Ask Jackson: September 2023

Welcome to a new Wildcard Wednesday, on a Tuesday! Tomorrow I will launch coverage of Malcolm In The Middle, but in the meantime, I’ve got another Q&A entry, where I answer questions submitted by readers. Thanks to everyone who sent in something — if you don’t see your “Q” here, I just may “A” it next time. (And keep them coming — any related topic on which you want my opinion and/or a little research? Just let me know!)


Nat wants to know… Is there any sitcom you covered that you believe ended too soon and deserved more episodes or another season? 

Aside from a few obvious one-year wonders that could have used more time to develop (like He & She), I wish Rhoda got to finish out its fifth and final season with a back nine, maybe ending on a Brenda wedding that could have brought the show full-circle, considering how central the title character’s failed marriage was (and remains) to its identity. It would have been nice to see the Morgenstern girls get some closure, and such thematic cohesion may have helped.


TommyPrater says… I just discovered “Cheers” this year. What other sitcoms would you recommend to me that I might like? 

I’d recommend series that preceded Cheers but had the same character-driven workplace DNA — like The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Bob Newhart Show, and especially Taxi, a necessary stepping stone for a lot of the people involved with Cheers. Following Cheers, I’d also have to suggest Frasier, which is very different in tone but similarly great with regard to character. And, if you simply like workplace comedies, I’d cite Wings (which is on the milder end) and Night Court (which is on the wackier end). Lastly, since I think Cheers is the best sitcom of the 1980s, if its era is part of the show’s appeal for you, I’d let you know that my second-favorite sitcom from that decade is The Golden Girls — it’s just as reliably funny.


Devin Kelly wants some advice… Hi Jackson – I am actually going to NZ in November and am planning my own little Xena tour. I’ll probably “steal” some of your very helpful insights and directions below. Any other advice or other recommendations you have? I’ve read in some blogs that some of the good sites are actually on private property.
Thank you!

Yes, the must-see sites are Bethells Beach and its surrounding area, which includes Lake Wainamu and the Wainamu Sand Dunes, and then Mangere Mountain, which I suggest you thoroughly explore. Both were used frequently by Xena (and Hercules) and they’re incredibly distinct locales that you’ll recognize. Unfortunately, the two backlots are not visitable today. One is private property, and the other is now a housing development. The latter boasts a lake that you may remember (and streets named after Hercules and Xena), but if you don’t have time to visit this neighborhood, you won’t be missing much. I’d also recommend a trip to Cable Road — there were several Amazon episodes (in particular) shot in that region — but only if your schedule permits. As for tips, I can tell you that if I ever went back, I would spend more effort navigating around Bethells — really savoring all its hidden little spots. There’s a lot that was filmed around there. So, my advice would be to simply take your time and enjoy those major locations — they’re easily accessible and visually memorable. Have fun!


Noah Robertson has a request… Would you consider reviewing the CBS sitcoms, “The New Adventures of Old Christine” and “Mom”?

I considered Old Christine earlier this year when deciding which 2000s offerings would make my upcoming Sitcom Tuesday slate. I’m a big Julia Louis-Dreyfus fan and find that she is always worth watching. However, I think the show is average compared to the best of its era — and it’s definitely not vital for a study of this genre. So, for now, I’m a “no,” although I could easily change my mind, especially given my appreciation for its star… In contrast, if I ever move into the 2010s, Mom is a guarantee — I think it’s one of that decade’s best-written multi-cams.


Eric asks… Are there any multi camera sitcoms from the last twenty years that you think are really good?

Well, this blog has yet to explore sitcoms that premiered in the 2000s and 2010s in any formal capacity, but I can tell you unofficially that I think some of the best multi-cams from these past two decades are The Big Bang Theory, Mike & Molly, Mom, The Carmichael Show, and the new One Day At A TimeI also have a sentimental affinity for Hot In Cleveland. Are they the best of this era? Collectively, no. But I think they’re each individually enjoyable and occasionally competitive.



Have a question for me? Submit it at the “Ask Jackson (Q&A)” link.



Come back next week for another Wildcard! And stay tuned for Malcolm In The Middle!