IOA - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 29, 1998
SIMMERING IN SYNDICATION
By Daily Arts TV/New Media Staff
When most people hear the phrase,
"syndicated television,' they think of
re-runs bringing the classic, or at least
the popular, hits of the past. From
"Happy Days" to "Friends," these are
the programs you can come home to
and find playing on the television after
a hard day at work or classes and
relive some of those good TV
moments. One cable network has even
built a strong reputation for showing
quality syndicated shows -
Nickelodeon's Nick at Night, which
was the groundwork for the new TV
Land Network, a 24-hour channel of
But there's another side to syndica-
tion, a less friendly side. These are the
syndicated shows that are new, never
been aired and, often, never should
have been allowed to exist. These are
the shows that you catch the last half
hour of in your search to find some-
thing on, wondering the whole time
"What the hell is this?" Their usual
elements include scantily clad women
and men, poorly choreographed action
scenes and producing and acting on
par with high school filmmaking.
So the following is much like a col-
lection of mug shots, a profile of the
shows dangerous to society, with a
few shady looking characters thrown
in who aren't criminals ... yet.
- Michael Galloway
TV/New Media Editor
Donny and Marie Show
Weekdays 3 p.m.
Donny and Marie Osmond have
recently resurrected their '70s variety
show into a half-dead contemporary talk
show. The show tries very hard to present
a '90s image - Donnie and Marie are
both well-groomed and fashionable, and
the set is brightly colored and creative.
They also bring on a variety of guests in
an attempt to display diversity.
Their target audience is obviously
older adults who might remember the
duo's first go-round. The Osmonds ask
their guests very bland questions that are
usually followed by empty responses.
They rarely take advantage of the oppor-
tunity to add spice to the show by evok-
ing some funny or orginal response from
their guest. As viewers, we don't find out
anything interesting, or that we don't
already know, about each guest. To add
variety to the show, Donnie and Marie
also perform small singing or dance
skits, which even they don't seem to find
funny. The best part of the show is
Donny and Marie's sibling humor. They
spend the entire hour making digs at
each other, which brings a familiarity to
the show. It's like sitting in on two people
playing the dozens, but that alone isn't
enough to tune in regularly.
- Rachel Knighton
Highlander: The Raven
Saturdays at 3:00 a.m. & Sun 1:00 p.m.
It is the tale of immortals battling
immortals for the ultimate power to
reign over the world and "in the end,
there can be only one." Too bad the
part about there being only one did-
n't hold true for the "Highlander"
franchise. First came the three
movies. Then there was "Highlander:
The Series," which ran for six long
years. Now, the epic tale of immor-
tals lives on with "Highlander: The
The immortal this time around is
played by former Miss America
Elizabeth Gracen. She was a guest
star in a few episodes of
"Highlander: The Series," but now
she has the starring role as Amanda,
a 1,000-year-old thief and con-artist
who lives for all of life's little plea-
sures. Her companion is an ex-cop
named Nick Wolfe (Paul Johansson)
who no longer feels he can trust the
law. It's good meets evil; she runs
into the bad guys, he chases after her,
and together they kick some ass.
The Highlander series should have
ended years ago, but apparently, like
the characters that live forever, so
does the show.
Weekdays at 7:30 p.m.
An Oscar-winning actress and tal-
ented comedian, Goldberg has landed
in the eighth level of Dante's "Inferno"
by taking center square in a rehash of
the old game show "Hollywood
Squares" (here, cleverly re-titled
Watching Goldberg trying to make
this show funny by interjecting sex
jokes and bantering with other
wannabe's and has-been celebrities is
painful. What's even more painful is
watching them get easy questions
wrong - questions which any third
grader knows. It's worse to see the
moron contestants agree with them
when they give incorrect answers.
The only comic relief to this torture
was when Bob Cat Goldthwait blurted
out, "The only reason I'm here is to
knock some time off my community
service." Aren't there laws against
cruel and unusual punishment?
A little piece of trivia: Shadow
Stevens, who was on the original
"Hollywood Squares," is the announc-
er to this updated version. It shows you
what the first one did for his career.
- Ed Sholinsky
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Lin Malibu, CA
The W B
Sundays at 11 a.m.
"When I wake in the mornin', and
the alarm gives out a warnin', and I
don't think I'll ever make it on time ...
" Right now, producer Peter Engel
probably loves the fact that you know
the rest of the lyrics to this song. Now,
with the new show "Malibu, CA," he
calls once again to join in some Zack
Morris-esque high school fun.
This "Saved By the Bell" imitation
features two twin brothers who move
from New York to Malibu, Calif., to
live with their father. As the Collins
boys attend their first day of class,
they meet the hottie blond Jennifer
and brunette Samantha, two vixens
who can't compare to their predeces-
sors, Tiffany Amber-Theissan and
Elizabeth Berkeley. Along with the
ever-present babes, "Malibu, CA"
contains a Screech incarnation in the
form of a surfer dude named Murray
Updike (Brandon Brooks). Having
none of Screech's relative charm,
Brooks is just horrible when he opens
his mouth and delivers his third-grade
This high school cheesiness joins
laughingly fake backdrops to provide
no low-grade fun. Watching Jason and
Scott talk to the camera as they
scheme to make quick money merely
creates a yearning for the days of Zack
and Slater when they sold the video
dating yearbook or operated the
school advice phone line, asnwering
the phone with "G'day mate, this is
Nitro." Take note, "yearning" for
"Saved By the Bell," like Screech's
charm, is relative.
- Chris Cousino
Saturdays at 9 p.m.
The recent exportation of actors and
actresses from Hong Kong to the
United States has included Jackie Chan,
Chow-Yun Fat, Michelle Yeoh and Jet
Li. Now, add Sammo Hung to that list.
Sammo who? The director/actor/mar-
tial artist who has directed such cult
classics as "Wheels on Meals" and
"Dragons Forever," starring Jackie
Chan, is the latest import to find his
way to Hollywood.
Hung is the star of one of CBS's
newest shows entitled "Martial Law."
Sammo plays a Chinese cop who is
on the trail of a former friend and
proteg who has turned bad. He does
such a great job that he wins over his
boss (Tom Wright) and his LAPD
partners Dana Doyle (Tammy
Lauren) and Louis McGray (Louis
"Martial Law" is a clichd cop
show that would fade away except for
one thing, Sammo Hung. Sammo's
presence is wonderful, but unless he
learns English, not even he can keep
this show from going under. The fight
scenes are well choreographed and
interesting, but the blooper scenes
shown during the end credits are a
rip-off of Jackie Chan movies.
"Martial Law" might last for a little
while, but in the end, the law of low
ratings will probably take this show
- Gabe Sith
The Roseanne Show
Weekdays at 11 a.m.
The woman who changed the face
of television has returned to the
medium over which she once ruled.
Instead of tackling sitcoms, though,
Roseanne, one of the most confronta-
tional and scandalous television
celebrities, has her own talk show.
The woman who at one time shredded
the national anthem and then grabbed
her crotch in front of millions of
baseball fans has cleaned herself up
and revamped her image to try and
match the success of Oprah Winfrey
and Rosie O'Donnell.
But Roseanne's greatest detraction
may also be her greatest asset. She
possesses an incredibly colorful and
infamous background, especially
compared to the squeaky clean
O'Donnell and Winfrey. Roseanne's
lack of shame allows her to ask
guests the questions that Rosie and
Oprah would never dare ask, such as
if Grace Slicks (lead singer for
Jefferson Airplane) did LSD in the
'60s and slept with Jim Morrison.
Roseanne could survive the day-
time talk show battles if she stays
true to her colors and doesn't try to
become another Oprah. She may be
able to fuse the elements of Oprah
and Jerry and become the new Rosie
- Gautham lyer
Special Ops Force
Saturdays at 10 p.m.
Special Ops Force (S.O) is ais}
secret government agency which at
on cases too difficult cases that ar
important for even the CIA and V
fact, for some unidentified reason, th
S.O.E is so secretive that it does n
officially exist. But it is no secret th
this lame and uninspired show will n
Since most may have never ee
heard of "S.O.,"now in its second se
son, producer Jerry Bruckheimer ha
recruited the talents of basketball's hig
profile bad boy Dennis Rodma
Coincidentally, Rodman's char ec
"Deke" Reynolds, is the bad boy .h
group who makes needed items (uc
as a helicopter) "become availab.
his underworld contacts. Fortunat
characterhasjust a few lines to sce
in each episode. In a previous epi
Rodman's contact was played b
NBA archrival, Karl Malone,i
shameless attempt to attract publicity fl
the show. The episode's climactic s ee
is a throw-down between Rodma t
Malone, which was possibly t
pathetically staged fight ever ses.
Saturdays at 2 p.m.
"They say when you die, a crow
your soul to the land of the dead..1
an immortal performance in 19V,
"The Crow," Brandon Lee was r
Draven, a slain rock singer who relIn
from the dead to take revenge on th
thugs who killed him and his girI y
Shelley. This wonderfully dark
Gothic tale of vengeance and rma
rightly proved that true love neve rdis
But for some odd reason, Holly
isn't buying a stairway to heaven fcs
conception quite yet.
After the dreadful film "TheCiv
City of Angels," Tinsletown turns tta
tube with the new hour series.'t
Crow: Stairway to Heaven," starpA
Marc Dacascos in the title role. Thi
mediocre, Saturday-afternoon f k
finds Eric Draven fighting evil, expr
encing incredibly fast healing, flashbac
sequences and witty death puns like
the tone, it'll be the time to confes.'s
sins. Beep." The writers basicallyp
the original film by using its charaer
and their names in the series. If a m*
point of "The Crow" is for Eric to cogj
to terms with his past so he canetti
peace, how can he do this if eachwee
he must play superguy from 2-3 p.n',
Here we have yet another lame acto
series based on a film with a cult, M
lowing, i.e. "Highlander," to wase a
our weekend hours. These new ide-Kr
about as fresh as a Monica Lewin
prom dress. What's next? Maybe" 6
Runner: Replicants Revolt" o hk
'bout "Dune: The Series?"
- Chris Cous
11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Thursday, October 29
Michigan Union Ballroom
Graduate Studies in Information
While most voters vote for
governor, fewer complete the
second part of the ballot, where
you'll find statewide races and
proposals. And fewer still make
it through the ballot's third
portion, which is home to local
candidates and issues. You can
do better. Look for WCC's mill-
age renewal and other local
proposals at the end of your
November 3 ballot.
Finish your ballot!
Washtenaw Community College