Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Rocky Reboot

Whoops. It seems that not all is well with NBC-TV’s projected rebooting of James Garner’s landmark 1970s private-eye series, The Rockford Files. According to New York Magazine’s Vulture column, the pilot produced with Dermot Mulroney in the lead role was “so bad that it seemed like a crime. ... If the show does make the fall schedule, it will be in a vastly different form from what was just shot.” The piece continues:
What went wrong? NBC isn’t talking, but two people familiar with the situation said Rockford turned out to be more rehash than reinvention. The insiders place most of the blame on pilot director Michael Watkins (a TV-drama veteran who has helmed episodes of everything from Quantum Leap to NYPD Blue to Justified), saying he severely weakened a solid script with lackluster, even listless direction.

“The pilot looked like it was shot in the seventies,” said one person familiar with NBC’s response, claiming everything from the lighting to the pacing looked dated--and not in a cool, retro way. “You didn’t even know it was the current day until Jim pulled out his cell phone. It looked like Stephen J. Cannell directed it himself.”

While much of the criticism of the Rockford pilot seems to center around the direction, there have been complaints about Mulroney’s take on Rockford. Some people who’ve seen the pilot praise his work--“Dermot’s adorable,” said one viewer--while others suggest he simply didn’t pop. One wag suggests (only half-jokingly) that NBC should start over from scratch and replace Mulroney with Lost star Josh Holloway. After all, he did acquit himself well as a cop in the “Sawyer and Miles: On the Case!” flash-sideways episodes this season.
You’ll find the whole report here. (Hat tip to Ed Gorman.)

1 comment:

CQ said...

Rockford was a fun 70s TV detective. I'd rather see another 70s era character adapted to TV such as John D. MacDonald's Florida houseboat livin' Travis McGee. And Holloway would still be a good if typecasted choice for the role.