Tag Archives: World

20 Worst TV Spin-offs ever. Pt.1 (20th-11th)

Cleveland Show

Kureen has explored the best TV spin-off shows ever during the past couple of days, now it’s time to take a gander at the bottom feeders, with a two part list of the 20 worst of all time.

*Years of broadcast and parent series in parenthesis

20. Saved By The Bell: The College Years (1993-94, Saved By The Bell)

Saved By The Bell followed the lives of half a dozen teenagers (and one principal) as they navigated their way through Bayside high school’s minefield. This follow up adapted the formula for a college setting, but the same goofy gags that had previously flourished fell flat coming from older students, with an 18 year-old  Screech (Dustin Diamond) one of the most abhorrent characters in sitcom history.

19. The Cleveland Show (2009-13, Family Guy)

With all of the entertaining characters in Family Guy to choose between for a spin-off, Seth Macfarlane opted for Cleveland Brown, the least worthwhile member of the FG ensemble. What resulted was lethargic and rarely worth a chuckle, mercifully Fox put the animated series out of its misery after four laborious seasons.

18. AfterMash (1983-84, M*A*S*H)

AfterMash wasn’t M*A*S*H, despite desperately trying to emulate it without putting forth any effort and praying for some chemistry from an excruciatingly bland cast. As the title track of the original aptly stated: “suicide is painless”, as thousands of viewers eyed up their AK-47’s and contemplated.

17. Top of The Heap (1991, Married With Children)

Check this out if you want to see a young, pre-Friends Matt Le Blanc… and then find a device to wipe any trace of the woeful rhetoric from your mind’s eye, or else take enough psychedelic drugs to lay waste to the part of your brain that threatens to store the criminally corny dialogue you’ve been subjected to.

16. The Golden Palace (1992-93, The Golden Girls)

The lifeblood of The Golden Girls was the snappy repartee between the four main pensioners, all enjoying their twilight years and each other’s company. CBS thought they would strike while the iron was still somewhat warm by bringing the remaining core cast (Rue McClanahan, Betty White and Estelle Getty) back with a new series and a slightly fresh situation, but the idea of them running a hotel was far fetched, and it bombed in the ratings.

15. Girl Meets World (2014-Present, Boy Meets World)

From 1993 to 2000, viewers followed the relationship of Cory Matthews and Topanga Lawrence-Matthews on “Boy Meets World.” More than a decade later, the couple’s daughter, Riley, is trying to navigate her ‘tween years with all of the panache and wit of a moribund tea cosy.

14. Hello Larry (1979-80,  Diff’rent Strokes)

“Hello Larry” was part of Fred Silverman’s attempt to ruin, er, resurrect NBC, a channel whose comedy had plummeted toward the ratings doldrums. Despite its abysmal badness, the show ran for two seasons simply because so many of the network’s other offerings bombed, so they had nothing better to run; a fact that beleaguered network execs cheerfully admitted to.

13. Hot Bench (2014-Present, Judge Judy)

In America the court TV show is a tried and trusted formula that has made stars of a myriad of judges. “Hot Bench” attempted to shake up the usual concept by employing a three-judge panel. Created by Judge Judy Sheindlin, the series’ main issue is that the judges crave the spotlight too freely, like attention seeking toddlers with overflowing nappies, and the cases are too puerile for viewers to invest any fucks.

12. The Tortellis (1987, Cheers)

“The Tortellis” was a spin off of “Cheers” featuring Carla Tortelli (Rhea Perlman)’s eccentric family, who were infrequent recurring characters.  All were hilarious in the context of the parent show, but gave the impression of fish out of water when dumped into a vehicle that lacked any concept or purpose.

11.  Three’s A Crowd (1984-85, Three’s Company)

“Three’s a Crowd” can be aptly summed up as boring, direction-less, and painfully unfunny. The producers made no attempt to create a new and exciting vehicle for John Ritter’s brilliant physical comedy, content instead to bask in the glory of the exceptional Three’s Company, all the while milking this obese cash-cow until its teats shrivelled like raisins in the Sahara.

Agree with Dom’s list? Let us know in the comment section below. The top (bottom?) ten will be published tomorrow, so keep your eyes open and share, share, share!

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

20 Best TV Spin-Offs Ever – Pt.2: Top 10.

Yesterday Dom Kureen shared the first half of his TV spin-off top-20 with the world, today it’s time to find out which shows made the top ten.

*Years of broadcast and original series in parenthesis.

10. Saved By The Bell (1989-93, Good Morning Miss Bliss)

This is one case where the spin-off was far superior to the original. Wise cracking Zach Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) leads up a cast of pretty young things and uber dorks, whose antics usually come with a life lesson attached. In hindsight it looks a little cheesy, but was must see TV for any kids in the early 90’s.

9. Knowing Me, Knowing You (1994-95, On The Hour/The Day Today)

Having begun life as a character featured on BBC Radio 4’s “On The Hour”, and transferred to television with “The Day Today”, the Alan Partridge character was given his own series in  1994, with this spoof chat show. Steve Coogan masterfully portrays the hapless presenter, whose desperate attempts to curry favour with his guests inevitably backfire.

8. Happy Days (1974-84, Love, American Style)

Based in the 1950’s and 60’s, no show has spawned as many spin-offs as Happy Days, which was a spin-off itself. More than 10 years on air ended when the diminishing value of the classic sitcom struck a nadir – “The Fonz” jumping over a shark on water skis, thus coining the term ‘jumping the shark’, used in modern vernacular to describe a TV programme in decline.

7. Absolutely Fabulous (1992-2012, French and Saunders)

A sitcom brilliant in its uncensored bad behaviour and satirical humour, “Ab Fab”  featured Edina and Patsy, two hard-drinking, drug-taking, selfish middle-aged women. Their cruel humour zoning in on the hypocrisy of modern day society, much to the chagrin of Edina’s more moral and conservative daughter, Saffron.

6. CSI Miami (2002-12, CSI)

A Florida team of forensics investigators use cutting-edge scientific methods and old-fashioned police work to solve crimes. Horatio Caine (David Caruso) leads the way with understated brilliance, and as tough an act to follow as CSI was, its Miami successor was retrospectively the superior series.

5. A Different World (1987-93 The Cosby Show)

A Different World followed the student life of Denise Huxtable,  played by the gorgeous, talented Lisa Bonet, as she ditched the comfort of the Cosby bosom to attend Hillman College. Bonet lasted one season before getting knocked up by Lenny Kravitz. Her departure (and that of a young Marisa Tomei) didn’t harm the show, with four superior seasons preceding a flat finale.

4. Sesame Street (1969-present, Sam and Friends)

A long-time favourite of children and adults, Sesame Street bridges many cultural and educational gaps and has to date aired 4,378 episodes over the course of almost half a century. Big Bird leads a cast of characters teaching children numbers, colours and the alphabet. Bert and Ernie, Oscar the Grouch and Grover are just a few of the other creatures involved in this show, set on a city street full of valuable learning opportunities.

3. Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-94, Star Trek)

Featuring a bigger and better USS Enterprise than its parent series, “TNG” is set 78 years after the original, in the 24th century. Instead of Captain James Kirk, a less volatile and more mature Captain Jean-Luc Picard (played by ultra smooth thesp’ Patrick Stewart) heads the crew of various humans and alien creatures in their adventures in space, aka: the final frontier.

2. Frasier (1993-2004, Cheers)

While many of Cheers’ spin-offs were tacky cash ins, Frasier had the staying power and depth of cast to last for 11 years and wave adieu on its own terms. Kelsey Grammar plays radio psychiatrist Frasier Crane, whose charm and sophistication beautifully dovetail with the rest of the ensemble, most notably brother Niles, who often steals the show courtesy of the excellent David Hyde Pierce.

1. The Simpsons (1989-present, The Tracey Ullman Show)

Beginning life as a series of short sketches produced by Matt Groening based on his own family, “The Simpsons” soon extended into a 25 minute weekly cartoon of its own. Purists will argue that it peaked during seasons 4-8, and that everything after season 20 (now on no.26) has been an abomination. Forget that for a minute though, The Simpsons revolutionised the cartoon comedy genre, and richly deserves its place atop the pile.

So, there you have it – tomorrow we’ll take a look at the worst spin-offs of all time, make sure you return and feel free to leave a comment in the section below. 

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

“He’s saved his title, he’s saved his reputation… He may have even saved his sport!”

Rarely can a win have been greeted with such universal euphoria. Usain Bolt, in the words of BBC commentator Steve Cram, had “saved his sport”.

The adulation was not merely a celebration of the greatest sprinter of all-time, it was wide-spread relief that a two-time drug cheat had been denied victory by one hundredth of a second, with Justin Gatlin crossing the line in 9.80 seconds to take silver behind Bolt’s time of 9.79.

Gatlin headed into the 100m World Championship final as the odds-on favourite, having dominated the sport in 2014 and 2015, with Bolt only fit to run the distance three times this season before heading to China.

 

Feeling queasy

Newly appointed head of the IAAF governing body, Sebastian Coe, had admitted that the thought of the 33 year-old American taking gold in Beijing made him feel “queasy”, whilst others seethed that a man who had seemingly not learned from past mistakes was allowed to compete on this stage at all.

Either way, it made for intoxicating theatre; good versus evil – Bolt, a man struggling for technique and fitness, the only one that could deny the corrupt Gatlin, it was the only story in town.

 

Twitter Approval

A gaggle of celebrities (do they come in gaggles?) and parody celebrities took to the Twitter-sphere to share their approval at the result. Here are a few of the best;

Is Usain Bolt a real-life Superman? Should people lay off Justin Gatlin? Let us know in the comment section below!

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Gayle Force W.Indies

West Indian opening batsman Chris Gayle spanked Zimbabwe’s bowlers all over the Manuka Oval in Canberra on Tuesday afternoon, blazing a trail towards a record obliterating score of 215 at the cricket World Cup.

The previously out of form 35 year-old  already held the individual record score for Twenty20 cricket, rattling along to 175 not out for Royal Challengers Bangalore against Pune Warriors India during the 2013 IPL season.

Chris Gayle

A breakdown of Gayle’s record breaking innings

215
The highest individual score ever in a World Cup, beating Gary Kirsten’s previous mark of 188 not out for South Africa against United Arab Emirates in 1996.

138
The number of deliveries it took Gayle to reach his double hundred, the fastest ever 200 in One Day International cricket.

16
ODI record-equalling number of sixes scored by the West Indian in his innings, a total previously achieved by India’s Rohit Sharma and South Africa’s AB de Villiers.

1st
Gayle is the first non-Indian player to score a double ton in ODI cricket, and this was the first score of 200+ made outside of the sub-continent.

372
Gayle’s partnership of 372 with Marlon Samuels is the highest of all-time, easily surpassing the previous record stand of 331 set by Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid for India against New Zealand.

**************************************************************************

Gayle’s innings ended when he was dismissed from the final delivery of the West Indies’ innings going for one final, record breaking maximum. His 215 is the third highest ODI score of all time, still falling well shy of Rohit Sharma’s knock of 264 for India against Sri Lanka in November last year.

The West Indies will believe that, despite possessing a mediocre squad, they have an outside chance of capturing the trophy if their main man can continue his destructive form. Even if he can, he’ll be hard pushed to match an incredible innings from a big match player who once again lit up the big stage.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

World Cup: What chance have England got?

The football World Cup gets underway this evening, when hosts and tournament favourites Brazil take on Croatia tonight in Sao Paulo. England face Italy two days later in a contest that promises to shape both team’s fortunes, but are fans of the Three Lions right to be generally pessimistic? Dom Kureen explores.

World Cup trophy

Amazingly, it was 18 years ago that football came home for Euro ’96, with English fans treated to a roller coaster ride that ultimately fell from the tracks at the penultimate hurdle, when old foes Germany expertly dispatched half a dozen penalties before Gareth Southgate famously had his spot-kick saved, to deny a first major tournament final for England since they raised the Jules Rimet trophy aloft on home soil thirty years earlier.

In the ensuing period since that heroic defeat fan forecasts have become progressively less ambitious, understandable when comparing the current crop to a 1996 team that included the likes of Alan Shearer, Teddy Sheringham, Paul Gascoigne, Paul Ince, Stuart Pearce, Tony Adams and David Seaman – all of whom were at or close to their peak during the mid-1990’s.

Glenn Hoddle’s 1998 World Cup setup was exciting enough, with the emergence of Michael Owen as an 18 year-old superstar eventually overshadowed by David Beckham’s daft red card and another penalty shoot-out exit, this time at the hands of a handy Argentina side.

Shearer and Sheringham
SAS: Sheringham and Shearer enjoyed a world-class strike partnership for England.

Kevin Keegan had a go in 2000, but the job was ultimately ‘too big’ for the man dubbed ‘Mighty Mouse’ by legions of Hamburg supporters during his time as a player in the Bundesliga.

It was Phil Neville’s scatter-brained penalty area lunge into Romania’s Viorel Moldovan that ensured a last-gasp 3-2 defeat in the final group game, meaning that England failed to make the knockout stages of that year’s European Championships.

Sven Goran Eriksson was appointed based on a stellar CV forged in Serie A. Despite impressive qualifying results, the Swede’s Midas touch deserted him at the major tournaments and his successor, Steve McLaren, is probably best known for looking thoroughly miserable under an umbrella on the sidelines, having overseen a pathetic attempt to qualify for Euro 2008.

Fabio Capello was the next in line and started well, before his initial lustre wore away relatively swiftly. The respected veteran appeared distrustful towards some of his key players, with the likes of Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard often performing well below their capabilities in competitive matches.

That leads us to Roy Hodgson, the present incumbent of one of football’s hottest seats – a safe appointment in reaction to the unsuccessful tenure of disciplinarian Capello.

Hodgson has done a lot of things well over the past couple of years at the helm, perhaps most prevalent of which was to exhibit faith in vibrant youth players trusted to integrate with faithful servants such as Gerrard, Rooney and Frank Lampard.

Also notable was the manager’s low-key response regarding Ross Barkley, after the Everton youngster gave an outstanding audition for a starting place in a recent friendly against Ecuador.

Refusing to fuel tabloid hyperbole suggesting that England had found their new Paul Gascoigne, Hodgson told gathered reporters:

We believe in him, but people shouldn’t be suggesting our World Cup should be hinging on his performance. He should be an England player for many years to come.

The 2014 World Cup will be an experimental one for England, with the likes of Barkley, Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling all novices on this prominent stage.

Svengali: But Eriksson was far from magical during his England tenure
Svengali: But Eriksson was far from magical during his England tenure

What we can expect therefore is to witness the building blocks of the national team’s future slotting further into place over the next few weeks, with the side’s greatest asset the potential bubbling under the surface.

Daniel Sturridge adds invaluable calibre in front of goal and has shown flashes of intricate, dynamic link-up with Rooney. If Sterling fills the void on the right hand side then England could have an exceptionally exciting three man front-line.

At the other end Joe Hart is among the elite custodians in the sport, but has an unreliable defence in front of him that will require an exhaustive amount of babysitting from captain Gerrard.

England will do well to qualify from their group, although an ageing Italian squad, inspired by talismanic 35-year old Andrea Pirlo, is unlikely to cause the same anxiety as the one that knocked England out of Euro 2012 on penalties.

Dan The Man: Sturridge had a stunning season for Liverpool in 2013-14
Dan The Man: Sturridge had a stunning season for Liverpool in 2013-14

Uruguay have some special players among their attackers, notably Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, but lack quality in defensive areas, something which the pace and guile of messrs Sterling, Barkley, Lallana and Sturridge can exploit.

Costa Rica have already been labelled as the whipping boys of Group D, although to dismiss them so lightly is a recipe for complacency.

Difficult to break down, ‘La Sele’ will turn to super-talented, irritatingly inconsistent former Fulham striker Bryan Ruiz to inspire their forays forward.

 

 

Prediction: Italy should win the group despite travelling with a clutch of weather-worn 30-somethings, with England tussling with Uruguay for the runners-up slot. The Three Lions will make the last-16, but probably fall at the second hurdle.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.