Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Dudes helping other dudes out of a jam
Stephen J. Cannell and Glen A. Larson. The sure-fire creators of 1970s and 80s episodic action shows. Between the two of them, they managed to accomplish:
The Rockford Files
Hardcastle & McCormick
The Fall Guy
BJ and the Bear
The Greatest American Hero
and the Six Million Dollar Man.
What do all of these shows have in common? They're all shows that were basically about a dude or a team of dudes helping someone/some group of people out of a jam -- no matter which episode you watched! The last entry I wrote got me thinking about the death of this type of show. We've got some good shows now -- Lost, Alias, 24, etc -- but almost all the GOOD television now is based on long story arcs that continue from episode to episode. If you miss one episode, you're often lost. You certainly can't just sit down to watch one of them in the middle of the season and figure out what the heck is going on. I miss the days when I could just watch any episode of Knight Rider and see Michael and KITT beat the tar out of a few goons and help someone out of a jam. It's fulfilling and satisfying and completely resolved in 44 minutes. I feel like there's more than enough room on our 800 channels of television for some shows of this nature to come back. Preferably before some studio executive decides to green light "Curling with the Stars."
Actually, I would totally watch "Curling with the Stars"
I decided to find out what the heck the two of them are up to these days. Besides being nominally involved in the new incarnation of Battlestar Galactica on the Sci-Fi channel, Glen A. Larson isn't doing too much. Stephen J. Cannell, however, is enjoying his new career writing novels only read on airplanes.