Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Rookie Blue Back For Fourth Summer Run
Talking to a gaggle of Canadian TV producers and one series emerges that's the envy of all.
It's Rookie Blue which is back for its fourth season as a summer pick up series carried on both ABC and Global.
Trouble is the Rookie Blue formula hasn't worked for such Canadian shows as The Listener, The Firm, Chasing Hope and Combat Hospital.
All these series crashed and burned in the ratings when shown on U.S. networks.
In the case of Combat Hospital Global pulled out of a second season whereas CTV has continued production of The Listener which is back for another summer run next week.
Rookie Blue is that marvel --a Canadian show that has U.S. legs.
Part of the appeal lies in the cast of promising young Canadian actors including Gregory Smith, Missy Peregrym, Charlotte Sullivan, Matt Gordon and Peter Mooney.
They're all bright, photogenic and ever so eager as the rookies.
I liked meeting them when I was on the set the first season.
I also enjoyed chatting up two of the executive producers, Ilana Frank and Tassie Cameron during season two.
Perhaps if the series persists much longer a title change would be in order --to Sophomore Blue?
Because you can't be a rookie forever can you?
Aaron Spelling had the same problem explaining why he continued to run a series called The Rookies. He persisted so long that the Canadian actor Michael Ontkean suggested being a rookie for years on end was debilitating for an actor.
Let's be explicit here: Rookie Blue is never going to be in the category of a NYPD Blue --it lacks the crackling dialogue and desperate situations.
But that's exactly part of the game plan of the cagey veteran executive producers Ilana Frank and David Wellington who once conspired on The Eleventh Hour a Canadian TV series that did not make it to U.S. network TV.
I'd say that Rookie Blue is a sort of Grey's Anatomy blended with the daily travails of policing. Sort of Adam-12 with romance added.
Let's look at the first new episode which takes up last year's plot--Andy (Peregrym) and Nick (Mooney) are on a six month undercover meth operation.
Both accepted the assignments without telling their romantic partners --Sam (Ben Bass) or Gail (Sullivan).
And guesting is the wonderful Louis Ferreira on vacation from his weekly role on Motive.
Then Andy and Nick must return to more mundane duties and try telling their mates what happened and why they were away for so long.
In other words the dynamic here is the relationships.
There's some genuine suspense in this hour but it's not the way a NYPD Blue would go. And that's because RB is really a 9 p.m. show and it's the raw emotions of love that are being peddled.
But this season ABC has decided to run it at 10 meaning Global will oblige by simulcasting.
One of the biggest characters in the series is the city of Toronto with all its diverse neighborhoods.
But it's also apparent these rookies are growing up fast.
They're still acting like starry teenagers in the love department.
But on the beat they're now seasoned professionals.
ROOKIE BLUE RETURNS FOR SEASON 4 ON GLOBAL AND ABC THURSDAY MAY 23 AT 10 P.M.
MY RATING: ***.