WISEGUY Mel Profitt (Season 1 Part 2)

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Henry Gale, Feb 21, 2005.

  1. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    After seeing the WISEGUY Mel Profitt box set on shelves, and wanting it so bad, I finally threw down the plastic and took it home.
    So, now I finally have Kevin Spacey’s early important TV appearances in my collection, but not much else.
    Wiseguy seems to have all the drama of Love Boat. I was bored. The production values were, cheap. Early in the arc arson is being committed and it is ALL too obvious that we’re watching a couple of pressed wood panels burning far away from the building that is supposedly in flames.
    Another time, many rounds are being fired through the flimsy walls of a mobile home, but an even flimsier table protects the good guys.
    Kevin Spacey is always great to watch, but would be so much better if he actually had some other talent to work with. Sadly he vanishes after 2 discs of this 4 DVD set.
    Ken Wahl and William Russ were trained in the Look Constipated and Then Yell For Awhile School of acting.
    A nice surprise on Disc 3, 19-year-old Traci Lords in her first TV appearance.
    As in indication of how out of the business Ken Wahl is, he does not appear in the Extras interview section. We are fortunate to get 17 minutes with Spacey.
    If you want this, look for a used copy. Why didn’t I?
     
  2. Jeff#

    Jeff# Screenwriter

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    I bought the first 3 sets of Wiseguy NEW, so I already have half the series. The continuity between early and later episodes and even in different seasons is excellent, but even from the era it was produced I still regard Wiseguy as a modern series. In a way it's better than current crime series, because it doesn't bombard viewers with shaky, hand-held camerawork. BYPD Blue, Law & Order, and Navy NCIS are impossible for me to watch. Give me the stedicam anyday! [​IMG]

    I didn't purchase the fourth set yet because there is a problem with the main audio track of two episodse itself not present on 2 of those 13 episodes -- only Ken Wahl's commentary is on those in particular. Hopefully Studio Works & Cannell will re-release that set with both tracks available.

    Ken Wahl retired from acting following a motorcycle accident long after he quit the Wiseguy series (for the 4th season he was replaced by Steven Bauer, who played OCB Agent Michael Santana). Wahl then made "Wiseguy Returns" that aied a few years after Wiseguy was cancelled. He hasn't done anything on film since, but that doesn't mean he won't in the future.
     
  3. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    Mr. #,
    Don't know what that means.
    I am happy for you that you were more impressed than I was that, "{the}production... had been a hit series during its first 3 seasons!"
    Anyway I was hoping to get some other viewpoints on this set, thanks for yours.
     
  4. Jeff*H

    Jeff*H Supporting Actor

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    Here ya go: this arc rocked! Kevin Spacey launched his movie career with this series; director Bryan Singer cast him in "Usual Suspects" after seeing him on the series, according to interviews I've read with him. Spacey acknowledges in the interviews this show helped give him a career. The arc also jump-started William Russ' career.
    At the time it was produced, this show was groundbreaking in that it continued a storyline for a number of episodes, and this arc and the Steelgrave arc represented the show at its finest. The public agreed the first season; the ratings were strong, Ken Wahl was nominated for a Golden Globe award, and I believe it received Emmy nominations, too. It paved the way for NYPD Blue and other series that utilize the arc format.
    Despite the music replacement on the DVDs and 80s stylishness, the show holds up very well, although it deserves better treatment than it has received with respect to the quality of the DVD sets...

    Sorry you hated it, dude...
     
  5. Mark To

    Mark To Supporting Actor

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    Wiseguy was a great show. I didn't buy the DVDs as I will stay with my off-air copies, thank you Mr. Cannell for saving me money with your music changes. I'm just curious, if you think this series is crap, what do you think is good?
     
  6. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    Well, I never used the word, "crap" and I won't be throwing this set away. But, at no time did I get involved with this show. Never cared about one of the characters. No suspension of disbelief. You know, like what happened during Toy Story, when I actually became concerned about animated creations. [​IMG]
    This may be cultural bias, {I lived in the Northeast for a few years but I've been in Texas for 30 years now) Vinnie Terranova is just laughable. That style was real big, if you were 15 years old in 1954.

    Here are a few programs that I would much rather have than Wise Guy. If it's in bold print I do own it.


    My So Called Life
    Elvis (1990)(Have a few on tape)
    Gunsmoke (1955)
    Frank’s Place (Have a few on tape)
    The Honeymooners
    Profit
    Freaks & Geeks
    Deadwood
    Playhouse 90 (1956)
    NYPD Blue
    Twilight Zone
    West Wing
    Northern Exposure
    The Simpsons
    Murder One
    Picket Fences
    Homicide: Life On the Street
    Firefly
    The Singing Detective
     
  7. Jeff#

    Jeff# Screenwriter

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    My point is that Exec. Producer Steven Cannell had a number of successful series over the years, such as The Rockford Files, Baretta, The A-Team, Hunter, etc. The first-rate production values were present on all of his shows. Wiseguy was no exception, except that it was a hit only until Ken Wahl quit the series.

    There was a period in the second season in which Wahl had been injured doing one of his own stunts. That was during the arc involving Jerry Lewis as Jewish garment manfacturer Eli Sternberg, whose business is threatened by mobster Rick Pinzolo (played by Stanley Tucci). Vinnie was replaced in a few of those episodes by the more understated Anthony John Denison as John Raglin. Ken Wahl even filmed a scene from his hospital bed in the episode introducing Raglin, and after he recovered he was again seen in the hospital but if I told you any more I'd spoil the followup to an earlier story arc. [​IMG] By your starting in the Kevin Spacey arc, there are elements that can't make sense since you didn't see the much longer storyline that preceded it with Sonny Steelgrave and his equally well-dressed goons. It was one of the memorable performances of the late Ray Sharkey's career.

    Ken Wahl wasn't hired to do Shakespeare, and he even played a 1960s-era New York City gang member in the feature film "The Wanderers", which started his career in 1979. And that was the whole point: The "Wiseguy" was an undercover agent who had to fit in with the criminals he was gathering evidence on. Vinnie's character did 6 months jail time on a phony charge (it was actually part of his assignment), so when he was released in the 2 hour pilot, he would be accepted as a member of Steelgrave's organization. The "wiseguy" is the right-hand man entrusted by the mob boss.

    That's why it made sense that the actor playing the agent playing the mobster had to be one in the same to be completely believeable.
     
  8. Jeff*H

    Jeff*H Supporting Actor

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    I read your list and I am in complete agreement with you on 2 of your shows: Simpsons and Deadwood. Deadwood is a show that takes a few episodes to get into, but once you do, it has some great payoffs. It's the ultimate post-modernist Western...
     

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