Mailbag: Hunting for ‘Good Guys,’ football times

By Rich Heldenfels
Beacon Popular Culture Writer

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Alex O'Loughlin as McGarrett reflects after participating in traditional Hawaiian paddle-out following a shocking death, during an episode of Hawaii Five-O. (Norman Shapiro/CBS)

If it’s Thursday, this must be the mailbag.

Q: Does Alex O’Loughlin from “Hawaii Five-0” really have those tattoos on his arms? I saw him in “The Back-Up Plan” and he did not have them. Are they only for his TV character?

A: O’Loughlin, who plays Steve McGarrett on the CBS show, is significantly inked even when not playing the crimefighter. Fans have been talking about his tattoos going back at least to his breakthrough role on the vampire drama Moonlight in 2007-08. A report on Buddytv.com at that time said he was “inked on each forearm, on each shoulder, over his right nipple and one on his lower back.” He has added additional temporary tattoos for some roles, and covered them up for others.

Q: I read your recent answer about shows being canceled or moved but I am still perplexed. “The Good Wife” was moved to a Sunday evening slot. Since that move, the time for the show is always a guess. Because of the sports showing, it is never possible to completely know when the game will be over so it is never possible to be sure that “The Good Wife” will be on when it is supposed to be on. I can’t understand why such a popular show would be put into a position like that.

A: This is not just an issue for The Good Wife; it has involved all of CBS’ and Fox’s Sunday lineups during the football season (which, you may be glad to know, is almost over).

Live events running long have always been a challenge for programmers. And that challenge is most evident on Sunday nights with late-afternoon football games, Fox customarily has set aside the 7 p.m. half-hour on Sundays for football run-overs. CBS would “slide” its prime-time lineup to a starting time following the end of football. But things got more complicated this season when the NFL put the starting time of the second doubleheader game at 4:25 p.m. instead of the previous 4:15 p.m., possibly pushing the game’s end later as well.

To deal with that, CBS announced that on doubleheader Sundays, it would start all of its programs a half-hour later than usual, so 60 Minutes was at 7:30 instead of 7 p.m., and so on. But there was still no guarantee that the football game would end on time, so CBS added onscreen graphics to its Sunday-night telecasts with updated start times for the shows; it also let viewers sign up for notifications by email or text message. But you don’t have that information until Sunday night. The best bet for viewers is to record their favorites starting at the scheduled time but then extended well past the scheduled conclusion in order to catch all of the show.

Q: There was a show on Fox in 2010 called “The Good Guys” with Bradley Whitford and Colin Hanks that was canceled after the first season. Are there plans to release this series on DVD or Blu-ray? It’s available on Amazon.com and iTunes for download, but I would like to have it on disc if possible. I can’t understand why some shows that don’t even play out 10 episodes come out on disc right away while others like “The Good Guys” who had 20 episodes still are not released.

A: TV shows — and movies, for that matter — do not get to DVD or Blu-ray for a variety of reasons. Science-fiction and fantasy shows tend to end up on video, no matter how few episodes were made, because the audience for that genre will buy almost anything that becomes available; other shows, where the demand is not so certain or proves limited, do not do as well, and even some long-running series stopped coming out on DVD after their first sets were poor sellers. At the same time, even some beloved shows don’t make the move because of some kind of rights issue, such as getting permission to use certain music, or the cost of obtaining those rights. Finally, the way of the future appears to be not disc but through online providers and downloads. The Good Guys has gone into a lot of online venues. Besides the two you mentioned, it is also on Netflix.

Do you have a question or comment for the mailbag? Write to the Akron Beacon Journal, 44 E. Exchange St., Akron, OH 44309 or rheldenfels@thebeaconjournal.com. Please mark the email or envelope with “mailbag.” Letters may be edited for publication. Please do not phone in questions. Individual replies cannot be guaranteed.

Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal and in the HeldenFiles Online blog at www.ohio.com/blogs/heldenfiles. He is also on Twitter and Facebook.


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