Today I thought about someone I hadn't thought of in years. I thought about Elwy Yost.
Elwy Yost hosted Magic Shadows and Saturday Night at the Movies on TVOntario for most of my life. He focused on classic films, and I was too young to appreciate it, but he was a regular face I'd see as I surfed channels. He was always there, hosting these shows from 1974 to 1999, and he always seemed to love what he did.
Wikipedia tells me he's retired and living in West Vancouver, British Columbia. I'll bet he's seated in a comfy chair right now, enjoying a movie.
This past week I checked out a couple of new television series. I sampled the first two episodes of Californication, starring David Duchovny, and the pilot of Saving Grace, starring Holly Hunter.
Californication reminded me of Dream On, an HBO series I used to watch. Californication is actually a Showtime series, but it's still a dude who easily scores with ultra hot babes who always end up showing us the goods. Dream On was a comedy while Californication is sort of a dark comedy with dramatic aspirations. I watched the first two episodes and I'll be back for the third. It's even got geek appeal with Duchovny's character getting paid to blog.
I hated Saving Grace. I hated everything about it. It aired on Showcase last night and I expected a great deal better. It's awfully contrived with a boring as all hell subplot and a corny Touched By An Angel premise. The best part of Saving Grace was the theme music by Everlast. I'd avoid this one like the plague and wait for the far better Dexter to start up its second season.
And while we're discussing television, we finally get the new season of Rescue Me tonight at 10p on Showcase. As Red would say, dont'cha dare miss it.
Brace yourselves, I'm about to reveal something pretty shocking. I have never found "Royal Canadian Air Farce" funny.
Is that wrong? Does that somehow make me a bad Canadian? "Royal Canadian Air Farce" has been on for over a decade and I've caught bits and pieces here and there but I've never laughed. Not once. I just don't find it particularly funny.
One minute of "The Kids in the Hall" contains more pure hilarity than an entire season of "Royal Canadian Air Farce". Does anyone out there actually enjoy RCAF?
When John From Cincinnati got canned earlier this week, I shared the opening credits of that show because it featured a very cool tune by Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros. That got me thinking about television theme songs that are too cool to be confined to the small screen and are good enough to stand alone.
Sometimes a song is a created for a tv show and sometimes it's simply licensed, as is the case with most of the songs below. However you slice it, here are my favourite television theme songs.
- Von Bondies' "C'mon C'mon" from Rescue Me
- Joe Cocker's "A Little Help From My Friends" from The Wonder Years
- Foo Fighters' "Next Year" from Ed
- Waylon Jennings' "Good Ol' Boys" from The Dukes of Hazzard
- Steve Carlisle's "WKRP in Cincinnati" from WKRP in Cincinnati
- Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros' "Johnny Appleseed" from John From Cincinnati
- John Sebastian's "Welcome Back" from Welcome Back, Kotter
- Alabama 3's "Woke Up This Morning" from The Sopranos
- Gary Portnoy's "Everybody Knows Your Name" from Cheers
- Joey Scarbury's "Believe It Or Not" from The Greatest American Hero
An honourable mention goes to the three Who songs used for various CSI shows. The Who songs are great but having not seen a minute of the shows that use them, I felt weird putting them on this list. All ten shows above are actually shows I watched and enjoyed.
One of the best things about John From Cincinnati was the opening credits. It was cool grainy surfer imagery with Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros' "Johnny Appleseed" playing overtop. I had never heard "Johnny Appleseed" before but I'm now a big fan.
Apparently, I was the only one watching John From Cincinnati. I knew early on the ratings were poor, so I was prepared for what happened this week. HBO has cancelled John From Cincinnati.
Without a doubt, it was out there. Some weeks I didn't know what the hell was going on, but I knew I liked it. I haven't seen the final episode yet, but I'm certain it won't explain everything so I'm destined to live out life never knowing what was up with John.
I still think he was Jesus Christ.
For the most part, TV sucks. I'm so tired of the Law & Orders and typical dramas and sitcoms. Right now I'm only following two series: John From Cincinnati and Flight of the Conchords.
There are, however, a few other series I follow that will be airing new episodes soon. Weeds, a Showtime series, is airing new episodes in the USA next week. Showcase, which carries the show on this side of the border, will start season three in the fall.
Another US cable series I follow is Rescue Me, which started airing season four a couple of months ago. Showcase will air these new episodes in the fall as well. Why Showcase chooses to make us wait is beyond me, but I'm sure there's a method to their madness.
Finally, Curb Your Enthusiasm is set to air season six in September as well. TMN will air this series simultaneous with HBO. Here's a very cool list of celebrities that have appeared on Curb Your Enthusiasm.
There ya have it. Throw in The Simpsons and The Office and that's about it for me. As I said, for the most part, TV sucks.
I was asleep at the switch. How else can I explain the fact I'm only discovering the Flight of the Conchords now. This HBO series featuring New Zealand's Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement first hit TMN over a month ago but I only watched the pilot on Friday. Five episodes later, I'm in love.
It's bloody brilliant. Frighteningly witty and chock full of exceptionally hilarious songs covering a wide variety of genres. It's dryer than a show like Curb Your Enthusiasm, and you have to get used to the accents, but it's one of those shows you just don't want to end. At a half hour, if feels way too short and you're left wanting a whole lot more.
Here's a song from the pilot. If you get TMN, or have a friend who gets TMN, there are seven episodes sitting at channel 308 waiting to be watched or recorded or whatever. Don't miss this series.
The songs really need to be viewed as part of the episode to be fully appreciated, but that's not going to stop me from sharing one more. This one appeared in the 4th episode, "Yoko".
And, because I can't help myself, this song killed me. It's from the 3rd episode and features Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros.
That's all... for now. Watch the damn show. There's nothing remotely as funny on tv right now, trust me.
If you're my age, you likely remember Tom Snyder as host of The Late Late Show. David Letterman hand picked his idol Snyder to follow him at 12:35 am.
Before all that, Snyder hosted Tomorrow with Tom Snyder and had some neat interviews, like this one with The Clash in 1981. I'll miss that Snyder laugh.
Another gem is this interview with Howard Stern in 1991.
In the absence of The Sopranos, I was looking for a new drama to sink my eyeballs into, so we decided to try John From Cincinnati.
John From Cincinnati was created by David Milch and Kem Nunn. Milch created the very cool Deadwood, and John From Cincinnati is equally compelling. It's hard to describe, but it sticks to you and draws you in.
I read a negative review in the New Yorker before watching the pilot, so I was ready to ditch it. It has such a weird feel to it I kept coming back for more. I'm five episodes in and digging it, but I keep reading about poor ratings and I fear HBO may pull the plug before I see this through.
Only the good die young.
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