Season 4, Episode 9 aired March 12, 2001

1. Intro
2. Letters from the viewing audience
3. The poll
4. Don't Miss
5. Rachel's Review of First Years
6. TV Trivia
7. Slave to the Idiot Box
     -by guest writer William Noetling
8. A totally unrelated link

1. Intro

I'm going to keep the intro short and sweet, 'cause we have tons of letters from our viewing audience this week, and we also have a review by Rachel of NBC's new show, "First Years," in addition to the second part of William's walk down sci-fi memory lane.

I just want to give cheers to CBS for finally canning "Bette" even though she did rather well for herself at the TV Guide Awards, and ask NBC why they keep burying "Frasier" under so much crap on Tuesday nights. "Frasier" may be a great show, but it can't hold up a whole night all by itself. "3rd Rock" is having some serious growing pains, "DAG" is one of the worst new shows of the season, "Three Sisters" is cute, but not engaging, and the latest, "The Fighting Fitzgeralds," is one Irish stereotype after another and a huge waste of Brian Dennehy's talent. My advice: put "Frasier" back on Thursdays between "Friends" and "Will & Grace," get rid of the terrible "Steven Weber Show," and put some movies or something on Tuesdays until you get some quality programming to put there.

That's my two cents for the week. Enjoy the newsletter!


2. Letters from the viewing audience

Last week, Elissa mentioned she was looking for a show that was "set in the future about an old guy that tells a little kid about his past."

Thanks to Paul L. for giving us the correct name of this show, "My Life And Times."

From Elissa: That's it! Thank you so very much. I thought the show was very poignant, I guess I was one of the few who enjoyed it.

Last week, gutzl wrote that he was looking for a show that he saw a few years ago on German television. "It was a one-hour drama, and was on the air around five or ten years ago. The show was about a family with a lot of kids, both their own and foster children. I think there were some animals too."

Thanks to Jennifer, Julie, Paul L., Lisa, Katie T., Rachel, and Jen for sending along the correct name of this show, "Second Noah."

From Jen:
Funny thing...I totally know the show your German viewer is referring to, and I can't remember what it was called either. It was about a big family, many kids all adopted by a slightly kooky couple, who also kept rescuing random animals (monkeys, geese, etc.). I would constantly get it confused with 7th Heaven, and then a zebra would wander across the screen and I'd realize that couldn't be it. (God...I can't believe I'm admitting to watching 7th Heaven!)
From Tony:
So with all the hype of the previous two months revolving around America's favorite dysfunctional mafia family, we were exposed to two hours of boredom. We can thank David Chase and his creative staff for developing a premier that amounted to one hour of amateur FBI agents trying to place a wire tap in the basement of Tony's home, AKA "The Sausage Factory." Silly name, if you ask me.

And the next hour was an anticlimactic funeral for Mama Soprano. Fortunately for me, I went and watched the Mexican two hours prior to The Sopranos, so I got the best of James Gandolfini, portraying a homosexual hit man. Now that's creative!

One thing we can be thankful for. HBO managed to hype this premier on every other channel with exciting commercials and billboards on every subway car and bus. I even saw an advertisement for the premier in an in-flight magazine on Southwest airlines. I'll conclude with my insight on Hollywood. "All movies, TV shows, mini-series and docudramas that are hyped in every imaginable fashion usually amount to an end product that spent too much of their budget on the hype itself!"
From Jason, to William Noetling:
The first time I read one of your guest articles, it was preceded by a handful of letters criticizing, shaming, and flat out dissing you. I have to admit, it made me skip ahead of the rest of the newsletter and read your article right away, but it left me with a skeptical filter on anything you write. The article prior to the first one I read was apparently about some new "7th Heaven"-esque program that aired that you could not be bothered to watch. What followed was the said letters condemning you for criticizing something you didn't even see. As I read your article for that week, and then went back and read the article from the week before, I had to agree with many of your points -- We certainly don't need another 7th Heaven on TV. In fact, I truly believe that the messages preached in that show could be far more detrimental than most of the sex, drugs, and violence portrayed on many other shows.

However, you did never watch the show, so I could feel justified in throwing stones after all. The problem was, I had no stones to throw. I didn't watch the show either, and ever since I have found nothing you've said objectionable -- UNTIL NOW!

What is up with doing two articles in a row about old sci-fi shows that were short lived without any mention of Max Headroom? You must remember the show, or at least the Coke commercials. This show was genius, and the reason it was canceled was because it was too far ahead of its time. How perfect is that since the whole premise of Science Fiction is stuff that is ahead of its time. Science Fiction not ahead of its time would in fact be Science Non-fiction.

So, for the time being, I will cross my fingers in hopes that you are saving the best for last, and you can consider this pebble of a complaint a compliment on your emotion inspiring work.

Letters from the viewing audience are always welcome. Please email any opinions, questions, comments, or random thoughts to TK at with the subject of "letters." Letters may be edited for length or content.


3. The poll

This week's poll found out what everyone thought of the first episode of The Lone Gunmen. Unfortunately, almost 75% of those of you who responded didn't even watch it (thanks for responding, though). About a third of those who didn't watch had never heard of The Lone Gunmen, while two thirds had heard of the show, but just decided not to watch. About 10% of all respondents thought it was awful, while 12% of thought it was just more X-Files. Only a little over 5% thought it was a great show.

I gotta say, I fall into the "it was just more X-Files" category here. I'll keep watching for awhile to see how the show grows, but I really feel like I'm just watching the same show I've been watching for over six years now.

This week's poll finds out what your favorite sci-fi show is. This doesn't mean you have to watch the Sci-Fi channel or anything like that, 'cause the choices are all current prime-time network shows. Check it out, share your opinion, and find out how other people feel.

As always, the TKTV weekly poll can be found right on the front page of the site.


4. Don't Miss
For details and lots more fun TV to look forward to, see


5. Rachel's review of First Years

The first scene opens with a young, attractive woman walking into a Victorian house in San Francisco that looks like it's seen a better day. For a moment I thought I had deja vu, but "First Years," a new series on NBC premiering Monday, March 19th at 9pm, is not a rerun of "Party of Five." The dramedy follows the lives of five first year lawyers who share a house and work for the same large San Francisco law firm. Loosely based on a British series called "This Life," the show was created by Jill Gordon (My So-Called Life, Wonder Years). Joining Gordon as executive producers are Ken Topolsky (Party of Five) and Mark B. Perry (Party of Five).

"First Years" is promoted by NBC as a dramedy, but make no mistake, this is not "Ally McBeal." The humor is intertwined with some fairly intense dramatic plot lines. In the two episodes I was able to preview the show confronts such hot button issues as interracial adoption and relationships and sexual harassment.

Headlined by Samantha Mathis, the cast is young, attractive and talented. Sydney Tamiia Poitier (daughter of actor Sidney Poitier) is an immediate stand-out in the first episode titled "Adoption." She ably carries an intense story line about a young black woman who is unwilling to give up her child for adoption because the parents are white.

I found MacKenzie Astin's character, Warren Harrison, to be rather annoying. He plays a persnickety gay man, a combination of all the worst stereo types. Hopefully later episodes will flesh out this character. Astin seems capable, but the character is drawn in a way to make him pretty hard to take. In fact, in the second episode I viewed, this characterization was much improved.

The group of five young lawyers is rounded out by James Roday (Ryan Caulfield: Year One) as Edgar "Egg" Ross and Ken Marino (Men Behaving Badly) as Egg's best friend, Miles Lawton.

The true gem of the cast, though, is Eric Schaeffer as the new lawyers' mentor and boss, Sam O'Donnell. As an on-going gag, O'Donnell's assistant is paid to insult O'Donnell and keep him in line. Of all the couples on the show, their chemistry is by far the best.

The guest stars in both episodes were very good and ranged from Robert Urich to Ann Hamilton, who will always be Kelly's mom on 90210 to me.

This is a very promising beginning. There was a clear progression of improvement between the first episode and the fifth (the two that I was able to preview). The characters are interesting, the writing is crisp and the direction is wonderful. The show is being heavily promoted by NBC with yet another great cut from Moby. Midseason replacements like this will make passing the time until May sweeps go so much faster.

TKTV is always looking for new guest writers. Do you have an idea for an article? Write to TK with the subject of "guestwriter."


6. TV Trivia

Last week's question was: what instrument did "Kate Brasher" star Mary Stuart Masterson play in the movie "Some Kind of Wonderful?"

It seems like this question brought back a lot of great memories of a lovely movie. Mary Stuart Masterson played a tom-boy drummer by the name of Watts.

First prize goes to Laura K. Congratulations!

Honorable mentions go to Elizabeth and Andytorah.

This week's question is: on which daytime drama did Rena Sofer, recently seen as a district attorney on NBC's Ed, play the wife of her real-life spouse, Wally Kurth?

Send answers to TK at with the subject of tvtrivia. Winners will be chosen at random from all the correct answers.


7. Slave to the Idiot Box by William Noetling

And now, to finish off my walk down sci-fi memory lane, here's a look at:

The Adventures of Brisco County (FOX)
Strange Luck (FOX)
Space, Above and Beyond (FOX)
Nowhere Man (UPN)

The Adventures of Brisco County was one of my favorite shows of its time. I guess you could say it was the progenetor of all the Hercules/Xena shows that came in its wake. In fact, the creator of Brisco was the same guy who did Hercules and Xena, Sam Raimi. Only 27 episodes were ever created, but they have to be some of the best hours of TV ever made. It's so good that TNT is STILL running the re-runs, YEARS after the show went off the air. The best Brisco County site has lots of pics, an episode guide and a cool encylopedia.

Strange Luck was a short-lived show, airing on Fridays, before The X-Files, during the 1995 season. Ironically, that was the same time slot that Brisco County used to have. DB Sweeney starred as Chance Harper, the sole-survivor of a plane crash, who seemed to be endowed (or cursed) with "Strange Luck." The rest of the cast included Pam Gidley and Frances Fisher as the women in Chance's life. It was a great show, but didn't last. There's isn't a LOT of info out there on Strange Luck, but there is some. Strange Luck hasn't been rerun since its initial showings.

Space, Above and Beyond was Glen Morgan and James Wong's (they worked on The X-Files) attempt at a Space Opera. It succeeded on a number of levels, and failed on a few. The crux of the story followed the "Wild Cards," several pilots stationed on a star-carrier in the midst of a galactic war with the insect-like Chigs. Now where have we seen this before? Starship Troopers, anyone? It was well-executed, with good CGI special effects. Unfortunately, the high production costs and low-ratings killed the show. It's still in re-runs on the Sci-Fi channel. There's TONS of Space:AAB sites out there, but here's the best.

The coolest show on my short list has to be Nowhere Man. Combining elements of The Fugitive and The Prisoner, Bruce Greenwood (JFK in the feature film Thirteen Days) played Thomas Veil, a photojournalist. In the opening episode we find Tom unveiling an art exhibit, with his star piece being "Hidden Agenda," a dark photo of four men hanging from a gallows in the jungle, while some military men look on. Suddenly, Veil's life is turned upside down. When he goes to the rest room during a dinner with his wife, his life is stolen. He returns to find her missing, and the maitre'd and other patrons having no memory of her being there. He goes home to find his wife in bed with another man, again having no memory of him. His life has been erased, and Tom must now discover where it went. Creepy as all get-out, Nowhere Man's first (and only) season meandered back and forth between standard television fare and superb arc-storytelling. In the final episode we discover that everything we thought we knew about Veil was a lie, and that the whole series is not what it seemed. The best Nowhere Man site includes detailed synopses of every episode. I printed them out and made a book.

I guess I should mention there's still more short-lived sci-fi shows out there to look at, but these were some of my favorites. Others I didn't look at this time include The Incredible Hulk (though it ran for a full 5 seasons), Battlestar Galactica, and Land of the Lost.
For more writing by William Noetling, check out his web site at


8. A totally unrelated link



Children seldom misquote you. In fact, they usually repeat word for word what you shouldn't have said.