Sunday, January 17, 2016

TV Thoughts - 1/17/16

An old TV favorite, Oscar screeners, being on TV and a printed book - it's been quite a week.


The Good Wife (CBS)

The creators of the only network drama worth watching have declared this season to be their last (but not the show's). They have the right idea.

The first few seasons of The Good Wife are excellent. Guest stars straight from the Broadway stage or The Wire, shooting in NYC but pretending like it's in Chicago, interweaving politics and law in a more believable way than our current system - they pulled it off with flying colors.

Truly great shows can survive a major character exiting stage left, but it's a tough thing to do. Cheers is a rare exception. On The Good Wife, losing Will (Josh Charles) was a huge blow, but Kalinda (Archie Panjabi) leaving town at the end of last season was the death knell.

What makes The Good Wife special is the delicate balance between Alicia's (Julianna Margulies) battles with the law and her personal life. The cases mattered. Now, they don't. And the "is he going to be her love interest" guessing game has grown tiresome.

And as fantastic as Alan Cumming, Christine Baranski and all the other fine actors are, the writing hasn't kept up after losing those two key characters.

I will hang on until the end, hoping for that Florrick magic to rekindle for an episode or two. But I miss Will, Kalinda, and having a network TV drama that's actually worth tuning in for.

The Big Short

I watched this Oscar screener on my television, so I'm allowed to write about it here.

I liked The Big Short. It's not easy explaining the sub-prime mortgage crisis in two hours, but Margot Robbie in a bubble bath definitely helps.

This is very dry subject matter, but Adam McKay keeps things moving as the inevitable housing crash looms. Christian Bale pulls off a tough role, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt seem like themselves, and Steve Carrell continues his "Tom Hanks comedy to drama transition" as the heart and soul of the film.

It's not going to win Best Picture, but every American should watch this and remind themselves how the banking industry screwed us all not so long ago.


I also got to watch Spotlight on my big screen at home. Typically I'll avoid two hours of depressing tales of children being molested by Boston area priests, but people I trust told me how this movie feels more like All The Presidents Men. I'm glad I listened.

Spotlight is riveting from the get go. Told through the lense of a Boston Globe investigative reporting unit getting the story right, these horrid crimes are part of the tale - but the focus is more on the inner workings of the press and how it's not always so easy to "do the right thing".

All of the actors are excellent (particularly Mark Ruffalo) as we see their characters balance personal struggles and deal with the overwhelming power of the church in Boston.

I haven't seen all of the Oscar nominees yet, but as of now, Spotlight is my Best Picture.



Chris Carlin, the voice of Rutgers sports and long-time New York City broadcaster, asked me to join him on LoudMouths, a sports TV talk show he hosts on SNY.

I will talk sports with anyone who will listen. Chris and I share the trifecta of love for TV, sports and fast food, so I knew we would be a good match.

I've been on the MLB Network a number of times and talked sports with Rich Eisen, Dan Patrick, Michael Kay and Matthew Berry, but this was an opportunity to co-host a New York sports talk show  - and to do it on back to back nights.

It's easy to talk sports with your buddies, but not as easy when you're talking to a camera as 6th Avenue looms right behind you.

Living the dream in the SNY control room.
I enjoyed every minute of LoudMouths. From prepping in the newsroom as legendary New York sports talk voices passed by to sitting in a suit getting makeup applied right before critiquing the new coach of the Giants. It was fantastic.

Thanks to Chris, Sam, Brad, Jeane, Curt and all the folks at SNY for the opportunity. I hope to be back soon!


I finally received a printed copy of Fast Food Maniac and couldn't be more pleased with how the book turned out.

Can you name which places the letters come from?

I had a lot of fun (probably too much fun) writing and researching it, and thankfully the early reviews have been positive.

The book officially comes out on February 2nd, and I will be doing some signings and promotion at the beginning of the month. Thanks for your support.

That's all for now. I need to prepare to watch my battered Steelers give it their best in Mile High country.

Have a great week!



  1. Jon, for those of us in the Midwest any chance we could order a signed copy?

    1. Tom, I will ask the publisher what the easiest way is to accommodate your request. Happy to oblige! - Jon