COZI-TV (or is it ME-TV?) has been showing two episodes of 'The Rogues' early each Saturday for several weeks now and I've been enjoying this old chestnut immensely. First off, I'm a big fan of con men stories (Always regret not buying that book about how America was built by con men.), and as far as TV goes, I've loved the genre since I first discovered Bret Maverick.
When I first read about this show in one of my earliest TV books, I never thought I'd get the chance to see even one episode. And now I have several in a DVD collection and this retro network (but not the Retro network!) is making sure I see them all. (Hopefully)
Why 'The Rogues' didn't seem to appeal to enough of the audience of that day in order to be considered a success is a mystery to me. It starred several big name movie stars - David Niven (as Alec Fleming), Charles Boyer (Marcel St. Clair), and Gig Young (as Tony Fleming) a few years before his Oscar win - in an anthology setting a la 'The Name Of The Game', so that only one had to carry the load every third week, with the others making cameo appearances at best. (Since I wrote that line, I've discovered that David Niven is hardly pulling his weight at all. Must have been making a movie?) The three of them were cousins of the international swindler family of the Flemings/St. Clairs. Supporting them were Robert Coote as cousin Timmy and Gladys Cooper as Timmy's Mum, Margaret Sinclair.
Some big name guest stars passed through each episode - Broderick Crawford, Ida Lupino, George Hamilton, Gia Scala. But there were plenty of other notable performers from my favorite acting category - the character actors. Alexander Scourby, Alan Napier, J.D. Cannon, Malachi Throne.....
Thinking about the show and its place in the Toobworld Dynamic, considering the Flemings and St. Clairs in a Wold Newtonesque way that would find possible encounters with other TV characters, it got me considering the idea that there should be an update for 'The Rogues' that could work in the new millennium.
Ratings demographics being what they are today, the lead roles should be played by younger actors although there should still be a few members of a previous generation of the Flemings and St. Clairs who can oversee the operations. A favorite older actress for me from the UK would fit nicely in a role similar to that of Aunt Margaret - Annette Crosbie.
As for other members of this international clan of "crime"? Gilles Martini won't be tied down to 'Extant' for much longer, even if it has been inexplicably renewed for a second season. So he could be the French member of the family. Andrew McCarthy could pull of the charming American cousin. Maybe Hugh Grant would be ready to test the waters of a weekly television series.
I'm not saying these suggestions have to be new versions of Marcel, Tony, and Alec. I'd rather see this new version of 'The Rogues' be a continuation rather than a remake. The show should acknowledge the members of the previously seen generation of con members in the family and see these new tricksters as new cousins, if not the actual children of the originals.
And the family members wouldn't have to be limited to just replays of the original templates. Let's get a couple of female cousins into the mix. Perhaps even a few kinfolk of color. And Sara Martins, who plays DS Camille Bourday in 'Death In Paradise' would make for a smart and sexy swindler from France.
If they need another elder member of the family, why not bring in Diahann Carroll as her character from 'White Collar'? Use the good will from that soon-to-end TV show to help launch this new series?
And being a crossover/genealogy enthusiast, I would tie in the English branch of the family, the Sinclairs, to Lord Brett Sinclair of 'The Persuaders!' fame. Perhaps he finally settled down and sired an heir to the title. And I think James D'Arcy would be perfect in that role.
Anyhoo, it's just an idea.....