Thursday, October 3, 2013
Another Show That Died Too Soon...
Because I'm tired of talking about a show that probably should have been cancelled after its first season let me talk about a show that I loved that didn't get to finish its debut season.
Another victim of the Fox Network comes one of the most vicious and yet funniest sitcoms that ever aired. I loved it, but most of America seemed to fucking loathe it. Yes, I'm swearing... they did on the show. The 1999 comedy, "Action" starring Jay Mohr as the sleaziest producer in Hollywood, Peter Dragon.
I remember watching this show as it originally aired and being disappointed when it was cancelled. Then, while attending film school in Los Angeles, I stumbled across the DVD set and bought it... hell, not even all of the episodes aired. The show's satire of the film business and the people in it was so dead-on, so brutal... and I appreciated it even more now than I did as a teenager.
Illeana Douglas plays Wendy Ward, a former child actress who was once very famous before her career tanked due to a cocaine habit and now works as a high-priced call girl. Circumstances in the pilot lead her into going to a movie premiere with Peter and after giving honest criticism of his latest box office bomb, she becomes his Vice President of Production while in an open relationship with Peter.
There are other main characters, but the basic premise revolves around Peter producing a bomb and buying a script that he absolutely needs to succeed, and the trials and tribulations of getting it into production all while being the most vile human being on the planet. Obviously this isn't a show that would play well in flyover country. It did well in big cities, but middle America loathed it. Well, what do those ignorant rednecks know anyway? I kid, I kid... I always enjoyed the country every time I flew over it.
It's mean spirited. It's not politically correct. None of the characters are likable, but that's totally by design. Peter Dragon is obviously based on producers such as Joel Silver and Jerry Bruckheimer, and it cuts. It cuts deep. I thought it was brilliant, and I wonder why it was on Fox at all. This should have been an HBO show. But the premium channels hadn't risen to what they were today. Broadcast was the wrong home for it, and it was killed. A shame, it was ahead of it's time.
For now, I'll leave you with the pilot. When my brother first came out to visit me in LA, we watched the pilot and he looked at me and asked "you want to be like this guy, don't you?" I'll let you guess what my answer was.