A lot of interesting television series get cut down in infancy, usually because some network is too impatient to stick with a show through its early – and usually inevitable – growing pains and give it time to find its audience. Of course, some shows simply suck, and deserve to be strangled in the crib – to perhaps take the metaphor a bit too far….
Anyway, two cancelled-too-soon TV shows that I thought were pretty damned good right out of the gate and really wish would come out on DVD so I could at least enjoy repeatedly re-watching the few episodes that do exist are: 2003’s Karen Sisco with Carla Gugino (sigh) and Robert Forster, & producer Mark Frost’s Buddy Faro from ’98, with Dennis Farina & Frank Whaley.
Karen Sisco was based on the character from Elmore Leonard’s novel Out Of Sight with more than a little inspiration from its 1998 film version, which had starred Jennifer Lopez in the role of Miami-based Federal Marshal Karen Sisco. The short-lived (10 episodes) television series cast the always-gorgeous and intelligent Gugino in the role, and captured the breezy tone of Leonard’s writing with remarkable success. Her father, a Miami P.I., was played by Robert Forster (Jackie Brown). The show looked terrific as well, with lots of sunny Florida scenery. ABC really screwed up by not scheduling the show back-to-back with its then-hit show Alias, as the two programs were thematically similar and, as both had strong female leads, would probably have appealed to the same audience.
Buddy Faro was another breezy crime show with a fantastic, feature-film quality cast. Whaley (Swimming With Sharks) played Bob Jones, a struggling L.A. private investigator who idolizes a legendary private eye – the titular Faro (Farina) – a swingin’ Rat Pack-type dick who disappeared in the late 70s on a case. Jones tracks him down in a gutter in Mexico, sobers him up, and takes him on as his partner. The stories were great fun, with Faro portrayed as a sort of fish-out-of-water, still living in the 60s, dealing with the modern world (of 1998) in his own retro-tough guy way.
Obviously, neither show managed the sort of ratings that would have kept them on the air, but man, I loved ’em both. Sadly, I don’t think either show is a good candidate for DVD… but then, lots of oddball stuff has been hitting disc lately. Maybe there’s still some hope.