Category Archives: TV

Star Trek – the acting career killer


I watched an episode of Star Trek: Voyager a little while ago, and wondered what happened to the actors on that show. After some investigation on Wikipedia and IMDB, I found that other than Jeri Ryan (Seven of Nine), none of them had had significant roles in anything after Voyager ended. I did some more searching and found that to be true of just about every actor in every Star Trek series.

Note that when I say “nothing” below, I mean nothing of significance in terms of movie or TV acting. Many of these actors have gone on to do other things (directing, stage acting, music, etc.), and some have appeared in single episodes of shows or bit parts in movies, but I’m looking for significant roles.

Star Trek

William Shatner went on to to do T.J. Hooker and Boston Legal and some movie roles, but is mostly famous for being William Shatner.

Walter Koenig was on Babylon 5 for a while.

Leonard Nimoy, James Doohan, DeForest Kelley, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei: nothing.

TNG

Patrick Stewart : X-Men, lots of voice acting

Brent Spiner: A small part in Independence Day

Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis, Gates McFadden, LeVar Burton, Wil Wheaton: nothing.

Michael Dorn was on DS9 for a year or two.

DS9

Terry Farrell was on Becker for four years

Avery Brooks, Nana Visitor, Cirroc Lofton, Armin Shimerman, Colm Meaney: nothing.

Alexander Siddig was in a few episodes of 24

Rene Auberjonois was on Boston Legal for a couple of years

Voyager

Jeri Ryan – Boston Public, Shark

Kate Mulgrew, Robert Beltran, Tim Russ, Roxann Dawson, Robert Duncan McNeill, Garrett Wang, Robert Picardo, Ethan Philips, Jennifer Lien : Nothing

Enterprise

Scott Bakula, Jolene Blalock, Linda Park, Anthony Montgomery, John Billingsley: nothing

Dominic Keating (Reed) was on Lost for four episodes and Connor Trinneer (Trip) was on Stargate Atlantis for 9 episodes.


So of all of the forty actors listed above, only Shatner and Stewart have had starring roles in anything else. Of the rest, only Jeri Ryan and Terry Farrell have had anything more than a recurring guest role on a TV show. That’s four out of forty that have done anything significant since Star Trek. The other 90% have seen their acting careers wane or vanish completely.

Update: Just to be clear, I am not saying that these people are all washed-up has-beens, and I’m not suggesting that they are all sitting at home staring at the phone hoping someone will call them with a gig. Like I said, some are directing, some are acting on the stage, others may have moved on to other things. I know from reading his blog that Wil Wheaton is now a writer, blogger, and part-time actor, and is perfectly happy with that. I just figured that with the number of actors that had become successful through a Star Trek TV show, a greater percentage would stay with TV/movie acting and more would end up with starring or major supporting roles than actually did.

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Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog


Everyone is talking about Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, and how fantastic it is and what a genius Joss Whedon is. I like a good funny as much as the next guy, so I checked it out last week and honestly, I just don’t get it. It was pretty funny (“Wow, sarcasm! That’s original!”), and Neil Patrick Harris was really good, but genius? I wouldn’t go that far.

Maybe I need to see more of Whedon’s stuff. I’ve never seen Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, or Firefly. We did rent the Firefly movie “Serenity” and it was OK, but I thought the same thing at the time: “It was OK, but what’s the big deal?” I didn’t worry too much about Serenity since I figured you had to know something about the TV show in order to fully appreciate the movie. But Dr. Horrible is a standalone thing and while I enjoyed it, I still didn’t get the “genius”.

Canadian Sports Personalities – Best and Worst


I read an article on another blog on the best Canadian non-hockey sports announcers. There were also specific articles on the hockey people and the anchor desk people. I thought I’d put together my own list of Canadian sports announcers, writers and broadcasters, good and bad. These are in no particular order.

Best

  • Bob McCown — simply the best. Host of Prime Time Sports on the FAN 590, one of my favourite podcasts and according to Bob, “the country’s most listened-to sports talk presentation”. Says what he thinks, doesn’t care if he offends anyone, doesn’t (usually) pull punches during interviews, knows his stuff inside and out, and he’s funny too.
  • Stephen Brunt — he writes for the Globe and Mail, which I don’t read, so I only know him from his appearances on Prime Time Sports, but he’s very knowledgable. And he’s from Hamilton.
  • Jim Kelley — writes for sportsnet.ca, and also appears on Prime Time Sports. He’s in the Hockey Hall of Fame as a writer, and for good reason. He knows more than just hockey though. He, Brunt, and McCown make PTS the best sports show there is.
  • Dan Shulman — Used to do play-by-play for the Blue Jays. Smart guy, and just an all-around great broadcaster. So good, ESPN grabbed him and hasn’t let go.
  • Rob Faulds — I didn’t like him much when I first heard him on Jays telecasts, but he used to host Prime Time Sports when McCown was away, and I grew to respect him. Listening to him on the radio doesn’t feel like listening to the radio, it feels like talking sports over a couple of beers with your buddy.
  • Jennifer Hedger — smart, knows her stuff, and easy on the eyes. Married to Sean McCormick (see the worst list below), but nobody’s perfect.
  • Eliot Friedman — another former guest host on Prime Time Sports, but haven’t heard him for a while. Works on HNIC, though I think he’s underused there.
  • Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth — Cheek called every single Blue Jays game, including pre- and post-season, from their first day in 1977 until 2004, a streak of over 4,300 consecutive games. I grew up listening to him and Jerry calling Jays games on the radio.
  • Don Chevrier and Buck Martinez — called Jays games on TV in the 80’s and 90’s. Buck went on to manage the Jays, and I was disappointed when he didn’t return to the broadcast booth afterwards.
  • Jay Onrait — host of SportsCentre on TSN. Not particularly insightful, since he’s just reporting the sports news, but he’s pretty funny. The last couple of years, he’s done a real-time blog on trade deadline day which was very funny.

Worst

  • Mike Toth — I used to really hate this guy, but he’s growing on me. Now I only hate him a little bit. He hosts Prime Time Sports when Bob McCown is away, and he’s OK, but I prefer when Rob Faulds used to guest-host.
  • Sean McCormick — they call him The Dude. Or perhaps he calls himself that. Just seems a little too full of himself.
  • Michael Landsberg — speaking of full of himself…
  • Warren Sawkiw — did Jays broadcasts for a year after Tom Cheek passed away, then they fired him. Haven’t seen him since. Didn’t seem to add much to the broadcast, and had too much of a “golly gee whiz, I’m in the big league!” air about him.
  • Don Cherry — very entertaining and I enjoy watching Coach’s Corner because of him, but what an idiot. Thinks that any hockey game without a fight is a waste of time. Thinks that wearing helmets and visors to protect your head and face makes you a pussy. Hey Don, the truth is that it just makes you smart.
  • Nick Kypreos — thinks along Don Cherry’s lines. He was a goon when he played, and thinks that players who don’t know one end of the stick from the other but are great fighters make a valuable contribution. News flash Nick — the ’94 Rangers would have won the Cup even without you. He’s so pro-player anti-owners it’s not funny, which was particularly annoying during the lockout.
  • Fergie Olver and Tony Kubek — both worked for the Jays in the ’80s. To be honest, I don’t remember what it was I didn’t like about these guys, I just remember that when watching a game on TV where these guys were broadcasting, I’d turn the sound down on the TV and turn the radio on. I do remember that Fergie also hosted a kids game show called Just Like Mom where kids and their moms competed as a team against other kids and their moms. Fergie’s wife was the co-host.

A bit of both

  • Pierre McGuire — Most of the time, he’s fine, though he talks really quickly. (I do too, but I’m not a professional broadcaster.) He knows the fine points of hockey very well. However, when he gets excited about something, he talks a mile a minute and STARTS TO YELL. Then I can’t listen to him anymore.

Them cops is smart


I’m watching an episode of CSI: New York. On the show, someone is blogging, and the police are trying to find out where he’s blogging from. One of them comes up with the following bit of brilliance:

I’ll create a GUI interface using Visual Basic. It might give us an IP address.

Gail and I both literally laughed out loud. Even better, a few minutes later the same person is seen manipulating a smoothly scrolling 3-D detailed map of NYC. Sure, you can throw one of those together in minutes with VB.

The things you miss when you’re a kid


I found out something a little while ago that was a little bit disturbing. When I was a kid, I used to watch the TV show Laverne and Shirley — this would have been in the late ’70’s. I have since found out that one of the recurring jokes in the show was that Shirley and her boyfriend Carmine never had sex — Shirley refused. I had no idea about this (since I was only 8-10 at the time), so who knows how many jokes I just didn’t get while watching this show in my youth. That made me wonder what other things happened in TV shows at the time that I was not privy to because of my age and relative inexperience in the ways of the world.

Maybe Captain Stubing had a coke problem. Or maybe Steve Austin got addicted to painkillers after his surgery. Did Mr. Roarke want to make other people’s fantasies come true because he was abused as a child? Maybe Arnold and Willis got to live with rich Mr. Drummond as a reward for being confidential informants into gang-related activities in Harlem. We already know that Gilligan’s Island was a mystery drama masquerading as a comedy. Were Charlie’s Angels really hookers who solve crimes? Was Jack Tripper really gay?!?! The possibilities are endless.

24 in ’94


If you’re a fan of the TV show 24, and you know anything about computers, you have to watch this video, which places the show in 1994, rather than 2007. Not only does it capture Jack and the gang pretty well (“dammit!”), but the computer references are hilarious.

“He’s hacking into the mainframe”
“We just installed Windows 3.1, there’s no way!”

OK, so Windows 3.1 was about three years old in 1994, but still.

Enough ripping already


One of the TV shows Gail and I have liked to watch for years is Law & Order. In more recent years, we’ve also enjoyed its cousins, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Law & Order: Criminal Intent. For those of you who don’t watch them, each of these shows occasionally has an episode they describe as being “Ripped from the headlines”, where they take a real-life high-profile news story, and write an episode about it. Of course, they change the names and some details and stuff, but it’s usually pretty obvious what story they’re talking about. For example, a few years ago, they did one about a man who was arrested and tried for several murders, including that of his wife’s sister. Later on, it was revealed that his wife was directly involved in the killings, and was just as evil as he was, if not more. This was the story of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka. There was another one about a six-year-old beauty pageant winner who was murdered. For the most part, the stories had some obvious connections to the real-life stories, but diverged in some way as the story went on.

I think these “ripped from the headlines” episodes were fairly popular, since they began becoming more and more frequent, and then I think the writers just started getting lazy. In the last month or so, there was a L&O story about a female astronaut who suffered a mental breakdown, and drove across several states (wearing adult-sized diapers to avoid having to stop) to confront her lover and his wife. The other day, we started watching one (this was L&O:CI) involving a pudgy bleach-blonde former stripper who had become famous by marrying a 90-year-old billionaire and inheriting his estate on his death. Her 20-something son died of a drug overdose shortly after the birth of her daughter, and then she died mysteriously shortly after that. When the story started to deal with paternity issues, we got bored and turned it off.

Note to the L&O writers: enough of the “ripped from the headlines” stuff already. It’s been done. To death. Drop it. It’s one thing to write a story that vaguely resembles a news item, but when you take the news item, modify the names of the people involved, and that’s it, well, that’s hardly even worthy of the term “writing”, is it?