Blast to the Past with "The Midnight Special" on DVD

For those of us old enough to remember, there was a time when there were no music videos and there was no MTV (not that MTV plays any videos anymore) and the only way you go to see your favorite performers were to see them in concert.

Ten in 1973 it all changed…on August 19th 1972 the pilot for Midnight Special aired and it was so good!

Finally we got a chance each week to see the hottest musicians perform one or more of their hit songs live…that’s live as in not pre taped and not lip synced.

It meant staying up late to be able to see it considering I was only 12 when the show first started, but because I was very familiar with the music and musicians of those days thanks to my 8 years senior older brother’s extensive record collection I begged and pleaded to stay up each week (until I was old enough to stay up without having to ask for permission) each week to see the performers whose music I was listening to every day.


Start Your Christmas Lists Now: Sherlock, Merlin, Doctor Who Giftsets From BBC

BBC Gift Sets

It's only September, but anyone knows that if you want to get the really cool stuff for Christmas, you have to start making your list early. Any later than Halloween, and you're likely to get stuck with whatever your friends and family could pick up at the local Walgreens. And you want cool, right? Like, bowtie cool?

Well look no further, friend! The BBC has put together some gift set releases of their best and brightest shows. Let's tear off a corner of the wrapping paper for a little peek, shall we?



CBS Greenlights Supergirl Series, Sparking DC's Crisis On Infinite Networks

Supergirl artwork by Michael Turner

It's a good time to be a DC fan.

No, let me amend that. It's a great time to be a DC fan -- especially if you enjoy your comics characters brought to live action. Arrow is entering a third successful season, The Flash is preparing to launch in early October, Gotham is preparing to tell the story of a pre-Batman era James Gordon, and CBS has just announced that it's going into production of Supergirl.

The problem? Arrow and The Flash are on the CW, Gotham is on FOX, and Supergirl -- a one hour drama -- will be on CBS.


CW's "The Flash" Can't Get Here Fast Enough!

CW's Flash

Rocketing out of CW's Arrow comes another DC Universe super hero. His name is Barry Allen. He is the fastest man alive.

The CW pilot for The Flash does an exemplary job at setting the stage for all the events to come: telling an origin, providing a reason for the hero, and putting into play the long game (and the even longer game, but that would be spoiling things), all in the space of a one-hour episode. Hints have been dropped in Arrow for some time now about the Central City Particle Accelerator, and Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) has already made his guest appearance in that series. And while it won't be long before fans are finally rewarded with these hints culminating in a much-anticipated spin-off series, one thing is certain upon reviewing this pilot: CW's The Flash can't get here fast enough!


Ben 10 Omniverse: Galactic Monsters Just In Time for Halloween

Ben 10 Omniverse: Galactic Monsters

I admit, I'm not completely up to speed on the Ben 10 phenomenon. I know that Ben's a kid with a special wristwatch (like Johnny Sokko) that allows him to turn into one of any variety of aliens so that he can go into battle against other aliens (like Ultraman). And, that's about it.


Waiting to Exhale: Peter Capaldi in Doctor Who, "Deep Breath"

For those of us who live without BBC America on our tellies, the Blu-ray/DVD releases are an event. Yes, we're behind the curve of all the other Whovians, but we just pretend we're time-traveling to the day of the broadcast premiere. It adds to the overall gestalt of following The Doctor.


Vicki Lawrence: America's Favorite Mama

Long before Tyler Perry made himself up to look like an old woman, the young Vicki Lawrence was putting on the padding and powder to make herself into Thelma Harper for The Carol Burnett Show. The character was too big to be held to sketch comedy, however, and insisted on having her own show, giving rise to six seasons of the fan favorite situation comedy, Mama’s Family.

As Time Life presents the complete series on DVD, and Vicki tours the country with her “two woman show” of herself and Mama Harper (see for details and schedules), we were privileged to steal a few moments to look back at the roots of Mama’s Family.

Can you recall your feelings, and the audience reaction, the very first time you walked out on a stage in the persona of Mama?


Alison Arngrim: Original Prairie Bitch

Alison Arngrim Little House Prairie

If you had a television at all in the 1970s and 1980s, you can't help but be intimately familiar with Little House on the Prairie -- and thus, you probably grew up hating one of the original "mean girls" of media, Nellie Oleson.

"Nellie" -- Alison Arngrim to citizens of the real world -- is all grown up now, and while she's still true to her Little House fans, she's moved on to other facets of entertainment... and some extremely important work as well, turning personal tragedy into an impetus for rescuing children in trouble. Despite working in some disturbing corners of the world, Alison remains full of energy, spirit, and good humor. I hope that comes through in this transcription as much as it was evident in our actual conversation.

We've met up on Twitter, where you're very active.

I tweet. I twat. I'm all over it.


TLC, What Are We Supposed To Be Learning?


Step right up, folks, step right up! Don't be shy. Step behind the curtain and see the world's largest family! Marvel at the tiniest married couple in all the Earth. Be amazed at the messages from beyond the dead, just for you! Recoil in terror from medical mishaps and cruel tricks of biology!

By now you may have conjured to mind an image of the carnival barker and the traveling freak show. And you wouldn't be too far wrong. But the circus and sawdust isn't set up in some field outside of town. You don't have to go any farther than your television, and you can find it all on one channel. Ironically, it's a network that dubs itself "The Learning Channel."


Exerting a Producer's Leverage: Dean Devlin

Dean Devlin first climbed to fame as an actor, but has delivered even greater entertainment from the other side of the Hollywood creative camera, in both writing, directing and producing. His career has given the world such films like "Stargate" -- which spun off into one of the longest based-on-a-film series on television -- and memorable films like "Independence Day" and "The Patriot."

More recently, Devlin has served as the executive producer for the TNT hit series, Leverage, now finishing it's fourth season and already renewed for a fifth.

We were fortunate to spend a few minutes with Dean talking about the Leverage series, and some other potential projects we might see in the future.

What was it about Roger and Chris's pitch that drew you into Leverage?


Misha Collins: The Planning Behind The Random Act

Misha Collins

You may know Misha Collins from his recent stint on Syfy's "Stonehenge Apocalypse." You certainly know him from his recurring role on CW's Supernatural, where he plays the angel Castiel. But what you may not know is that he's a marathon runner, and he's putting his efforts into coordinating fandom's energy into making the world a better place, one random act of kindness at a time.

It's just the sort of subtle plan you'd expect from an angel.

What was the initial inspiration that motivated you to plan The Random Act charity?


Geoffrey Thorne: Writing the Wrongs That Propel LEVERAGE

I first encountered Geoffrey Thorne when his prose won second place in the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds VI competition. Unbeknownst to myself, I was to later follow his writing through television episodes of the hit TNT series, Leverage.

Now well on his way in the world of novels, television, and comics, we spoke with the author as he prepared to make the journey to the hip and happening San Diego Comic Con, where he'll be presenting his all-ages sci-fi adventure, Bigger Than Giants, as well as... Well, why don't we just let him tell us about it?

So you're heading off to the SDCC?


Carolyn Hennesy: Pandora Gets Heroic

Carolyn Hennesy

Carolyn Hennesy is a busy person these days. Not content with her recurring role as Diane Miller on the long-running soap opera, General Hospital, she has taken on a role on the upcoming series Cougartown, and also begun publishing a series of young adult novels retelling and reconstructing the mythical Pandora that is being widely acclaimed for its humor and adventure.
I was graced with the opportunity to chat with the ever delightful Ms. Hennessy about Pandora, Cougartown, the near future of General Hospital and Hennesy's skill at the art of... the flying trapeze?
I've just finished reading the first Pandora novel, and I have to say that the idea is a combination of such genius to reimagine Pandora's story into a quest series, and yet such obviousness that I can't believe no one had done it already. Can you fill us in on what it was that caused the idea to bloom?


Kathy Garver: An AFFAIR to Remember

Kathy Garver Family Affair

Fans will recognize Kathy Garver's face from her scores of television appearances, not the least of which was the role of Cissy in the Don Fedderson classic series, Family Affair. But if you have a discerning ear, you may find that you're more familiar with Ms. Garver's work than you might have realized, as the actress has continued to keep quite busy up through even today.

Through the magic of cellular phones, we caught up with Ms. Garver while she was en route to a celebrity golf tournament, after which she was slated to deliver a carload of Mrs. Beasley dolls and ornaments loaded in the backseat for an autograph show at the Beverly Garland Hotel in Studio City for fans of Family Affair, the fourth season of which is just now becoming available on DVD.


Alton Brown: Forging THE NEXT IRON CHEF

Alton Brown Iron Chef Food Network

James Brown may have been the hardest working man in showbiz. But when the showbiz is also the food biz, nobody is working harder than the guy who made it cool for men to cook, the MacGyver of all things culinary, the ubiquitous and always multi-tasking Alton Brown. You've seen him host Good Eats, traveled with him while he was Feasting on Asphalt, and cheered on competitors as he emcees Iron Chef. Now, Brown will present yet another show on Food Network: The Next Iron Chef.

Gee, pretty soon somebody's going to have to give this guy his own network!


Lou Scheimer: A Candid Conversation with Filmation's Founder

Lou Scheimer

I've been lucky to do a number of interviews with influential people through the course of my career. I don't do an awful lot of them, but I've done enough to generate a conversation at a dinner party, if ever I should attend one. However, there are a few interview opportunities that have come my way that exceed fortune. I haven't been lucky to talk with these people -- I've been blessed. Thurl Ravenscroft, Dan DeCarlo, Mort Walker, Stan Lee... pioneers all, and veterans of their craft who impacted the world in so many ways, some of them not always through the things for which they are most remembered.

I can now add Lou Scheimer to that list.


Thurl Ravenscroft: He's Grrrrr-eat!

Thurl Ravenscroft

Author's note, May 24, 2005: It's been less than 30 minutes since I heard the heart-rending news that Thurl Ravenscroft had just passed away at the age of 91. Many people are unfamiliar with Mr. Ravenscroft and his work. Those who have a passing acquaintance may know of some of his more famous voice acting roles.

I was privileged and honored to speak with the man a few years back and learned there was so much more to Thurl than a career behind a microphone. Actor. Singer. Veteran. Mister Ravenscroft, you will be missed. You were, indeed, great.


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