Be warned - I'm starting the New Year with a cold. A cold that prevented me from properly introducing 2010 to my friend Stella Artois, and a cold that prevented me from enjoying my favourite Christmas gift - a trip to the big city to see the ballet - and it is a cold that is even now preventing me from breathing, speaking and sleeping peacefully.
Which basically means I am one cranky TV columnist.
My intention this week is to discuss the TV-related New Year's Resolution. For some it is a 'more-and-bigger' proposition, like my neighbours, who scoured the Boxing Day sales for a massive flat-screen to replace their large flat-screen. But for most of us, it is a 'less-and-better' motive that drives us to promise ourselves that this year we will watch only quality programming, and only for two hours a week, and only one night a week, because we'll join a book club, a gym, an internet dating service, whatever.
What I've been thinking about is this: what is good television?
Forbes' new top 10 list of the best-paid men in primetime estimates that the 'American Idol' judge took home $75 million last year, while the 'Apprentice' kingpin earned $50 million from his entertainment ventures. Like many on the list, Cowell and Trump have diverse showbiz holdings that earn them much more than just the salaries they get for their on-air appearances on primetime reality shows.
There isn't much known about Echikunwoke's character, other than she'll be the new coroner. For instance, her affinity for the phrase "aw sugar" and her feelings on whether or not the victims on the table "left this world too soon" are, at this point, a mystery.
Television has a long standing tradition of making its stars feel more popular than they really are. As somebody who used to be on TV, five nights a a week, I know what that feeling is like. Generally when that person leaves television, they go on to do movies or change professions and they often become even more popular. However, there is always that TV celebrity who overestimates how much people want to see them and when they leave their hit TV show, it ends up being the biggest mistake of their career.
Before Caruso became the star of the weakest part of the CSI franchise, he was the star of NYPD Blue. After playing numerous bit parts on TV and in film, he finally hit the big time. The critics and the public both agreed that he was a breath of fresh air in what had become a stale world of TV dramas. He was sexy and tough, just like his show and he fit in perfectly with his supporting characters. Then suddenly, Caruso decided he was too talented for the small screen and bailed on the show. His much talked-about departure allowed him to make unwatchable films like Jade and the remake of Kiss of Death that nobody asked for. Luckily, the ginger-haired tough guy was able to revive his career, but one can't help but wonder how different things would have been had he continued to be Detective John Kelly.
While Elizabeth Berkley's TV pedigree was perhaps better received than her feature film debut, it was the notorious Showgirls that made her a household name and launched her into the "Worst Films Ever" hall of fame. Her career began in the teen series Saved by the Bell, which also netted us Dancing with the Star's Mario Lopez, NYPD Blue's Mark Paul Gosselar and Beverly Hills, 90210's Tiffani-Amber Thiessen.
After Showgirls, it took the actress many years to regain credibility and acclaim, working in theater and off-Broadway productions until her return to television in 2002 in a recurring role on Titus. Since then she has guested on several shows, including CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Now, Reuters tells us the 35 year-old Berkley is set to play Horatio Cane's (David Caruso) ex-wife Julia Winston and mother to his recently discovered teenage son (Evan Ellingson) on spin-off CSI: Miami. Miami is known as a "hotter, sexier" CSI, so she should fit right in. She can even try to match Caruso's one-of-a-kind line delivery when they inevitably spar.
I know, I know, you're thinking, "but Rory Cochrane was killed off the show!" Hey, this is television. Anything can happen.
Of course, it would help if CSI: Miami was a science fiction show. They could explain why Detective Speedle could come back from the dead by...oh, I don't know, some rejuvenation serum or time travel or robot double. But this is CSI: Miami, and it has to be realistic (even though we have David Caruso wearing suits in the humid Florida sun and never sweating). Cochrane asked to be written out of the show because he didn't want to do a weekly show. His contract said he couldn't work again in TV til 2008.
To answer your next question, no, it won't be a flashback. And Cochrane will be playing Speedle, not a twin brother. How they'll do this is anybody's guess. After the jump, anybody's guess!
I know, 89% of you reading this are saying, "what's Michael Hayes?" You might even be saying " what's Michael Hayes?" without the italics, because you're not even sure if it's a TV show or not. But it was: it was a short-lived legal drama starring David Caruso before he left for Miami and put on sunglasses.
It's one of the shows that Sony might release on DVD, and they're asking you to vote for which show you want to see released on DVD later this year. The other choices are The Rookies, Cupid, Police Story, The $treet, and What's Happening Now!
- On the cover: a rundown of all the season and series finales, including an interview with CSI: Miami star David Caruso.
- Matt Roush loves this season of The Sopranos, but NBC's 10.5: Apocalypse? Not so much.
- A look back at Malcolm in the Middle.
- In the print edition: a visit to the set of How I Met Your Mother as they tape the season finale; a guest column from Megan Mullally; another guest column, this time from writer David Mamet (The Unit); and a visit to the set of That 70s Show, which is ending after eight years.
I'm amazed by this because I find CSI: Miami to be the least enjoyable of the three CSIs. In fact, I watch the original religiously, CSI: NY every now and then, and actively avoid CSI: Miami. Worldwide though, I guess the middle child wins. What do you guys think? Is the world crazy?