The Prisoner continues, with "Checkmate," "The Chimes of Big Ben," and "The Schizoid Man," and one of these episodes kind of gives J. the absolute creeps. Then, we wrap up the sixth season of Mad Men by talking about the finale, "In Care Of."
That's to be expected. We talk about "The Defector," "The Hunted," and "The High Ground," and discuss how Star Trek's good-people-on-both-sides take on political terrorism is pretty foul in hindsight (not that it was all that great at the time).
Prepare yourself, Number Six: we start the new year by starting The Prisoner. We talk (rave, actually) about "Arrival," "Dance of the Dead," and "Free for All." Robby talks about how weird the show is, and J. tries to talk about anything he can while keeping his voice together. Then, we discuss Mad Men, as everybody's trolling for "Favors."
Ho ho ho -- it's Christmas on the Podcastulacra, as Robby and J. exchange their traditional gifts: television episodes that kind of sum up the person recommending them. For Robby, that means 1970s sitcoms (The Bob Newhart Show); for J., that means -- sigh -- Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing). They also talk about A Christmas Carol for a while? Then, in tune with the season, it's time for more Mad Men, as Don (and the agency) continue unravel in "A Tale of Two Cities." Actual, now that I think of it, that doesn't have anything to do with the season, does it?
He does! Riker absolutely murders a woman and faces no consequences. We talk about "The Enemy," "The Price," and "The Vengeance Factor," and discuss Romulans, creepy Betazoids, and how, yeah, Riker completely and totally murders someone and gets away with it. Then, like, Mad Men or whatever? I think "The Better Half"? That sounds right. But Riker. Dude.
Well, we did. We finally got through Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Sorkin gives us his final four scripts -- "K & R" parts 1-3, and "What Kind of Day Has It Been" -- and lets us free, back into the world, full of hope and wonder and joy again. Then, Mad Men takes us on a drug trip, as the office gets hopped up on crank to try to avoid "The Crash."
I mean, we love the guy. But c'mon. We watch "Who Watches the Watchers," "The Bonding," and "Booby Trap," and Geordi needs to talk to a professional. Therapist, I mean. Also, maybe hire another engineer so you don't have to Weird Science one on the holodeck? Then, Don Draper starts to slip a bit, as the merger leaves him desperate for some control in "Man with a Plan."
Episode 237: Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Part 6 - Let’s Ask This Powerful White Man What He Thinks About Sexual Harassment
Ooh boy. Studio 60 really goes for the gusto here, as Aaron Sorkin creates a punching bag to let his enlighted characters sound off on the absolutely ludicrous idea that a woman working in the comedy industry might be the victim of sexual harassment. I mean, can you imagine? We hold our noses through "4 AM Miracle," "The Disaster Show," and "Breaking News," and marvel at how little self-awareness this show has. Then, speaking of gross, it's time to talk about Matt Weiner, as the recent allegations make "For Immediate Release" unpleasant to sit through.
Finally: Star Trek: The Next Generation finishes its growing pains (by tossing out Gene Roddenberry and most of the writers) and arrives at the era that made it the classic series it is. We talk about "Evolution," "The Ensigns of Command," and "The Survivors," and the uptick in quality is immediately noticeable. Then, we talk about Mad Men, with the episode "The Flood." (We recorded this before recent allegations against Matt Weiner, so they aren't addressed here, if you're wondering.)
Just in time for trick-or-treating, we deliver this quartet of spoooooky seasonal offerings! We take a look at The Twilight Zone's "The Four of Us Are Dying," and talk about the evolution of television from stagecraft; we chuckle-slash-shudder at The Outer Limits's "The Zanti Misfits," and decide it was easier to be scary on a tiny television; we dial up "Sorry, Right Number," a Tales from the Darkside effort that J. should have realized he'd encountered before; and then, finally, The X-Files takes us "Home," with a grisly, unshakeable affair that you will never forget. Seriously.
Holy crap, we actually remembered to do an holiday special. Will wonders never cease? So what Halloween-themed television will we be talking about? Open it to find out! (Though you know one of 'em gonna be The X-Files, don't you?)
Seriously, the men on this show. We watch "The Harriet Dinner" parts 1 and 2, and "The Friday Night Slaughter" and wonder just what the hell was happening in Aaron Sorkin's personal life. Ladies don't generally fall in love with their stalkers, you know. And then, speaking of creeps, we talk about Mad Men, as Harry Crane, Toad Person, fights to get what he wants in "To Have and to Hold."
Yikes: the second season of Next Gen ends with a pile of wet trash. We talk about "Manhunt" (which is terrible), "The Emissary" (which is great), "Peak Performance" (which is really great), and then the clip show "Shades of Gray," which we will never speak of again. Then, Mad Men has a conversation about loneliness in "Collaborators."
Somebody's gotta call the police on Danny Tripp. We cringe our way through "B-12," "The Christmas Show," and "Monday," and while these episodes have their moments, it's all weighed down by what a terrible character Danny Tripp is. (The others don't tend to be much better.) Then, we kick off Mad Men's sixth season with "The Doorway."
Hey, sometimes Mad Men forgets how to do subtle. The fifth season finale, "The Phantom," is definitely one of those times, with its hyperobvious symbolism and to-the-audience speeches. Elsewhere, the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation has an eclectic mix of episodes, as we watch "Q Who," "Samaritan Snare," and "Up the Long Ladder." From the Borg to the Space Irish -- it's the whole spectrum on this show, idn't it?
Man, there is a good television show buried somewhere deep in Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, but it's barely visible through the haze of Aaron Sorkin's smugness. We watch "Nevada Day," Parts 1 and 2, and "The Option Period" and try to find it. Come for the nonstop political tirades, stay for the inside baseball plot points about screenplay formatting! Then, Mad Men sends Lane Pryce careering off the deep end in "Commissions and Fees."
We've got three second-season Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes this week that don't have a whole lot going for them -- we do our level best to get something interesting out of "Time Squared," "The Icarus Factor," and "Pen Pals," but they didn't make our work easy. After that, Mad Men wades into some gross territory and probably pisses off the real Jaguar in "The Other Woman."
To be fair, it's not just about Studio 60. We also talk about podcasting in general, the Twin Peaks revival, and other things. But Studio 60 takes up the bulk of the conversation, and, you know, this is a show with problems. We talk about "The West Coast Delay," "The Long Lead Story," and "The Wrap Party," and see if Aaron Sorkin can get around himself to just write a decent script (spoiler: no). Then, Mad Men, as Joan and Don dance a "Christmas Waltz."
Would the head writer of a television show sabotage another writer's script, just to piss him off and make him look bad? We don't know, but J. has a theory. We're talking second-season Star Trek: The Next Generation this week, with "The Dauphin," "Contagion," and "The Royale," and one of these episodes has a backstory way more dramatic than anything on screen. And one of these episodes is so flamboyantly stupid it might be genius. Spoiler: it's the same episode! Then, Mad Men bums everybody out and basks in "Dark Shadows."
My God, that's Aaron Sorkin's music! And it sounds like Gilbert and Sullivan! Yes, we're kicking off our next one-season-only show in this episode, with Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. With such a pedigree both behind and in front of the camera, how could it have gone wrong? We'll explain it to you! Then, Mad Men backs up a truck full of money to pay for a Beatles song on "Lady Lazarus."
Seriously, deliberately getting Data's chosen pronouns wrong is not cool. We talk about that, along with old age makeup and how Klingons are rad as fuck, in our episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation this week. We watched "Unnatural Selection," "A Matter of Honor," and "Measure of a Man," and two of these are amazing! Then, we watch Mad Men's "At the Codfish Ball" and can't remember if Megan's parents are supposed to be French or French-Canadian. It's the former, right?
Next week: Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.
Well, we said we'd decide if we wanted to continue talking about Flashforward this week, and...uh...we certainly decided. We watched "The Gift," "Playing Cards with Coyote," and "Believe," and wonder if these writers have ever left the writers' room, since they don't know how one gets a job, or plays poker, or gets text messages, or responds to an innocent question from a friend. Then, it's back to Mad Men, as Don, Peggy, and Roger look to sherbet, anonymous sex, and LSD -- respectively -- to take them to "Far Away Places."
We're talking Star Trek: The Next Generation season 2 this week, and boy does this season earn its reputation. We watch "The Outrageous Okona," "Loud as a Whisper," and "The Schizoid Man," and try desperately to find anything resembling a plot. In any of them. (For real, a good chunk of one of the episode is watching Data watch Joe Piscipo do a Jerry Lewis impression. It's that kind of season of TV.) Then, we talk Mad Men, as "Signal 30" digs deep into Pete Campbell and Lane Pryce. Yes, it's the Pete-Lane fistfight episode.
Hey, so, Flashforward is not a good show, is it? Nope, no, it's not, and the problems we saw in the first three episodes aren't getting fixed. We talk about episodes 4-6 ("Black Swan," "Gimme Some Truth," and "Scary Monster and Super Creeps"), and wince and the show's attempts to be a cop show, a doctor show, a politics show, without ever becoming a good show. Then, Mad Men gets a little crazy, as Don sees an old fling, Ginsberg calls an audible, Roger and Peggy deal, Joan has enough, and Sally hides under the couch from a "Mystery Date."
Good news: we're starting Star Trek: The Next Generation season two this week! Bad news: the awful producers chased Gates McFadden off the show after season one. Mixed news: they replaced her with Diana Muldaur as Dr. Pulaski, who is...polarizing? We talk about the new doctor, among other things, as we discuss "The Child," "Where Silence Has Lease," and "Elementary, Dear Data." Then, we continue our look at Mad Men season five, as Pete gets petty (shock!), Roger gets his ego bruised (shock!), Peggy is disrespected by a man (shock!), and Betty gets worried about what she sees in her "Tea Leaves."