So, the trouble with TV murder mysteries (say Law & Order, Numbers, that kind of thing) is that whenever you encounter a peripheral character to the murder victim -- colleague, lover, boss, spouse -- that is one of those "well-known" b-list guest character actors, you always know they're the murderer. Always. Why? Because they need someone who can actually act and carry a sizeable role, of course.
Not that I'm complaining, I like good acting, and I love a lot of those little named people that no one ever remembers. (Kevin Spacey, Joe Pantoliano are a couple grads of that school. Always in those little roles, always delivering.)
I'm just saying, it's not like you're left with a lot of suspense then. Columbo, it was different. Know why? Because you always saw the murderer. No suspense needed. It was about how Columbo solved the crime, right? The hemming, hawing, cigar-chomping yet loveable buffoon was just a hoot to watch. The guest actors, of which many were huge celebs, were just icing on an already yummy cake.___________
Speaking of Columbo, one year a customer came into my old photography shop, brandishing an autographed copy of a Peter Falk (Columbo) photo, 8x10, glossy. My mom fucking loved Columbo. She'd be in her glory if she knew Columbo would be on. Glass of brandy, slippers, splayed on the couch. It didn't matter if it were starting at 1 in the morning, she was there.
Last year I bought season one on DVD. Always enjoy it, makes me think of her. :)
That photo, though, I made an extra copy after duplicating it for the client. I bought a frame, took it home, and for the last four years of her life, it was on her work desk. Never, ever left, never, ever moved.
When she died, I gave it to GayBoy, who also always loved Columbo, and secretly coveted the photo when she was alive. One of the things I regret about my mom dying so young was that I'm sure that these days, me being where I am in life, my mom would realize GayBoy wasn't a bad influence, and they would've been fast friends, I think. They love all the same British comedies, all the same foods. They were both Eggs. (White on the outside, yellow [Chinese] on the inside. Always eating Asian foods, and she even worked in an all-Asian real estate company.) Ahh, sigh. GayBoy even loved my mother's big fucking flamboyantly faggy glass Christmas ornaments -- which he now possesses. There's a story there, and I'll tell it to you for Christmas. Funny.
So, who better to be custodian of The Picture, eh? GayBoy rocks.
[Suddenly, I'm reminiscing. All I wanted was to post the bit about guest actors. Holy fucking tangent, Batman.]___________
A final thought. Ever seen DaVinci's Inquest? No? If you're American, now's your chance. It's getting a lot of syndicated re-runs. I wouldn't be surprised if A&E reconsiders their stupid decision to air Crossing Jordan instead of DaVinci. (It was a toss-up when the network finally ditched Law & Order after years, and DaVinci lost, largely, I suspect, because the seasons only had 13 episodes, making it a low-total series to purchase -- with 22 episodes a season, Jordan already had more shows after four seasons).
ABC's showing it every Friday night at 11:30. Brilliant, well-written series filmed here in Vancouver, starring a number of the best actors in Canada. It's a drama set in Vancouver's coroner's office, with a lot of help from smart detectives and corrupt cops. It doesn't have the flash and pow of a lot of the hip new murder shows. No, this show is carried by writing, directing, and acting.
Say, sounds like real television, don't it? It's largely based on the career of Vancouver's recently departed (as in no longer acting, not as in dead) mayor, Larry Campbell. He started as a shit-disturbing coroner that pushed for city administration to finally realize how fucking detrimental the drug problem (Vancouver's heroin industry is of legion) was to the city. He pushed buttons, never minced his words, and because he was this loveable Irish guy, everyone bloody well couldn't figure out how to keep the dog down. Ultimately, awesome dude. Coolest fucking politician ever, man, and he was a career cop. I'd have a beer with him any day of the week, twice on Sundays.
So, DaVinci? It's a seven-year series with solid acting, that got better and better and better as it went along. They're smack dab in the middle of the seven years on ABC, which is good, because years five, six, and seven are progressively the best in the series.
Now, here in Canada, we're about 5 or 6 episodes into a new series -- same actors, writer, characters -- where DaVinci is now the mayor of the city. DaVinci City Hall is even smarter, faster, better edited, and better acted than the original series. It's bigger in scope, tackles more far-reaching issues, and is a chronicle of this city in an amazing time -- the time in which it's changing from a major city to a world-wide tourist destination, a metropolis. I can't fathom the change that will occur before the Olympics roll into town in 2010, considering the population explosion we've already been nursing for two decades, which has given us all these problems that are such fodder for this great fucking series.
Oh, and our ex-Mayor is and has always been a consultant on the two series. Watch it. You'll thank me. Up there with: The Shield, The Wire, early West Wing, Grey's Anatomy and a few other personal favourites. Smarts, man. Show's got it.___________
Just saw this on the news. TOO FUNNY. Florida restaurant states that an image of Jesus appeared in its nacho tray last night. So, they've retired the holy artif-- err, nacho tray. I told GayBoy, and he said, "I gotta start eating more Mexican."Story is here.
(But, really, how much do you wanna bet this was some acidhead playing with a baster while the boss was on the phone with his wife or something? I can imagine the orchestra of his mind spinning "Comfortably Numb" as he hovers over the tray with his baster, dropping the drippings into a vaguely messianic pattern. "Just nod if you can hear me..." Drip, drip.)