Monday, January 26, 2015
This Week in Television History: January 2015 PART V
Listen to me on TV CONFIDENTIAL:
As always, the further we go back in Hollywood history, the more that fact and legend become intertwined. It's hard to say where the truth really lies.
January 27, 1980
Galactica 1980 first aired.
A spin-off from the original Battlestar Galactica television series. It was first broadcast on the ABC network in the United States from January 27 to May 4, 1980, lasting for 10 episodes. Set during the year 1980, and a generation after the original series, the Galactica and its fleet of 220 civilian ships have finally discovered Earth, only to find that its people are not as scientifically advanced and that the planet can neither defend itself against the Cylons nor help the Galactica as originally hoped. Therefore, teams of Colonial warriors arecovertly sent to the planet to work incognito with various members of the scientific community, hoping to advance Earth's technology.
Commander Adama and Colonel Boomer — now second-in-command — on the advice of Doctor Zee, a teenage prodigy serving as Adama's counsellor, sends Captain Troy, who is the adopted son of Adama's own son Apollo, and Lieutenant Dillon to North America, where they become entangled with TV journalist Jamie Hamilton. After an initial, epictime travel adventure to Nazi Germany in the 1940s (to stop rebel Galactican Commander Xavier, trying to change the future to improve Earth's technology level), the three friends devise ways to help Earth's scientists and outwit the Cylons in the present day. Meanwhile, Adama sends a group of children from the Galactica fleet (the Super Scouts) to Earth in order to begin the process of integrating with the population. However, due to differences in gravity and physiology, the children must deal with the fact they have nearly super-human powers on Earth.
The fates of several characters from the original series are explained during the course of the series. Apollo is apparently dead, the cause of his seeming death not addressed. Starbuck was marooned on a desert planet, although the script for the episode "The Wheel of Fire" (unfilmed at the time of cancellation) indicated that Starbuck was eventually rescued from the planet by the inhabitants of the Ships of Light and became one of their inhabitants. Captain Troy is revealed to be Boxey, and Lt. Boomer has risen to the rank of Colonel and has become Adama's second in command. Baltar was apparently rescued from the planet he was marooned on in "Hand of God", and is now Commandant Baltar of the Cylon fleet pursuing the Galacticans. The fates of several other characters, including Adama's daughter Athena, Colonel Tigh, Starbuck's girlfriend Cassiopeia, and Muffit the robot dog are not revealed. These characters are absent from the second series.
January 27, 1980
Tenspeed and Brown Shoe preimered on the ABC network.
The series was created and executive produced by Stephen J. Cannell. The one-hour program revolved around two detectives who had their own detective agency in Los Angeles. E. L. ("Early Leroy") "Tenspeed" Turner (Ben Vereen) was a hustler who worked as a detective to satisfy his parole requirements. His partner Lionel "Brownshoe" Whitney (Jeff Goldblum) was an archetypal accountant, complete with button-down collars and a nagging fiancee (at least for the pilot episode), who had always wanted to be a 1940s-style Bogart P.I. A running joke was his penchant for reading a series of hard-boiled crime novels, sub-titled, "A Mark Savage Mystery", written by Stephen J. Cannell (though he never wrote such a series of novels), with Goldblum reading particularly purple passages in voice-over. He was sharper than he seemed, although a little naïve and more reasonable than his career path demanded, and had picked up karate to Black Belt standard.
This was the first series to come from Stephen J. Cannell Productions as an independent company (it was distributed throughParamount Television, one of only two such collaborations - the other was Riptide) and is also the only one not to carry the famed Cannell logo on any episodes, having "A Stephen J. Cannell Production" appearing in-credit (the logo was introduced in 1981 whenThe Greatest American Hero began airing). It was heavily promoted by ABC at the time it premiered in late January 1980. The series attracted a substantial audience for its first few episodes (indeed, the series was the 29th most-watched program of the 1979–80 U.S. television season, according to Nielsen ratings), but viewership dropped off substantially after that and the series was not renewed for the 1980–81 season.
January 28, 1985
American recording artists gather to record We Are the World.
"We Are the World" is a song and charity single originally recorded by the supergroup USA for Africa in 1985. It was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, and produced by Quincy Jones and Michael Omartian for the album We Are the World. With sales in excess of 20 million copies, it is one of the fewer than 30 all-time singles to have sold at least 10 million copies worldwide.
Following Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?" project in the UK, an idea for the creation of an American benefit single for African famine relief came from activist Harry Belafonte, who, along with fundraiser Ken Kragen, was instrumental in bringing the vision to reality. Several musicians were contacted by the pair, before Jackson and Richie were assigned the task of writing the song. The duo completed the writing of "We Are the World" seven weeks after the release of "Do They Know Its Christmas", and one night before the song's first recording session, on January 21, 1985. (The last recording session for the song was held on January 28, 1985.) The historic event brought together some of the most famous artists in the music industry at the time.
The song was released on March 7, 1985, as the only single from the album. A worldwide commercial success, it topped music charts throughout the world and became the fastest-selling American pop single in history. The first ever single to be certified multi-platinum, "We Are the World" received a Quadruple Platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of America. However, the song garnered mixed reviews from journalists, music critics, and the public. Fans enjoyed hearing racially and musically diverse recording artists singing together on one track, and felt satisfied in buying "We Are the World", knowing that the money was going to charity. Other individuals, including many commentators in the rock press, were disappointed that the song did not challenge listeners as to why famines occur in the first place, and felt that the lyrics were self-aggrandizing.
Awarded numerous honors—including three Grammy Awards, one American Music Award, and a People's Choice Award—the song was promoted with a critically received music video, a home video, a special edition magazine, a simulcast, and several books, posters, and shirts. The promotion and merchandise aided the success of "We Are the World" and raised over $63 million for humanitarian aid in Africa and the US.
Following the devastation caused by the magnitude 7.0 Mw earthquake in Haiti on January 12, 2010, a remake of the song by another all-star cast of singers was recorded on February 1, 2010. Entitled "We Are the World 25 for Haiti", it was released as a single on February 12, 2010, and proceeds from the record aided survivors in the impoverished country.