Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Hollywood Babble On & On #828: Wiseguy Returns?

Remember Wiseguy?

If you don't I'll catch you up a bit on it.

Wiseguy was a TV series that ran in from 1987-1990, and was about an FBI agent named Vinnie Terranova chosen for a special deep undercover mission. He's arrested for a crime staged by the FBI and does time in prison. Once out of the joint he uses the connections he made inside to infiltrate the New Jersey mafia, setting them up to be busted by the Feds.

The show was groundbreaking for its time being one of the first crime dramas to be built around multi-episode story arcs, and the events of one arc would have consequences on another.  Terranova goes from taking on New Jersey gangsters, to White Supremacists, international narcotic/weapons dealers, and even the music industry.

The show got a tad chaotic when Ken Wahl had to leave because of health problems. His character was killed off and a new agent (played by Steven Bauer) took his place, the show was cancelled after one Terranova-less season. They then did a reunion TV movie in 1996 where Vinnie hadn't been killed off, but that movie didn't do well broadcast against NBC's Must See Thursday, and hopes for a new series faded....

Until now.

NBC, is now eager to revive the show whose last resurrection they foiled, making a deal for a new Wiseguy TV series about a disgraced ex-cop given a shot at redemption by becoming a deep cover FBI operative.

Let's look at the Pros & Cons of this idea....


QUALITY:  Those who saw the original Wiseguy TV series never forgot it.  The show sucked you in with complex plots and standout performances by guest stars Ray Sharkey, a then unknown Kevin Spacey, and even comedian Jerry Lewis.  There's a built in audience of people who watched the show during its original run, and in repeats who would give the reboot a chance.

NARRATIVE LEGS:  By legs, I mean that the premise has the ability to provide interesting entertainment as long as the show-runner and writers keep coming up with interesting stories and can tell them well.  There's always some sort of criminal enterprise the new agent can infiltrate from drug dealing gangs, to white collar criminals, and if they keep the "story-arc" structure of the original, it gives them the time and space they need to create interesting fleshed out characters.


QUALITY:  As I said, the original show was really good, with interesting stories, well done characters, and good performances.  That is a tough act to follow, and if this new show doesn't at least match the memories of the original show's fans, they are going to resent the show and not only tune out, but bad mouth it to the four corners of the Earth which could turn off new viewers.

The people running the new show better have some damn good writers and guest stars coming in on this if they're going to beat that memory.

NETWORK:  This is NBC we're talking about here.  They could screw up the buzz sound on a test of the emergency broadcast network.  Which makes me fear for the show and its future.

BTW- I have more than enough questions to answer on Friday's blog.  So let's consider that closed for now.  Thank you.

1 comment:

  1. As a non-fan of Wiseguy (I never saw it), my only comment is that if Wiseguy is indeed smart and interesting, at least they are picking a good show to remake.

    I mean look at the insane ideas we see in the halls of Hollywood nowadays. This one may well not work, but it's not batshit loony from the get-go.