Classics and new shows emerge on streaming services
Lucille Ball did her own stunts.
If you doubt that, watch her hold on for dear life as she’s pulled on the floor through the halls of a military academy or is carefully deposited onto the baggage carousel at LAX. Both happened during episodes shot on location for “Here’s Lucy” (with the film speeded up for effect).
The COVID-19 pandemic has turned out to be a time to binge on old and new TV shows, and just about everything seems to be on the streaming services.
If you know where to look.
“I Love Lucy?” The 1951-57 sitcom, the best of all of Ms. Ball’s series, is, as you would expect, on CBS All Access. The best episodes include the one in which Lucy Ricardo keeps pulling onto a cord to make a train come to a sudden stop.
And each time, meals spilled all over poor Fred and Ethel (William Frawley and Vivian Vance).
Other Lucille Ball shows, even though they all aired on CBS, aren’t on CBS All Access. “Here’s Lucy?” The 1968-1974 series, which gave Ms. Ball the opportunity to showcase her children Desi Arnaz Jr. and Luci Arnaz, is on Amazon Prime.
“The Lucy Show?” The 1962-68 sitcom is on Hulu and Amazon Prime, and critics and fans agree the better episodes, co-starring Ms. Vance as Vivian Bagley, are in the first two, black-and-white seasons.
Not to be missed is the episode in which Lucy and Vivian try to stay afloat in a malfunctioning shower.
Water played a big part of the comedy in Ms. Ball’s shows, including Mr. Mooney, the banker, or Uncle Harry, both played by Gale Gordon, who got water and everything else thrown at him thanks to Lucy. What you might miss, though, if you didn’t binge is one of Mr. Gordon’s talents besides his comic timing. He did flawless cartwheels.
A lot of digital treasures can surface if you binge, such as the 1990s submarine classic “seaQuest DSV.” Its voyages are now on Peacock, the new streaming service from NBC. Now that makes sense: “seaQuest” was an NBC series.
What makes less sense is why “seaQuest,” which was a realistic sci-fi show about the oceans in the near future, jumped the shark (no offense to Darwin, the intelligent dolphin) and took a dive past realism. But the later episodes with space aliens and the submarine being dropped into an Iowa cornfield (for the third season’s “seaQuest 2032” edition) are fun.
And there’s nowhere else you can see the Deluise brothers, Peter and Michael, as Dagwood (the artificially developed man) and Tony Piccolo, a Navy officer with gills for underwater breathing. Their father, Dom Deluise, guest-starred in one episode and is in a restaurant scene with them and their brother, David Deluise.
You can find other classics such as the original “Toy Story” on Disney-plus, which stands out for having the Pixar classics and recent animated classics such as “Frozen” (2013). If you watch that and can’t let it go, there are “Frozen II” (2019) and “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure” (2017). Brrrr.
Disney-plus also stands out for having all of the “Star Wars” movies, the Marvel superhero movies (but not all of them) and, for subscribers who want to pay an extra $29.99, the new live-action “Mulan.” You can save the extra fee if you wait until December to see the remake.
Back on CBS All Access, there are new shows such as “Why Women Kill,” set cleverly in the same house from different time periods, and “The Thomas John Experience,” a reality show about a world-renowned psychic medium journeying across America.
Across the streaming platforms, you’ll find connections with Santa Barbara County. Carpinteria actor Kevin Costner, for example, stars in “Yellowstone,” the Paramount Network drama that is now streaming on NBC’s Peacock Premium service.
Montecito icon Carol Burnett is all over Amazon Prime. You’ll find various seasons of “The Carol Burnett Show,” complete with the funny sketches, big musical productions, the priceless Q & A’s with the audience and movie spoofs.
One of the longest laughs in TV history came when the CBS Television City audience in Hollywood saw Ms. Burnett walking down the stairs with a curtain rod on her shoulders in the “Went with the Wind” spoof. That was costume designer Bob Mackie’s idea.
“People remember it mostly for the iconic costume,” Ms. Burnett told the News-Press in 2016.
Ms. Burnett and Ms. Ball, by the way, guest-starred on each other’s shows, and there’s a “Here’s Lucy” episode in which Ms. Burnett played herself and is persuaded to be in a high school play to raise money for a gym.
Another “Here’s Lucy” segment featured the late, former Montecito star Kirk Douglas in a cameo as himself when Ms. Ball hounds him for an autograph on the red carpet at a movie premiere.
It’s the kind of moment you find when you binge. The best digital treasures often grace a night on the red carpet, the top of a shower, the bottom of the sea or a cornfield in Iowa. You know, that last site is really no place for a submarine.