The Couch Potato Report

In case you need something to watch (or avoid) this weekend!

The Couch Potato Report – September 8th, 2007
This week The Couch Potato Report peels one of the greatest moments in Canadians sports history, and some TV shows on DVD.
Good morning and welcome, I am about to recap some classic hockey games, from twenty years ago, and over 55 hours of television shows.
Here we go….To some September of 1972 featured the greatest goal in Canadian sports history. To other, including me, that goal came in September of 1987.
The voice of the great Dan Kelly still gives me chills everytime I hear the call of that goal, and now his calls for all of the three final games of the 1987 Canada Cup are available in the spectacular three DVD Box Set CANADA CUP 1987 – THE FINAL SERIES.
The 1987 Canada Cup took place from August 28th to September 15th that year, and games were played in Calgary, Hartford, Halifax, Sydney, Montreal, Regina and at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton.
It was in Hamilton where the final two games took place.
While it is common place now to see Russian stars in the NHL, at the time, they weren’t allowed to pursue playing careers in North America, and so it was only through tournaments like the Canada Cup where hockey fans could see their skills head-to-head against the best of the NHL.
Some people remember where they were when Paul Henderson scored THE goal against Russia in 1972, and other people know exactly where they were when Canada beat the United States in Salt Lake City in 2002, and then there are others who are fans of other games and series as well.
But, I remember where I was on September 15th, 1987. I working at the World Trade and Convention centre in Halifax…okay, I wasn’t actually working…my colleagues and I were watching the game!!
Each one of those words has a unique memory attached to them, and I completely enjoyed reliving them as I watched the DVDs in the CANADA CUP 1987 – THE FINAL SERIES.
This Box Set features the games, as they aired, in their entirety. There are no interviews, retrospective looks back or anything like that…just the games.
And as we approach the twentieth anniversary of that final game, I really appreciated that.
We live in a day and age where sports DVDs are over produced, over edited, and feature load booming narration.
This set lets the games, the plays, the great Dan Kelly, and the incredible excitement of this once-in-a-lifetime Series speak for itself.
From a great Canadian hockey series that is available for you to own on DVD, we movie now to a short lived television series, created by an Oscar winning Canadian.
In Canadian history, The Black Donnellys is the common nickname of the Donnelly family; a family that emigrated from Ireland, to Canada in the mid-1800s, and who participated in a notorious feud in Ontario.
Stompin’ Tom Connors wrote a song about it called “The Black Donnellys’ Massacre” and Steve Earle mentions the family in his song “Justice in Ontario”.
Writer and director Paul Haggis – who was nominated for an Academy Award for writing Clint Eastwood’s MILLION DOLLAR BABY and won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for CRASH in 2004 – is from London, Ontario, and his naming of the family in his TV show is no coincidence.
He references the real-life Black Donnellys’ situations as the Donnelly brothers in the TV show also participate in feuds.
Plus, they are also Irish, but their stories don’t happen in Canada, they take place on the streets and in the bars of New York.
The TV series follows four young Catholic Irish-American brothers in Hell’s Kitchen and their involvement with organized crime, their family and each other.
THE BLACK DONNELLYS debuted on February 26th of this year, and after seven episodes it was cancelled. There were thirteen episodes produced, but only seven aired.
You could only see the last six episodes online, and even though I had been watching the series, I didn’t bother watching the reamining episodes as I knew it would eventually come out on DVD…and now it has!
THE BLACK DONNELLYS – THE COMPLETE SERIES is a three disc set and if you were left hanging when this less than superb, but very satisfying series was cancelled, you can now find out what happens to Jimmy, Tommy, Kevin, and Sean Donnelly, and Jenny Reilly.
While it isn’t as engaging a story as the Canadian Black Donnellys is…the show is still worth seeing.
Another show that is also worth seeing, that also suffered low ratings when it aired, but wasn’t cancelled is 30 ROCK.
Executive produced by Toronto’s own Lorne Michaels, 30 ROCK is a show about what happens behind the scenes at a television variety show…not unlike Saturday Night Live, the iconic television show that Michaels created back in 1975.
But 30 ROCK isn’t just about the fictional TV show at it’s core, it is also about the people who work there.
The insecure, sometimes idotic, but always interesting people who work there.
The first few episodes of 30 ROCK aren’t as good as the last few. The show, and it’s ensemble cast, got better as the season went on, lead by it’s star, creator, and writer, the great Tina Fey.
The other reason for the show’s success is Alec Baldwin…he owns every scene he is in.
30 ROCK – SEASON ONE is also a 3 DVD set and it is a show I always enjoy.
THE OFFICE, as I have mentioned before, is a show that I always love!
While some feel it is blasphemy to praise the American remake of the classic BBC series THE OFFICE, I do not.
Yes, the British version is superior, and always will be, Steve Carell and the cast and writers of the American one continuously come up with unique and interesting situations and jokes that make me laugh. That is the primary thing I expect from a comedy and there are many, many laughs in SEASON THREE of THE OFFICE.
I highly recommend THE OFFICE, both in it’s original incarnation and the remake.
It is laugh out loud funny!!
I also laughed a lot as I watched Season Two of the show WEEDS.
WEEDS stars Mary-Louise Parker from THE WEST WING and FRIED GREEN TOMATOES as a suburban widower who is also the mother of two kids…and a pot dealer in the Los Angeles suburb of Agrestic.
In the Second Season of the show, her brand new business – and crop – is a hit, but she now has to work hard to keep up with her competition, her kids and her neighbors.
WEEDS isn’t a perfect show, but it is exceptionally entertaining, smart and funny. If the premise doesn’t bother you, give it a shot.
This show is based on the movie of the same name, a film I liked.
Unfortunately, I didn’t like the TV series as much, but it isn’t bad.
In both the film and the movie, FRIDAY NIGHT’s lights shine on high school football in Odessa, Texas. To some people in the small town, the weekly game is the only game in town and every single game is a must win.
The reason I have for not completely embracing this rock and roll, high energy football show, is simply due to that fact that I wasn’t engaged by it.
For a two hour movie, the story of this team, it’s players and fans kept me interested, and I felt a connection to it.
Over the course of the series’ 22 episodes, I just lost interest.
It is well written, acted and done, but it is just not the show for me…but maybe it is the show for you, and that is one of the greatest thinsg about the fact that there are so many shows! We all fine one that we love!
One of the shows I loved when I was a kid was the program VOYAGERS!
It was a time travel series that aired during the 1982-83 television season.
Due to the fact that they always met actual historical people and events, the show engaged me when I was a kid.
Cleopatra, Babe Ruth, the Titanic, and Moses were just some of them…and there were many others.
Watching VOYAGERS! this past week did make me feel like a kid again, but it didn’t hold up as well through the years. It is still entertaining, but some of the special effects and footage looks really dated.
All that said, I did enjoy re-living the VOYAGERS! adventures, and I would recommend it to kids today.
That is because it is a very positive show, that always encourages the viewer to find out more.
The entertaining, if dated, eighties TV show VOYAGERS!, the way too dramatic, but entertaining first season of FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, the superb second season of WEEDS, the less than superb, but very satisfying THE BLACK DONNELLYS, the great first season of 30 ROCK, the spectacular third season of the American version of THE OFFICE, and one of the greatest moments in Canadian sports history – CANADA CUP ’87 – THE FINAL SERIES – are all available now on DVD.
Coming up on the next Couch Potato Report
I will talk about two very different child stars who are moving into adult positions in the movie world.
Canadian actress Sarah Polley from ROAD TO AVONLEA will be featured as she continues her path forward with her superb film – and directorial debut – AWAY FROM HER.
And the other side of that coin will feature the downward spiral of American actress Lindsay Lohan’s and her latest GEORGIA RULE, a movie that also stars the great Jane Fonda and Felicity Huffman.
Also next week, before Sam Raimi made the SPIDER-MAN trilogy, he was involved with the great DARKMAN TRILOGY; Reiko Aylesworth from TV’s 24 stars in CRAZY LOVE; and an all-star cast are featured in EVEN MONEY a movie about how gambling addiction ruins three unconnected people’s lives.
I’m Dan Reynish. I’ll have more on those, and some other releases, in seven days.
For now, that’s this week’s COUCH POTATO REPORT.
Enjoy the movies and I’ll see you back here next time on The Couch!