Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tom Selleck Is Back On CBS

The good news for Tom Selleck fans is simply that the 65-year old actor is back on CBS in a new police series called Blue Bloods.
The bad news? CBS has plopped it down Friday nights at 10.
So why is this bad news?
Because Friday night has tanked as far as network TV is concerned.
Think of it --as long as I can remember Friday TV was chock full of hits everybody wanted to see.
In the Sixties I can remember rushing home to catch The Wild, Wild West.
The Seventies meant The Brady Bunch and Room 222 on ABC with NBC proffering up Sanford And Son and Dean Martin.
Now CBS is asking Selleck to save Friday nights all by himself and he just may do it.
Selleck has been saying in interviews that when CBS opened Magnum P.I. on Thursdays in 1980 the night was the lowest rated week night. Just like Fridays is now.
But Magnum started a renaissance on CBS. Simon And Simon joined the Thursday night line up in 1982, NBC counted with Cheers the same year and in 1985 NBC's Cosby debuted and by the end of the decade Thursday was the most watched night.
In recent years much of the Friday network fare has been inept. The networks contended families were out grocery shopping and the kids were out at the mall or watching DVDs.
Excuses, excuses.
Oh, the series is very good for network TV, very cagily cobbled together to attract the maximum audience and all of it centered around Selleck's considerable charm.
Behind it are the executive producers of The Sopranos (Robin Green, Mitchell Burgess) and it is all shot in New York city.
Selleck heads a family of cops --he plays police commissioner Frank Reagan who has risen up the ranks from cop on the beat.
Frank has a right wing son Danny, a veteran detective, who wants to circumvent the rule book to catch the baddies --Donnie Wahlberg plays with convincing intensity.
His daughter Erin (Bridget Moynahan from Six Degrees) has a different philosophy and wants to play by the rules at all times.
And son James (Will Estes from Reunion) has ditched a career at Harvard for the same life on the beat that characterized his dad.
And let's not forget Henry's retired dad who was also a cop, played winningly by Len Cariou who's only five years older than Selleck as his son.
It is always dangerous to prognosticate about a new series based on viewing the pilot.
The best pilot I've ever seen was Tenspeed And Brownshoe but it used up all the possible plot and the actual series lasted but a few weeks.
And some long running series sported dog awful pilots. Two examples I can think of: Welcome Back Kotter and Dukes Of Hazzard. The producers listened to the concerns of visiting TV critics and made appropriate adjustments. ensuring very long runs in both cases.
Of course the while set up about an Irish family of cops seems cliche ridden. Certainly the show is not as dark as Sopranos but this is network TV concerned with attracting the largest possible audiences.
We soon learn Frank has enemies in high places and there are those in power who want to bring him down when a diabetic young girl is kidnapped and son Danny has troubles finding her.
Look, the whole thing worked for me, as a melodramatic situation that kept me watching and appreciating the high level of acting.
So I'm ready to pronounce Blue Bloods would be a big hit no matter what night of the week CBS chooses to run it.
I just feel Blue Bloods could hep turn those TV sets back on Friday nights.
MY RATING: *** 1/2.

1 comment:

Joan said...

Love the Friday night time slot. I just wish the networks would do something on Saturday nights...Maybe Tom Selleck can do another show on Saturdays. I could look at him all day. I've loved him for 30 yrs....I just might be his greates fan!!!