Thursday, August 11, 2011

Of Prequels, Spinoffs, and Comebacks

• Really? An Inspector Morse prequel for PBS-TV? The Hollywood journal Variety reports that “The single-episode Endeavour, a reference to Morse’s first name, will air on PBS in 2012 to mark the 25th anniversary of the Morse bow (written by Anthony Minghella). ITV1 will air the prequel in the UK. ... [This] prequel will be set in 1965 and takes place in Oxford, the setting for Morse and spinoff series Inspector Lewis, which will see four new episodes on Masterpiece beginning Sept. 4. Russell Lewis, creator of the spinoff, is writing Endeavour.” I’d have been satisfied with just the original Morse series and Lewis, the latter of which I have watched ever since its start back in 2006. But with Russell Lewis at the helm, Endeavour has to at least be good, if not great. UPDATE: There’s more on Endeavour here.

• 2012 will also bring the late return of BBC One’s Sherlock.

R.I.P., Enid Schantz.

• Good-bye, as well, to actor Francesco Quinn, the Rome-born son of “film legend” Anthony Quinn, who died earlier this week of an apparent heart attack. He was only 48 years old. I spotted Quinn most recently playing Gilberto Nieddu, police detective Aurelio Zen’s private-eye friend, in the Masterpiece Mystery! series Zen. But he’d also appeared in The Glades, The Shield, CSI: Miami, and Miami Vice.

• First we had the announcement that Ted Danson would join CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, replacing Laurence Fishburne (who had in turn replaced William Petersen). Now comes word that longtime star Marg Helgenberger will leave the series as well. Gee, CSI is starting to look like another swinging-door franchise, Law & Order.

• The new e-zine Noir Nation is reportedly planning to launch on September 1. Contributors to the first issue are listed here.

• I noted a few days ago that episodes of the NBC Mystery Movie series Hec Ramsey have suddenly appeared on YouTube. Now I see that YouTube also offers installments of another much-forgotten show, The New Perry Mason (1973-1974), which sought to reawaken the magic of the original Perry Mason series, but was cancelled after only 15 episodes. This second Mason drama starred Monte Markham as Erle Stanley Gardner’s famously successful advocate and Harry Guardino as D.A. Hamilton Burger. The episodes I see available on YouTube are “The Case of the Prodigal Prophet” (originally broadcast on September 23, 1973, and featuring Beverly Garland) and “The Case of the Jailed Justice” (from December 2, 1973). Watch them soon ... before they disappear.

• The success of this year’s film, The Lincoln Lawyer, starring Matthew McConaughey as Michael Connelly’s series protagonist Mickey Haller, has convinced ABC-TV to take a shot at creating a Haller series.

• Meanwhile, Omnimystery News tells us that “20th Century Fox has acquired the rights to Swedish crime novelist Leif G.W. Persson’s mysteries featuring Stockholm police officer Evert Backstrom, with the intent to develop a television series based on the character.”

• Author Michael Z. Lewin’s once-popular P.I., Albert Samson, is apparently preparing to make a comeback.

• Attention, Crime Story fans! TV Shows on DVD reports that a full-run set of that 1986-1988 NBC crime drama is being readied for release on November 15. Amazingly, the retail price will be only $29.98.

• Two interviews worth reading: Vince Keenan talks with Scottish scribe Ray Banks about the latter’s new novel, Beast of Burden; and William Kent Krueger submits to questions from the blog Jungle Red Writers about his new Cork O’Connor novel, Northwest Angle, which he calls “the most suspenseful novel I’ve written.”

• Mystery solved? Book critic and blogger Craig Sisterson reports that all four of this year’s finalists for New Zealand’s Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel are expected to be on hand at the August 21 presentation of that commendation. This will include last year’s Marsh recipient, and this year’s nominee, the pseudonymous Alix Bosco. Sisterson tells me that Bosco--who is apparently more than one person--“will be revealing themselves in the lead-up to the awards, not at the awards, but the awards will be their first public event, so to speak.”

• And it looks as if rumors that Jennifer Love Hewitt will join the cast of Law & Order: SVU aren’t anything more than that. Instead, the curvaceous former Ghost Whisperer will star in a series based on the Lifetime teleflick Client List. SVU fans are now permitted a sigh of relief.


Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

Hi Jeff,

with regards to the INSPECTOR MORSE prequel I think something must have got a bit garbled as writer-director Anthony Minghella passed away in 2008 - the director of the TV-movie does not appear to have been announced yet.

All the best


J. Kingston Pierce said...

You're right, Sergio. In the last sentence of the first item here, I'd meant to write that RUSSELL LEWIS is behind this Morse prequel, not Minghella. The error has now been corrected.