Welcome to Wildcard Wednesday! Today we’re celebrating the third anniversary of That’s Entertainment! Since June 17, 2013, I’ve published over 736 original posts. This is the end of our 157th week, the first 132 of which featured five new entries every seven days — Musical Theatre Mondays, Sitcom Tuesdays, Wildcard Wednesdays, Xena Thursdays, and Film Fridays. Since January 2016, we cut down to three entries per week. As we’ve done in our past two anniversary posts, I’m here to feature my favorite posts from this past year, even for the days we’ve retired. (But I’m going to pick two from Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesdays this year — because there’s twice as much new material here in comparison to Thursdays and Fridays!) This is a sort of highlight reel from “Season Three,” if you will — THE BEST OF JACKSON!
Musical Theatre Monday – October 05, 2015
“Bridging Some ‘S Wonderful Gershwin Gaps (III)”
Although Girl Crazy (1930), one of the Gershwins’ finest scores and the show that marked Ethel Merman’s Broadway debut, had been mentioned several times on this site, it wasn’t until this October Musical Theatre Monday post that past Merman goodies co-mingled with full coverage of the show, including rare audios of concert productions and little known recordings of original cast member Ginger Rogers. One of my favorites EVER. Relive our coverage here.
Musical Theatre Monday – May 02, 2016
“Wildcard Monday I: A Score By Lou Hirsch“
This is an odd choice to include on a list of my favorites, because, to be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t consider Going Up! (1917) to be among my absolute favorite musicals. However, this show was covered as the first from a fascinating month of Monday entries on the works of composers who otherwise wouldn’t be receiving a full series of their own. Going Up! is probably Lou Hirsch’s best work and it was a pleasure to examine. Relive the coverage here.
Situation Comedy Tuesday – January 19, 2016
“The Ten Best CHEERS Episodes of Season One”
It should come as no surprise that one of my favorite posts from the past year is of my favorite season of my (second) favorite sitcom, the miraculous first year of Cheers (1982-1993, NBC). But in addition to the quality of the episodes highlighted, Cheers’ premiere on Sitcom Tuesdays ushered in a period of excellence, if I may be so modest, with regard to my commentary. I’m proud of the insight offered and the discussions these posts sparked. Relive the coverage here.
Situation Comedy Tuesday – April 05, 2016
“The Five Best MAMA’S FAMILY Episodes of Season One”
Okay, I wasn’t sure which other Tuesday post to highlight, because we’ve covered a lot of great shows in the past year. However, while I wouldn’t consider Mama’s Family (1983-1984, NBC; 1986-1990, First Run. Synd.) to be among the tip-top-tier, I was pleased with my commentary, particularly in the first season (not even one of the show’s finest), and coming off the success of Cheers, these posts continued a trend of great discussion. Relive the coverage here.
Wildcard Wednesday – July 01, 2015
“Editorial: On Television and Intimacy”
Rarely on this blog have I broken with formula and just mused on random subjects. This entry, spawned from discussions I had with modern TV viewers who seemed to hold wildly disparate views of the medium than I, was among the most cathartic for me, as I finally had a place to verbalize and work though many of the aesthetic sensibilities that influence my tastes and will likely maintain in play throughout the course of my career. Relive the editorial here.
Wildcard Wednesday – March 30, 2016
“Before CHEERS: A Look At PARK ST. UNDER”
What can I say about this special piece that I spent months researching? When I knew the time was coming to cover Cheers, I made it my mission to do a post, using whatever materials I could aggregate, on this truly rare series — one that may or may not have had an important place in Cheers’ backstory (depends on with whom you speak). Also as someone fascinated with local scripted television, this show was a pleasure to feature and uncover. Relive the essay here.
Xena: Warrior Princess Thursday – September 10, 2015
“Happy 20th! The Best of XENA: Gabrielle Edition”
The Opinionated Episode Guides wrapped just before our second anniversary, and most of the remaining six months of Xena Thursdays were spent on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, the slightly less strong but still entertaining series off from which Xena: Warrior Princess spun. But in honor of the show’s 20th anniversary, we took the time to examine the arcs of Xena‘s best characters. Nobody changed more than Gabrielle. Relive some of her key moments here.
Film Friday – December 25, 2015
“SPOTLIGHT: Juicy Pre-Code Crawford (IV)”
Our final series on Film Fridays returned focus onto one of the first subjects we covered, way back in the summer of 2013, Joan Crawford, the iconic actress with whom I share a birthday. Although we still cover Pre-Code films every month, this particular entry was special because it was the last original Friday entry. For our closing, I chose Rain (1932), a complicated offering that’s nevertheless proven to be a Pre-Code essential. Relive the coverage here.
Come back next Wednesday for another Wildcard post! And tune in on Monday for another forgotten musical!