When Good Shows Don’t Quit (And Why They Shouldn’t Have To)

tvGood TV never dies. Its characters lie etched in our hearts after years and years of witnessing their trials and triumphs. When you spend countless nights with the same people, they start to feel all too real. How many of us still remember how it felt when Mr. Feeny said his final goodbye, when Heisenberg fell, when McDreamy took his last breath, when Buffy kicked evil’s butt in a showdown for the ages?

My generation loves nostalgia. Kids of the ‘90s were raised on VHS tapes and playing outside until the sun went down, but we were thrust into the technological age at a dizzying pace. Now everything is digital and 3-D or 4-D and watching something isn’t enough—now it becomes a “two screen experience” or a “conversation” held entirely behind a keyboard. So it’s natural for us to yearn for the days when our most technologically advanced possession was a Game Boy or a Tamagotchi.

Television is capitalizing on that soft spot and taking viewers on a stroll down Memory Lane. I’m not complaining; I get to relive my childhood through the reimagining of some of my favorite shows. It’s a recipe for cheese galore, but if you know me, you know I’ve never met a cheese I didn’t like.

“Revival.” “Reboot.” Critics toss these around like dirty words, but why the hate? It can’t be that uncommon for audiences to wish they could spend just a little more time with their favorite TV families, to wonder what ever happened after the screen faded to black. Whether it means finding new life on streaming services, movies becoming shows, shows becoming movies, or just a brief glimpse back into their small screen worlds, revivals are all the rage. And I am here for it.

This PSA, I break down three of my favorite nostalgia-driven reboots—why they work, why they don’t, why I love them—and in a future PSA, three other shows that I hope to see return someday. Continue reading

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Summer Series Snapshot: Girl Meets World, S2

GMWI’ve already written about my overall impression of the first season of this ‘90s nostalgia-fueled tween show and my opinion hasn’t changed much. The forever-a-BoyMeetsWorld-superfan in me has been enjoying season two just as much, if not more.

Cameos from the original show’s characters keep popping up, making it an intense nostalgia fix every single time. My favorite character (behind Shawn) has finally shown up and the return of Mr. Squirrels has been my absolute favorite moment so far. Continue reading

Girl Meets World: A Season 1 Review

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Boy Meets World was the sitcom darling of a generation who grew up learning everything about life from one Mr. George Feeny. It was the best part of ABC’s TGIF line-up in the late ‘90s and the show I most looked forward to. It was chock-full of important lessons without patronizing kids. It was wholesome without being too cheesy or unrealistic. And most of all, it was flat-out hilarious.

When the show went off the air in 2000, it developed a cult following of fans who could recite nearly every line of dialogue and laughed in all the right spots as though it were still the first time they were hearing the lines—myself included. Without fail, the final scene of the series finale guts me like no other TV show ever has. The uncontrollable tears start as soon as Mr. Feeny tells them to “Believe in yourselves. Dream. Try. Do good.”

So when the news broke a couple years ago that creator Michael Jacobs was going to attempt a Disney Channel-hosted sequel featuring Cory and Topanga’s coming-of-age daughter, the internet exploded. It seemed way too good to be true. But when the series finally premiered on Friday, June 27, 2014 at 8:30 p.m. (same time slot as it’s TGIF predecessor!), I was more than pleasantly surprised; hell, I was delighted. The unexpected Feeny cameo at the very end put instant tears in my eyes. Continue reading

Best Bad Boys of TV | Vol. 1

You gotta love a good bad boy. That quintessential television character always seems two-dimensional on the page until they get fleshed out into living, breathing, brooding boys who don’t want your heart but you’re still compelled to yank it from your chest and give it to them anyway. It’s up to the actors who play them to let their softer side show through just enough to make you love/hate them and look forward to the next time they grace your screen. I shuffled through my long list of favorite shows in my head and realized that almost every single one had one of those leather jacket-wearing, motorcycle-riding, look-me-in-the-eyes-and-swoon kind of guys. So this topic is going to be broken into segments and we’re going to explore it over the next couple PSAs. (Because I said so.) Stay tuned for characters from Breaking Bad, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Smash, Gilmore Girls, That ‘70s Show, and more. First up:

Daryl Dixon | The Walking Dead
Played by Norman Reedus

Daryl

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Five Favorite Finales

I hate goodbyes. As a couch potato, I never want to see good TV come to an end. As I once said to my sister, “I love TV! It’s like a movie that never ends!” Not entirely true, as even the longest-running shows have to end eventually. May sucks. Not only do you have nothing to look forward to each night, but sometimes favorite shows reach the end of their lifespans for good. Which got me thinking about some of the finales that always punch me in the feels—or make me want to punch the writers. So, in the order in which they broke my heart, here are five finales that I look back on fondly … and one, er, not so much.

(Warning: Serious SPOILERS ahead!)

1. Boy Meets World
May 5, 2000: “Brave New World”

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The two-part finale to my all-time favorite show, although disjointed and lacking continuity from a storyline perspective, was a fitting send-off to the TGIF sitcom. It was one of those perfect hour-long clip episodes that took you back through everything you knew you loved about the show. Seven seasons’ worth of favorite moments play at rapid speed, so even though the show ends in tears, at least it has the good form to give you 45 minutes of hysterical laughter first. (The Eric montage is my personal fave—and, of course, the Feeny Call.) My heart starts to pound a little when they step into the classroom because I know what’s coming … and then, the very second the music dips into that three-staccato-note melody and Mr. Feeny tells them to believe in themselves … dream … try … do good … the tears are already flowin’. I cannot handle this finale, no matter how many times I’ve seen it. I learned more from that man than I ever did from any teacher in my own life, so I feel their pain as they say goodbye to him. That final scene is brutal, especially coming from a show that went heavy on the silly humor and light on the heavy stuff for seven seasons. I’m a sobbing mess by the time Cory says, “You’ll always be with us. As long as we live, OK?” (Because truth.) And when Feeny finally says those final words? Oh, it hurts so good.—DT Continue reading

PSA Throwback | 5 Childhood Memories*

Adulting is hard. Why didn’t anyone tell me? I long for the days when I was a plaid-skirted band geek whose only worry in the world was whether or not I’d practiced my cheerleading routine enough for the next pep rally. When I could curl up and watch Disney’s One Saturday morning in my PJs for 5 hours. When I could climb a tree and read my Babysitter’s Little Sister books after school. When birthday parties involved Discovery Zone and ice cream cake. When “working out” was parachute day in gym or a wrist-breaking round of Red Rover. There are a lot of things I miss about being a kid and a lot of those things and places are still dear to my heart today—these five especially:

1. Boy Meets World

8b804f6cd77302df911eaf952a1e67a3This had to be my number 1. There was simply no other option. For those of you who don’t know: First, how dare you. Second, Boy Meets World was the sitcom darling of a generation who grew up learning everything about life from one Mr. George Feeny. It was the best part of ABC’s TGIF line-up in the late ‘90s and the show I most looked forward to. It was chock-full of important lessons without patronizing kids. It was wholesome without being corny or unrealistic. And most of all, it was flat-out hilarious. I still remember clapping and cheering as the invitation to Cory and Topanga’s wedding scrolled by at the end of season 7’s episode 6 “They’re Killing Us,” which aired Oct. 29, 1999—I was 11. When the show went off the air in 2000, it developed a cult following of fans who could recite nearly every line of dialogue and laughed in all the right spots as though it were still the first time they were hearing the lines—myself included. I own the series. I can watch any episode and not be bored or the slightest bit less amused even if it’s the 1000th time I’ve watched it, which would be quite possible. I wrote a term paper on the show for my college Television Criticism class. No matter what kind of mood I’m in, it makes my day better. And always, without fail, the final scene of the series finale guts me like no other TV show ever has. The uncontrollable tears start as soon as Mr. Feeny tells them to “Believe in yourselves. Dream. Try. Do good.”


Continue reading

A ride within a ride: Roller coasters on film

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Since starting PSA, I’ve noticed that I now find myself looking at my life more in terms of how it pertains to pop culture. It’s funny when you realize that everything we do has probably been done in a movie or TV show, because art reflects life and vice versa. This was evident in my latest trip to NYC, when I visited Washington Square Park for the first time and suddenly remembered how many movies had featured the iconic spot. Well, it happened again last night.

I took my sister to Dorney Park for some last minute sisters-only time. We’re moving her in for her sophomore year of college on Sunday and because she spends every waking moment with her boyfriend, I don’t really feel like I even saw her all that much this summer. So we got there around 5 p.m. and after waiting an hour for a storm to pass, we finally got on our first ride.

I am a huuuuuge roller coaster enthusiast. If I don’t ride something at least once over the summer, I feel incomplete. I’m in love with the adrenaline rush and there is nothing I won’t try. I scream, not because I’m scared but because it’s just fun to shriek at the top of your lungs. When the ride is over and we’re slowly moving back into the loading station, I swing my feet and giggle maniacally. I love thrill rides because for those very short moments, we’re allowed to throw inhibition to the wind and just be. And I choose to be free and giddy and child-like—don’t even get me started on Disney World.

Because we went a) at night, b) on a Thursday so close to the start of the school year, and c) right after a thunderstorm, there were barely any lines. We flew through the best ones in just a couple hours. Dorney is also pretty small, especially when compared to Six Flags Great Adventure which is where I spent my childhood (we only lived 15-20 minutes away from it when I was in 3rd-8th grade). Anyway, as we were walking from ride to ride, I started thinking about moments in film that featured amusement park rides. I came up with four that I know well. See if you recognize them. Continue reading