Pop culture Q&A
By Rich Heldenfels
Q. Why did Steve Burton leave “General Hospital” after so many years and go to “The Young and The Restless”?
A. According to Burton, those were two separate decisions. He told “Access Hollywood” that he decided to leave “General Hospital” late in 2012 to focus more on producing programming, to spend more time with his family and to move from Los Angeles to Nashville. He also needed a break from the daytime-drama grind. After about three months off, he was approached by Jill Farren Phelps, a Burton friend and former “GH” producer who now is executive producer of “Y&R”; she both had a role and was willing to have him spend most of his time in Nashville between trips to LA to make the soap.
Phelps told TV Guide that she also managed to get Burton by offering him a significantly different kind of character from complicated hit man Jason Morgan, his “GH” role. On “Y&R,” the magazine said, Burton plays Dylan McAvoy, the formerly presumed-dead ex-lover of Avery Clark (Jessica Collins). Said Phelps: “Dylan is a war veteran who was greatly traumatized by what happened to him in Afghanistan. He was severely injured and was rescued by a family who helped him recuperate.”
Q. I’ve read that “Breaking Bad” will be returning for one last season. Could you tell me when this might happen?
A. Part of it already has. AMC has split the last season into two parts. Eight episodes aired in the summer of 2012. The remaining eight are due this coming summer, according to AMC; “Breaking” co-star Aaron Paul tweeted not long ago that those last episodes will begin airing July 14.
Q. David Janssen was one of my favorite actors. He was in a movie in 1973 called “Birds of Prey.” I have had no luck finding it on DVD? Any help?
A. The made-for-TV movie starred Janssen as Harry Walker, “a World War II ace turned traffic reporter for a Salt Lake City radio station,” says Alvin H. Marill’s book “Movies Made for Television.” While on the job, Walker observes a bank robbery and begins to pursue the robbers. (This should not be confused with the TV series “Birds of Prey,” also on DVD.)
Amazon.com lists a DVD of the Janssen “Birds of Prey” from 2005, although customer comments indicate the ’40s music from the original soundtrack has been deleted. And that release does not appear to still be in print; even a used copy on Amazon will cost at least $79.95, and a new copy is considerably more expensive.
Q. TV is a wasteland except for “Major Crimes” (on cable, and I only have broadcast TV) and “NCIS” and British comedies and drama. Comedies are trash, dramas are boring and for morons. Why is current network programming so mindless? Where is the “Law & Order” of today?
A. Your note mentioned that you do not have cable, so I will somewhat forgive you for not acknowledging such acclaimed cable dramas as “Mad Men,” “Justified,” “Game of Thrones,” “Homeland” and “Breaking Bad”; comedies ranging from “Louie” to “Hot in Cleveland” and online breakthroughs such as “House of Cards” on Netflix. Still, broadcast is better than you think, especially since it still includes one of the “Law & Order” series, “Special Victims Unit” and NBC’s “Chicago Fire,” from the creator of “Law & Order.”
There are entertaining and intelligent dramas including “The Good Wife” on CBS, “Bones” on Fox and “Nashville” on ABC. As for comedy, I almost always enjoy “How I Met Your Mother,” “Modern Family,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “Community,” among other shows.
Sure, there are bad shows on the air. Always are. That doesn’t make TV unique.
As the writer Theodore Sturgeon said when told that 90 percent of science fiction is crud, “90 percent of everything is crud.” But, as I often have said, someone who approaches TV with an open mind can find good things, too. I certainly do.
2013 Akron Beacon Journal
Distributed by MCT Information Services
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