Monday, June 30, 2008

Jeff Goldblum: Crime-Stopper

A year or so back, Liev Schrieber had a four-episode guest role on "CSI," playing a character who was quite alien to the franchise, in that he had a personality. His character seemed to have a life that existed outside of the procedural he found himself in. It was really refreshing and interesting. So of course he had to die, so William Peterson could come back on and get things back to normal.

"Back to normal" is something most procedurals don't have to deal with, because they rarely ever leave "normal." Which is why I tend to hate the big procedural families, "CSI" and "Law and Order."

Pop on NBC, CBS, TNT, USA, or Spike at any time of the day, and you've got a better-than-average chance of catching an episode of some permutation of these two franchises. But - and here's why I hate them - I defy you to tell me what season it's in. Because every season is pretty much like the one that came before it. There might be some minor changes - Warick might be gambling again, or Sam Waterston's looking older - but those changes rarely affect the plot.

Hell, Jerry Orbach DIES, and "Law and Order" just replaces him with Dennis Farina, and thus, the grizzled-detective balance is restored.

(Shows like "House" and "Bones," by virtue of their being "mystery of the week" stories, could also be dubbed "procedurals," but here's the difference: if you removed the A-plot - Who is sick/who's been murdered - you'd still have character-based stories going on.)

"L&O: CI" is the red-headed stepchild of the franchise, relegated to the USA sister cable channel where it could get better ratings with a cheaper production cost. It's also the only "Law and Order" where the lead character has some liveliness.

This is because it's primarily Vincent D'Onofrio as the lead, chewing scenery left and right because, well...he's Vincent D'Onofrio, so he gets to. But because he is The Vincent D'Onofrio, apparently doing a whole season of scenery-chewing takes a lot out of him, and so he needs a little help now and again.

Last year, Jeff Goldblum starred as an L.A. detective in a short-lived series called "Raines," where he talked to imaginary crime scene victims to solve their cases. Those were six great episodes (and will likely be a future "Nobody Watched It But Me" entry). Because the show was essentially "Jeff Golblum: Detective." Probably more people would have watched if it was called that.

Oh, how groovy it would be if Detective Raines transferred to New York. I can't imagine I'd be that lucky, but then again, it's rare that Golblum plays anything other than his own quirky, rambling self. So if I can watch a Dick Wolf-sanctioned "Jeff Goldblum Solves Crimes" show, I might actually be willing to check this out.

I don't give a shit about the crimes. TV's been recycling the same "ripped from the headlines" tales of horror for decades now. I care about who's insane enough to want to solve them.

I believe Jeff Golblum is just crazy enough for the job.


val said...

As you say, THE Vincent D'Onofrio, only room for one in LOCI, so Goldblum better not try to steal his thunder!

Threat Quality Press said...


Jeff Goldblum will be a much better weird, twitchy detective than stupid Chris Noth.

Also: Criminal Intent is about ten thousand times better than SVU.

ISTV Global Stronghold said...

I keep hoping maybe they'll do an episode where D'Onofrio and Goldblum fight each other.

But it's probably a slim chance.

Threat Quality Press said...

You don't think that maybe there'll just be a scene at which they're at the interrogation table, kind of craning their necks and pausing abruptly?

Some kind of weird battle for dominance; the quirky, twitchy actor's equivalent of two silverbacks pounding their chests.