Now that the new season is underway, let me take a moment to do something I should have addressed over the summer - my biggest disappointments from last season.
1] 'Enterprise' - 'Kevin Hill'
My one big missed opportunity for a inter-network crossover from last year will always be that what-might-have-been "wish-craft".
But think of the brass balls it would have proudly knocked together to play "Stormy Weather" if they were able to pull it off. Two such different series - one, a prequel to the entire 'Star Trek' franchise and set 150 years into the future; the other a present day law show with a heart as a hip ladies' man of a litigator finds his life derailed when he has to raise his cousin's young baby.
What could they possibly have had in common?
The way I dreamed it as a "wish-craft", the crew of the 'Enterprise' had to go back in time to Philadelphia of 2005 in order to save the life of that little girl whom 'Kevin Hill' was raising. Why? Because if she failed to fulfill her destiny, Ensign Travis Mayweather would never exist.
The combatants in the Temporal Cold War might have known the part Travis was to play even farther in the future, and so they would have tried to destroy his very existence before he even had a chance to come into being.
It would have been such a radical crossover that it would have garnered plenty of press for the direction in which both shows would have been boldly going. But now? The best I can do is offer up this suggestion here in the blog and hope there's some fanficcer out there who runs with it.
(Let me know if you do......)
2] 'Jack & Bobby'
This was hubris to the highest degree. The WB gets a show that would not only play to their usual audience of young demographics, but which would also appeal to the wonks who loved the political intrigue on 'The West Wing'. They even had an exec producer/director in Thomas Schlamme, who not only had been a driving force behind 'The West Wing' during the Aaron Sorkin years, but who was also married to this show's star, Christine Lahti.
You had to figure he'd not only make the political storylines as compelling as they were on 'The West Wing', but he'd take great care in the development of Lahti's character as the primal force behind her two sons 'Jack & Bobby'.
So what do they do? The show gets scheduled directly opposite 'The West Wing', thus forcing its target audience to make a choice between the two instead of giving them the chance to have a second chance to feed their need for political intrigue. And to make matters worse, Lahti's character completely dominated the storylines rather than the boys; which might not have been so bad except that she came off too shrill and shrewish.
Oh well. At least they had a chance to provide some kind of wrap-up for the series, but it had such great potential in the beginning. Go back and watch that first episode again. I still choke up as I watch it, as we learn what the future holds for these two boys.
Here's hoping the DVD boxed set arrives before the next presidential election......
3] 'Cold Case'/'American Bandstand'/'American Dreams'
Yeah, I know this was just a case of "wish-craft". These three shows were each on separate networks. So what? 'American Dreams' was on NBC, and 'American Bandstand' was a long-time staple of the ABC schedule. And yet the former was able to grow out of the memories and even some of the footage from the latter. (Yes, I know that the involvement of Dick Clark as the producer of both played a major role in that!)
Still, I think it would have been cool for 'Cold Case' to have re-opened a case that might have grown out of a plot-line in 'American Dreams'. A "Philly Threeway".
Failing that, there's still a chance Detective Lilly Rush could investigate some kind of case in Philadelphia that is connected to 'American Bandstand', since it has returned for a new season on Sunday nights.
I'm fairly optimistic that they might find a way to do so. The writers for that show have come up with some pretty fascinating flashback stories for their 'Cold Case' investigations.
4] 'Eyes': A Lack Of Vision
'Eyes' was killed too soon. ABC just wasn't happy with the numbers it got following both 'Lost' and 'Alias'. What they probably failed to take into account was that the fanatic audiences for both of those shows probably fled all TV programming afterwards in order to run to their computers and begin discussing the latest developments in the world of the Bad Robot.
I know I would abandon the TV right after 'Lost', not being an 'Alias' fan. But I was - and still am - a big fan of 'The West Wing', which at the time was following over on NBC in the 9 o'clock slot. Yet I was so pumped up by what I had just seen in any of the 'Lost' episodes, that I just had to get more by joining other fans online to discuss it.
So 'The West Wing' and 'Alias' have been moved to other nights and 'Lost' has taken its rightful place as the center of Wednesday nights. But 'Eyes' became the sacrificial lamb and slaughtered too soon rather than finding it a new home on the schedule.
So what took its place? 'Invasion'. It was deemed to be more in keeping with the mood established by 'Lost'.
But the same situation arose. Who wanted to hang around for a show that covered nearly the same topic as 'Threshold' on CBS and NBC's 'Surface'? (Both of which also did it better, by the way.)
At least 'Eyes' was always lively. Too many of the characters on 'Invasion' seem to have had the life sucked out of them and so the show ended up the same way.
'Eyes' is dead. I know that. I have to accept it. My only hope is that the producers will be able to get the DVD boxed set out soon enough so that people can see what they were missing.
But I get the feeling that the Powers That Be at ABC are afraid to let that happen. Getting your nose rubbed into a DVD boxed set's sales figures can cause nasty paper cuts.
5] 'Jake in Progress'
From Chris Rywalt at TeeVee.org:
But I can’t help thinking: In a world where William Shatner can star in not one, not two, not three, but four hit series despite displaying all the acting ability of a tube sock, can’t we find room for John Stamos and his second act?
He posted that before it was announced that 'Jake In Progress' would be returning. But it was a close call, and this show deserves the chance to develop and find its audience. Last spring, when it arrived for a short-run showcase near the end of the season, it provided a welcome relief for those who tired of the same old routine in the 8 o'clock hour on a Thursday - the abysmal 'Joey' on NBC, and the CBS cast of beenthere/donethatters on 'Survivor'.
So the show is coming back, and if the ratings for 'The Night Stalker' are any indication, we may see it come back pretty soon.
Thank God 'Lost' opened its second season with huge numbers and has provided enough answers and more mysteries in its first three episodes to keep old fans and new happy.
But ABC is lucky to have been able to keep that audience around in time for the sophomore season. The way they screwed up the repeat schedule this summer - dropping some episodes, playing a few out of order, - it was enough to even rile the fanatics who already knew every detail by heart.
To me, it's almost as if the network suits (May they be nibbled to death by ducks!) didn't give a bleep because they knew the hard-core audience would return no matter what and bring the water-cooler herd along with them.
They should have read the various online bulletin boards towards the end of the season and see how dicey a gamble that was.
7] Mark Valley
Mark Valley as 'Keen Eddie' was a fantastic character and his fish-out-of-water American cop in London series was hip and edgy. But, like far too many TV shows on FOX, it was never given the proper timeslot and so was yanked before it could find its audience.
I'm glad it came out on DVD - picked up my copy straightaway as soon as it hit the shelves.
Unfortunately, now Mark Valley is playing it safe and he took a job on 'Boston Legal', the spin-off of 'The Practice'. Here he plays one of the foils to James Spader's character of Alan Shore; playing the role as a stuffed-shirt, uptight lawyer in the same firm. All the fun has been taken out of him and given over to Shore.
With characters played by Rene Auberjenois and Candice Bergen, Shore has enough fencing partners at the firm. Mark Valley should be allowed to lighten up and be more of a comrade in arms; give him the chance to evoke that Keen Eddie charm. "Hi. My name is Eddie. What do you think of me so far?"
With the big slash in the roster of supporting players on 'Boston Legal', maybe we'll get the chance to see Valley kick out the jams and revamp this character from the tight-ass he currently is. Give us another shot to decide what we think of him so far.
So dat's de name of dat tune......