Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Knots Landing season 12

The first half of Knots Landing Season 12 is a shot of pure adrenaline. The rest is what happens once the rush wears off.

In my essay on Season 10, I noted that Lechowick and Latham -- the series' longest serving, but most erratic headwriters -- never seemed to be able to sustain excellence for more than twenty episodes at a time. Season 9 starts strong, as the show gets back to basics after a couple of unrecognizable years -- then the mobsters move in, and the younger cast members migrate to Santa Tecla, and things start to fall apart. Season 10 extends the Jill-Val story-line for nineteen impressive episodes -- quite a feat -- but then we get Mack and Paula, and Sally's friend, and a few other misfires that threaten to drag the season down. And finally there's the team's last gasp of greatness, a string of 22 episodes cutting across two seasons. It begins when former story editor Dianne Messina returns to the fold twenty episodes into Season 11 to carry out a late-season overhaul alongside Lechowick, Latham and (her eventual husband) James Stanley. The foursome manage a successful course correction, and their energy and creativity continue a dozen episodes into Season 12. And then -- as ever -- it all goes to pot: this time not because of a lack of ideas, but because of a distressing lack of attention from the four writers, who were consumed with readying their new ABC period soap Homefront.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

My Top-Ten One-Season Wonders (part 3)

I first published My Top-Ten One-Season Wonders in the spring of 2016; they ranged from an '80s soap to a '90s sitcom, from a vampire drama to a whodunnit to a romcom masquerading as a sci-fi caper. I noted at the time that there were quite a few other short-lived series that I remembered fondly from my 50 years of TV viewing, but that I simply couldn't find enough extant episodes -- and unless I was able to watch at least half the episodes filmed, I didn't feel right about including the series among my top 10. (I didn't want to be relying mostly on my memory.) Remarkably, in the two years since I published that entry, nearly a dozen shows that I'd thought about including but didn't -- because episodes weren't available for re-viewing -- have reemerged: via DVD, YouTube, Daily Motion or private collectors. So although I'm still calling this post My Top-Ten One-Season Wonders, because it sounds nice, I'm extending the number of entries from 10 to 20 -- the kind of numerical nonsense you get to indulge in when you have your own blog.

Below, #11-#15 in My Top-Ten One-Season Wonders: five more shows that I adore, that it's been a delight to revisit recently, as they've reemerged from the celluloid void.