Sunday, February 25, 2018

Knots Landing season 10

It's a little hard, when looking back at Knots Landing Season 10, to separate fact from fiction. It's famously the season when the ratings increased -- something that simply didn't happen in the late '80s, in the twilight years of the once-formidable primetime soaps. Like most of its soap counterparts, Knots had been shedding viewers for years (its ratings had peaked, fittingly, during its best season, in 1983-84); since 1986, when CBS bumped it up an hour, then, recognizing its error, returned it to 10 PM, it had been eclipsed in its timeslot by NBC's L.A. Law. So the show's ratings rebound, from a 15.8 in Season 9 to a 16.1 in Season 10, was the industry equivalent of a miracle, and it prompted some heady press coverage at the time -- not just from fan magazines like Soap Opera Digest, but from mainstream publications like The Wall Street Journal. Knots Landing had bucked the trend of declining ratings; Season 10 must be one great season, right?

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Doctor Who: in defense of "Attack of the Cybermen"

The sixth of seven neglected or maligned Classic Who serials that I consider worth revisiting, one for each Doctor. The series commences here, with "Terminus," then continues with "The Ark," "Delta and the Bannermen," "Death to the Daleks" and "The Wheel in Space."

Instead of beginning this essay by launching into reasons "Why I Like Attack of the Cybermen," let's indulge in a bit of fan fiction. Recall, if you will, the end of the Fifth Doctor's final serial, "The Caves of Androzani." Having obtained enough serum to counteract the poison that's killing his new companion Peri (and himself), the Doctor tracks her down at Sharaz Jek's lair and carries her back to the TARDIS, where he administers the cure. But he's committed the ultimate sacrifice, as there's not enough left for himself -- and as memories of his former companions and his oldest enemy swirl around in his brain, he expires and regenerates, and in his place, the next Doctor, Colin Baker, rises to announce "change, and not a moment too soon."