Monday, June 30, 2008

TV: Three Strikes and You're OUT!

Carla Gugino could be excused if she thinks the viewing public is not worthy of her efforts on television.

She's tried three times and the TV viewership has failed her abysmally. Even fans of Spin City might have trouble remembering that Gugino played Michael J. Fox's girlfriend for the first 13 episodes of the many Emmy-winning show. The series had an initial 13-episode order and Gugino didn't renew her contract when the series was picked up to continue. And it did. For six seasons. By the end, if somebody asked to name that girl from Spin City, it would be Connie Britton. Or Heather Locklear for the Charlie Sheen years.

Seven years later, Gugino tried TV again, starring in 2005's Karen Sisco. It was the TV-revamp of a then hot movie, Out of Sight, which starred George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez in the Sisco role. As sexy as Lopez is, Gugino was sexier. But there is a problem with turning Elmore Leonard material into TV shows. It's just too quirky. See Maximum Bob for more evidence.

Karen Sisco had a great cast. Robert Forster took over the Dennis Farina movie role as her Dad, Marshall Sisco. Bill Duke was her boss at the Marshal's office. But what the show had going was Gugino, who looks sexy in a uniform, T-shirt and jeans, or a slinky evening ensemble. She emotes with her face well, always being able to show a little steel behind a kid's visage.

Alas, this show didn't even make it to 13 episodes. Made 10, canceled it from the airwaves after seven. I finally got a chance to see all 10 last year. And they were a delight. Made me angry I wasn't watching the fifth season of the show about right now.

Next time I saw Gugino, she was topless in Sin City. Turns out her body is as good as I imagined it, under all those clothes in Karen Sisco. And don't think I don't chuckle over the fact I saw her first in Spin City and then I SAW her first in Sin City.

At any rate, Gugino gave SF and TV a go two years after the Sisco debacle, taking on the lead role in Threshold as Dr. Molley Caffrey. This time, she got the 13 episodes again, but I remember only nine airing here. At any rate, I saw all 13 last week, including the last 2 minutes of the final episode, which brought a successful stopping point to the series. And I'm angry again.

Beautiful. Intelligent. Interesting co-stars in Charles Dutton, Peter Dinklage and Brent Spiner (although, as good as Spiner was, casting the former Data from Star Trek Next Generations was a mistake). So, why did America turn off the show so darn quickly? It wasn't like they hadn't watched similar fare in the past (X-Files). It was certainly better than the other alien invasion fare of that fall, Surface and Invasion. Maybe it was because they gave up including Monster, Molly's cuter-than-a-button Bulldog.

Whatever the reason, YOU viewers out there BLEW IT! I wouldn't blame Gugino if she never comes back to TV.

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