Hank is back. . .

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WARNING — The following “As The D.J. Turns” post contains spoilers regarding “Chicago P.D.” If you haven’t seen Wednesday’s (Sept. 21) season four premiere of the show, look away.

When we left “Chicago P.D.” last May, I thought fans of the show were treated to one of the best season finales of any show in recent years.
Sergeant Hank Voight (Jason Beghe), commander of the Chicago Police Department’s intelligence squad, was seen in the final moments ready to extract revenge on the man who killed his son.
The story resumed Wednesday night as Commander Emma Crowley (Barbara Eve Harris), who is the boss of the CPD’s 21st District which the intelligence unit runs out of and who Voight answers to, is right on his heels about Voight’s actions on that rainy night.
Crowley grills Detective Erin Lindsay (Sophia Bush) about Voight. In the season finale, we saw Lindsay drive off crying after leaving Voight just moments before what likely happened, happened.
As those who watch the show regularly know, Lindsay owes Voight big time. He took her in at 15 from an unstable family life and with a long list of problems including addiction.
At the end of Wednesday’s episode, Voight has not had to answer for his actions, yet. Lindsay didn’t tell Crowley anything. It was sort of anticlimactic. But they weren’t going to haul off Voight to jail in the season premiere. The character of Voight is the foundation of this show. I firmly believe his actions will come back to haunt him, if not this season, in seasons to come.
The rest of the episode dealt with the intelligence unit investigating a murder caused by the actions of an overly aggressive narcotics detective. And Kim Burgess (Marina Squerciati) spends an eventful day with her new partner Julie Tay (Li Jun Li). That should be an interesting partnership as the season progresses.

UNTIL NEXT TIME. . .

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Some new faces on ‘NCIS’

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I am a huge fan of “NCIS” and was anxious to see the introduction of the new characters on last night’s (Tuesday, Sept. 20) season premiere.
Wilmer Valderrama (“That ’70s Show”) is now NCIS special agent Nick Torres. He was an undercover agent on assignment and what he was doing in Argentina is connected to a crime back in the Washington, D.C. area that Gibbs (Mark Harmon), McGee (Sean Murray) and Bishop (Emily Wickersham) are sent to investigate.
Torres has been undercover for quite a long time and it shows. It will be interesting to see how he fits in with the team as the season progresses.
Jennifer Esposito (“Spin City”, “Blue Bloods”) plays Alexandra Quinn, who trains new NCIS agents and finds herself working on this case and on the team at the end of the episode.
I’m not saying this is a bad thing. Quinn is a quirky character and I got the impression she’ll be filling the role that was left by DiNozzo, when Michael Weatherly left the program last spring.
Also, those who were fans of the program “JAG”, which “NCIS” is a spin-off of, will get a pleasant surprise. As I have said before, I don’t want to give away too much for those who haven’t seen the episode yet.
I am of the firm believe that television shows that don’t change directions every now and then, will go stale. It was just the first episode last night, but I like the direction “NCIS” is going so far.

UNTIL NEXT TIME. . .

It’s that day of the week again!

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Cancel the mail, pack your suitcase and put on your neck pillow, it’s time to go traveling via tonight’s (Wednesday, Sept. 21) travel programs on WYCC-TV in Chicago.

7:30 p.m. — “Travels with Darley” — This week it’s a trip to Arkansas, South Carolina and Kentucky. Highlights include caving in Kentucky and viewing classic Corvettes in the Bowling Green, Ky.

8 p.m. — “Rick Steves’ Europe” — It’s the first part of Rick’s three-part series on how to have a fun, affordable and enlightening European vacation.

8:30 p.m. — “Joseph Rosendo’s Travelscope” — Joseph visits Scotland.

9 p.m. — “Globe Trekker” — This week’s adventure is a boat tour of the Amazon. You’ll get to see a remote rain forest in Peru and Iaquitos, which is the largest city in the Peruvian Amazon, and the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve.

A SECOND POSTING WILL COME ALONG SHORTLY. . .

The outcome was known too soon. . .

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WARNING — There are potential spoilers here regarding the film “Hell or High Water” and if you want to see the film and not know any sort of detail, I suggest you pick out another of my postings to read or what I like to call, “The best of ‘As The D.J. Turns.'”

I will admit that I am so sort of a film weenie. I like movies with characters that can be liked and endings that are happy or at the very least are unpredictable. I go to the movies to be entertained and uplifted. If I want darkness, I’ll watch television news.
But I was intrigued by “Hell or High Water” when its teaser ran in the coming attractions of a movie I saw earlier this summer.
It tells an important story. That story is the current state of the American economy is good for some and just lousy for others.
Brothers Toby Howard (Chris Pine) and Tanner Howard (Ben Foster) have known nothing but hard times since they were young. However, their current state of affairs is especially rough. The bank will foreclose on the family ranch in West Texas if back property taxes and the mortgage are not paid up by a certain day.
They are not the only ones hurting. Throughout “Hell or High Water”, we see towns with plenty of boarded up buildings and for sale signs.
Toby and Tanner go on a bank robbery spree to come up with the money. Tanner is definitely the most violent of the two. He was recently released from prison and wants to save the ranch. But he wants to raise some hell too. The reason he went to prison is important, but I don’t want to spoil this crucial detail.
Toby is a man trying to right the wrongs he has done. He wants to save the ranch and sell it for the oil rights and give his sons the life he never had. He is not a criminal. He’s just a desperate man.
“Hell or High Water”, directed by David Mackenzie and written by Taylor Sheridan, is a solid story. Now others might have a different reaction, but at a certain point in the film, way too early, I just knew it wasn’t going to end well for Tanner. And it didn’t.
And at the same point, I sensed, again way too early, it was going to work out for Toby. And even though Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) later comes to the saved ranch at the film’s conclusion and vows to get Toby even though Hamilton is now retired, circumstances that you will see in the movie will give, at least to me, the strong impression that Toby is free and clear.
No acting performances stand out, but they are solid especially Pine’s. His Toby is a man of desperation and quiet determination to make things right for those he has wronged.
I hope that Giles Nuttgens is on the nominee list this coming February for best cinematography at the Oscars. The story is set in West Texas, but a published report said the movie was filmed in New Mexico.
His work makes the desolation of the area and the towns in it more pronounced than it already is and that I think that adds to the desperation of the characters.

RATING — ** and 1/2 stars

UNTIL NEXT TIME. . .

Pack your bags, it’s Wednesday!

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I hope to blog more regularly soon. Things have been busy and the new TV season is just around the corner. But I will always present every Wednesday, my TV travel program preview for WYCC-TV in Chicago. The schedule below is for Wednesday, Sept. 14.

7:30 p.m. — “Travels With Darley” — The focus this week is on Belgium and the program spotlights the music, nature, food and culture of Dinant, Namur, Mons, Bastogne and Waterloo.

8 p.m. — “Rick Steves’ Europe” — Rick concludes his tour of Venice, Italy with more art treasures and hidden wonders.

8:30 p.m. — “Joseph Rosendo’s Travelscope” — Joseph is in Fredricksburg, Texas, a town with a deep-rooted German heritage. Joseph enjoys a barbecque, German beer tasting, wine sampling and guitar picking.

9 p.m. — “Globe Trekker” — It’s the story of tea with stops in southeast China, Japan, Taiwan, England, Bangladesh, India, Morocco and Myanmar.

UNTIL NEXT TIME. . .

Where do you want to go today?

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It’s another Wednesday (Sept. 7) and it’s time for another preview of the TV travel programs scheduled for tonight on WYCC-TV in Chicago.

7:30 p.m. — “Travels With Darley” — Tonight’s stop is Belgium. A visit to Brussels includes the annual jazz festival there along with a look at Art Deco architecture and plenty of Belgian chocolate. Also spotlighted on the program is the Ardennes region with visits to breweries, bakeries and markets in Liege and medieval Durbuy.

8 p.m. — “Rick Steves’ Europe” — It’s the first of two parts exploring Venice, Italy. Highlights include masterpieces of the Venetian Renaissance and cruising the Grand Canal.

8:30 p.m. — ‘Joseph Rosendo’s Travelscope” — Joseph continues his visit to Thailand. He checks out the beaches of the Krabi Peninsula and the infamous Golden Triangle border of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos.

9 p.m. — “Globe Trekker” — This episode explores Hawaii and all its islands.

UNTIL NEXT TIME. . .

The 1970s continues to live on. . .

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The program “That 70s Show” aired on Fox from 1998 to 2006 and was the story of Eric and his pals Hyde, Kelso, Fez, Donna and Jackie as they were growing up between 1976 and 1980 in the fictional suburban town of Point Place, Wisconsin.
The cable channel IFC, which was added to my basic cable package earlier this year, airs the show and recently I got reacquainted with some of my favorite episodes.
The following is a top 10 list of my favorite episodes in seasonal order. There are from the first four seasons. I didn’t enjoy the show after that. I didn’t think it was as funny or good as the first four seasons.

1. “That ’70s Pilot” (Season 1) — Red Foreman gives his son, Eric, the keys to the Vista Cruiser and a legend is born.

2. “Streaking” (Season 1) — The guys decide to go streaking at a rally when President Ford comes to Point Place. Donna deals with wearing an American flag jumpsuit her dad, Bob, makes her wear at the rally.

3. “The Pill” (Season 1) — Jackie thinks she’s pregnant by Kelso. It was a funny and intelligent way to bring a social topic, teen pregnancy, to the show.

4. “Water Tower” (Season 1) — The gang tries to paint a pot leave on the town water tower. Kelso falls and when Eric goes to get his mom, Kitty, a nurse to come and help, he interrupts Red and Kitty. Well, I think you know what I mean.

5. “Holy Crap!” (Season 2) — Kitty can’t get Eric and his sister, Laurie, to go to church.

6. “Eric Gets Suspended (Season 2) — Eric gets caught holding one of Donna’s cigarettes. And Red really turns on the discipline!

7. “Canadian Road Trip” (Season 3) — The boys head to Canada to buy beer. They are stopped by Canadian customs and their rendition of the country’s national anthem “O Canada” is one of the series’ funniest moments.

8. “Eric’s Panties” (Season 3) — Donna finds a pair of panties in the Vista Cruiser and they don’t belong to her. The final moments contain one of the series’ funniest moments as well.

9. “Prank Day” (Season 4) — The guys all try to outrank each other. It doesn’t end well.

10. “The Class Picture (Season 4) — The crew look back on how they met each other. At the end of the episode is a yearbook page that shows what the gang were “most likely to.” Very funny.

Visit ifc.com to see when the show airs.

UNTIL NEXT TIME. . .

It’s that time of the week again!

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There are lots of places to see tonight (Wednesday, Aug. 30) with the lineup of TV travel programs on WYCC-TV in Chicago.

7:30 p.m. — “Travels With Darley” — This week’s stop is Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Check out wild horses at the Assateague Island National Seashore and a rural farm that makes ice cream. Other highlights include the beaches of Ocean City, Berlin and St. Michaels.

8 p.m. — “Rick Steves’ Europe” — Rick visits North England’s Lake District and Durham. The region is home to lakes, waterfalls, a slate mine and stony summits. There’s also Hadrian’s Wall and Durham Cathedral.

8:30 p.m. — “Joseph Rosendo’s Travelscopre” — Joseph is in Bangkok, Thailand and gets to see morning Buddhist rituals and an up-to-date wellness center. He visits a Thai market and sees how monks alms bowls are crafted and how Thai coffee is roasted at a 100-year-old Chinese market.

9 p.m. — “Globe Trekker” — You might want to keep a coat handy. The program heads to Antarctica. There’s kayaking and penguin watching in Paradise Harbor. One also gets to view Ukrainian biologists in Port Lockrov and an attempt to scale Mt. Scott. Other highlights are crossing the Drake Pass to South America and seeing the plight of the Adelie penguin with the help of U.S. Scientists at Palmer Station.

UNTIL NEXT TIME. . .

A singer who is moving forward. . .

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I had enjoyed my friend and former work colleague Ted Slowik’s album “Comfort Zone.” I thought it was an excellent work from the first song to the last and I was impressed with my first experience with his music.
When Ted announced earlier this year that he was producing another album, I was looking forward to what he was going to do.
Well, “Second Chance” landed in my mailbox yesterday and it was worth the wait. If to use baseball expressions consider “Comfort Zone” an RBI double. Consider “Second Chance” to be a home run.
This is one body of impressive work.
Ted has always been a great songwriter and singer and is adept at drawing from his own experiences. But his musical versatility, at least to me, stands out more in “Second Chance.”
The listener can feel reflective in listening to “Perfect”, “Back To You” or “Sand Castles.” “America” is a rocking, fun look at this nation. “Could Be Heaven” has a distinct country feel to it and “Act of God” definitely feels R and B.
The overall sound of “Second Chance” is seamless with not only Ted, but with the efforts of those musicians who worked with him on the album. They include Kev Wright on electric and acoustic guitars, Luke Smith on drums, Johnny Gadeikis on bass, Jason Botka on keyboards and harmonica, Katie Bern on fiddle and Jennifer Botka on vocals.
For more information on Ted, visit his website, tedslowikmusic.com. If you have a chance to see him perform live, do so.

RATING — ****

UNTIL NEXT TIME. . .

Take a trip tonight without leaving your home. . .

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It’s Wednesday (Aug. 24) and that means another lineup of TV travel programs scheduled for tonight on WYCC-TV in Chicago.
Another program has been added to the station’s lineup.

7:30 p.m. — “Travels with Darley” — Take a trip to the Guadeloupe Islands in the French Caribbean. Watch as people hike a volcano, snorkel the Jacques Cousteau Reserve and shop in the markets.

8 p.m. — “Rick Steves’ Europe” — Rick is in London where he stops at Westminster Abbey, the British Library and Winston Churchill’s secret World War II headquarters. He also learns how to triple the calories of an English scone at tea time and takes in the evening scene of Soho.

8:30 p.m. — “Joseph Rosendo’s Travelscope” — Joseph is in the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg for Fasnet, a carnival that dates back 500 years.

9 p.m. — “Globe Trekker” — Even if you are in front of the TV, you might want to get out your winter coat as this episode is a tour of Siberia. On the docket are the towns of Tobolksk and Labytnangi along with the gas fields of Novy Urengoy and Bovanenkovo. Also on the program are sites associated with Stalin’s reign of terror.

UNTIL NEXT TIME. . .