“Unfortunately, sending flowers isn’t listed in the penal code.” e., THE ROOKIES Rookie cops. “I don’t want to talk about love, but . . .” Imagine the conflict be tween the sweet soft-hearted young cops I 4 and his drinking, or incompetence, or whoring has to be covered up in some dramatic way, which is interesting enough because someone has to figure a way of making falsifying the books violent and dramatic and cryptic. Usually, the janitor happened to be leaning against the doorjamb and has to be slain. This crime immediately offers advantages it is gratuitous, and with no motive, difficult to solve. The other category of criminals is the psychos. On television there is only one variety of psycho, the paranoid schizophrenic. No one thinks of himself as a camel; after all, camels don’t slaughter beautiful young women. Sometimes you can get a businessman paranoid. The fact that the criminal is a psycho offers two easy benefits. First, it gives the opportunity for introduction of a psychiatric expert who can murmur a lot of personality evaluation in the appropriate jargon. Secondly, it adds one more substitute for hiring writers any inconsistencies in the crime or method of detection can be explained by the fact that the guy is crazy. If he writes his name and address backwards in lipstick under the refrigerator, it’s because he “wants to be caught,” the unhappy result of an unsatisfactory relationship with his mother. It was that time he saw King’s forequarters in the meatkeeper. THE MOST EVIDENT similarity of many of the new television series is that they are all pretty lame. You get the feeling that what you’re seeing is what Ian Fleming was writing with his left hand. Or maybe some of those brilliant undergraduates at UCLA. When Peppard, leering in a Cessna over southern California, says, “Have you ever heard of the Mile High Club?” you tend to remember him, from high school. You hope Margot Kidder, who is flying the plane, will say something like ” . like a penis, only smaller,” but she doesn’t. This lameness has affected some of the old shows as well. Peter Falk’s fame for “fumbling” seems to have gone to his head. Even Cannon is reduced to the point of being “good with children.” But each is still better than most of the new material by a factor of about seventy. Between a few new and a few old, you can still get from seven o’clock to ten with remarkable ease. Now I’ve got some more specific notes here which I wrote down on this blue pad 14 The Texas Observer and the “hard-nosed old pro” lieutenant. Imagine the police girl \(acting as bait for walks up to her and says, “I want to be your friend” doesn’t seem to know who he is. Imagine her getting killed, how’s that for authenticity? “That’s the last guitar player I marry.” WEDS MYSTERY MOVIEIBANACEK “I think it really upset Roland to discover that there are men who can’t be bought.” Somewhere between those two quotes you’ve got Banacek with Peppard as a glorified insurance investigator. His hair is cut short, probably as a revolt against the times \(an “individual” on television is anyone who doesn’t look like Ted Kenbeen some brain surgery undoubtably they took something out. Recommended by the appearances of Margot Kidder and Brenda Vaccaro. Fantastic sums! Elaborate machinery! Thrills! “These guys are all alike.” WEDS MYSTERY MOVIEIMADIGAN Richard Widmark as an old New York cop. In an old New York cop movie. Widmark looks like he just climbed out of the dryer. “You stay here and watch the videotape machine.” WEDS MYSTERY MO VIE/COOL MIL-LION James Farentinb? He’s an independent operative who will accomplish anything for a fee of a million dollars. In the old days, they had these things called “Five and Dime Stores” where you could get toys that did almost as much for a lot less money. Give that boy an id, the mailman said. Farentino drives his car \(I’m sorry, it’s maybe ,daddy just bought it for him. Where is Al Mundy? “His scanner is out but his ear jack is .. . working! ” SEARCH Three agents, splitting up the weeks by private agreement, stop bad things from happening. They all work for a computer run by Burgess Meredith from an elaborate headquarters full of blinking lights and screens where every move the agent makes is monitored. Embarrassing possibilities are avoided. The agents are loaded with miniaturized cameras, microphones, sensors, etc., etc. to feed the information back to Probe Control. The agents are Tony Franciosa, Hugh O’Brian, and Doug McClure. Franciosa almost saves his segment \(“Kill that,” he said, pointing to the computerO’Brian gets poisoned can’t be all bad, but there’s nothing much more nauseating than Doug McClure on a beach with a lurid chick in a bikini, unless it’s disc jockey sweat. Spectroscopic analysis! IAR! You cop!?! SPCA! “He planted the heroin . . to discredit her.” THE MEN/JIGSA W James Wainwright as a missing persons cop. A minimum of electronic junk included in an only slightly liberalized superego show, like The FBI or Ironside. “There’s not a sliver left of Wilbur’s work.” THE MEN/THE DELPHI BUREAU Laurence Luckinbill works in a government agency called the Delphi Bureau doing “research.” Last week he hit an “organization” guy holding a gun with an expensive trash can. It’s little touches like that which win sympathy. A brilliant work, bordering on the idiotic. It shows the quality possible when a series is freed from the oppressive need for substance. And it’s all done without machines, only a few killer bees and opium eating moth larvae. Good show. “Just let me wash.” THE MEN/ASSIGNMENT VIENNA About a doctor. “The hair on the back of my neck was signalling danger.” BANYON Robert Forster is a 1937 detective who takes all the work and dialogue Marlowe and Sam Spade wouldn’t. Diana Muldaur \(McCloud’s girlfriend, Owen Marshall’s Banyon kissed her they looked like they were trying to kill a bug. Liberal mention of Dizzy Dean period identification. Cheap-o. “You’re dirt!” THE STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO Karl Malden and Kirk Douglas’ son are cops in this, which is kind of a cross between Jigsaw and The Rookies. It’s not as smarmy as The Rookies or as compulsive as Jigsaw, which recommends it. Hippies are still committing a lot of the crimes, but everybody knows hippies are crazy. Our old ancestral values are reaffirmed. Good show. “You spoke of a ,church.” “Yes.” “Build it.” “I’ll need supplies. Money.” “Find it.” KUNG FU You know how those foreigners talk. Available whenever COMSAT passes through the Van Allen Belt backwards \(about once a Kung Fu is about a part Chinese monk type who wanders inscrutably through the west, being inscrutable. David Carradine plays Caine. He’s impossible to scrute. He has vivid slow motion flashbacks to his China days, and can catch Indian arrows in his bare hands. He also gives advice about building churches. Good show. S.B.
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