Quick Hits: November 8

  • Stranger Things Day wrapped up with this video filmed at the retail pop-up store in Los Angeles, featuring the adorable Randy Havens (he plays Scott Clarke in the series).
  • Dexter: New Blood premiered last night on Showtime. Star Michael C. Hall and showrunner Clyde Phillips, who left the original series after its spectacular fourth season, have promised to atone for the series finale (yes, it really is that bad). The bottom line for me, I will always be here for Dexter Morgan; Hall’s portrayal of the serial killer has been riveting from the start, even when the storylines were a mess. Anyway, the first episode of New Blood didn’t blow me away, but I still enjoyed being back in Dexter’s world.
  • Joni Mitchell – born Roberta Joan Anderson – celebrated her seventy-eighth birthday yesterday. Mitchell is one of the most influential artists in the history of popular music, inspiring songwriters of ALL genres, from Bob Dylan to Bonnie Raitt, Prince to Björk, Tool to Taylor Swift. Mitchell is also a painter, and did the artwork for most of her album covers. Her 1971 masterpiece, Blue, is quite simply one of the greatest albums ever made – by any artist, in any genre.
  • ABBA has released Voyage, their first album in forty years, and it is lovely.
  • The Wicked movie is finally happening! The adaptation will be directed by Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians); Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo will star as Glinda and Elphaba, respectively.
  • The trailer for the Station Eleven limited series reminded me that I’d never gotten around to reading the book. Now I’ve broken my COVID-era rule about avoiding post-apocalyptic pandemic material, but it’s incredibly well-written.
  • Days of Our Lives premiered on this day in 1965. Set in fictional Salem, Illinois, Days charts the lives and loves of the Brady and Horton families. I watched Days for many years after being turned on to it by my college roomie/bestie Shari; we’d schedule our classes around it when we could. My final semester in college, a group of friends and I would meet every Friday to eat lunch at noon, watch Days at one and then head to the bar at two. It was a simpler time. Days had a broader pop-culture moment in the mid-90’s when Friends character Joey Tribbiani got a job playing neurosurgeon Dr. Drake Ramoray on the show. Joey was fired for smack-talking the Days writers (Drake took a fall down an elevator shaft) but he returned several years later and played Dr. Ramoray for the remainder of Friends‘ run.
  • Alfre Woodard is celebrating her birthday today. Adept at drama and comedy, Woodard is one of my favorite actors, giving brilliant performance after brilliant performance. The winner of four Emmys, a Golden Globe and three Screen Actors Guild Awards, Woodard has also been nominated for one Oscar, for 1983’s Cross Creek (she should have been nominated for Passion Fish and Clemency, too).
  • Alex Trebek died one year ago today after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
  • Minnie Riperton was born on this day in 1947. A singer-songwriter, Riperton was known for her four-octave voice, her bonkers whistle register, and the #1 smash hit “Lovin’ You” from her 1974 album Perfect Angel. Diagnosed with breast cancer in 1976, Riperton continued to record and tour; she died on July 12, 1979 at the age of just thirty-one.
  • Mutiny on the Bounty was released on this day in 1935. Starring Charles Laughton and Clark Gable, Mutiny was the highest-grossing film of the year and won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

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