Archive | Nostalgia corner

Classic shows that have almost been forgotten, as well as shows that should probably have been forgotten

September 13, 2016

Nostalgia Corner: The Monkees (1966-1968)

Posted on September 13, 2016 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The Monkees

Celebrating its 50th anniversary this month, The Monkees was one of those shows you couldn't avoid if you lived in the UK during the 80s. Every time school holidays rolled around, along with The Red Hand Gang and The Flashing Blade, there was The Monkees on BBC1, every morning. This was despite having been made in the 1960s, mind you - I do wonder how the kids of today will ever get to watch classic TV without the likes of the Beeb and Channel 4 to force feed them it any more.

The Monkees was odd. One of the first US shows to feature teenagers as its leads, it starred an eponymous pop group of four youngsters, Davy Jones, Mike Nesmith, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork, all with Beatles-esque haircuts - guess what network NBC was trying to cash in on? What was odd was:

  1. It was a sitcom, set around the group's often surreal, often fourth-wall breaking adventures, in which they all played versions of themselves
  2. Davy Jones was British, which was a rare thing on US TV in those days
  3. It had musical breaks during which the band sung their songs, although frequently the action would continue while the group played
  4. The group had never met each other until the show, having been recruited by an NBC casting call, yet they still managed not only to gel, but to become a successful band in their own right.

In fact, so well did they gel, despite the tragic loss of Davy Jones, the remaining Monkees are still touring and writing music to this day, and the group created a number of classic 60s songs, including 'I'm A Believer', 'Last Train To Clarksville' and 'Daydream Believer'. Not to forget the theme tune to the show itself.

The show lasted for an impressive two seasons, after which the group's metaness reached a peak with the movie Head, written by the show's creator Bob Rafelson (Five Easy Pieces) and none other than Jack Nicholson. This was actually an odd, stream of conscious, series of scenes about the difficulties of being a public figure, interspersed with satire about war, drugs, and politics. That and getting stuck in a giant Victor Mature.

One of the classics of 60s sitcoms, The Monkees' legacy endured for years. In the 70s, The Banana Splits was largely The Monkees but featuring men wearing animal costumes, with just a hint of Rowan and Martin's Laugh In. And arguably the 1980s' The Young Ones' musical interludes owed a heavy debt to The Monkees'. 

You can watch most of the episodes of The Monkees on YouTube, but here's the first, just for your enjoyment.

And for true fans, here are the screen tests for the cast:

August 22, 2016

What TV's on at the BFI in September/October 2016? Including The Fall, Inside No. 9, From The North and Inappropriate Behaviour

Posted on August 22, 2016 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

A bit later than usual (for obvious reasons), a bit thinner than usual (for obvious reasons), and combining events for September and a bit of October (for not obvious reasons), here's TMINE's usual rundown of the upcoming TV showings at the BFI. Not much for TV aficionados, beyond an 'Andrew Davies at 80' event consisting of a chat and a showing of Inappropriate Behaviour, and a chat and documentary about Granada TV, but there is the excitement of two previews, one of series 3 of Inside No. 9, the other of series 3 of The Fall, complete with Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan… 

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August 18, 2016

Alex Cox's recent appearance on Kermode Uncut is like a missing episode of Moviedrome

Posted on August 18, 2016 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

As if I wasn't getting pangs of 80s nostalgia bad enough already thanks to Stranger Things, I've just watched the latest episode of Kermode Uncut with Alex Cox and I've got them even stronger.

Cox is the director of Repo Man, among other things…

…but is probably best known in the UK from his time presenting BBC Two's Moviedrome in the late 80s and early 90s. That was a time when the BBC took film reasonably seriously on its main channels. Barry Norman was the ever knowledgeable host of BBC One's Film 8x/9x, reviewing films each week with the seriousness each deserved (or maybe didn't).

Meanwhile, Howard Schuman's Moving Pictures on BBC Two was discussing movies and interviewing directors with a competency that means it was subsequently used to teach film studies and even managed to save Mike Figgis' career following Mr Jones

But slightly more accessible was Moviedrome, hosted by Cox between 1988 and 1994. Each curated season consisted of a number of movies picked by Cox, some good, some bad, all interesting, which he would discuss before their showing, highlighting both their positives and negatives. There are numerous movies I would never have seen without him, including my beloved Manhunter and The Andromeda Strain, which are the ones I usually cite. But simply looking through the list of movies he introduced, I can see that I'd forgotten he also gave me my first tastes of The Wicker Man, The Parallax View, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Fly, The Thing From Another World, THX 1138, Sunset Boulevard, Get Carter and Solaris, to name just a few.

For sure, Film 8x's roving reporter Tom Brook is still doing marvellous work on BBC World News' Talking Movies, but that's about it and the idea of curation seems to be something that only Film4 and a few more obscure channels do and then occasionally. Which is shame. If only there were a modern-day Moviedrome, maybe even hosted by Cox.

Well, Cox has just made his second appearance on Kermode Uncut, this time to discuss Moviedrome, and Mark Kermode asks him what movie he'd like to feature in a new Moviedrome. As you might expect, the answer is superb and will just make you wish Cox was back on our screens again.

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