This is one of my more unusual Music Monday features. Yes, it’s David Hasselhoff. Last week I heard him in a radio interview promoting his Netflix showHoff the Record. I honestly know nothing of his music career other than the video below, which is his iconic moment singing “Freedom” on top of the Berlin Wall. What I do know about is Hoff the Record. Hoff the Record is a mockumentary, a faux reality show, about David Hasselhoff going to England to try to revive his career with a questionable agent and a hilarious cast of characters. In the radio interview The Hoff talked of how funny his show was and insisted that the interviewer watch it. I thought to myself, “I’m sure he’s not nearly as funny as he thinks he is.” I was right. He’s funnier than he thinks he is. David Hasselhoff is a man who doesn’t take himself too seriously and is a much better comedic actor than you’d ever suspect. The writing is brilliantly funny. Go watch it.
The medical drama or comedy is a staple of television lineups on just about any network, any night of the week. Who though, are the best television doctors of all time? Here’s my list. If you have other ideas, please leave a comment.
10. Dr. Perry Cox, Scrubs: He was the biggest jerk ever on a medical show, but he was hilarious as he abused the residents. Scrubs was also a very underrated great show.
9. House: Overrated show. If you watched the first three episodes you could see the formula every other episode followed: Strange symptoms, they think it’s something, but then almost kill the patient twice while trying to figure it out and in the end House has some brilliant insight and saves the day. All that being said, Hugh Laurie is a great actor.
8. Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman: A smokin’ hot woman out on the frontier saving lives? #badass
7. Doogie Howser,MD: This is more of a lifetime achievement award for Neil Patrick Harris because he was so good on How I Met Your Mother.
6. Dr. John Watson: Played impeccably by Martin Freeman, who is in everything.
5. Dr. Spock from the original Star Trek show. Only the original will do. For bonus points, can anyone guess the link between this weeks Top Ten list and last weeks?
4. Dr. Meredith Grey: I think I saw the first episode and never watched it again, but people love it, so here she is. Spoiler alert: There will be no Dr. McDreamy.
3. Dr. Seuss, aka Theodor Suess Geisel. Dude could rhyme anything. He was a rapper before rapping was a thing. My kids had a Dr. Suess book I’d read to them in a rap cadence and they hated that. The guy that created the Grinch has to be on any list of doctors.
2. Dr. Hawkeye Pierce, played by Alan Alda on MASH for 11 years. In the early seasons, about the only time his character didn’t have a martini was when he was in surgery.
1. Dr. Who: Look, I know a lot of you Americans have never seen the show, but Dr. Who has a 50 year run going. You’ve gotta respect that. Also, not only does Dr. Who save lives, he saves planets and universes on a daily basis. They’ve changed the actor who plays the doctor twelve times and people just keep watching.
That’s my list. Who would you add or take away? And why?
The courtroom scene is a staple of so many TV shows and movies, but who are the best fictional lawyers ever? Here are my Top Ten:
Andrew Beckett: Played by Tom Hanks in the movie Philadelphia. Whatever Tom Hanks plays, he’s in the top ten.
Lt. Daniel Kaffee: Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men. He couldn’t handle the truth.
Vincent Gambini: Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny. “The two yutes…” Maybe the funniest fictional lawyer ever.
Harvey Specter: Played by Gabriel Macht in Suits. If you were to build a lawyer in a laboratory, this is what he’d look like.
Denny Crane: William Shatner in Boston Legal. I always loved the end of each episode when he and James Spader’s character sat on the balcony drinking scotch, smoking cigars and talking about life.
Saul Goodman: Played by Bob Odenkirk, he got Walter White out of trouble in Breaking Bad.
Jackie Chiles: Play by Phil Morris, he was the funny Seinfeld parody of O.J. Simpson lawyer Johnnie Cochran.
Jack McCoy: Played by Sam Waterston on Law & Order for 17 seasons. If I ever have to go to court I want him as my lawyer.
Fred Gailey: Played by Peter Lind Hayes in the 1959 movie Miracle on 34th St. I contend that the courtroom scene where he proves his client to be Santa Clause is the best movie courtroom scene ever.
Atticus Finch: Played by Gregory Peck in To Kill A Mockingbird. He named his kids Scout and Jem decades before celebrities were using stupid names for their kids. He may have been the first and most famous fictional lawyer.
Legal disclaimer: All pictures displayed are property of the networks and studios that produced them. I had to put that so that no real, and less appealing lawyers from the studios won’t drag me into court. I was on a jury once and trials are far more boring than TV and movies make them out to be. Feel free to offer your favorite lawyers in the comments if they’re not on my list. Have a great Tuesday! ~Phil
There’s nothing I enjoy more than being on the edge of my seat. I’m not talking horror or gore. I’m talking pure, can’t take your eyes off the screen, I can’t believe this is happening suspense. With the news that the early 90’s classic Twin Peaks would be returning next year with eighteen new episodes I began re-watching seasons 1 & 2 from 1990 and 1991. I also got to thinking about the best suspense TV shows I’ve watched. I’ve watched 8 of the 10 on the list and included the two others on reputation. This is a very subjective list, so if you have other suggestions I’d love to hear them.
Twilight Zone: This may be the original classic suspense show. I didn’t see it in it’s first run, but saw it later in re-runs. I fly fairly regularly for my job and I’m always tempted to yell ‘There’s a man on the wing!” If you get the reference, in the comments tell me what actor screamed it.
The X-Files: A 90’s classic that returned to the small screen for a limited run earlier this year. It was great in it’s time and improved as it grew in popularity. Not every episode was the perfect cocktail of suspense and disbelief, but it was often enough to make my list.
American Gothic: Maybe I just like this because I have the painting on a tie. Which is more famous, the painting or the movie?Who heard of one but not the other?I didn’t see this show, but loved the title and heard others give it high praise. You win 50 points to spend in The Phil Factor gift shop if you can tell me, without looking it up, what artist did the famous painting.
LOST: Apparently I’m stuck in the 90’s. For one glorious season LOST was awesomely suspenseful and mysterious. Then the writers all seemed to lose their minds.
The Walking Dead: There’s just so many. So many zombies. Just the tiniest scratch. Any moment you could become one of them. Your group is getting picked off one by one. There could be one or one hundred around any corner. You just never know.
American Horror Story: I haven’t watched this one. Yet. I plan to, but no one else in my family wants to see it, so I have to find some time to watch when no one is around. That’s the best time to watch scary stuff anyway, right?
In Search Of… Leonard Nimoy rest in peace. This was a late 70’s-early 80’s show that was part documentary, part reality show where they tried to debunk paranormal phenomena. As a kid I wanted to watch but it always freaked me out.
Kingdom Hospital: Also known as Stephen King’s Kingdom Hospital. This was a one season series that was based on a Danish show. Look it up on Netflix or Hulu. Completely creepy, suspenseful and weird. I loved it.
Stranger Things: Check this one out on Netflix. It was a new series for 2016. It’s only 8 episodes but a season 2 has been ordered. This show set out to capture the aura of those cool, creepy 80’s Stephen King based movies and it succeeded brilliantly.
Twin Peaks: As I said, I recently began re-watching the original series and it stands the test of time. It’s still awesomely creepy and weird. If you were a fan of the show and want to see a funny, hour-long spoof featuring many of the actors and actresses from the original look up the show Psych on Netflix and find the Dual Spires episode in the 2010/5th season of the show. After you do that, go back and watch the entire Psych series from season 1. It’s brilliantly funny with a little suspense.
So what did I miss? What would you add to the list and what would you take away? Please give opinions and suggestions. I’d love some good, new or old shows to watch. Have a great Tuesday! ~Phil
Thanks to the Netflix/Hulu era, everyone in every country can watch the popular TV shows from anywhere, so regardless of your home country, I hope you’ll know some of these. Although this is going to be a very United States centric list, I’d love to hear suggestions and maybe links in the comments to anything from anywhere else. This was the toughest Top Ten list that I’ve ever put together.
10. Scooby Doo: Yes, the cartoon theme song. I requested that this be played for my first dance at my wedding but my bride Velma objected.
9. The Golden Girls: I can’t vouch for this because I never watched the show, but in a lot of other online lists this was included. I didn’t even listen to it when I added it to this list.
8. The Love Boat: Love, exciting and new. Climb aboard, we’re expecting you! When I was a kid I had very little realization that the entire show was about people trying to have sex on a cruise.
7. The Big Bang Theory: A masterpiece by the quick singing lyrical geniuses of The Barenaked Ladies.
6. Family Guy: How could you not sing along to this?
5. Mission Impossible: No lyrics, but iconic nonetheless. Who doesn’t feel some sort of pressure to get something done quickly when you hear this?
4. The Brady Bunch: “All of them had hair of gold, like their mother.” Who doesn’t know that line?
3. Friends: I hate to be the hipster guy who says “I knew this band before anyone heard of them”, but yeah, I had their album before the Friend’s theme song on cassette tape, so suck it losers.
2. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: This is still Will Smith’s best work to date.
1. Cheers: Who doesn’t want a bar that feels like home where everyone knows your name?
That’s it. I feel like I needed to make this a Top 20 list to include all the worthy possibilities. What would you add to the list? What would you take off of it? My blogging friend Haylee recently did a great post about TV theme songs as well. You can check it out HERE
In honor of tomorrow’s premier of the 11.22.63 mini-series on Hulu, I’m re-posting my original review of the novel by Stephen King. Don’t worry, I don’t do spoilers.
Yes, I realize that Stephen King doesn’t need my review to help his sales, but every once in awhile you read a book that captures your imagination so much that you want to tell everyone to read it. 11/22/63 is one of those books.
When it first came out in November of 2011 I had no interest in reading the book. I hated the title and the cover art. That’s usually enough to steer me away from any book. I’m a Stephen King fan though, so about 6 months ago when I hit a dry spell in finding a book to read I gave 11/22/63 another look. Two things helped to convince me to give it a chance. The new book price had come down after it had been out over a year and I read the synopsis and discovered that it was a time travel story. Anyone with an imagination has thought about time travel. Most of us have wondered about the great what ifs both large and small, whether it be correcting mistakes in our own life or changing the world for the better.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to give out any spoilers here. In 11/22/63 school teacher Jake Epping is a likable fellow but a little lonely since his divorce. When his elderly, ailing friend reveals that he has discovered a “rabbit hole” in the back room of his diner that takes a person back in time Jake is of course skeptical, until he tries it.
Once Jake is convinced, his friend throws out the really big bait. What if Jake could travel back in time to stop the Kennedy assassination? Would the Vietnam war be avoided thus saving thousands and thousand of young men’s lives? What other positive changes to history might occur if John F. Kennedy hadn’t died?
The book is historically accurate and painstaking in many of the details. Stephen King builds a fascinating tale around that framework, adding flesh to the skeleton of information we all know about the event.
Of course if everything went according to plan Mr. King wouldn’t have much of a novel here, and that’s where this story gets really fun. What if, when you travel back in time, every little thing you do has a ripple effect that leads to unintended changes that you can’t possibly foresee? What if your interactions with people changed the course of their lives? How would your future be different when you got back?
In the end 11.22.63 turns out to be a surprising love story with a surprising ending that Stephen King credits to his son Joe Hill, who is a successful horror/suspense writer in his own right. As with any Stephen King novel, going in you have to know you’re making a significant time investment, but for this ending 11.22.63 is worth it. If the Hulu mini-series is half as good as the book, you’ll come away happy having invested your time in it.
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With Valentine’s Day tantalizingly close, I thought some of you 80’s aficionados would appreciate hearing that song again. Of all the old shows they’ve made updated, current versions of, why not The Love Boat? Who doesn’t want to see B-list celebrities from cancelled TV shows hooking up every week amidst a flimsy plot premise and corny dialogue? The original crew could make cameos. It would be great!
In a comment give the reason for your vote AND who you would want to see on the new Love Boat if it were to come back now.
This is an awesome classic Phil Factor post from March of 2011. Remember when Charlie Sheen went nuts?
(March 5, 2011) Charlie Sheen. There I said it. Then again, who hasn’t uttered the words “Charlie Sheen” over the past two weeks? He says he’s “winning” while the rest of the world seems to think he’s losing it. What exactly is it that he’s losing? Ok, he may lose 2 1/2 Men, but frankly that isn’t much of a loss for anyone except Ducky and the homely teenage actor who both likely won’t find too many employment offers that don’t include a name tag and paper hat. Instead of canceling the show the producers are idiots not to incorporate Wild Thing’s latest trials and tribulations into the plot. This past week’s re-run was the highest rated show on Monday night. Idiots were watching as if Charlie Sheen was going to do something nutty. Why not have his character go on a bender? Don’t even script it. Just buy Charlie some drugs and follow him with cameras. Make it a reality show. CBS thought the scripted show had good ratings? They could cancel all other programming and just follow Charlie 24/7 live. We’d be afraid to look away for fear that we’d miss something.
Everyone also seems to think Charlie has gone crazy. As the old saying goes, I think he’s crazy like a fox. Which is the network most likely to air his reality show. Are you kidding? There isn’t an actor or actress in the world who isn’t jealous of the 24/7 publicity Sheen is getting. Sirius satellite radio has temporarily set up a Charlie Sheen channel, Tiger Blood radio. He has more Twitter followers than any human being on the planet, and he got them all this week. I have four. (If I go on a binge and post the word “winning” on Facebook every day will you follow me?) Sheen’s agent is probably overwhelmed with offers for tv and movies right now. Imagine the redemption story! “Charlie Sheen back from the brink!” I think he knows exactly what he’s doing and he’s brilliant. If he’s high on the drug “Charlie Sheen”, I gotta get me some of that.
There you go. A classic throwback post that didn’t make it into Fifty Shades of Phil. Who else here was blogging in 2011? What? No hands? Remember on How I Met Your Mother when Barney would occasionally say, “This is so going on my blog!”? Yeah, I was blogging before him too. I’m a total blogging badass, for what that’s worth. So far nothing, but I’m hoping for some kind of blogging Hall of Fame or Lifetime Achievement Award. Anyway, have a great Thursday! ~Phil
In jolly olde England, and much of the world, people love “The Royals.” Their every move, meal and outing is chronicled. A day doesn’t go by without news about what they’re wearing or who visited them. That’s all well and good for the Brits and the Brit-o-philes over here in the States, but I think the United States has crowned their own “Royal Family”, The Kardashians.
Yes, I know you may be saying, “Blah, blah. blah Phil. We’ve heard enough about the Kardashians.” First, thank you for using my name when you talk to yourself, I love that, and secondly, hang in there and hear me out. I’m not as crazy as Rick Rosner thinks. Let me build my case, like a lawyer, as to why I think that the Kardashians are the most American family there is.
Speaking of lawyers, Kim, Khloe, Kourtney, and Rob’s father, the now deceased Robert Kardashian, was a lawyer, who was the grandson of Armenian immigrants. Part of the poem, New Colossus, on the Statue of Liberty says “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,…” See? There is nothing more American than immigrants, and the original Kardashians who came to this country from a foreign land pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps to build one of the largest meat packing businesses in southern California.
Then Robert, who was a lawyer, was part of O.J. Simpson’s defense team in his 1995 murder trial, one of the biggest media events of the 20th century. That was when the Kardashians became a household name. But wait just a minute…
What’s more American than winning an Olympic gold medal? Maybe coming out as a transgender person.
Just about every American family has a member who struggles with substance abuse issues.
Diversity! America has always prided itself on it’s diversity. We call ourselves “a melting pot.” Let’s see, we’ve got immigrants coming to America and building a business. The grandson of the immigrants becomes a successful lawyer. His ex-wife marries an Olympic champion/American hero. There’s bi-racial marriages. There’s divorces. There’s sexual identity issues, and there’s drug addiction. Not every American family has all these components, but I dare you to find one that doesn’t have at least one thing in common with the Kardashians. When you add it all up, I don’t think you can find a more “American” family anywhere. Case closed.
As always, if you enjoyed #ThePhilFactor please share your joy with your friends by hitting the Facebook, Twitter or re-blog buttons below. Have a great weekend! ~Phil
As always, if you can think of others on you’d add to the list, please add them in the comments. I could use some good shows to watch over the summer.
10. M*A*S*H: I totally wanted to live in that tent with Hawkeye and Trapper. No, I wouldn’t have been Frank Burns. (True story: The real life Gooby, who is a character in my two novels, used to have a picture autographed by Larry Linville, the actor that played Frank Burns)
9.Cheers: Every episode Norm had something funny to say when they greeted him as he entered the bar. My favorite? ‘It’s a dog eat dog world and I’m wearing Milk Bone underpants.”
8. Friends: Definitely much better in the early years than the later ones, but a great portrayal of those fun years in your twenties when you’re figuring out how to be an adult and failing badly at it sometimes. And who didn’t sing Phoebe’s Smelly Cat song for a while after that episode?
7. How I Met Your Mother: Ok, I’m going to be that hipster doofus who likes to say ‘I knew about this before everyone else thought it was cool.’ I was on this show from the beginning and the Slap Bet and Robin Sparkles episodes were the best.
6. Family Guy: If this was a show with real actors and actresses none of the jokes would be allowed on the air. Seth McFarlane is an evil genius. Not a great awards show host, but an evil genius nonetheless.
5. The I.T. Crowd: Most of my American friends won’t have heard of this British sitcom. Do yourself a favor and look it up on Netflix.
4. Seinfeld: Only one other show, The Office, has as many quotable lines as Seinfeld. (True story, I had a conversation with someone that was in the last two episodes.)
3. Psych: A hilarious hour long comedy/suspense show that didn’t get the acclaim it deserved because it was on the little watched USA network. You’d be hard pressed to find a show with more sly pop culture references. This is another one where you can thoroughly enjoy a full weekend of binge watching the 8 seasons on Netflix.
2. The Office: I’m referring to the American version here. I haven’t watched enough of the original British version to render judgement. One of the best ensemble cast comedies ever. Great last two episodes.
1. Saturday Night Live: They recently celebrated their 40th anniversary. This show and the always changing cast have given us some of the most memorable live moments on TV.
Honorable Mention: The Kids in The Hall and Whose Line Is It Anyway? It’s hard to beat good sketch and improv comedy.
Well, how did I do? What shows would you add? If you did, what shows would you take off my list?
Self-proclaimed grand poobah of leisure and author of humorous suspense novels The Sneaker Tree & White Picket Prisons, the humor essay book Fifty Shades of Phil and the long running blog The Phil Factor.