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Sports Night: Eli's Coming
(1999)
Episode 19, Season 1

Eli's Coming
It's very clever how Sorkin builds this episode with lots of potentially bad things that might happen to prove Dan's theory right, but as an audience we don't know quite what that will end up being.

When the news does come through though it's gripping stuff.

Sports Night: The Sword of Orion
(1999)
Episode 18, Season 1

"I am Dan". So?
'Sports Night' was Aaron Sorkin's first TV show, and it is clear that as he goes along he is finding his feet, and what works/doesn't.

I'm not sure this episode totally works. The character of Dan (or "I am Dan", as he keeps saying) comes across as being very annoying, while the Jeremy story doesn't totally work in my eyes either.

There are great moments, but this wasn't one of the better episodes for me.

Winter in Vail
(2020)

Winter in Vail
Lacey Chabert is my Queen of Hallmark and I think Tyler Hynes is one of the best male leads these films have, so to see them paired together excited me from the off.

This was a fab Hallmark film, with some lovely messages and moments. The two leads have good chemistry, making for an enjoyable 80+ minutes overall.

Sports Night: How Are Things in Gloca Morra?
(1999)
Episode 17, Season 1

How Are Things in Gloca Morra?
All the Dana/Casey/Gordon stuff gets a bit repetitve, but its so well played that you almost forget this.

Another good episode.

The Goldbergs: The Lost Boy
(2015)
Episode 16, Season 2

The Lost Boy
Without Wendi McLendon-Covey as Beverly this show would be not nearly as good, as she steals every scene she is in.

She is hysterical here, as Barry and Erica try (and fail) to play her at her own game.

The Adam/Murray storyline is nice too.

Another good episode.

A Ring by Spring
(2014)

A Ring by Spring
I thought this was great.

A really fun and funny Hallmark film, with Rachel Boston (who has a little few Emma Stone comedic similarities about her) in the lead.

With some lovely messages about finding the right person, not just the person you think you should be with, this was great.

Sports Night: Rebecca
(1999)
Episode 14, Season 1

Rebecca
The Isaac storyline more than makes up for the constant bantering between Dana/Casey that is fab, but wearying when it goes nowhere.

Sports Night: Dana and the Deep Blue Sea
(1999)
Episode 15, Season 1

Dana and the Deep Blue Sea
How creepy you find Dan's actions in this episode will depend on your own sense of romance, but Sorkin would later have Danny in 'Studio 60' do something very similar.

It actually makes a nice change from the Casey/Dana saga, which, while fun, seems to be going nowhere fast.

Sports Night: Sally
(1999)
Episode 16, Season 1

Sally
If you like Aaron Sorkin's knack for writing quip heavy dialogue then 'Sports Night' out of all of his shows is probably the best place to go.

There's so much bantering here that it's almost exhausting, but with this cast and the level of quality in the bantering you forgive the fact that actually there's very little plot to speak of.

It's lovely overall.

7th Heaven: Who Knew?
(1997)
Episode 4, Season 2

Who Knew?
I always admire the way that this show is able to cover some pretty heavy topics, but do it in an accessible way.

I thought this was a wonderfully written and performed episode.

The Office: Office Olympics
(2005)
Episode 3, Season 2

Office Olympics
For me it was only in the 2nd series that this show started to move out of the shadow of its UK counterpart and become its own beast.

This is a lovely episode, with some good examples of heart to go alongside the humour.

The Goldbergs: Happy Mom, Happy Life
(2015)
Episode 15, Season 2

Happy Mom, Happy Life
The old 'practice baby' which has been used endlessly in sitcoms past gets the 'Goldbergs' twist, and ends up being a very funny episode.

The subplot involving Erica with the JTP worked well also. It's nice they are giving that character more to do.

Good fun, as ever.

The Goldbergs: Barry Goldberg's Day Off
(2015)
Episode 14, Season 2

Barry Goldberg's Day Off
This is an excellent episode of the show, remaking 'Ferris' whilst also working within the world of 'The Goldbergs'.

With Barry on excellent form, some great Bev lines and a lovely touch with the cameo at the end, this was wonderful.

Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway: Episode #17.1
(2021)
Episode 1, Season 17

One day we won't need audience walls...
Poor old Ant and Dec. 'Saturday Night Takeaway' really has been cursed in the last few years. Two years ago Ant's troubles meant Dec ended up presenting solo, then last year the run was hindered by the pandemic, and now they have to do this years run with no audience and instead with one of those horrible audience walls everyone pretends are good.

Fair play to them for trying to keep the show going then. Despite some sound issues they make a good job of it, relying on lots of old favourite features to see them through.

The 'End of The Show Show' is perhaps becoming a bit of a stale element though. Once you've done musical numbers with West End stars and Riverdance where else is there really to go?

I'll leave it with you boys.

Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway: Episode #17.2
(2021)
Episode 2, Season 17

The trouble with tech again hinders Ant and Dec
With the sound issues that plagued last weeks show now fixed the boys could focus on other things...like dealing with the time delays when trying to link up with people via technology.

'Read My Lips' and 'Sing Along Live' were both a bit hindered by this, but fair play to them for trying to keep these old favourite features going in difficult circumstances.

The big surprise was that the comedy serial concept that they have persisted with over the last few series, despite the last one ('Men in Brown') being terrible actually showed a lot of promise, so here's hoping that continues.

It would be nice to see some new features, but what the boys do well they do very well.

Your enjoyment of the 'End of the Show Show' will depend on how much you like the music of Rag and Bone Man. We do not.

Bank Balance
(2021)

Even Jermaine Jenas and Alex Scott would turn this down!
The BBC have coped pretty well during the pandemic- producing a steady steam of decent - excellent programmes. They managed to keep 'Strictly' on as well without much of a hiccup, which is more than ITV have done with 'Dancing on Ice'.

Their Kryptonite though has been new game shows, an area ITV do have the upper hand in.

First there was 'The Wheel', a terrible format fronted by someone pretending to be a game show host, and now we have virtually the same thing again with 'Bank Balance'.

Who on Earth came up with this format? Who on Earth thought that Gordon Ramsey was the best host for it? Were the Corporations favourite up and coming stars in Alex Scott and Jermaine Jenas both busy?

File this next to 'Pooch Perfect' as the worst Beeb programme during the pandemic.

7th Heaven: I Love You
(1997)
Episode 3, Season 2

I Love You
Yes, this episode and indeed the whole series does veer on the side of being overly sentimental at times, but it remains lovely stuff.

This was another very strong and emotional episode.

7th Heaven: See You in September
(1997)
Episode 2, Season 2

See You in September
Eric and Annie's plans for a quiet day together a put to sunder by the fact the kids all land up in trouble on their first day back at school.

I'm not sure any of the teachers involved act overly professionally, but this on the whole is a decent enough episode of the show.

Dancing on Ice: Episode #13.7
(2021)
Episode 7, Season 13

Better, but weak
Bedraggled and with its sense of purpose lost, 'Dancing on Ice' returns after being paused for a week, due to the sheer amount of people pulling out due to Covid and injuries.

I'm very critical of this show, I think it's long past its best, not to mention a sheer waste of the talented presenters and judges, but this episode at least tried to improve on the lackluster form it has been in this year.

There was a sense of fun about proceedings, which has long since been lost recently, from the judges introductions, to Holly being snuck up on by a dinosaur (don't ask). I'm not saying these were laugh out loud moments, but it did break the staid format a little.

As for the 'celeb' performances themselves, to fill the mammoth running time they had been extended to the point of pointlessness, and the scores seemed inflated to silly levels.

While Faye's determination is verging on annoying week on week I actually had a lot of time for the booted out Rebekah Vardy, who hasn't moaned, hasn't entered into the circus of the show, and has taken it for what it is.

Better, especially due to Torvill and Dean skating, but please ITV, find something better for next year.

Sports Night: Small Town
(1999)
Episode 13, Season 1

Small Town
The Dana/Casey story here was very tedious. Aaron Sorkin's bantering dialogue is great, but after a while when it's relentless and going nowhere it becomes wearying .The Dan storyline wasn't great either.

I've been a bit critical of Natalie in recent episodes, but here it was nice to see her doing a good job in Dana's absence.

A mixed episode overall.

Sports Night: Smoky
(1999)
Episode 12, Season 1

Smoky
The Jeremy/Natalie story didn't do a lot for me, but the Casey/Dana flirtation was well played.

There is a sense of Aaron Sorkin finding out what works/doesn't as he goes along, but 'Sports Night' remains a lovely and fun show to watch.

Sports Night: The Six Southern Gentlemen of Tennessee Tech
(1998)
Episode 11, Season 1

The Six Southern Gentlemen of Tennessee Tech
This was a powerful episode indeed, and one that shows the great mix of this dream cast with the writing of Aaron Sorkin.

Great stuff.

Sports Night: Shoe Money Tonight
(1998)
Episode 10, Season 1

Shoe Money Tonight
Any film or episode of a show where the characters sit around playing cards bores me, so even though I enjoy 'Sports Night', this was an episode I was tempted to skip based on the premise.

I don't know why, but Natalie and Jeremy haven't changed for the better since getting together, and I didn't like their little storyline.

What worked much better was the Dana/Casey/Sally one, and it was fun to see Dana realise that Casey might not just be waiting around for her after all.

A mixed episode.

The Crazy Ones: The Stan Wood Account
(2013)
Episode 8, Season 1

The Stan Wood Account
'Everybody Loves Raymond' star Brad Garrett guests here, and unfortunately doesn't make much of an impact.

For me 'The Crazy Ones' is a show about nothing really. The other characters seem to be a little too thinly developed, just watching the sheer genius of Robin Williams (R.I.P) as he tries to milk every bit of comedic potential out of the material.

That's not to say this episode isn't fun, of course it is, but equally it's not surprising that it didn't go longer. I can't imagine what a Series 10 episode would've looked like.

The Goldbergs: Van People
(2015)
Episode 13, Season 2

Van People
Another excellent episode of a show in top form, and it was lovely to see a bit more depth to the character of Erica too.

An episode well worth watching.

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