Wednesday, October 4, 2006

THE JANET LEIGH EVENT

(There is a BIG spoiler for this past Monday's episode of 'Vanished' in here.....)

I started watching 'Vanished' right from the pilot because I knew a friend of mine was going to have a small (as it turned out, VERY small) role in the fourth episode. And I wanted to be up to speed just in case the plot was going to matter for her scene.

But afterwards, I kept watching because even though I recognized that it wasn't a great show, I still got pulled in by the mystery's historical puzzle. And since 'Heroes' was also re-playing on the Sci-Fi Channel, I knew I could stay with 'Vanished'.

I was also keen to do so because of a rumor I heard about future events on the show. The online rumor wasn't very specific, but combined with other stories about the show, casting etc., I was able to figure it out. And it was going to be a biggie.

The rumor had it pegged as happening by the 10th episode, but with the baseball playoffs disrupting the FOX schedule, I figured this past Monday night would be the time to have it happen, as a big sendoff before the hiatus.

And it happened.

I call it the "Janet Leigh Event".

It wasn't the first time that the Janet Leigh Event has happened in a TV series. Soap operas have resorted to it for years. My first exposure to it was the season (and series) finale for 'Nichols', and I still haven't seen it. It's one of my Toobworld Holy Grails.

The Janet Leigh Event for 'Nichols' was triggered in an attempt to retool the show, but by that point it was all over but for the official cancellation. And even then, it wasn't a true Janet Leigh Event since James Garner would have still been involved with the series... but with marked changes.

Perhaps the earliest example of the Janet Leigh Event in prime time would probably be in 'Naked City'. The latest example before 'Vanished' was probably 'Deadwood', and that was dictated by historical fact. It was dictated by current events in the Real World with the sitcoms 'The Royal Family' and '8 Simple Rules For Dating My Daughter'.

Have you figured out what the Janet Leigh Event is yet?

You kill off your main character and the show keeps going.

('Murder One' and 'Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman' utilized watered-down versions of the Janet Leigh Event, in that Teddy Hoffman and Mary Hartman respectively were replaced by new characters without having to die and the shows continued for another season.)

On Monday night, FBI Agent Graham Kelton was gunned down outside the Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Now that's a surefire way to bring viewers back after the baseball hiatus! (And I've got the feeling that a certain show, making its highly anticipated return, will pull the same stunt at the end of its initial six episode arc.)

Conveniently, that last episode of 'Vanished' also introduced the FBI agent who will pick up the investigation, played by Eddie Cibrian.

I have to say that this turn of events should be a boost to the career of Gale Harold, who played the doomed agent Kelton. After several seasons of acclaim as Brian on 'Queer As Folk' (which may have also hindered his future opportunities), and a turn as Wyatt Earp on 'Deadwood', this sensational exit from the show could not only give him some buzz, but also keep him from being tarred by association should 'Vanished' vanish.

BCnU!
Tele-Toby

2 comments:

Eileen said...

And did you see what Berman told Ausiello? That they had to let Kelton die because he "knew too much"? Imagine that! The *character* knew too much! Who the hell is to blame for that? The *actor* or the writers/directors/producers who put together this turkey?

Gale is set to star opposite Blythe Danner in an off-broadway rendition of "Suddenly Last Summer." He looked gloriously happy at the press conference. Wouldn't you be? :)

Morgaine said...

OH, it started a "buzz" alright - Gale's fans (myself included) have descended upon Vanished boards at Fox.com and imdb.com like a swarm of angry locusts. I agree with you, though - Gale is well rid of this turkey. I just hope his contract required that they pay him for the whole season.