TV Q&A: 'Black Box' has many meanings

  • Article by: RICH HELDENFELS , Akron Beacon Journal
  • Updated: August 17, 2014 - 6:34 PM

ABC’s “Black Box” stars Kelly Reilly as Catherine Black, a famed neurologist who secretly has bipolar disorder.

Q: Can you tell me what “Black Box” refers to on the ABC show?

A: The series stars Kelly Reilly as Catherine Black, a brilliant but personally challenged doctor whose specialty is the human brain. ABC has explained the show’s title this way: “The brain is the source of everything — from whom we love to how we act and feel. It is the ultimate mystery, which is why doctors call it the ‘black box.’ ” Of course, the title is also a play on the main character’s name, and the box she often finds herself in. The series has completed its first season, and low ratings make a second season unlikely.

Missing ‘Mary Hartman’

Q: I never see my favorite older sitcom: “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.” It was a wonderful and entertaining show, as “Soap” was later.

A: “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” was a sensation when it originally aired in syndication in the ’70s. Appearing five times a week like the soap operas it was meant to parody, it blended the mundane and the extreme, to the delight of many and the dismay of others.

As for seeing “Hartman” again, I do not know of any channel repeating it. But all 325 episodes are available in a DVD box set. If you do not want to pay for it, you may want to see if your local library has the discs. By the way, “Soap” — the 1977-81 comedic variation on daytime dramas — also has been released on DVD, in a complete-series package and in individual sets for each of its four seasons.

No spin-off for ‘Burn Notice’

Q: Since the ending of my favorite series, “Burn Notice,” rumor has it that there will be a spin-off with two of the show’s characters, Sam and Jesse, played by Bruce Campbell and Coby Bell. Is there any truth to the rumor?

A: As “Burn Notice” was wrapping up last year, there was talk about a spin-off with Sam and Jesse; the actors and “Burn Notice” creator Matt Nix were all enthusiastic about the idea, but nothing has come of it so far. Nix has two other series in the works now. “The Comedians,” which will mark Billy Crystal’s return to scripted television, is due on FX in 2015. The medical drama “Complications” has been ordered by USA Network for a date to be determined; the network says it stars Jason O’Mara as “a disillusioned suburban ER doctor who finds his existence transformed when he intervenes in a drive-by shooting.”

E-mail questions (with name and address) to rheldenfels@thebeaconjournal.com.

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