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Old 03-12-2020, 09:12 PM
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"How did anyone think that was a good idea?"


TV shows and movies are made by a large number of people collaborating, so there are usually some checks and balances on really bad ideas percolating to the big or little screen. What are some of the things done in TV and Movies that you can't believe they managed to think were a good idea? I'm not talking about things like replacing an actor because the original one left or things that were just executed badly, I'm looking for things that are so bad it seems like everyone would realize it would flop but for some reason it happened anyway.

For example, one of the attempted spinoffs from the Babylon 5 TV show Legend Of The Rangers came up with a really bizarre-looking idea for a fire control on a spaceship, where the gunner would be suspended in midair and would control the guns by punching and kicking at enemy ships. It was a weird, goofy-looking, grossly impractical setup, and I just don't see how anyone thought hovering kung fu spareship fighting complete with screaming was going to come off looking good to an audience, even back in the early 2000s. Here's a clip of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZapAjjTDbh4 , digging up this clip for another thread is what prompted me to post this one.
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Old 03-13-2020, 03:22 AM
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My Mother The Car. Probably the most inconceivable, absurd, POS to ever sail across the public airwaves
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Old 03-13-2020, 08:32 AM
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Most SNL movies, simply because most SNL skits can't be spun out into a full film and still remain amusing, and that should be obvious. For every Blues Brothers there's an It's Pat, for every Coneheads there's a Night at the Roxbury, for every Wayne's World there's a The Ladies Man or Stuart Saves His Family. And Blues Brothers 2000 was sad for reasons unrelated to it being an SNL movie.
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Old 03-13-2020, 08:53 AM
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Old 03-13-2020, 09:24 AM
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See, that is what makes it hard. If quality was the only indicator of success, this would be a lot easier.
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Old 03-13-2020, 10:36 AM
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See, that is what makes it hard. If quality was the only indicator of success, this would be a lot easier.
Exactly. For every George Lucas ca. 1976 there's an Ed Wood ca. 1958.
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Old 03-13-2020, 10:53 AM
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Most SNL movies, simply because most SNL skits can't be spun out into a full film and still remain amusing, and that should be obvious. For every Blues Brothers there's an It's Pat, for every Coneheads there's a Night at the Roxbury, for every Wayne's World there's a The Ladies Man or Stuart Saves His Family. And Blues Brothers 2000 was sad for reasons unrelated to it being an SNL movie.
FYI Stuart Saves His Family is another exception: it was directed by Harold Ramis, who also did Groundhog Day and Caddyshack. It's worth your attention. It has heart and depth behind the comedy.
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Old 03-13-2020, 12:51 PM
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FYI Stuart Saves His Family is another exception: it was directed by Harold Ramis, who also did Groundhog Day and Caddyshack. It's worth your attention. It has heart and depth behind the comedy.
And there was a whole SNL skit "selling" a book full of Caddyshack quotes so you could pretend you'd seen it.

I'll check it out.
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Old 03-14-2020, 12:03 PM
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FYI Stuart Saves His Family is another exception: it was directed by Harold Ramis, who also did Groundhog Day and Caddyshack. It's worth your attention. It has heart and depth behind the comedy.
I saw it in the theater and did not think there was a laugh in it. The trailer was funnier.
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Old 03-14-2020, 02:29 PM
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I saw it in the theater and did not think there was a laugh in it. The trailer was funnier.
I don't think it was a comedy, per se. It was a dramedy I would say. It's definitely not the Coneheads.

I am a fan.
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Old 03-17-2020, 10:22 AM
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Most SNL movies, simply because most SNL skits can't be spun out into a full film and still remain amusing, and that should be obvious. For every Blues Brothers there's an It's Pat, for every Coneheads there's a Night at the Roxbury, for every Wayne's World there's a The Ladies Man or Stuart Saves His Family. And Blues Brothers 2000 was sad for reasons unrelated to it being an SNL movie.
I beg to differ. The Coneheads movie was one of the most disappointing pieces of crap ever made. Certain concepts need a studio audience. It would have been like making an All in the Family movie.
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Old 03-17-2020, 10:53 AM
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Most SNL movies, simply because most SNL skits can't be spun out into a full film and still remain amusing, and that should be obvious. For every Blues Brothers there's an It's Pat, for every Coneheads there's a Night at the Roxbury, for every Wayne's World there's a The Ladies Man or Stuart Saves His Family. And Blues Brothers 2000 was sad for reasons unrelated to it being an SNL movie.
I beg to differ. The Coneheads movie was one of the most disappointing pieces of crap ever made. Certain concepts need a studio audience. It would have been like making an All in the Family movie.
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Old 03-13-2020, 11:31 AM
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My Mother The Car. Probably the most inconceivable, absurd, POS to ever sail across the public airwaves
You say this because you're not Canadian and never saw The Trouble With Tracy.
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Old 03-13-2020, 12:57 PM
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You say this because you're not Canadian and never saw The Trouble With Tracy.
Neither compare to the stupidity of a sitcom with Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun as main characters. Their neighbors are a Jewish couple!!!!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heil_Honey_I%27m_Home!

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Old 03-13-2020, 02:19 PM
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Neither compare to the stupidity of a sitcom with Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun as main characters. Their neighbors are a Jewish couple!!!!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heil_Honey_I%27m_Home!

But then you also have JoJo Rabbit and The Producers.

Or a movie like Tropic Thunder where 90% of it is Robert Downy Jr in blackface.



A lot of ideas seem like they should be stupid or offensive or at least simply unfunny, but for some reason they end up working.
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Old 03-13-2020, 02:29 PM
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But then you also have JoJo Rabbit and The Producers.
And Look Who's Back.
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Old 03-13-2020, 12:05 PM
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My Mother The Car. Probably the most inconceivable, absurd, POS to ever sail across the public airwaves
I haven't actually seen an episode of My Mother the Car, but just as counterpoint was the premise really that much more absurd than say Mr. Ed, or Bewitched?
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Old 03-13-2020, 01:01 PM
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I haven't actually seen an episode of My Mother the Car, but just as counterpoint was the premise really that much more absurd than say Mr. Ed, or Bewitched?
Plenty of absurdity going around back then wasn't there?. We can add The Flying Nun to the mix too.
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Old 03-13-2020, 03:17 PM
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My Mother The Car. Probably the most inconceivable, absurd, POS to ever sail across the public airwaves
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I haven't actually seen an episode of My Mother the Car, but just as counterpoint was the premise really that much more absurd than say Mr. Ed, or Bewitched?
Well, there's absurd and absurd. When My Mother the Car debuted, one TV critic commented the joke wasn't the show's premise but the fact a show with that premise was green-lit by a major TV network thereby making it one joke less than a one-joke show. Amazingly, many of the writers for My Mother the Car went on to create and write some of best-regarded shows of the 70s and 80s like Barney Miller and Mary Tyler Moore (e.g., James L. Brooks got his start on the show).

Anyway, I've said this before but, from the hindsight of more than 50 years, one can't avoid thinking drugs were behind the show's production, placement on NBC's schedule, and popularity among a small cult of viewers during its run. The premise of "My Mother the Car" seems like the product of an LSD trip, its approval by the networks suggests a decision made after too many martinis, and the fact enough people watched it to keep it alive for one season suggests there was already a segment of the viewing public that liked to watch TV while "herbally enhanced."
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Old 03-16-2020, 11:53 PM
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I haven't actually seen an episode of My Mother the Car, but just as counterpoint was the premise really that much more absurd than say Mr. Ed, or Bewitched?
At least Mr. Ed was an animate creature that theoretically could have a mind.

The true creepiness of My Mother the Car was sitting inside your mother and tweaking bits of her anatomy to make her drive around.
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Old 03-13-2020, 02:07 PM
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My Mother The Car. Probably the most inconceivable, absurd, POS to ever sail across the public airwaves
Ironically, Jerry Van Dyke turned down Gilligan because he thought the island was too strange.
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Old 03-14-2020, 04:36 AM
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My Mother The Car. Probably the most inconceivable, absurd, POS to ever sail across the public airwaves
God help me, I can remember every word of the theme song.

My first thought when I saw the thread title was casting Seth Rogan as the Green Hornet.

Last edited by TonySinclair; 03-14-2020 at 04:37 AM.
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Old 03-17-2020, 07:09 AM
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God help me, I can remember every word of the theme song.
I've got an even more embarrassing memory: watching the series premier in 1965 (the first scene, where he's looking around a used car lot and hears his mother's voice calling out to him). I was six years old, so it didn't seem (quite) as stupid as it does now.

As for the theme song, this is without googling/youtubing:

A nineteen twenty eight Porter
That's my mother dear
She helps me through everything I do
And I'm so glad she's here


Ah, the wasted brain cells.
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Old 03-16-2020, 02:37 PM
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My Mother The Car. Probably the most inconceivable, absurd, POS to ever sail across the public airwaves
I'd say "It's About Time" sucked about as hard as MMTC. One reason to appreciate MMTC is that, without it, there would have been no SCTV parody of it (Tibor's Tractor) on the Soviet takeover episode of Network 90, Season 2.
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Old 03-16-2020, 07:09 PM
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I'd say "It's About Time" sucked about as hard as MMTC. One reason to appreciate MMTC is that, without it, there would have been no SCTV parody of it (Tibor's Tractor) on the Soviet takeover episode of Network 90, Season 2.






Uzbeks
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Old 03-17-2020, 05:11 AM
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I'd say "It's About Time" sucked about as hard as MMTC. ..
I enjoyed It's About Time.
SPOILER:

When I was 6.

And wasn't allowed to watch TV.

I can still sing the theme ("It's about time. It's about space. It's about two men in the strangest place." (Those lyrics sites that give the wrong lyrics lie).
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Old 03-20-2020, 02:04 PM
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I'd say "It's About Time" sucked about as hard as MMTC. One reason to appreciate MMTC is that, without it, there would have been no SCTV parody of it (Tibor's Tractor) on the Soviet takeover episode of Network 90, Season 2.
IIRC the premise was originally that the astronauts were living back in Caveman times, but switched rapidly to the cavemen living in modern times.

I remember the theme song- that, at least, was pretty good.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsJhBn0I9U4
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Old 03-13-2020, 09:10 AM
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TV shows and movies are made by a large number of people collaborating, so there are usually some checks and balances on really bad ideas percolating to the big or little screen. What are some of the things done in TV and Movies that you can't believe they managed to think were a good idea? I'm not talking about things like replacing an actor because the original one left or things that were just executed badly, I'm looking for things that are so bad it seems like everyone would realize it would flop but for some reason it happened anyway.

For example, one of the attempted spinoffs from the Babylon 5 TV show Legend Of The Rangers came up with a really bizarre-looking idea for a fire control on a spaceship, where the gunner would be suspended in midair and would control the guns by punching and kicking at enemy ships. It was a weird, goofy-looking, grossly impractical setup, and I just don't see how anyone thought hovering kung fu spareship fighting complete with screaming was going to come off looking good to an audience, even back in the early 2000s. Here's a clip of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZapAjjTDbh4 , digging up this clip for another thread is what prompted me to post this one.
For every show that makes it on the air, there are literally hundreds of pilots that are written, cast, and filmed, and don't make it.

I think some times the decision makers are not thinking in terms of what they like, but in terms of what they imagine some strawman audience would like. Much of the TV industry at the top is coastal urban educated upper-middle class people making shows for the rest of America, so you can imagine there is often a disconnect.

But as to your example of the marionette kung-fu fighter, well, that is just one aspect of show rather than the whole story. I can only imagine a late night creative session going off the rails - "What if they have a cat with laser beam eyes? Or OR OR a guy (giggle) who hangs by wires and uses kung fu moves to fight spaceships! THAT WOULD BE AWESOME! No, really guys. We have to do that!"
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Old 03-14-2020, 04:58 AM
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For every show that makes it on the air, there are literally hundreds of pilots that are written, cast, and filmed, and don't make it.
Hundreds? Literally? Cite?

It is my understanding (from wiki) that about one in four pilots become a series.
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Old 03-14-2020, 11:39 AM
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Hundreds? Literally? Cite?

It is my understanding (from wiki) that about one in four pilots become a series.
You'll see lots of numbers, which also vary over time. Here's an article from 2018:

Quote:
500: The average number of pitches heard by network and studio execs each summer
70: The average number of pilot scripts ordered each fall
20: The average number of pilot episodes ordered each January
5 – 12: The average number of series each network orders each May
Those numbers are somewhat misleading. Obviously each network can't order 12 from a total of 20. Those earlier lines should be per network as well. But pitches are normally made to several networks so there's overlap in the 500 number. Classic Hollywood accounting.

An Entertainment Weekly article from 2014 puts the pilot number at 90.

There's been a trend toward fewer pilots in recent years. It's ridiculously expensive to round up 70-90 casts and crews and throw away 80-90% of them. The networks would rather work with proven talent. Big name showrunners don't need to audition; they get automatic orders.
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Old 03-20-2020, 01:59 PM
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You'll see lots of numbers, which also vary over time. Here's an article from 2018:



..
So, yeah, once it get to actually filming the pilot, a good number get on the air. But LOTS of pitches are done.
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Old 03-27-2020, 01:27 PM
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For every show that makes it on the air, there are literally hundreds of pilots that are written, cast, and filmed, and don't make it.

I think some times the decision makers are not thinking in terms of what they like, but in terms of what they imagine some strawman audience would like. Much of the TV industry at the top is coastal urban educated upper-middle class people making shows for the rest of America, so you can imagine there is often a disconnect.

But as to your example of the marionette kung-fu fighter, well, that is just one aspect of show rather than the whole story. I can only imagine a late night creative session going off the rails - "What if they have a cat with laser beam eyes? Or OR OR a guy (giggle) who hangs by wires and uses kung fu moves to fight spaceships! THAT WOULD BE AWESOME! No, really guys. We have to do that!"
On a slight tangent, there's a podcast called Dead Pilot's society, in which scripts that didn't make it to the pilot phase are read in front of an audience. There've been some that would have made entertaining shows. Episodes generally include interviews with the writers, and they'll often talk about the process and why certain shows get made and others don't.
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Old 03-13-2020, 09:32 AM
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"Whatever flips your Bic" (Dick Martin)
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Old 03-13-2020, 10:29 AM
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The Madonna Guy Ritchie remake of Swept Away. The original is about a rich lady and a sailor who get marooned on an island and he beats and rapes her until she falls in love with him. It is probably one of the most sexist movies ever made, and is only thought of as a classic because it is supposed to be an allegory of marxist class conflict.
How they thought a remake would be appropriate after the fall of the USSR and the introduction of feminism is mystifying.
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Old 03-13-2020, 10:41 AM
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Here's a clip of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZapAjjTDbh4 , digging up this clip for another thread is what prompted me to post this one.
Jesus that was painful
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Old 03-28-2020, 07:09 AM
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Jesus that was painful
I thought "ok... maybe that's one way to interact with a sophisticated weapons system in space"and then she started freaking out and I couldn't watch any more.
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Old 03-13-2020, 10:55 AM
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How about a remake of "What Women Want" told from the other side?

I present "What Men Want."

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7634968/
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Old 03-13-2020, 11:14 AM
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In 1993, ABC gave Paula Poundstone her own variety show. It aired on Saturday nights (mistake 1.) Unfortunately, I can't find a clip of it, so you'll have to settle for this review of Epsiode 2.

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Show’s looniness hits its peak as Poundstone, in the studio, interviews via satellite four economists who are riding spinning cups at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk and who shout out answers to her questions such as “Should the government regulate private business?” (Lest things even approach seriousness, a barbershop quartet sings as they also ride the spinning cups.)

As a Halloween treat, Sam Donaldson reads from Maurice Sendak. (“I don’t know how we tricked Sam Donaldson into this,” Poundstone later wonders.)
There was no Episode 3.

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Old 03-13-2020, 11:50 AM
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In 1993, ABC gave Paula Poundstone her own variety show. It aired on Saturday nights (mistake 1.)
I saw the first episode, which was very uneven. The problem most of the show was ad-libbed, which meant a lot just fell flat.
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Old 03-13-2020, 11:22 AM
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Who Greenlighted Hogan's Heros?
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Old 03-13-2020, 12:13 PM
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Who Greenlighted Hogan's Heros?
Well, since it's (mostly) based on "Stalag-17", an Academy Award winning picture, based on a successful Broadway play, that was proposed as a TV series a few years earlier, it makes a bit more sense. The translation to comedy certainly stands out as an interesting choice.
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Old 03-20-2020, 01:36 PM
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Well, since it's (mostly) based on "Stalag-17", an Academy Award winning picture, based on a successful Broadway play, that was proposed as a TV series a few years earlier, it makes a bit more sense. The translation to comedy certainly stands out as an interesting choice.
And it's actually pretty good.
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Old 03-20-2020, 03:19 PM
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Well, since it's (mostly) based on "Stalag-17", an Academy Award winning picture, based on a successful Broadway play, that was proposed as a TV series a few years earlier, it makes a bit more sense. The translation to comedy certainly stands out as an interesting choice.
Stalag-17 was somewhat a comedy to begin with.
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Old 03-20-2020, 03:57 PM
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Stalag-17 was somewhat a comedy to begin with.
It was a drama with occasional comic scenes and situations (i.e., a dramedy even though the term didn't exist at the time). Also, given the setting, much of the comedy was gallows humor. In contrast, "Hogan's Heroes" was a broadly humored sitcom with a laugh track.
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Old 03-13-2020, 12:14 PM
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Missed the edit window, but for my nomination, I pick The Greatest American Hero. Years ago there was a bit of a revival in interest in the show, and one of the cable networks (maybe SyFy?) ran a marathon of all the episodes. I tuned in to a few thinking it might be fun in a kitschy, "so bad it's good" kind of way. It wasn't. It basically just felt like a bad 1980s cop show that happened to include a superhero.
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Old 03-13-2020, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by WildaBeast View Post
Missed the edit window, but for my nomination, I pick The Greatest American Hero. Years ago there was a bit of a revival in interest in the show, and one of the cable networks (maybe SyFy?) ran a marathon of all the episodes. I tuned in to a few thinking it might be fun in a kitschy, "so bad it's good" kind of way. It wasn't. It basically just felt like a bad 1980s cop show that happened to include a superhero.
I doubt 44 episodes would be concidered a "flop." (And I wouldn't concider GAH "bad" so much as "good.")
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Old 03-13-2020, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Darren Garrison View Post
I doubt 44 episodes would be concidered a "flop." (And I wouldn't concider GAH "bad" so much as "good.")
Yeah, it seems like it'd be horrible, but the personalities of Ralph* and Agent Maxwell* saved it. Robert Culp was so self-important as he chewed a lot of scenery. Perfect for a great just-over-the-top FBI agent.




*WHY the hell do I remember these things, and not important stuff?
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Old 03-16-2020, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Darren Garrison View Post
I doubt 44 episodes would be concidered a "flop." (And I wouldn't concider GAH "bad" so much as "good.")
I loved the show growing up. Same with Hogan's Heroes. There may be an issue looking at some of these shows as to who the target audience was. Younger viewers may find these shows more entertaining than older viewers as they don't get caught up in the flaws.
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Old 03-13-2020, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by WildaBeast View Post
Missed the edit window, but for my nomination, I pick The Greatest American Hero. Years ago there was a bit of a revival in interest in the show, and one of the cable networks (maybe SyFy?) ran a marathon of all the episodes. I tuned in to a few thinking it might be fun in a kitschy, "so bad it's good" kind of way. It wasn't. It basically just felt like a bad 1980s cop show that happened to include a superhero.
Small aside: back when that show was on the air I happened to sit near the star, William Katt, on an airplane flight. Damn but he was full of himself. He was sitting next to an attractive young woman and he would not stop talking at her, bragging about how he was a glamorous actor. All I could think was "dude, not sure you have that much to brag about. Also, you're sitting coach, which kind of suggests you aren't as famous and wealthy as you're trying to present yourself."
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Old 03-13-2020, 06:45 PM
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Small aside: back when that show was on the air I happened to sit near the star, William Katt, on an airplane flight. Damn but he was full of himself. He was sitting next to an attractive young woman and he would not stop talking at her, bragging about how he was a glamorous actor. All I could think was "dude, not sure you have that much to brag about. Also, you're sitting coach, which kind of suggests you aren't as famous and wealthy as you're trying to present yourself."
Scary that he thought he could pull it off with that haircut sitting on his head.

And hey! I like My Mother the Car.. Check out an episode or two on YouTube and judge for yourself. (Avery Schreiber is always fun to watch)
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