Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Chasing After Fame

It was 50 years ago today that The Fugitive, the American drama series created by Roy Huggins and starring David Janssen, debuted on ABC-TV. That program about a physician accused of his wife’s murder, and his subsequent struggle to track down the One-Armed Man he’s convinced holds the answers to her slaying, eventually ran for 120 hour-long episodes over four years, becoming one of the most respected small-screen productions in history. Stephen Bowie opines in the A.V. Club blog that it “may be the perfect television drama.
That’s not to say that The Fugitive is superior to today’s best dramas, or even to its finest contemporaries, like The Defenders and Ben Casey. But The Fugitive achieved a perfection of form that was unique: It was part crime procedural, part action-adventure, and part character-driven melodrama. It was fusion TV. The push and pull between the contrasting generic elements meant that episodes were highly varied, but with so many different traditions to draw from, nearly always satisfying. The Fugitive achieved a phenomenally consistent level of quality--which makes this a particularly tough list to compile.
You will find my own tribute to The Fugitive--posted four decades after its final episode aired, on August 29, 1967--by clicking here. And in celebration of today’s 50th anniversary, Bowie provides an interesting alternative ending to Richard Kimble’s saga here.

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