Hollywood, at Least Network TV, is Officially Out of Ideas

I grew up on three network TV stations – ABC, NBC, CBS – and PBS (FOX came along later). We planned our evenings around their programming. Many TV shows that I grew up with were successful, not because of the scintillating stories, great writing, or state-of-the-art special effects, but because of the actors whose performances created iconic characters.

A common trope in Hollywood is recycling. This has happened for years with countless reboots of endearing movie franchises, and classic TV show adaptations. Some have been very successful, again mainly because of the actors who bring the characters to life, and some not so much. The most recent such recycle is Tarzan. Edgar Rice Burroughs’ creation has appeared on the screen numerous times and has been rebooted for multiple generations. I could go on and on about such recycles, reboots and adaptations. I guess we just never get tired of watching hapless Peter Parker get bitten by that damn radioactive spider.

The main reason it seems that the movie studios do this is for the money. They know what these tried and true stories are familiar to multiple generations and will make money at the box office. Television on the other hand, I just don’t see it happening.

I was a fan of Charlie’s Angels as a kid. I didn’t care for the movie(s) at all. Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith and Kate Jackson – the original Angels – made the show for me. ABC brought it back as a TV series in 2011 (who knew?) and it lasted all of four episodes.

Knight Rider was big for me. Ever since Smokey and the Bandit, I have loved the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am – I’ve owned four Firebirds in my lifetime. From 1982-86, David Hasselhoff was Michael Knight; he was the Knight Rider. Say whatever you want about the guy, he was made for the role or he made the role. In 2008, a ham-handed attempt was made to bring Knight Rider back with a Ford Mustang and the main character was supposed to be Michael Knight’s estranged son. This mess lasted one season.

The latest disaster in the making involves two new shows set to premiere on network television this fall. One is a reboot of a beloved franchise, and the other is a TV adaption of a beloved movie franchise.

From 1985 – 1994, Richard Dean Anderson was MacGyver. Although I was never a fan, I understood the appeal. The name MacGyver has become a verb. Anytime you need to improvise your way out of a situation, you MacGyver it. Lucas Till will star as MacGyver. Now, George Eads comes over from CSI. CBS is off their nut if they think this going to work.

The other attempt is Lethal Weapon. I don’t know about you, but Mel Gibson and Danny Glover are Riggs and Murtaugh. Damon Wayans will play Murtaugh in the TV adaption. Clayne Crawford will play Riggs (who the hell is Clayne Crawford? A quick internet search reveals he has appeared in a whole lot of crap I’ve never seen). Lethal Weapon 4 hit theaters in 1998. So 18 years later, FOX thinks we need Lethal Weapon the TV series? In the immortal words of the late John Pinette, I say nay nay. Now, I like Damon Wayans, a lot. But this has about as much chance of success as Fox Force Five (if I have to explain that reference, there isn’t much hope for you).

There is so much great source material our there for good TV. Look at what Netflix is doing with House of Cards, Stranger Things, Orange is the New Black, et al. How many times were the creators of Stranger Things rejected before Netflix picked it up? Fifteen? Yet, we keep getting the same tripe on network TV. Gotham is a notable exception. Scandal seems to have quite the following. Shows like The Blacklist seem to have sustainable legs, but are all too infrequent. I won’t even bring up reality TV.

The fringe, or affiliates of existing networks seem to be where the chances are taken. The Strain returns to FX tonight and I am hoping the get interested in it again. TBS is bringing back memories with its fresh Police Squad homage, Angie Tribeca.

Network TV used to be “Must See TV.” The old Thursday night NBC lineup was epic. TV used to be appointment viewing because you couldn’t stand to miss what MacGyver was going to use next to get out of a jam, or what those god ole Duke boys hadn’t gotten themselves into now.

Now, services like Netflix are taking chances and scoring big, especially with the binge-watching crowd. AMC, and premium channels are enjoying success plucking material from comic books and graphic novels.

The networks should stop worrying about nostalgia and consider what we need before we need it, not what they think we remember.

PS. Where the hell is my Six Million Dollar Man reboot?

I Quit

16882_880512648661761_9057451408468084000_nHa, made you look…again. Don’t worry I haven’t quit exercise or my healthy(ish) lifestyle. In fact I enjoyed my longest run ever yesterday, 6.6 miles. I ran my fastest six-mile time, and my fastest 10K time. I took a few days off from weight lifting at the end of the week and that may have contributed to a little extra juice on my run.

I have quit something though – the Republican Party. I cannot continue to be a member of the GOP in light of the decline and deterioration of the party. The hate, the racism, the discrimination, and the vitriol are things I just can’t get behind. And this isn’t just since Donald Trump claimed the nomination as the party’s candidate for president. This something I have been considering for some time.

My first introduction to politics came when I was just four years old and Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace and Gerald Ford became president. I had no idea what any of it meant. I just have vague recollections of Nixon making the announcement on television. I was 10 when Jimmy Carter was embroiled in the Iran hostage crisis. It seemed like the minute Ronald Reagan was inaugurated, the hostages were released. I used to give weekly updates to my classmates reading newspaper clippings on the hostage situation.

For the next eight years I grew up on Reagan as president. He wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination. But my recollections are of much of the good he did, despite the Iran/Contra scandal that marred his second term, and the administration’s unwillingness to do anything about the emerging AIDS crisis.

As a child of the 1980s, I watched the unsustainable growth in personal wealth and the avarice and greed of people who weren’t much older than me. “Yuppies” ruled and got rich. This perceived economic prosperity brought me to the GOP. We now know how misguided all of this was.

I was conditioned to believe that the GOP had the better foreign policy and believed in a strong, far-reaching military. I still believe in a strong military.

When I voted for the first time in 1988, I registered republican and voted for George Bush for president. As a young sailor in the United States Navy, I felt that servicemembers were better served by a republican president. When Bill Clinton became president, my recollection is that our annual raises were cut in half. I watched what happened during a major drawdown of military assets as bases closed and some towns around the country suffered greatly. Now, was the military bloated with unnecessary units, bases, detachments and such? Sure. It was just disheartening to watch at the conclusion of the Cold War.

Political science is not something I understand whatsoever. But I know what I feel. I know what resonates. After almost 30 years of conservative politics resonating with me, it all sounds wrong. Everything from the politicians, the pundits and excuse makers just all sounds wrong.

For the better part of eight years republicans have railed against President Barack Obama. Congress has been obstructionist at best. I never wanted to believe that legislation was blocked or stalled because President Obama is black, but events of the past year have made it pretty obvious. Throughout the primary season I kept having this recurring thought. Eight years of President Obama, he’s on his way out at the end of this term, and these 15 people (or whatever it was) are the best you can come up with? Where are the rising stars of the Republican Party? Where is their Barack Obama? Where are the young, fresh-faced leaders of the party who are ready to take it into the future? And when it was all said and done, it came down to Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Donald Trump. Jeb Bush wasn’t all that he was cracked up to be, and Bobby Jindal…well.

Republicans claim to be the biggest defenders of the United States Constitution and would have you believe they have a premium on patriotism and the American way. Yet, they ignore the very principles this country was founded on. The separation of church and state is one of the tenets our country incorporated from Jump Street, yet Republicans insist the United States was founded as a Christian nation. They would have evolution debunked, prayer instituted in public schools and intelligent design as part of the curriculum. Taxpayer money helped fund a religious fantasy in Kentucky.

I am no fan of President Obama. I think at times he has acted like a pouting child who doesn’t get what he wants. However, the hatred for this man just because of the color of his skin is deplorable. The obstructionist opposition to the work he has wanted to accomplish is disheartening. And in spite of it all, he has accomplished much.

I have never thought congress should pass laws just because the president wanted them. That’s why we have checks and balances. But what this congress has done, or not done, is ridiculous.

Look, I am no fool. Immigration is an issue. I am not smart enough to know what the solution is. What I do know is that rounding up millions of people and deporting them is not the answer. Blaming an entire country and building a wall along the border are not answers. Racism and discrimination are not answers.

I know that truth is greater than belief. Fact is greater than fiction.

Science is the search for facts. Knowing and believing can often be the same thing. I’m on the side of facts and truth. I believe in what I can see and feel. I believe in the scientific method. If there is sufficient data and experimentation to prove a theory and turn it into a fact – that’s good enough for me.

The theory of evolution is the best thing we’ve come up with yet to explain life on earth. There are billions of galaxies and stars what seems to be an infinite universe – fact. The earth is billions of years old – fact. Man and dinosaurs did not walk the earth together – fact. Not beliefs. Human-caused climate change is a real thing. The disbelief of scientific fact is particularly troubling. The ignorance is staggering.

Full Definition of theory



  1. 1 :  the analysis of a set of facts in their relation to one another

  2. 2 :  abstract thought :  speculation

  3. 3 :  the general or abstract principles of a body of fact, a science, or an art <music theory>

  4. 4a :  a belief, policy, or procedure proposed or followed as the basis of action <her method is based on the theory that all children want to learn>b :  an ideal or hypothetical set of facts, principles, or circumstances —often used in the phrase in theory <in theory, we have always advocated freedom for all>

  5. 5 :  a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena <the wave theory of light>

  6. 6a :  a hypothesis assumed for the sake of argument or investigationb :  an unproved assumption :  conjecturec :  a body of theorems presenting a concise systematic view of a subject <theory of equations>

Full Definition of believe



  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 a :  to have a firm religious faith b :  to accept something as true, genuine, or real <ideals we believe in> <believes in ghosts>

  3. 2 :  to have a firm conviction as to the goodness, efficacy, or ability of something <believe in exercise>

  4. 3 :  to hold an opinion :  think <I believe so>

  5. transitive verb
  6. 1 a :  to consider to be true or honest <believe the reports> <you wouldn’t believe how long it took> b :  to accept the word or evidence of <I believe you> <couldn’t believe my ears>

  7. 2 :  to hold as an opinion :  suppose <I believe it will rain soon>

There’s some overlap in these definitions.

Full Definition of fact

  1. 1 :  a thing done: as a obsolete :  feat b :  crime <accessory after the fact> c archaic :  action

  2. 2 archaic :  performance, doing

  3. 3 :  the quality of being actual :  actuality <a question of fact hinges on evidence>

  4. 4 a :  something that has actual existence <space exploration is now a fact> b :  an actual occurrence <prove the fact of damage>

  5. 5 :  a piece of information presented as having objective reality

in fact

  1. :  in truth

I could go on and on about what I know on each one of these topics. But that’s not what this blog is for. However, it is to describe my journey as a person. I am not defined by my politics. I am a human being, who is constantly evolving. Yes, I am still judgmental when it comes to people who make excuses and don’t do for themselves, when it comes to folks who’d rather complain than improve their situation. I’m working on that.

But, when it comes to human beings in general – acceptance, tolerance and understanding go a long way.

When it comes to my politics, I have always been in the middle on many issues. I don’t think I was extreme right wing. When I see laws enacted that discriminate against people, widespread belief in conspiracy theories and lies, and isolationist concepts espoused by the leaders of the GOP, I choose a different path.

One of the things that bothers me the most about all of this is the demographic that has fallen in line. It’s my demographic. These are supposed to be my people. Middle aged (ouch, that hurt to write), white, middle class, middle Americans. Well, I choose a different path.

I’ll add a few more thoughts on immigration because it has been prominent in the news this week. For all the people who want to say, “go home,” “go back to where you came from,” etc., YOU’RE NOT FROM HERE. I am a big proponent of learning the language if you live somewhere. I always have been. I think it’s essential to functioning in society. If I moved to Italy, I would certainly learn to speak some Italian. But I have never been one of these, “speak English,” bigots. There is so much irony in the “speak English” comment. English – as in England – as in a different country. My paternal ancestors hailed from Germany and immigrated to the United States in 1900. My mother was Korean. My people are not from here either. The only people from here are one of the most persecuted and discriminated against groups of people in the history of the world. Ask Native Americans who they think should go back to where they came from.

At the turn of the last century, there were entry points into the United States. Movies have dramatized the ingress of seemingly millions of immigrants in the early part of the 20th century. Why not bring this back? I’m not talking about standard border crossings for tourists and the like. I’m talking about entry points for immigrants where the documentation process can begin and people can embark on a clearly marked path to citizenship. Who knows? Maybe this has already been considered and dismissed. Maybe I don’t understand the issues and logistics.

One of the other things that has rankled me lately is discrimination. Certain segments of the population are being told they are wrong for just being who they are. I can’t get behind that. And I certainly can’t get behind the ideology behind that discrimination. Religious intolerance is a subject for a different day.

I think the only way I can sum up where my head is with all of this is with the poem associated with the Statue of Liberty.

New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

I am a patriot. I am a veteran. I am proud to be an American. I proudly declare myself a political independent.

I Feel the Need for Speed

Not sure why I ripped my headline from a movie I absolutely detest, but the quote is appropriate for what I have going on with my running.

When I first started this fitness journey I did nothing but walk for exercise for about four months. I then added weight lifting. As I gradually got faster walking I often felt like breaking into a run. I’ve never been much of a runner. One year in high school on the cross-country team hardly qualifies. But, because I had fitness goals and thought organized 5K races would be fun I picked it up.

After dismissing folks who said it was addictive and that I would “catch the bug,” I caught the bug. I have been addicted to running for more than two years now. I think about running when I am not running. Injuries – major and minor – that keep me from running anger me. I am glad that I have strength training in my life because my body can’t handle more than three runs a week and it keeps from bagging off exercise when I can’t run.

I have had chronic back problems for more than 10 years and after herniating a disc last year and undergoing surgery, my per mile pace took a nosedive after a I resumed running. I worked very hard to get in shape for a 5K last September. I had six weeks after being cleared for full activity. I ran a 30:05 race. I haven’t been under 30 minutes for a three-mile run since Jan. 4. In March of 2015, I was routinely well under 30 minutes. My per mile pace was well under 10 minutes.

My pace was steadily improving during the early part of this year and then I strained my back in May. I wasn’t able to run for about two weeks. Then I suffered a rash of minor foot injuries that forced me to take a week here and a week there.

After my schedule got in the way, I took about a week and a half off and ran three miles this past Wednesday, and four and a half today. I have my Nike+ Running app set to give me ½-mile hacks and when I am under five minutes for my first half-mile, I know it’s going to be a good run. I guess any run is a good run, but you know what I mean.

I don’t know what it is – the time off or number of days between runs, keeping up with my strength training and not skipping legs days in particular, something has my pace coming down. On top of that, I feel pretty good, especially today.

13880280_1143320122381011_8604912016051867540_nI have been trying to exercise some demons this year. I ran a six-mile route a year after I hurt my back lifting weights the same week as running that route. I ran the same six-mile route on which I had been stung by a bee a few weeks earlier. And now, this four and a half mile route I first attempted a few weekends ago and could not run non-stop because of my fitness and 94-degree heat. I made it about three miles and then had to alternate walking and running the rest of the way. Well, I conquered that course non-stop today on a 77-degree morning. And, I was fast. Well, fast by my warped standards.

My first mile went by in 9:22, my second in 9:43, third in 10:03 and fourth in 10:45. My overall pace was 10:03 per mile and I ran 4.5 miles in 45:15. A few weeks ago, I was running at 11 minutes a mile and I would have been lucky to go four in 44 minutes. It started to get very warm during my last mile, mile and a half and I slowed my pace so I could make sure I finished on a dead run without walking.

They say you should change up your course and do something different. I must admit I usually run the same three routes – two here at the house and one at the office. Now, I have four courses I can run and this fourth is very much a challenge. I want to work my way back up to including that longer run in my weekly regimen. Maybe now I am on my way back to that.

I maintain that any run is better than no run, and that any workout is better than no workout. CBS Sunday Morning ran an inspiring story today about athletes in their 80s and 90s who are still exercising, still running and still competing. One gentleman is the only man to ever run a 10-minute mile past 80 years old. If he can do it, what’s my excuse?