Wednesday, September 29, 2010

An Extra, Then an Ending

Way back at the beginning of September, as America’s new fall TV season was just getting under way, I promised to write posts about 13 prime-time crime dramas, all launched in previous falls, that “viewers were expected to like, but didn’t.” Shows that received big send-offs, but were soon dumped due to mediocre ratings.

Well, I lied. Instead of 13 such shows, you’re going to get 14.

In the end, I simply couldn’t drop one of the programs I had toyed with leaving out of this month-long series. It really belonged, and my ambition got the better of my good sense, and before I really thought about it, I’d gone ahead and penned the post. So, given that this is the final day of The Rap Sheet’s “Killed in the Ratings” series, you will see two new entries go up on this page. Would you care to guess which crime dramas they’ll cover? OK, here are a couple of hints. One program was a spin-off from a successful TV miniseries, the other was inspired by a theatrical film starring George Clooney. One featured a veteran character actor with an ostensibly gruff demeanor, while the other showcased a short but comely former model who can do both comedy and crime fiction.

But before we get to those last “Killed in the Ratings” selections, let’s recap the other dozen U.S. series I’ve addressed thus far. In reverse order of posting, they are:

McClain’s Law (1981-1982)
Mr. and Mrs. Smith (1996)
Paris (1979-1980)
Griff (1973-1974)
Get Christie Love! (1974-1975)
The Delphi Bureau (1972-1973)
Nakia (1974)
The Devlin Connection (1982)
Gavilan (1982-1983)
Joe Forrester (1975-1976)
Leg Work (1987)
Serpico (1976-1977)

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this series as much as I have relished writing it. And I’ll be curious to know, once it has reached its conclusion this afternoon, whether you think I have missed any short-run shows that deserved mentioning. Comments are always welcome.


Graham Powell said...

Well, one of 'em has to be KAREN SISCO. Don't know about the other.

John D said...

I'm with Graham on Karen Sisco. My guess is the other one is Mancuso, FBI.

J. Kingston Pierce said...

Wow, you guys are GOOD!


Ronald Tierney said...

Thanks for the series. I always thought I knew a lot about TV crime series. Another blow to the ego. Now, what else don't I know? Great work.

Ron Tierney

RJR said...

Come on, do another 12!


RJR said...

What about the Brian Keith Lew Archer series? Or the Wayne Rogers CITY OF ANGELS?


michael said...

I would like to read more of these, perhaps expanding to the one season and gone shows like Ellery Queen, Nichols, Johnny Staccatto, etc

As for the quickly cancelled I would suggest adding the following:

Q.E.D. (CBS 3/82-4/82) Sam Waterston as pre-WWI scientist that solves mysteries and saves the world from his arch nemesis.

Fish Police (CBS 2/92-3/92) Animated cop comedy

The New Adventures of Beans Baxter (Fox 7/87-11/87) Teen becomes a spy to find his missing spy father. Sitcom and one of Fox original 9 programs.

Murphy's Law (ABC 11/88-3/89) George Segal as an insurance investigator.

Raines (NBC 3/07-4/07) Jeff Goldblum as odd LAPD detective who solves crimes with the help of the ghost of the victim. More like Topper than Ghost Whisper.

J. Kingston Pierce said...

RJR - I'd love to write more of these, if I can find the time in the future. Neither City of Angels nor Archer would have made the cut in this particular series, however, as they were both mid-season replacement programs. I was concentrating this time on fall-introduced shows with short lifespans.

On some other occasion I would like to write about City of Angels, and likely will, as I am lucky enough to have all of those episodes on DVD. But Brian Keith's Archer is another matter. I remember watching all of the installments (since I was a huge Ross Macdonald fan), but I haven't seen them in years, and there's little information about the series available online. This will demand some more investigation.


J. Kingston Pierce said...

Thanks for the additional suggestions, Michael. Outside of Beans Baxter, I remember all of the shows you mention. And there are others, too, that deserve similar attention. But it may be a while before I can try my hand at this again.