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Five Other ’80s Events The Goldbergs Should Cover

by Ethan Alter October 24, 2013 2:56 pm
Five Other ’80s Events The Goldbergs Should Cover

It's taken a few episodes, but we think we've finally figured out the secret to ABC's '80s-era sitcom, The Goldbergs: the titular clan are time-travelers. How else to explain the fact that, while the pilot set the show down in 1985, subsequent episodes have jumped back and forth in time without the clan aging? The third episode, for example, found little Adam Goldberg and his grandpa Albert taking in a showing of 1982's Poltergeist under the pretense that they would be seeing 1986's The Great Mouse Detective. And while it's possible that Tobe Hooper's scary movie was in the midst of a re-release (back in the pre-DVD era when the movie studios actually did that sort of thing), that doesn't explain what happened on this week's installment, where Adam wooed a crush with his favorite Hollywood romance, Say Anything… a movie that hit theaters in 1989. Given that any chance of a linear timeline is now at the window, here are the momentous (for us, anyway) '80s pop culture events we hope the Goldbergs time-jump to over the course of the remaining episodes.

Heroes of Cosplay: Picking Season 1′s Heroes and Villians

Syfy's strangely addictive and occasionally just plain strange hybrid of a competitive and candid reality show, Heroes of Cosplay, wrapped up its limited freshman season run last night with a team-based challenge at Kansas City's Planet Comicon, the fifth and final stop on a six-episode cross-country tour of the comic convention scene. We've gotta admit, this show kind of surprised us as it went along; what initially seemed like a crass and exploitative appropriation of a geek tradition (the early promos did spend an awful lot of time playing up the busty-girls-in-skimpy-outfits aspect of cosplay) wound up becoming a fun and even moderately respectful tribute to the women and men -- but mostly women, at least on the show anyway -- who spend their time designing and donning costumes derived from comics, video games, anime and American cartoons and pretty much every other medium under the yellow nerd sun. (To see what true geek exploitation looks like, steel yourselves for the hideous Fangasm, which takes over Heroes' slot next week… one more good reason why this show deserves a second year.) We take a look back at which of the show's core cast of costumed-players deserves the status of "hero" and which are closer to villains.

Camp: What We Learned From This Summer’s Weirdest Show

by Ethan Alter September 12, 2013 11:08 am
Camp: What We Learned From This Summer’s Weirdest Show

Looking back, we're not sure quite why we willingly enrolled at the Little Otter Family Camp, the bucolic setting of NBC's Camp, for the duration of this summer. From the pilot episode on, the show was consistently terrible -- a bizarre confection of soap opera, teen (and grown-up) sex comedy and flat-out "Huh?" plot developments. And yet, we kept watching anyway, if only to see just how much worse things could possibly get, not unlike the way we stayed glued to our sets during the epic crash of NBC's winter bomb, Smash. After ten weeks, Camp closed its doors -- likely for good -- with last night's appropriately weird finale, which involved, among other things, a counselor's mother getting thrown in a foreign prison for drug smuggling, the abusive aunt who almost took her in, a porny hot dog eating contest, several "should I stay or should I go?" life decisions and an inter-camp Olympics that greatly suffered from the lack of a Bill Murray cameo. Even after spending the warm weather months embedded at Little Otter, we're still not sure we understand the rules of the place (or the show, for that matter), but here are the various do's and don'ts we picked up during our time at NBC's version of summer camp.

Breaking Amish: Brave New World: Why We’re Leaving the Clan

The first season of TLC's Breaking Amish may have been obviously scripted and was eventually revealed to have altered the truth about its cast's relationship with the Amish and Mennonite communities, but at least it was watchable. The culture-shock concept of the series -- helping five young adults get out of their oppressive community, and then throwing them into New York City -- was promising enough, and even if the gang eventually admitted that they didn't exactly go from farm to Breaking Amish, their fish-out-of-water experiences produced some fine reality TV. And then TLC brought it back for a second season.

Switched at Birth: The Best Moments of the All ASL Episode

To paraphrase myself, Switched at Birth is highly underrated, both because of its overarching subject matter -- Deaf culture -- and its bare-bones teen drama. Not only am I glad the series chose to make "Uprising" entirely in American Sign Language because of how radical of an idea that is, but also since this births the possibility that other people will start watching the show, and I'll finally have someone to talk to about how Emmett is way too good for Bay, or how weird it is that Daphne had an affair with the same guy evil Buffy shtupped in Ringer. Until then, here are the highlights of the episode:

Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome: Blood on the Tracks

Almost a full two years after it went before cameras, Syfy's second attempt to launch a Battlestar Galactica prequel series, Blood & Chrome, finally premiered in November as a series of ten-part webisodes via Machinima.com. The final two episodes went live last Friday, December 7 (you can watch the entire series here) and will be followed by a full-length airing on Syfy in February as well as a standalone DVD edition. And, barring a last-minute reprieve, that will probably be the last we ever hear of Blood & Chrome, as the network has already made it clear that the BSG franchise won't be returning to its airwaves anytime soon and its future as an online property seems dubious at best. Having followed along with the series (and as major BSG fans from back in the day), we've got mixed feeling about its likely demise. Here are three reasons why we'd like Blood & Chrome to continue and three reasons why we're glad it won't.

Mockingbird Lane: Smell Ya Later, Munsters

by Ethan Alter October 26, 2012 9:05 pm
Mockingbird Lane: Smell Ya Later, Munsters

What do you when you've got a lavishly-produced pilot for a reboot of The Munsters that you've decided against taking to series? Well, if you're NBC, you burn it off on the Friday before Halloween, billing it as a one-night-only special event. And while Mockingbird Lane's mastermind Bryan Fuller still seems to think it could still earn a place on the primetime line-up, we're pretty sure this is the last we'll ever see of the new Munster clan, populated by Eddie Izaard as the vampish Grandpa, Jerry O'Connell as man-made monster Herman, Portia de Rossi as his wife and bloodsucker Lily, Mason Cook as the wolfish Eddie Munster and Charity Wakefield as the sole normal family member, Marilyn. Having now seen what Fuller's take on this unlikely project was, here are three reasons why we'd like to see Mockingbird Lane become an ongoing series... and three reasons why we wouldn't.

Up All Night: New Beginnings

by Ethan Alter September 21, 2012 10:40 am
Up All Night: New Beginnings

During its first season, Up All Night seemed to revamp itself every few episodes as it tried to strike the right balance between being a domestic comedy about two new parents and a workplace sitcom set at an Oprah-like daytime talk show. In its second season premiere, the show went through one last (I hope) reboot, abandoning the talk show angle once and for all and bringing it all back home, seemingly for good.

TWoP 10: Burning Questions About The Jeff Probst Show

by Ethan Alter September 14, 2012 6:00 am
TWoP 10: Burning Questions About The Jeff Probst Show

We're a week into the grand experiment known as The Jeff Probst Show, the new daytime chat program starring the guy who is better known for forcing a bunch of castaways on a lush tropical island to compete in challenges and then interrogating them over a bonfire. So far, it's been a strange ride, as the Survivorman has traded tribal warfare for gushy sit-downs with cancer victims, corporate drones-turned Starbucks employees and two of the richest people in America. If you can't get a handle on what this show is trying to be, you're not alone. Here are the ten burning questions we've got about The Jeff Probst Show after its first week on the air.

Episodes: What We Learned This Season

by Ethan Alter August 27, 2012 6:00 am
Episodes: What We Learned This Season

Hey, remember when Episodes was a behind-the-scenes look at a terrible American sitcom called Pucks? No? That's okay, because the Season 2 finale, which aired last night, barely mentioned the show-within-the-show at all. Instead, personal business overtook the business of show, as the finale wrapped up a few of the season's will-they-or-won't-they storylines (among them, "Will Sean and Bev reconcile"; "Will Carol break up with Merc already"; and "Won't someone please arrest Labia?") while leaving enough threads dangling to weave a third year, should Showtime decide to order one. If it does come back, here's hoping -- and we're probably the only people in the show's version of America wishing this -- there's a lot more Pucks and a lot less partner-swapping.

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