10 Shows Mom Loved — You Might Be Surprised #clickbait

Friday RecommendsBut seriously, you might be surprised by some of them. Not if you KNEW her really well, but….

In No Particular Order Except the Last

1. The Russians are Coming! The Russians are Coming!

A zany, madcap comedy worthy of the descriptives. The captain of a Russian submarine orders too close an approach to a New England island because he just wants to SEE America. The sub goes aground off the coast. Terrified of getting in trouble with his superiors — not to mention starting an international incident — he sends a squad into town to steal a boat to pull the sub free. Everything that can go wrong does go wrong, but SPOILER ALERT the best of human nature saves the situation when all seems lost.

2. Barney Miller

In the last few years, Mom was able to pick up several channels that showed reruns. She never got tired of Barney Miller. It was one of those “filmed before a live audience” shows so popular in the 1970s, with pretty much all of every episode taking place on the same set. Funny and touching, she and I both loved the writing and the acting. Oh, and Ron Glass, who later played Shepherd Book on Firefly (see below) was a regular!

3. Firefly

Every so often, Mom would say, “I think it’s time for us to watch Firefly again.” For a series that only ran 13 episodes, it’s had quite an impact on fandom and, more importantly to me, on Mom’s happiness. A veteran of a losing war for independence and his second-in-command fly a Firefly class spaceship as far from the Alliance Central Planets as they can get and still find work. Honest, if they can get it; mildly criminal, if necessary. Imaginative. Quirky. Strong female characters. An episode with a young Nathan Fillian in the buff. What’s not to like?

4. Boston Legal

Another one Mom asked for once a year or so. We watched most of it together when it was broadcast. After it went off the air, I joined Netflix and we went through all five seasons at least three more times. James Spader, better known now for The Black List, and William Shatner, who has never been out of work, star. The last time we watched it, it cut a little close to the bone, since Shatner’s character had Alzheimer’s and Mom had dementia. I wouldn’t have wanted to watch it again. Good show, though. Often shocked my delicate sensibilities, but Mom enjoyed it.

5. 1776

All-singing, some-dancing founding fathers. Sounds stupid, but damn good, actually. The dialog is taken from the participants’ writings, although out of context and dramatized. A Fourth of July (American Independence Day) tradition for Mom. [Word to the Wise: Skip “He Plays the Violin” unless you have a strong stomach. Blythe “I have osteoporosis but I don’t let it slow me down” Danner is too cute for words. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.]

6. Frasier

Better known to Mom as The Eddie Show, Eddie being Frasier’s father’s dog. I never watched this in its original run. Mom did, but she didn’t remember having seen it until she watched it in reruns. Once she found it on one of those old-show channels, that was what she watched every week night from 8 to 10, just for the scenes with Eddie in them. Some excellent acting, excellent writing, and you never knew who would turn up as a guest star.

7. Monk

Mom loved detective shows, and this was one of our favorites. Tony Shaloub plays an obsessive/compulsive detective who was on the police force until his beloved wife was murdered. She had been his anchor to normalcy, but her death made him non-functional. Sounds grim, but Monk is determined to solve her murder and get back on the force, so it’s really a positive show, with Monk and the aides he hires (strong, smart women) managing and improving his condition while he solves weekly crimes and works toward solving his wife’s murder. Doesn’t sound funny, but it is. Tony Shaloub is brilliant.

8. True Grit — the John Wayne version

There’s a movie channel that runs the same movies over and over all month, and Mom would watch this one as often as she could. She saw the remake once, and I watched it with her; I liked it, but she didn’t. She only wanted to see “the real one”. I must admit, I love this one, too, it’s just that the new one is truer to the book. BUT ANYWAY, Mom and I both thought this was John Wayne’s best role. In case you don’t know what it’s about, it’s a Western. A strong-willed young girl hires a bounty hunter (Wayne) to help her track down her father’s killer and bring him back to justice. A U. S. Marshal is after the same man for a different crime, and the three enter an uneasy alliance. Wonderful movie.

9. O Brother, Where Art Thou

Mom would watch this any time. In fact, when she was still active around the house, she would put it on and just let it play while she went about her business. Talk about a quirky movie! Three guys escape from a prison work detail, ostensibly to recover money from a robbery. The plot is based on Homer’s “Odyssey”, but you don’t need to be familiar with it to enjoy either the action or the music. Never a dull moment. “We thought you was a toaaaaaaaaad.”

10. The Blues Brothers

Mom’s favorite movie, hands down, bar none. When Jake gets out of prison, he and his brother, Elwood, get their blues band back together to raise money to save the orphanage where they were raised. They end up chased through Chicago by all the cops, “Illinois Nazis,” Carrie Fischer with major firepower, and I forget who all else. Great music. Funny bits. Did I say great music? Mom loved, loved, loved R&B. I grew up listening to Bo Diddley and Ray Charles. Brother Ray, among many other blues greats, are IN this movie. Cab Calloway! Aretha! Mom and I watched part of this just before she started sinking. We were going to finish it when she felt better, but she never did. It’ll always be my favorite movie, because it’ll always remind me of her. Plus, it has great music!

A WRITING PROMPT BASED ON MY POST: Take five characters from your work, or make up five characters. What is each one’s favorite movie/show/entertainment and why?


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I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “10 Shows Mom Loved — You Might Be Surprised #clickbait

  1. Dan Antion

    January 12, 2018 at 12:24pm

    Great list. Barney Miller and Frasier are clear winners. I like True Grit, but I think I prefer Eldorado, but it’s hard to choose. I’m with your mom, it has to be the John Wayne version. You like the remake? I think I can speak for your mom when I say “Don’t you blaspheme. Don’t you blaspheme in here.”

    The Blues Brothers is a clear fav.

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  2. pmlaberge

    January 12, 2018 at 12:52pm

    Your mom had good taste in TV and movies. I assume you inherited it!

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  3. joey

    January 13, 2018 at 10:41pm

    Your mom had excellent taste in shows! As you know, I love, love, love Frasier. I also love Barney Miller, Monk, The Blues Brothers, and O Brother Where Art Thou.
    The Mister doesn’t love O Brother Where Art Thou — but the music alone is good enough for me.
    I’m not really surprised, your mom seemed fun, and it figures she had good eclectic taste 🙂

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      January 14, 2018 at 8:21am

      🙂 Charlie never watches anything but news; any time I watched anything else, he would stand in the doorway and make disparaging remarks. So I watched shows and movies with Mom. But he’s discovered The Teaching Company, and we watch improving lectures together. And he just gave me a catalog of science fiction movies and invited me to pick a few and he’d watch them with me. 🙂
      Marian Allen would love to share..He Tells Me I Cannot Love the Raven #SampleSundayMy Profile

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  4. Sara Marian

    January 14, 2018 at 12:21pm

    Zak and I just watched the “real” True Grit on Friday–he had never seen it! Neither of us can decide whether we like the old one or the new one better. 🙂

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