Most Distressing Headline…

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Most Distressing Headline…

...of the week, Entertainment division:

"'Blue Bloods' repeats keep CBS on top on Friday"

Maybe the competition wasn't all that stiff two evenings ago, but by now most OtBB regulars have suss'd out that this, more than any other in recent memory, is my Autumn of extreme discontent with what passes for television fare.

It's not just that once-again-mired-in-medioc­rity NBC pulled the plug on its quality flagship "Law&Order" series (and in its stead force fed us its bottom-of-the-birdcage lala-land spin-off), or that cable AMC's courage failed them when it came to renewing "Rubicon."

James Badge Dale as "Will Travers" in "Rubicon"

(AMC's statement: "Rubicon gave us an opportunity to tell a rich and compelling story and we're very proud of the series..." but we're dumping it anyway!

If the network felt the show was too pensive, slow-paced and cerebral, what did they think they were putting on their schedule in the first place?)

Back to "Blue Bloods!" The series is a mess with a large, decidedly non-harmonious cast, weak writing and an absurd premise, even for a network TV show: a large Oirish NYC police family, all four generations of which manage to regularly get together for Sunday dinner... seemingly several times a week!.

Tom Selleck is the widowed Police Commis­sioner with three sons (one already killed-in-the-line-of-duty) on the force, and a daughter who's an Assistant District Attorney... so at least everyone is on the same side of the law.

(The daughter is played by Bridget Moy­nahan, another in a long line of models-turned-bad-actresses dating back to Suzi Parker trying to follow in Lauren Bacall's pump prints.)

The biggest disappointment of "Blue Bloods," though is that it has taken Selleck away from the excellent series of tele-flicks based on the late Robert B. Parker's "Jesse Stone" novels.

As I noted upon Parker's passing last January:

"Forget "Thomas Magnum," "Jesse Stone" is the role Selleck is born to play...."

Selleck's approach to the two characters is not dissimilar...

Selleck as "Jesse Stone" (left) and "Frank Reagan" (right)

...but as as the recovering alcoholic Police Chief of a fictionalized Marblehead, Massachu­setts, it works with great verisimilitude, and as New York City PC "Frank Reagan," it doesn't.

(Of course, it may have something to do with the quality of Parker's writing....)

As Clint Eastwood famously stated, "A man's got to know his limitations."

Selleck, who is no dummy, should have better understood his.


1. Frank Wheeler said...

Will you get over "Rubicon" already! It was bor-ring, which was why it was axed!

This from someone who's been demanding that CBS bring back "Petticoat Junction" with Jessica, Ashley and Marge Simpson in the leads?

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