events of the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany in which a Palestinian terrorist group known as Black September storms the Olympic Village. While the entire world watches, 11 of the terrorists evade capture after murdering 12 Israeli hostages. Torn between calls for peace and vengeance, Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir (Lynn Cohen) orders Mossad to form a secret unit of assassins to hunt down and eliminate the perpetrators. Mossad agent Avner (Eric Bana) is tasked with heading a team of five individuals composed of himself and four others known only as Steve (Daniel Craig), Carl (Ciaram Hinds), Robert (Mathieu Kassovitz), and Hans (Hanns Zischler). Each man is chosen for the unique skill set he brings to the table, and the group is left to its own devices when it comes to locating and killing the 11 terrorists who are scattered throughout Continental Europe. Methodically, they carry out the mission. But as they eliminate their enemies one-by-one, each man must grapple with the transformative influence such a job has on his perception of life, family, and country. Munich is a superb film which performs well in exploring the common theme of black versus white and the gray areas in between. Given the wide range of differing accents, it’s sometimes difficult to understand the characters, but this becomes a strength because it heightens viewer senses and breathes life into the story. Much like The Passion Of The Christ, the use of subtitles and various accents doesn’t detract from the film, but instead helps transform it in a production seemingly more worthy of serious attention than an alternative cartoon-like, James Bond rendition. As such, Munich doesn’t spell things out for the audience like a typical Hollywood blockbuster. No dates or geographical locations appear onscreen, and character dialogue doesn’t insult the viewer by recounting historical events. To better understand what’s happening, it helps to know the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Overall, Munich is a solid film. It does an excellent job of portraying the conflicts between Arab/Israeli and Muslim/Jew without rationalizing or portraying either side as totally good or totally evil. Instead, the two sides are seen as fellow human beings, each longing for essentially the same human desires for peace, love of family, and identity with a homeland. Unfortunately, these desires are attainable only in the context of the other side’s defeat.
One of the least appreciated films of 2005 is Must Love Dogs, an upbeat romantic comedy about two recent divorcees. Directed and adapted to screen by Gary David Goldberg, veteran TV writer for such shows as MASH and Family Ties, the film offers a number of laughs and very little in the way of strained or forced moments. As usual, John Cusack’s character appears on the big screen as an amicable and enigmatic personality. Cusack and Diane Lane make for a good onscreen pairing, but the script is somewhat lacking in its ability to deliver. Much like Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail, the concept and the couple are intriguing, but the unmet high expectations leave much to be desired… Must Love Dogs follows the life of Sarah Nolan (Diane Lane), a recently divorced preschool teacher attempting to move on with her life. Sarah’s sister Carol (Elizabeth Perkins) is constantly nagging her to get out and meet Mr. Right, but her prodding does nothing to animate the borderline depressed Sarah. Nevertheless, Carol’s well-intentioned act of signing her sister onto PerfectMatch provides a handful of prospective leads. One of them is a recently divorced woodworking artist named Jake (John Cusack), and the two agree to meet in the park with their dogs. The encounter is a forgettable one, but the two develop a mild attraction to one another. Meanwhile, Bob (Dermot Mulroney) the father of one of Sarah’s students, develops his own attraction for Sarah, forming a love triangle that leaves Sarah in utter confusion. As Sarah’s widowed father Bill (Christopher Plummer) plays the field with much greater success, it only seems to exacerbate Sarah’s disillusioned outlook. But when one of her father’s new female friends, the likeable and spunky Dolly (Stockard Channing) dispenses some of her own advice on life and relationships, it makes for a more interesting and humorous film. Caught in the lurch between two unknown outcomes, Sarah must choose the relationship that is right for her. But in the course of her hesitation, she risks losing the only relationship of the two which is truly worth her while. Fun and oftentimes witty, Must Love Dogs has some great scenes and original one-liners. Based on the bestselling novel by Claire Cook, Must Love Dogs will never be confused with a deeply symbolic or Oscar worthy picture, and the plot itself is quite predictable. But the film manages to do the most important job a film can do: entertain. Although it suffers at moments from use of bad dialogue, it’s not a total throwaway film. Like another recent Diane Lane movie, Under The Tuscan Sun, the mandatory gay friend with attractive significant other is present for relationship advice. That’s just one of a variety of overused Hollywood clichйs the viewer will encounter, along with the coincidence of Jake meeting Sarah’s father and Sarah’s end-of-the-movie race to embrace Jake, of which I must ask, why couldn’t she just wait until he got ashore? Because it wouldn’t make for a magical romantic movie ending, that’s why. Otherwise, Must Love Dogs is a likeable picture with many funny moments most will enjoy…