Category Archives: TV
The Walking Dead has been ridiculous for a long time now. But lately, the show seems to be in on the joke which has made the last couple of episodes much more enjoyable than the first half of the season. When The Walking Dead takes itself seriously, it just keeps hitting the same depressing notes over and over again leaving viewers little choice but to focus on the glaring flaws in the narrative. But when you’ve got an episode focusing on a group right out of Mad Max complete with a Thunderdome battle between Rick and a zombie in spiky armor, there’s enough entertainment value to not sweat the small stuff.
Tom Baker is best-known as “the fourth Doctor” on the long-running British sci-fi series, Dr. Who. Baker portrayed the time lord from 1974-1981. With seven years of time travel under his belt, Baker holds the record for the longest tenure on the series. When Starlog caught up with Baker in February of 1987, he didn’t have a lot going on. But he hadn’t faded into obscurity either. In fact, Baker remains active to this day having returned to Dr. Who in 2013 for the show’s 50th anniversary.
As we move into the back half of the seventh season, our “heroes” are in trouble. No, I’m not referring to Rick Grimes and his scrappy band of apocalypse survivors. I’m talking about Scott Gimple and the gang responsible for creating the top-rated show on cable. Over the first half of the season, The Walking Dead‘s ratings have been in decline. While the show remains popular, this is a trend that needs to be reversed and the show-runners know it.
For years, they have shouted down any and all criticism of the show. But in the face of slipping ratings, they have changed their tune. Producer Gale Anne Hurd has acknowledged that the show will be toning down the violence. Apparently she attributes the decline in ratings to the over-the-top violence in the season seven premiere rather than the show’s numerous creative failings. Whatever the case, the message was clear. “We’re righting the ship.”
You may not know his name, but you know Ted Cassidy’s work. The 6’9″ in actor was best known for having played Lurch on The Addams Family. He also gave memorable performances on Star Trek, I Dream of Jeannie, Lost in Space and The Six Million Dollar Man in which he took over the role of Bigfoot from Andre the Giant. The February 1987 issue of Starlog included an interview with the “legendary big man”.
After many years of dormancy, Dr. Who was revived in 2005. During the second season of the new series, David Tennant took over the lead role. The show was not only a hit in the U.K., but was also popular in the U.S. In the January, 2007 issue of Starlog, head writer Russell T. Davies talked about relaunching the series for the 21st century.
Three decades later, you will be forgiven for forgetting that John Carpenter’s cult sci-fi drama, Starman, spawned a syndicated TV series. Robert Hays, best known from Airplane!, stepped into the role created by Jeff Bridges in the movie. Future Brady kid, C. B. Barnes costarred as Hays’ son. During the first and only season, Starman and son avoided government capture while looking for the boy’s missing mom. That part was originated by Karen Allen but taken over by Erin Grey on the TV show.
In this interview from the January 1987 issue of Starlog magazine, Hays discusses Starman, Airplane! and the dangers he faced making the Stephen King movie, Cat’s Eye.
In order to avoid the legal entanglements of being an unofficial Star Trek fan magazine, Starlog had to expand its coverage to include other aspects of science fiction. But in the pre-Star Wars era, there weren’t a lot of current sci-fi or fantasy movies for them to write about. So that mostly meant covering the TV shows of the 70’s. And when it came to sci-fi TV in 1977, it didn’t get much bigger than Lee Majors as the Six Million Dollar Man.
Did you have the action figure with the bionic arm? I did. I always wanted Big Foot, but never did get him.
If you’re a long time Dr. Who fan, you probably already know that Sarah Jane Smith was one of the Doctor’s most popular human companions in the seventies and early eighties. However, if you’re like me, you may need to brush up on your Dr. Who lore. Like a lot of folks, my knowledge begins with the 2005 reboot. The following season, actress Elisabeth Sladen reprised her role as Sarah Jane opposite the then-current Doctor, David Tennant.
Her appearance proved so popular that Sladen got her own spin-off show, The Sarah Jane Adventures, which ran from 2009-2011. In the December 2006 issue of Starlog, Sladen talked about her return to the world of Dr. Who in the episode “School Reunion”.
Actor Robert Vaughn passed away earlier this year at the age of 83. His career in film and television spanned decades. It included such films as The Magnificent Seven, The Young Philadelphians, Bullitt, The Towering Inferno and Superman III. But Vaughn was best known from his years on television in shows like The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Protectors, The A-Team and Hustle. Starlog talked to Vaughn about his long career in showbiz in this interview from the December 2006 issue.
“Hearts Still Beating”, the mid-season finale of the seventh season of The Walking Dead, wraps up all the ongoing stories introduced in the season premiere and resets the stage for the back half of the season. Over the course of 90 minutes, the episode checks in with all of the regulars. Maggie is still pregnant and the likely next leader of the Hilltop community, Carol still wants to be left alone, Morgan still won’t kill except when the plot demands that he break his oath, Spencer is still insufferable, Carl still needs a haircut, Tara’s Oceanside community still doesn’t matter, Eugene still likes to watch and Negan still likes the sound of his own voice.
Hearts are still beating (except for Glenn and Abraham’s) and the status quo remains largely unchanged after eight episodes (three of which were extra-long).
“Sing Me a Song” is the penultimate episode of the “A” half of the seventh season of The Walking Dead. It’s an extra-sized 90-minute episode which I think we all know has more to do with ad revenue than it does story-telling. This episode doesn’t tell us much that we didn’t already know from the last over-sized episode. Negan is a bad dude. He puts on a smile and he never shuts up. So far this season, we have probably spent more time listening to Negan prattle on than we have spent with any other character including Rick – the show’s de facto protagonist. In “The Cell”, viewers got an extended look inside the Savior’s compound from the points of view of Dwight and Daryl. This episode is more of the same as seen by a recently captured Carl.
Last week’s extra long episode focused on Negan grinding Rick under his boot for roughly ninety minutes less commercials. “Go Getters” does the same thing with a Negan surrogate (a henchman named Simon) and Hilltop leader, Gregory. Gregory is a sniveling coward. In theory, he’s a weak-willed leader that stands in stark contrast to our hero, Rick. But at the end of the day, the result is still the same.
Boy, that sure didn’t take long. When The Walking Dead finally introduced the charismatic Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the villain Negan, it gave the show a much-needed jolt of energy. By this point in the show’s long run, our main cast has encountered so many malicious groups that they have all become kind of faceless. Morgan’s confident, sneering strut was at least memorable. But after less than a handful of appearances, Negan’s already worn out his welcome.