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Posted by J2ME (Member # 5728) on :
 
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"Jack Killian is an ex-cop in San Francisco. He quit the police force after accidentally shooting his partner. He was approached by Devon King, the manager of a local radio station, and accepted a job as a talk-back host. Ever the humanitarian, Jack (together with his side-kick Billy Po) often gets personally involved with the plight of those who call his show."

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There are TV rips up on dailymotion, if anybody wants to relive this.

I'm enjoying watching it again.
 
Posted by J2ME (Member # 5728) on :
 
I'm on episode 8 of the first season. The show still holds up well, and is a little darker than I remembered.

Anybody watching this?
 
Posted by Crash (Member # 7484) on :
 
This is a show crying out for a DVD release. It's a modern noir with stunning night time scenes and a brilliant lead in Gary Cole. It is an extremely dark show, tackling serious subjects like AIDS and capital punishment. When it was on, NBC did it no favors by bouncing it all over the schedule. It never really found an audience, but over the years, the cult has grown.
 
Posted by aTomiK (Member # 6575) on :
 
I would like to own a dvd/blu-ray collection. I´m not going to watch the series from Dailymotion, just not my style [Razz]
Love the neon Midnight Caller sign and the cast looks awesome!

[ 20. March 2015, 04:13: Message edited by: aTomiK ]
 
Posted by J2ME (Member # 5728) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Crash:
This is a show crying out for a DVD release. It's a modern noir with stunning night time scenes and a brilliant lead in Gary Cole. It is an extremely dark show, tackling serious subjects like AIDS and capital punishment. When it was on, NBC did it no favors by bouncing it all over the schedule. It never really found an audience, but over the years, the cult has grown.

Amen!
quote:
Originally posted by aTomiK:
I would like to own a dvd/blu-ray collection.
I´m not going to watch the series from Dailymotion, just not my style [Razz]
Love the neon Midnight Caller sign and the cast looks awesome!

That's cool, aTomiK. I'd be all over a DVD/Blu release, unfortunately, this doesn't look it's going to happen any time soon...so....

[ 20. March 2015, 06:21: Message edited by: J2ME ]
 
Posted by Pittsburghgirl (Member # 7514) on :
 
Definitely needs a release to DVD or maybe even Netflix.
 
Posted by Nostalgic for the '80's (Member # 37454) on :
 
"Midnight Caller" sounds like an amazing show; I've never heard of it before this thread, but by the late '80's I wasn't watching much TV so a lot of shows passed me by.

If this show never gets a physical DVD/Blu-ray release, I think streaming would work really well. Maybe Netflix can pick this up. It definitely sounds like a series that needs to be made available again to modern audiences.
 
Posted by Pittsburghgirl (Member # 7514) on :
 
I found it on Dailymotion.com. I have never heard of dailymotion. Any other good shows or movies on the website? I plan on finishing episode 1 tonight. Thanks!
 
Posted by Crash (Member # 7484) on :
 
I think that you will really like it. The Midnight Caller pilot was directed by Thomas Carter, an amazing TV director, who was a master of directing pilots like Miami Vice and St. Elsewhere.
 
Posted by Nostalgic for the '80's (Member # 37454) on :
 
Thanks again to those who posted that "Midnight Caller" was available online.

I started watching S01 E01 recently, but got interrupted. I definitely plan on watching the whole episode at some point. Just from my brief viewing, this looks to be an amazing show. Really digging the night-time setting, neon lights, and jazzy feel/tone.

It's a darn shame that this show hasn't been remastered & made available on home video, or at least streaming. The portion I saw was obviously a VHS tape rip that looked like a tape someone had made of the show in the '80's - which makes sense, since the series has never been available in an official home video format. Well, at least this is a lot better than nothing!
 
Posted by Crash (Member # 7484) on :
 
I just realized that one of the reasons this show has never been released to home video is probably because the studio won't spend the money for the music rights. As I recall, a lot of episodes featured songs. Unless the show has a huge built-in audience for home video--like The Wonder Years--there's no way that the studio will go after the music rights to a show that might sell only 5,000 DVD box sets.

My research reveals that the show is now owned by Warner Communications so if it ever gets a release, it would most likely be through the Warner Archive website where old, forgotten, and cult movies and shows go to be manufactured-on-demand to the small number of fans who want copies.

[ 11. December 2016, 22:09: Message edited by: Crash ]
 
Posted by Pittsburghgirl (Member # 7514) on :
 
Last night, I told my husband about this thread. Although he never watched Midnight Caller, it got us on the subject of a few other late 80's/early 90 s shows which never had a proper release. Vengeance Unlimited was included, One show I enjoyed watching late at night when I would get home from my crappy waitressing job was the Canadian detective show Night Heat. My husband and I both said we watched Silk Stalkings late night, and he also watched a show called Dangerous Curves, both detective type shows. I think Dangerous Curves did get released to DVD, but it goes for outrageous prices on eBay.
 
Posted by Crash (Member # 7484) on :
 
PGHgirl, there are quite a few Canadian shows that need to be on DVD, if they aren't already: "Night Heat," which originally ran in the US on the CBS Late Movie, was excellent, very low-keyed and intelligent. "Silk Stalkings" was a guilty pleasure that also ran on the CBS Late Movie and eventually ended its run on the USA Network. It was OK. There were a bunch of weird, completely forgotten shows that ran for short time on the CBS Late Movie or on CBS Crimetime after Primetime, as they called it briefly. There was "Scene of the Crime," which was a Stephen J. Cannell-produced mystery anthology; "The Exile" about a spy, which was filmed in Paris; "Dangerous Curves" about two sexy female PIs; "Sweating Bullets," another Canadian PI drama, this time set in the Caribbean, a show which became a sensation in Serbia, of all places; "Fly by Night," with Shannon Tweed and a cheap-o airline; "Dark Justice," a cult favorite filmed in Spain for a while about a vigilante judge and his team; "Hot Shots," a Canadian thing about a male and female journalist duo; "Diamonds," another Canadian show about a male and female PI team; and my personal favorite, "Adderly," a Canadian show about an injured spy reduced to a basement desk job in Miscellaneous Affairs. And I almost forgot "Forever Knight," another cult sensation, which popped up on CBS and later the USA Network in various incarnations, about a cop who was also a vampire.

[ 19. October 2016, 07:47: Message edited by: Crash ]
 
Posted by Nostalgic for the '80's (Member # 37454) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Crash:
PGHgirl, there are quite a few Canadian shows that need to be on DVD, if they aren't already: "Night Heat," which originally ran in the US on the CBS Late Movie, was excellent, very low-keyed and intelligent. "Silk Stalkings" was a guilty pleasure that also ran on the CBS Late Movie and eventually ended its run on the USA Network. It was OK. There were a bunch of weird, completely forgotten shows that ran for short time on the CBS Late Movie or on CBS Crimetime after Primetime, as they called it briefly. There was "Scene of the Crime," which was a Stephen J. Cannell-produced mystery anthology; "The Exile" about a spy, which was filmed in Paris; "Dangerous Curves" about two sexy female PIs; "Sweating Bullets," another Canadian PI drama, this time set in the Caribbean, a show which became a sensation in Serbia, of all places; "Fly by Night," with Shannon Tweed and a cheap-o airline; "Dark Justice," a cult favorite filmed in Spain for a while about a vigilante judge and his team; "Hot Shots," a Canadian thing about a male and female journalist duo; "Diamonds," another Canadian show about a male and female PI team; and my personal favorite, "Adderly," a Canadian show about an injured spy reduced to a basement desk job in Miscellaneous Affairs. And I almost forgot "Forever Knight," another cult sensation, which popped up on CBS and later the USA Network in various incarnations, about a cop who was also a vampire.

quote:
Originally posted by Pittsburghgirl:
Last night, I told my husband about this thread. Although he never watched Midnight Caller, it got us on the subject of a few other late 80's/early 90 s shows which never had a proper release. Vengeance Unlimited was included, One show I enjoyed watching late at night when I would get home from my crappy waitressing job was the Canadian detective show Night Heat. My husband and I both said we watched Silk Stalkings late night, and he also watched a show called Dangerous Curves, both detective type shows. I think Dangerous Curves did get released to DVD, but it goes for outrageous prices on eBay.

Never even heard of any of these shows! They sound very interesting. I guess I missed them due to their playing late at night on some channels back in the '80's.

Thanks for the info. I hope at some point these can be made available for streaming, since I doubt most of them will ever hit DVD/Blu-ray.
 
Posted by aTomiK (Member # 6575) on :
 
They aired Silk Stalkings here back in the day and i thought it was just a silly detective series with nice scenery and beautiful girls.
I´m sure i would enjoy it more now [Wink]
 
Posted by Crash (Member # 7484) on :
 
I agree that Silk Stalkings was very silly but at least looked good. And the first female lead has one of the greatest actress names of all time for genre stuff: Mitzi Kapture!
 
Posted by Pittsburghgirl (Member # 7514) on :
 
Crash, we were trying to figure out the name of Dark Justice! I have never seen it, but hubby was describing it but couldn't remember the name.
 
Posted by Logan 5 (Member # 1467) on :
 
Just rewatched the first ep of Midnight Caller - Sade, Wilson Pickett - and others. Music rights are deffo the issue with this show!
 
Posted by Crash (Member # 7484) on :
 
I like Dark Justice, but it's one of those shows where if you think about it even for a couple of minutes, it's pretty silly. Here you have a judge whose family was murdered, I think by a car bomb. He realizes that the system is skewed to protect the bad guys so he decides that he'll even the score by becoming a vigilante. He puts together a team of cons whom he sentenced who all have special skills to help him. So far, so good. That's not at all a bad plot, somewhat like the Peter Hyams film Star Chamber.

Then they show the courtroom proceedings which are so ridiculous that you don't have to be a lawyer to know that it's all unrealistic. Then the judge puts his long hair down (apparently he must wear lots of bobby pins during court) and gets on his motorcycle to do justice at night. And much like Superman without the Clark Kent glasses, no one recognizes him. If you take it like a mindless comic book, it's an entertaining show, with a fantastic tag line that the judge uses when he has to let a criminal walk: "Justice is blind, but she can see in the dark." If you turn on your brain... LOL Anyway, it's also notable for an early role for Canadian actress Carrie-Anne Moss, later extraordinarily recognizable as Trinity in The Matrix series, who plays the judge's clerk.
 
Posted by J2ME (Member # 5728) on :
 
Nice to see this thread has (sort of) caught fire. This is a great show.

I need to get back to watching this.
 
Posted by Crash (Member # 7484) on :
 
I'll say it again, and agree with you, J2ME: If you haven't seen Midnight Caller, track it down on Daily Motion or wherever on line. It is great. I can't recall any bad episodes over three seasons, and the show, mostly filmed at night, looked spectacular--moody and noir-ish. Gary Cole, one of our great underrated actors, has done some wonderful stuff in his career like American Gothic, The Brady Bunch movies, A Simple Plan, Office Space, The Gift, Harvey Birdman, and Veep. But I think that Midnight Caller is some of his finest work in TV or film. While his character of Jack Killian is a troubled and flawed hero beset by lots of demons, you just always root for him and want him to succeed. It's a haunting performance in a haunting show, one of the best overlooked shows from the era.

[ 11. December 2016, 22:08: Message edited by: Crash ]
 
Posted by Nostalgic for the '80's (Member # 37454) on :
 
Recently finished watching S01, E01 of "Midnight Caller" - wow! This was an excellent episode! Very sultry & dark; really digging the setting & storyline.

The jazzy score was great, and the Gary Cole character also played the Wilson Pickett's "In the Midnight Hour" at one point while on the air. Though I haven't seen the rest of the episodes yet, this makes me wonder if the unavailability of this series on DVD/Blu-ray is at least partially due to music/copyright issues?!

I was not expecting the Gary Cole character to have been a detective when the show started, who later got pulled into hosting the talk show by the owner of the radio station. Very interesting premise.

This is definitely a show that is best watched/appreciated very late at night [Wink]

Thanks again to everyone who recommended this!

The picture quality in the stream I saw was poor; however, it was also nostalgic in a way - it was an obvious VHS rip of someone who taped the show off TV - probably when it originally aired. I remember those days [Wink]
 
Posted by Nostalgic for the '80's (Member # 37454) on :
 
Due to other issues taking up my time, it's taken me a while to watch more episodes of "Midnight Caller". So, I just finished seeing Episode 2 - and found it amazing! I'm surprised I'm this enthusiastic about an almost 30-year old series, but I never saw it when it originally aired - so I'm discovering this for the first time.

Episode 2 focused on a guy who had a fixation on a physical therapist/nurse, and was stalking her - he was calling Killian on the radio show as a cry for help. The stalker was played by Ed O'Neill (who is obviously best known for his role on the late '80's/early '90's comedy "Married with Children"). It's too bad O'Neill never played more dramatic roles, since he was very convincing in this episode.

As a teen in the late '80's, I worked at a restaurant @ night. The show somewhat reminds me of when the workers at the restaurant listened to the radio late while closing down - primarily because of the rock music. I always thought it would be cool to have a late-night D.J.-ing job, which would let you be awake & interacting with others (who were also awake) - while almost everyone else was asleep.

It also somewhat reminds me of staying up late at night as a kid & flicking the channels on my old Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) TV set, looking for something to watch...

quote:
Originally posted by Pittsburghgirl:
Yes! Definitely would like to see Midnight Caller!

quote:
Originally posted by Crash:
Come on Warner Archive! Give us Midnight Caller!

I agree that MC would be amazing on DVD/Blu-ray. The VHS rips that are available via streaming are, obviously, not that great re: the Picture Quality, etc. - though it's better than not being able to see the show at all.

However, I feel that the possibility of seeing this series on modern home video is not that likely, given the extreme obscurity of the show...also the inevitable musical copyright issues that would result if a company wanted to look into releasing the series with all of the original music intact.

Conversely (and relating to another thread), the '87-'89 series Hooperman was obscure, but at the same time did star a well-known actor (John Ritter) and, as such, is probably more marketable re: a modern home video release....even though I thought the possibility of that series coming out on DVD/Blu was unlikely as well.

That being said, based on what I've seen so far Midnight Caller is far superior to Hooperman - and I liked Hooperman!

[ 16. February 2017, 14:55: Message edited by: Nostalgic for the '80's ]
 
Posted by Crash (Member # 7484) on :
 
Nft80s, as I have trumpeted for years in these threads, Midnight Caller is a small masterpiece. What makes it so different than the typical detective/cop show is the human element--a decent, but flawed, hero struggling to help those in need. It's not about car chases or shootouts. I'm so glad that even after 30 years you are discovering it and really enjoying it. I've seen those Vimeo streaming rips that don't come close to doing the show justice on its visual sheen and color palette. It would look great on DVD/Bluray. I also totally agree that it's all about the music rights. The Warner Archive will not pay to license the music to a show that won't sell more than 10,000 box sets and has to be manufactured on demand.
 
Posted by Nostalgic for the '80's (Member # 37454) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Crash:
Nft80s, as I have trumpeted for years in these threads, Midnight Caller is a small masterpiece. What makes it so different than the typical detective/cop show is the human element--a decent, but flawed, hero struggling to help those in need. It's not about car chases or shootouts. I'm so glad that even after 30 years you are discovering it and really enjoying it. I've seen those Vimeo streaming rips that don't come close to doing the show justice on its visual sheen and color palette. It would look great on DVD/Bluray. I also totally agree that it's all about the music rights. The Warner Archive will not pay to license the music to a show that won't sell more than 10,000 box sets and has to be manufactured on demand.

Agree with all of the above. MC is definitely a "lost classic". Again, if you weren't watching a lot of TV back in the late '80's/early '90's (like me) and/or you didn't have access the the channel the series was featured on, you probably weren't even aware of it's existence. I never had cable in those days, so only got a handful of channels that I was even able to see without snow.

Now with DVD's/Blu-ray's, streaming, HD cable stations with a hundred channels, etc. things are a lot different. However, back in the day it was easy for a show like this to unfortunately go unnoticed.

I'm just glad the rips of this series are available at all, so that people who are interested in the series can see the show. If it weren't for streaming, I still wouldn't be able to watch this. The streams appear to be VHS rips, and I thank whoever transferred them online - this is obviously much appreciated. It's somewhat nostalgic, seeing the series this way - because it reminds of the days when I used to sometimes tape shows on VHS. And, back when the show was broadcast on TV I doubt it looked that much better than these rips....

Yes, in a perfect world it would be great if this series were made available on DVD/Blu, but it's unlikely. I know that in some cases, TV series with a rock/pop soundtrack have the music changed/modified to get around the music rights issues. For example, I know the great Vietnam War Drama "Tour of Duty" (1987-1991) released on DVD back in the 200X's had the music unfortunately changed in many cases...notably the opening theme song, the Rolling Stones' iconic classic "Paint it Black" - which to me ruined the whole experience.

So, unless a company that's looking to make the show available on home video can get the music copyright issues straightened out & keep all of the original music intact, I don't want to see this on DVD/Blu. I'll stick with the streaming rips.

[ 17. February 2017, 04:48: Message edited by: Nostalgic for the '80's ]
 
Posted by Crash (Member # 7484) on :
 
I know that The Wonder Years DVD was held up for years because of music rights. And I agree with you, I abhor changing the soundtrack to avoid paying the licensing fee. (AIP did this with a few of their horror films from the late 60s and 70s. It was awful.)
 
Posted by Nostalgic for the '80's (Member # 37454) on :
 
I am slowly making my way through S1 of MC. I am not going to review every episode, but will review certain ones - not only to capture my thoughts as these are fresh in my mind, but also hopefully to spark some interest in those who haven't seen the show yet - but who may be on the fence re: whether or not they want to check it out.

This isn't just a good series, it's a great series. In fact, I've seen hundreds of TV series over the years & and, this is definitely in my top ten (and maybe even top five) best TV shows I've ever seen. I would also have to say this is by far the best TV show of the '80's (though it's a show that also crosses over into the '90's).'

The opening theme song/imagery is fantastic - I like the jazzy score superimposed over the night-time images of neon lights, clubs, people going out, late-night restaurants, etc. Very effective in capturing the late night world - which is so different from what we see during the day....

Note that my episode reviews will contain some SPOILERS (I don't know how to insert SPOILER tags here). So, if you haven't seen the show- yet & want to be surprised, don't read beyond this - LOL:

Season 1, Episode 6 dealt with Killian & Devon being asked to got to a local prison & interview a guy who was on death row for the murder of three innocent teens in the late '70's...this interview took place the night before he was scheduled to be executed. When this episode first began, I thought this would be one of those shows in which the guy on death row would be proven innocent, and maybe given clemency at the last minute (or, proven innocent but still killed). I.e., a "politically correct" ending/outcome.

However, that's not what happened here. The guy on death row claimed he was innocent, but couldn't prove where he was the night of the crime - and he admitted to Killian that he couldn't remember what had happened that night - but did admit remembering that he was on drugs. He was also identified by several people due to the unusual birth-mark on his face.

So, essentially, towards the end of the episode my take on this was that the guy was probably guilty.

Killian treated him with respect & dignity throughout the interview, which he didn't have to do.

The final scene when he died in the gas chamber was quite hard to watch.

Kudos to the producers of the show for having the guts to tackle such an unpopular subject & for not making it preachy. Extremely well-done. In fact, I think everyone out there should see this episode - especially those who are pro-death penalty.

I have always been very conservative & was somewhat pro-death penalty before watching this episode. Now, after watching this, I'm not so sure. Amazing that a TV series from 30 years ago can have so much impact, but there you go...I still think there should be harsh sentences for those who commit violent crimes, but am no longer sure I believe they should - in turn - be killed for those crimes....I actually believe life in prison is a far worse punishment than the death penalty, anyway.

The scenes of the people outside the prison who were celebrating the killer's death by partying brought to mind the real-life incident when a serial killer (Ted Bundy?!) was executed in Florida back in '89...in that case, people were also celebrating outside the prison the night of his death.

Further reviews are forthcoming.....

"Good Night America, Wherever you are..." - Jack Killian.
quote:
Originally posted by Crash:
I know that The Wonder Years DVD was held up for years because of music rights. And I agree with you, I abhor changing the soundtrack to avoid paying the licensing fee. (AIP did this with a few of their horror films from the late 60s and 70s. It was awful.)

Agreed - and, DVD/Blu-ray companies are still pulling this crap. For example, I was a big fan of the 2014-2015 horror series Constantine & remember watching this when it was on TV. Last year, the series got released to Blu-ray - which was great, because I really prefer the upgraded Blu picture quality/sound/color. However, when I watched some of the episodes I realized they had changed some of the rock/pop music (obviously because of licensing issues) - terrible.

[ 21. February 2017, 19:22: Message edited by: Nostalgic for the '80's ]
 
Posted by Crash (Member # 7484) on :
 
Episode 6 was one of the best of the series. As you said, it defied expectations of the typical death row/last minute evidence-of-innocence scenario. Instead, it was a well-balanced, sobering look at capital punishment. It's not preachy, nor does it strive to ram an agenda down your throat. (For that, see the single worst anti-capital punishment ever made, The Life of David Gale with Kevin Spacey and Kate Winslet. While the Midnight Caller episode is pitch perfect on every philosophical and moral point, Gale bungles its preachy PC agenda so badly that by the end, I thought that it made the anti-capital punishment folks look like maniacs.) Joe Spano won an Emmy for his performance as the death row convict. Kay Lenz also won an Emmy that year for playing Jack's girlfriend with AIDS in another standout episode. The thing that irritated me back then was that the Emmy voters would nominate the show for all these fantastic guest-starring turns, but there was no love for Gary Cole in the role of his career. He's perfectly cast and so good.

You really feel like you are a member of a secret club when you discover this show. It is definitely one of the best U.S. shows of the 80s, if not all time. And again, it's really irritating that the best we have for this masterpiece are blurry VHS rips from the 80s.

[ 22. February 2017, 11:08: Message edited by: Crash ]
 
Posted by Nostalgic for the '80's (Member # 37454) on :
 
E3, S1 of MC was brilliant - the best episode I've seen so far - and, even after I watch all of the episodes this one may still end up being my favorite of the series. This featured Kay Lenz as Killian's ex who had gotten "the" fatal virus that was all over the news in the mid-late '80's.

Lenz's character contacted Killian in desperation, to help her search for the guy that had given it to her. I found the way Killian treated those he came into contact with (in his search) very poignant & heart-warming. He treated them with respect, even the sleazy guy who had knowingly been transmitting the virus to many others.

Killian's monologue at the very end of this episode was particularly brilliant - very moving.

Again, Kudos to the network for airing this episode - based on what I've read about this, there was a lot of controversy surrounding the airing of this episode even before it came out. Glad they didn't cave & still aired the show:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/After_It_Happened

Like a lot of episodes of this series, this brought back memories of the late '80's. I am straight, and was a somewhat sexually active teen during those years - I was already being very careful (using protection, etc.) due to concerns about getting a girl pregnant & also obviously wanting to stay STD-free. However, my eyes were really opened when I read an article in TIME Magazine (Spring 1987) which detailed how the virus was affecting both gays & straights - it's hard to imagine now, but during that time people weren't as aware that your sexual orientation didn't necessarily decrease your chances of getting this.

In any case, this episode is another one I think everyone should see - especially those who are sexually active & non-monogamous.

[ 22. February 2017, 19:21: Message edited by: Nostalgic for the '80's ]
 
Posted by Nostalgic for the '80's (Member # 37454) on :
 
S1, EP07 was another outstanding episode. It dealt one of my pet peeves re: the criminal justice system - i.e., how people with a lot of wealth & power are, in many cases, literally able to get away with murder.

The story involved a criminal setting up the son of a wealthy, corporate big shot & making it look like he committed a murder - which he didn't. However, this was done in order to make the corporate big shot admit to a murder he himself had committed. Brilliant episode, and though I don't think the ending was that realistic (too far fetched) - it still did what this show does best...i.e., tackle social issues that other shows at the time were afraid to touch.

Going along with this, I'm still amazed that this show was ever produced! The '80's was the "me" generation, and most of the popular TV fare during this time were unrealistic action shows or stupid comedies. So, an intelligent, thought-provoking series like MC was definitely an anomaly back in the day.

For that matter, I can't see that a show like this would survive even today - especially not in our overly-PC society.

This is definitely a series that stays with me long after I see an episode. I will post more as I watch more episodes.
quote:
Originally posted by Crash:
You really feel like you are a member of a secret club when you discover this show. It is definitely one of the best U.S. shows of the 80s, if not all time. And again, it's really irritating that the best we have for this masterpiece are blurry VHS rips from the 80s.

Well put, well said. Unfortunately, after watching more episodes of MC our fears that this show will never see a home video release with ALL of the original music intact are even more justified. I.e., there is a plethora of rock/pop music in this series, and not just what you hear on the radio show itself. Much of the music are background tunes in the various bars/clubs that are featured on the show - and, since the series takes place primarily late at night - a lot of this music is featured.

So, I don't see this show EVER being released to home video with all of the original music intact. And, like I mentioned before, I would much prefer old VHS rips with the original music than new, remastered DVD's/Blu-ray's with the music butchered.

[ 23. February 2017, 19:37: Message edited by: Nostalgic for the '80's ]
 
Posted by Crash (Member # 7484) on :
 
I recall the tremendous amount of pressure from outside groups about s1 e3, who thought that the episode was going to be straight up homophobic and gay bashing. It turned out that Midnight Caller, as you've said, Nft80s, was sensitive and moving. Kay Lenz was great, another stellar performance and Emmy winner in the show's long parade of guest stars.

I like shows that are about bigger ideas. For an amazing three seasons, Midnight Caller was intelligent and thought-provoking. With the dumbed-down, PC culture we live in, unless a cable network decided to try something different, there is absolutely no way this show be made today.
 
Posted by Nostalgic for the '80's (Member # 37454) on :
 
I'm continuing to make my way through S1 of "Midnight Caller". Again, what a brilliant series. I know I've been saying it a lot, but the high quality of this show can't be emphasized enough. Extraordinary.

Here are some reviews:

S1, Episode 8, "Trash Radio" - both funny & sad, it was interesting to see Jack needing to come to terms (again) with the unintentional killing of his partner, which is why he retired from the police force & became a talk radio host in the first place. The storyline re: Killian's "competitor" was interesting - he was a trashy late-night radio show host who tried to dig up dirt on Killian in order to discredit him. The ending was very fitting - I like it when people get what they deserve [Wink]

As always, great soundtrack here - especially The Eurythmics' iconic '80's tune "Would I lie to You" playing over a key scene - great song placement here.

S1, Episode 9 "No Exit": This dealt with a young teen runaway who was forced into a life of degradation by a pimp who "rescued" her from the streets. Bud Cort (who starred in the early '70's film Harold & Maude) played the sleazy pimp - very different from his previous roles.

In this episode, Killian focused his talk show on the issue of teen runaways, and even had some of them on the show - I'm guessing that at least some of these "actors" were actual street kids in real life.

As has been typical with this series, this brought back memories of the time period - I remember teen runaways being a big issue back in the '80's, even though it wasn't "discussed" too much. Obviously, I know the problem continues to this day.

S1, Episode 10: "Fathers and Sins". Superb episode. This dealt with Devon's somewhat tumultuous relationship with her father, and also showcased Jack Killian's long-lost father (Peter Boyle) who had abandoned the family years earlier - finally coming back into his life.

Incredible episode, and the sad scene of Devon having the last heart-felt conversation with her father was a good counter-point to the almost comedic reveal that Killan's father (Boyle) was a con-man - but who still cared about his estranged son to some extent.

As a middle-aged guy whose parents are getting on in years, this episode emphasized how important family is - and how you should try to have a good relationship with them (if possible), because none of us know how much longer they (or we) will be around.

The final song & the last scene of Devon waiting for Jack on the steps of his apartment as he came home from work (early in the morning) was very poignant.

Great guest-stars on this series. It seems like whenever I watch this show I know I'll recognize at least one of the actors/actresses (other than the lead(s)) in each episode.

[ 01. March 2017, 10:28: Message edited by: Nostalgic for the '80's ]
 
Posted by Crash (Member # 7484) on :
 
I like the way Devon and Jack have a complex, real-life working relationship. It is extremely well written and believable. There's none of this flirtatious bickering where the parties eventually fall into each other's arms. (Let's face it. That is one of movie and TV's most ridiculous conceits: two people who bicker constantly are actually flirtatious and fall in love. No, they just bicker.) Seriously, you can see that even though they come from different backgrounds, there is mutual respect. Devon is smart and ambitious, and she recognizes that for all his faults and demons, Jack really is a kind and decent soul--and good at what he does.

[ 01. March 2017, 16:25: Message edited by: Crash ]
 
Posted by Nostalgic for the '80's (Member # 37454) on :
 
Just recently finished S1 of MC. Excellent! I liked the season so much I didn't want it to end, but now I have 2 more seasons to look forward to.

I can honestly say that this series (so far) has not had ONE weak episode - they're all incredible. This show is a real hidden gem, and it's too bad more people aren't aware of the series....understandable, since the only way to watch this are the VHS rips online.

Some stand-out episodes included:

Episode 12, "The Fall": Jack tries to assist a young man (that he had helped years before) get off of drugs. Very poignant & well-done episode.

I have known people over the years who have been addicted to alcohol/drugs, and though you may try to help them they ultimately have to want to help themselves - that's the only way they'll be able to break the cycle of addiction.

Episode 13, "Ethan's Call": Very moving episode about the family of Jack's partner & their attempts to deal with his death (which Jack accidentally caused). This is an extremely well-done episode about grief & the need to mourn - but eventually move forward - after the loss of a loved one.

Episode 15, "Wait until Midnight": A blind woman (Meg Foster) hears a murder in the apartment next to hers while speaking to Jack when he's on the air - and both she & Jack have to convince the authorities that she didn't just imagine this. Excellent, and one of the best episodes of the series.

I've liked Meg Foster, ever since I was a kid back in the '80's - her eyes are gorgeous; I've always thought they looked like cat's eyes [Wink]

Episode 16 (the season finale), "Blues for Mr. Charlie": Very disturbing show about a shooting at a convenience store, which ends up being a huge news story; Killian inadvertently gets drawn into this. Gun control is a big issue here, and I find this episode even more relevant now than it was when it came out in the late '80's - it could easily have been torn out of today's news headlines.

Overall, I definitely think that Jack Killian's compassion & non-judgemental attitude towards those he comes into contact with very inspiring. All of us (including myself) should try to aspire to be more like this.

I also noticed some interesting details re: this show:

-I was amused at the running joke about "Carmen", the never-seen owner?! (or maybe just a bartender) at the local bar that Jack frequents. In almost every scene in the bar, Jack (or someone else) asks about her - and, the response is always that she's vacationing in some exotic foreign country - very funny...

-Jack doesn't seem to own a car. He's always seen either walking, taking a cab, sometimes a bus, or getting a ride from someone. I've been to SF once years ago, and IIRC they do have good public transportation (when they're not on strike). So, it makes sense that he can get around without a vehicle. This would be nice, since I myself hate driving & try to take public transportation whenever I can.

For what it's worth, here is a great site I found with an episode guide for each season. It's especially useful when watching the show online, since the sites available don't always show the episodes in order:

http://midnightcaller.garycole.net/season1.htm

quote:
Originally posted by Crash:
I like the way Devon and Jack have a complex, real-life working relationship. It is extremely well written and believable. There's none of this flirtatious bickering where the parties eventually fall into each other's arms. (Let's face it. That is one of movie and TV's most ridiculous conceits: two people who bicker constantly are actually flirtatious and fall in love. No, they just bicker.) Seriously, you can see that even though they come from different backgrounds, there is mutual respect. Devon is smart and ambitious, and she recognizes that for all his faults and demons, Jack really is a kind and decent soul--and good at what he does.

Agreed - glad the show never fell into the cliche of having Jack & Devon sleep together (I'm guessing that their platonic-only relationship continues through the next two seasons) - which would have marred the show to a great extent. Sure, it's obvious they are somewhat attracted to each other & there is some mild flirtation - understandable, since any straight guy would obviously find Devon extremely hot [Wink] However, due to the fact that they have a great professional working relationship which extends into a good friendship, they've obviously decided not to cross the line.

[ 04. March 2017, 23:12: Message edited by: Nostalgic for the '80's ]
 
Posted by Nostalgic for the '80's (Member # 37454) on :
 
I have started watching S2 of MC....and, if anything, S2 of this show is even more powerful than S1. The fact that a show of such quality came out on network TV 30 years ago is amazing to me; I've never seen a show before or since that has affected me the way MC has - truly incredible. And, I haven't even finished the series yet....

Some of the S2 episodes that stood out the most (so far) were:

Episode 4: An LE officer (a friend of Jack's) is fighting for the right to take his son off life support after a horrible accident two years earlier; extremely moving look at euthanasia & how having someone in a coma & on life-support affects their loved ones.

Episode 5: Devon has a stalker who escalates his activities, until Jack has to temporarily move in to her apartment to keep her safe. Well-done & disturbing episode.

This is the second episode of S2 in which Devon & Jack have a non-platonic kiss, though both decide not to take it any further due to their mutual respect & excellent working relationship/friendship. As has been mentioned, Jack & Devon's relationship on this show is very unique - instead of jumping into bed together (as would happen with two characters like this on almost every other TV series ever made), the show's writers/producers decide to go the opposite route & made the characters able to control their emotions much more - which I think is realistic & refreshing.

Episode 7: the most powerful episode of the series so far; Jack hears that his old girlfriend Tina Cassidy (Kay Lenz) is dying in a hospice, and as he goes to be with her in her final hours, he reflects on the time he had with her the previous year. This is a follow-up to the excellent S1 episode in which her character is first introduced. Most of this episode is a flash-back to what happened after she came back into his life the year before; she moved in with Jack after losing her place (and much of her belongings) due to having to spend $ on medication, and they had a happy couple of months?! before she started to get sicker & moved out.

One of the most poignant scenes in this episode is after Tina actually passes; Jack walks out of the hospice in the early morning hours, and finds a stray cat. He takes it with him, and then ends up sitting on a bench near the waterfront. There are a group of kids going to school, and one of them asks to pet the cat & then thanks Jack. What I got from this scene is that even though Jack had just witnessed something terrible & sad - i.e. Tina's horrible death - there was still hope in the world, and life does go on.....

This may actually be the most moving, powerful, and heart-rending TV episode I've ever seen...and I don't say that lightly.

[ 22. March 2017, 12:38: Message edited by: Nostalgic for the '80's ]
 
Posted by Crash (Member # 7484) on :
 
Kay Lenz, an actress not a lot of folks took seriously because of her looks, was truly excellent in her two guest starring episodes on MC. She won an Emmy too. If you want to see another couple of great Kay Lenz performances, there's Clint Eastwood's Breezy (1973), where she falls in love with much older William Holden, and Fast-Walking (1982) with James Woods. A sadly underappreciated actress...

As I recall, Wendy Kilbourne/Devon left the series early in season 3 so indeed the show handled their relationship in a realistic manner.

MC was that rare show like Homicide: Life on the Street that transcended its genre. MC somehow managed to mix its noir genre stuff with all of the social issues that it tackled. And it did it brilliantly.

You, my friend, and I will keep beating the drum for MC, perhaps the greatest, yet least known, American TV series of all time.

[ 13. March 2017, 12:15: Message edited by: Crash ]
 
Posted by Nostalgic for the '80's (Member # 37454) on :
 
Some of the as-always excellent MC episodes I caught recently were:

S02, E09: Jack's friend Deacon (the reporter) has a new girlfriend (the always great Pam Grier) with a serious gambling problem, with devastating consequences. This was a complex episode that also dealt with the forgery of paintings. I was also impressed at the realistic downer ending.

S02, E12: Jack Killian looks back at the then-recent famous San Francisco earthquake, which hit in October 1989. I've never lived in that area, but remember hearing about this on the news at the time. Very devastating, and Jack interviewed people who gave testimonials of where they were & what they were doing at the time. Very moving; especially interesting was when the reporter Deacon came across an ex-football player who had become homeless, and tried to help him get back on his feet.

This episode had an amusing side to it as well: Jack remembered that Devon had gotten caught in an elevator with a guy she had an argument with over a parking space, and reminded her of this. Later in that episode, that same guy came into the studio (presumably because he was listening to the show) and brought a "interesting" painting he had done of Devon - very funny!

Here's a link about this famous earthquake - I didn't know that 67 people had died as result of this:

http://www.history.com/topics/1989-san-francisco-earthquake

S02, EP13: This was a very moving episode that dealt with a kid who ended up being abandoned at a gas station by his mother and her boyfriend, and had to end up fending for himself on the streets. Killian gets involved, and the overall issue of homeless street kids ends up being a focus of this episode (just like a similar episode in S1). Joe Cocker's great, iconic rock song "When the Night Comes" was featured in a key scene on this episode, and is another reminder of why this show will probably never hit home video... [Frown]

I watch a lot of TV, but these days I've especially been making a point of trying to watch a lot of Midnight Caller - more than even any of the new shows I'm currently watching. The show is so good, that once I finish seeing an episode I want to watch the next one. I'm rarely into shows this much, but this just proves that the series is so well-done & compelling that it's gotten addictive for me [Wink] .

After getting into the show more, the soundtrack is intriguing me - not just the original rock songs, but the original jazzy theme song & the original jazz music in the series itself.

I looked this up, and there was apparently a soundtrack that came out for the show in the late '80's (which contained mostly the rock soundtrack on the series), but the CD has obviously been OOP for years - and, I doubt it'll get re-issued.

Here's a link to an extended version of the opening theme music - very cool:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fp54tt9gH54

[ 14. March 2017, 07:40: Message edited by: Nostalgic for the '80's ]
 
Posted by Nostalgic for the '80's (Member # 37454) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Crash:
Kay Lenz, an actress not a lot of folks took seriously because of her looks, was truly excellent in her two guest starring episodes on MC. She won an Emmy too. If you want to see another couple of great Kay Lenz performances, there's Clint Eastwood's Breezy (1973), where she falls in love with much older William Holden, and Fast-Walking (1982) with James Woods. A sadly underappreciated actress...

I saw "Breezy" on DVD years ago - excellent movie with fantastic performances. And, much more intelligent than the typical "Older man/younger woman" films out there. William Holden was good as the older widower who fell for the much younger hippie, played by Kay Lenz. Definitely a product of it's time, and I mean that in a good way. I consider the '70's the best decade for film, and this was one of the many great movies from that time period.

quote:
Originally posted by Crash:
MC was that rare show like Homicide: Life on the Street that transcended its genre. MC somehow managed to mix its noir genre stuff with all of the social issues that it tackled. And it did it brilliantly.

"Homicide: Life on the Street" is one of my favorite '90's shows. I grew up in the Baltimore City area, and so was familiar with the locale. Excellent crime drama with an amazing cast. Ironically, I never saw the show when it was originally on since I was watching very little TV in the '90's. I did catch the entire series much later on DVD, which was the optimum way to watch this.

quote:
Originally posted by Crash:
You, my friend, and I will keep beating the drum for MC, perhaps the greatest, yet least known, American TV series of all time.

Agreed! One of the reasons I'm regularly posting my reviews of the MC series is to try to get more people into the show. Even though the series will never make it to a DVD/Blu release, at the least I hope my reviews intrigue people enough to at least check out the show & see what they're missing...I think what may be keeping many from watching the show is that the only way to see this are the VHS rips currently available. Sure, these aren't that great - but seeing it this way is much better than not being able to watch the show at all!
 
Posted by Crash (Member # 7484) on :
 
I was surprised how sensitively done Breezy was. Eastwood was well on his way to being a great director even back then. The 70s were the best years for American movies, no doubt about that. I don't think that we will ever see those days again with lots of intelligent, creative, unique films, unlike today's lot of copycat blockbusters and stuff aimed at 14-year-olds.

Homicide is like Midnight Caller in a lot of ways. On its surface, it looks like a standard police procedural. But when you watch it you, see that it just uses the police show setting as a framework to do so much more. Like something written by Dostoyevsky, it plays out themes of life, death, and the human experience. Great show too.

You're going to be sad when you finish season three and won't have anymore MC episodes to experience for the first time. For anybody reading this thread, once again, if you want to see one of the most intelligent, emotional, and beautifully realized American TV shows of all time, don't fear these faded VHS rips. The show transcends its tatty on-line existence.
 
Posted by Nostalgic for the '80's (Member # 37454) on :
 
Finished S02 & am starting S03. Here are some S02 reviews:

S02, E14 "Kid Salinas" - this dealt with illegal immigrants in the boxing world. Extremely well-done - and, as with this entire series- this topic/issue is actually as relevant now - if not more relevant - than it was when the episode was first released.

S02, Ep 15-16 "A Snitch in Time" Parts 1-2: These are two of the best episodes in the entire series. These dealt with Jack being accused of a crime he didn't commit due to his being in the wrong place at the wrong time; and also due to an opportunistic criminal who tried to benefit herself by having Jack take the fall. Very scary, and it was obvious that if Jack didn't have friends who supported/helped him & a good idea of how the criminal justice system worked (due to his having been an LE officer), there's a good chance he would have gone to prison for this crime.

These 2 episodes just made me think of all of the times I read a news story about someone who was convicted of something they didn't do - and, who doesn't have the resources (either financial or otherwise) to fight this. Maybe some of these people will have their convictions eventually overturned, but not before losing long years - and their mental & physical health - in the prison system.

S02, E18 "Wrong Side of the Wall" - this episode dealt with an older guy who had gotten out of prison after years of being on the inside - and found himself with no job, no resources, and no friends. Against his better judgement, he takes up with some criminals; somehow Jack gets involved, and tries to help him. Again, superb episode that really sheds light on the plight of the prisoners (especially the non-violent offenders) who get out of prison & have no recourse on the outside. After seeing this episode, it makes you understand why so many of these former prisoners end up back inside after having been released.....

I definitely agree that many people in prison deserve to be there & off the streets. However, the above three episodes really makes you think about the CJ system from a perspective that isn't usually presented to us.

S02, E22 "Nighthawk's got the blues" - this is the season finale. Jack is going through a difficult time in this episode, as he thinks back to his time with Tina as her birthday is coming up; he ends up taking out his anger/frustration on his listeners & friends. There are a lot of flashbacks to Tina in this episode - very touching & sad.

Also wanted to mention at how impressed I was at the portrayal of Jack & Tina's relationship - after she came back into his life. Though it was obvious they loved each other, it also obviously wasn't physical at that point (due to her illness) - however, you could see that they both cared about each other, and Jack was very upset when she left. I agree that Kay Lenz is an amazing actress; the performance that she gave in the few episodes she was in was incredible, and in the hands of a lesser actress this would have fallen short. However, she was spot-on with her acting here, and was extremely convincing as someone who both cared about Jack - but also didn't want him to see her getting worse....

quote:
Originally posted by Crash:
I was surprised how sensitively done Breezy was. Eastwood was well on his way to being a great director even back then. The 70s were the best years for American movies, no doubt about that. I don't think that we will ever see those days again with lots of intelligent, creative, unique films, unlike today's lot of copycat blockbusters and stuff aimed at 14-year-olds.

Agreed. Breezy was an amazing film. I am amazed at how many great films came out in the '70's - in many cases, I discovered (and am still discovering) these for the first time on home video. Thankfully we have DVD's & Blu-ray's - otherwise, I would never have even heard of many of the films.

[ 19. March 2017, 19:19: Message edited by: Nostalgic for the '80's ]
 
Posted by Crash (Member # 7484) on :
 
Was there ever a bad episode of Midnight Caller? I don't think so!

Nft80s, once you finish the run of Midnight Caller, can I hook you on a 90s series that lasted only one season, was thoughtful and brilliant, and has never been released on DVD? Hint: It ran on the fledgling Fox TV Network.
 
Posted by Nostalgic for the '80's (Member # 37454) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Crash:
Was there ever a bad episode of Midnight Caller? I don't think so!

Nft80s, once you finish the run of Midnight Caller, can I hook you on a 90s series that lasted only one season, was thoughtful and brilliant, and has never been released on DVD? Hint: It ran on the fledgling Fox TV Network.

No problem at all. I am actually on the third season of MC, and am slowly making my way through this. I don't want it to end too soon [Smile]
 


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