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Friday, March 23, 2018

TV Revivals Are All the Rage

Written by Jon Williams

Next week, on Tuesday, March 27, Roseanne will return to television screens. The beloved sitcom originally ran for nine seasons from 1988 through 1997. Now it’s coming back with a nine-episode season that will feature the show’s original cast—which creates some interesting dilemmas, since two actresses played the character of Becky (the second, Sarah Chalke, will appear as a different character) and Dan, played by John Goodman, died in the original final season of the show (he’s back). Other familiar faces returning to the show include Laurie Metcalf, fresh off her Academy Award nomination for Lady Bird, Sandra Bernhard, Big Bang Theory star Johnny Galecki, and, of course, Roseanne Barr herself.

Television is widely considered to be in a new golden age, with an incredible amount of high-quality content being created. With the rise of streaming services producing shows of their own in addition to more traditional cable and broadcast channels, competition for viewers is at an all-time high, and the television industry is frequently looking to the past to fill its slate. Everything old is new again as reboots and revivals, like Roseanne, are popping up everywhere. Another popular sitcom that has returned is Will & Grace, which originally aired from 1998 through 2006. After a ten-minute one-off proved to be wildly popular in 2016, the show was brought back to series in the fall of 2017. The first revival season will come to a close next week, and the show has already been renewed for a second and third season. Likewise, Full House, which ran from 1987 through 1995, has been brought back as Fuller House, following the adult lives of the characters who were children in the original show. The new show is three seasons in and going strong.

The phenomenon isn’t limited to sitcoms. Earlier this week, the second revival season of The X-Files came to a close. Originally running from 1993 to 2002, the sci-fi series about a pair of FBI agents tracking down leads on alien visitation was brought back for a six-episode limited event series in 2016 before this year’s ten-episode set. With Gillian Anderson bowing out and David Duchovny open to returning, it’s unclear if the show will continue further. In the drama category, Twin Peaks was also revived for a limited event series in 2017 following two seasons in 1990-91 and the movie Fire Walk with Me in 1992. And the dramedy series Gilmore Girls was brought back for the four-episode miniseries A Year in the Life in 2016 following its original seven-season run from 2000 through 2007.

And there are more revivals in the works. It was recently announced that Murphy Brown will be back on television later this year, with Candice Bergen and the show’s original cast returning to explore the state of television journalism in the current climate. Although nothing has been finalized, Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt are in talks to team back up for new episodes of Mad About You, nineteen years after that show’s seeming end. And don’t forget about reboots, in which series concepts are reused in different, usually updated circumstances, starting with a new cast. Some of those we can look forward to include Cagney & Lacey, Magnum P.I., Charmed, The Greatest American Hero, and Lost in Space, not to mention recent rumours about Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

With all of these classic shows returning to small screens in one form or another, and more sure to follow, patrons will be looking for the original shows to catch up or just to relive old favourites. You can find them on our website, and count on us to bring you the revivals and reboots as they become available. Are there any other series no longer on the air that you’d like to see brought back? If so, keep the faith—it just might happen!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Joan Baez Takes a Bow

Written by Jon Williams

Iconic folk singer Joan Baez has had a long and illustrious career, commemorated with her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017. Now she’s ready for her swan song. The legendary artist has a new album out today, Whistle Down the Wind, her first in ten years. To go along with it, she has embarked on an extensive world tour, starting today in Stockholm and running through November in California. Aptly named the Fare Thee Well tour, it will be her final time going out on the road.

Baez was interested in music from an early age, and was set on her path young when she attended a Pete Seeger concert in 1954. She gave her own first performance in 1958, and a pair of duets with Bob Gibson at the Newport Music Festival in 1959 led to a record deal. Her self-titled debut album was released the following year. She followed it up with Joan Baez, Vol. 2 in 1961. Those albums both attained gold status, as did her 1962 live album, Joan Baez in Concert. Other albums to reach this sales mark are Any Day Now (1968), Blessed Are… (1971), and Diamonds and Rust (1975).

Throughout her career, Baez was influenced by such artists as Pete Seeger and Odetta, and she passed that influence on to a number of other musicians. Her performances with and recording of songs by Bob Dylan were a major factor in his career taking off, and she has been cited as an influence by such artists as Joni Mitchell, Bonnie Raitt, and Emmylou Harris. Although Baez is a songwriter, she is quite well known for songs written by others, including the Band’s “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” and Phil Ochs’s “There but for Fortune.”

She experienced her peak popularity during the tumultuous 1960s, when her music was associated with the civil rights movement and protest of the Vietnam War. Although she slowed down some as the years went on, Baez has continued to record and perform in the intervening years, releasing a total of 25 studio albums, as well as a number of live albums, compilations, and soundtracks. Her previous most recent, Day After Tomorrow, came out in 2008. What has not slowed down is her involvement with a number of causes and issues, including LGBT rights, the environment, and opposition to the death penalty. In 2011, she was honoured by Amnesty International with the naming of the annual Joan Baez Award, recognizing artists in any media who “contribute to the advancement of human rights.”

With her work being so closely associated with protest, it is certainly fitting for her to be in the limelight one final time in our current environment. Make sure you have Whistle Down the Wind on your shelves for longtime Joan Baez fans to check out and enjoy, and shed light on her illustrious career with copies of her previous albums as well. SmartBrowse her name on our website to find more, and make sure your patrons know that her new album and her extensive discography are available 24/7 with no waiting on hoopla!