Normally for "Weird old title sequences" I like to confine myself to one show at a time. Had I remembered the show I was going to do this week, I'd be doing that right now. But I can't and I forgot to write it down, even though I'm always forgetting things, so instead, I'm going to do a brief whistlestop tour through a whole host of title sequences for 60s spy shows which are gone, but thankfully not forgotten.
Here's a tribute video for the shows I'm going to feature - The Wild Wild West, The Man From UNCLE, I, Spy, and Get Smart - but there are tributes to shows I've already covered, including The Avengers, The Champions, Honey West and Mission: Impossible as well, which should show you just how popular spy shows were in the 60s (and that's barely scratching the surface).
"Characters welcome." That's the USA Network's ostensible motto. But it has a secret one, too - its true motto: "Fluffy characters welcome."
White Collar? Fluffy. Psych? Fluffy. In Plain Sight, Fairly Legal, Covert Affairs, Royal Pains. Fluffy. Everyone's essentially nice. Even Burn Notice has Michael's mum and a lost innocent in need of help every week.
So it's something of a relief and surprise to find that USA's new lawyer drama, Suits - I know, I know, like we need another drama about lawyers - is only a little bit fluffy. Because pretty much everyone in Suits is a bastard. Or a thief.
In it, Mike Ross, a college drop-out finds himself in a drug-deal gone wrong. He runs into a job interview for a law firm that only hires Harvard graduates, but because the guy running it, Harvey Specter, is a total dick - and because Ross has a photographic memory that has already allowed him to pass the bar without going to law school - Specter hires him. All they have to do now is teach Ross the difference between the law you find in books and evil, amoral practical law, while keeping the fact that Ross isn't a Harvard graduate from everyone else in the firm. Oh, and work out what to do with Ross's briefcase full of drugs.
Cast your mind back to the 80s if you will. In the realm of crime fiction, ITV had largely been known for its police series: The Gentle Touch, The Professionals, The Sweeney et al. You know, great big action-packed, gritty affairs. Over on the Beeb, crime fiction had largely been confined to more sedate detective shows, such as Shoestring, The Chinese Detective, Bergerac and the like.
Now over on ITV on Saturdays, between 1984 and 1986, is ratings juggernaut Dempsey & Makepeace, in which upper class, blonde English police detective Harriet Makepeace is assigned a new partner, the streetwise New York police lieutenant James Dempsey and together they fight all manner of criminals in an implausible, slightly silly series of adventures, while flirting a lot in way that veers dangerously close to sexual harassment in Dempsey's case.
Now for some reason, the BBC thought it would be a cracking idea to take the piss out of ITV, while simultaneously launching a new private detective show. And to do this, they decided to hire Roy Clarke, best known as the writer of Last of the Summer Wine but also of the comedy police show Rosie. His cracking wheeze - and it was cracking - was "let's go meta".
So he dreamed up the idea of Pulaski (which in the US was known as Pulaski: The TV Detective). This saw the eponymous hero, 'Pulaski', an upright, brave former New York Catholic priest turned private detecitve, fighting crime in a series of ridiculous adventures with the help of his beautiful blonde, upper class English wife, 'Briggsy'. And their adventures were ridiculous because they were just a TV show inside this particular TV show. Once the director shouted cut, they were just actors again - a married couple now no longer really on speaking terms. And Larry Summers (David Andrews), the actor who plays Pulaski? A pampered, selfish movie star, forced to slum it in the UK - a complete dick and a drunk.
But this complete dick of a guy lets the role mess with his head. While he's filming this show, he decides that he's also going to help solve real crimes, just like the Pulaski he plays - his motto at all times effectively being 'What Would Pulaski Do?'. And he's going to drag his wife, Kate Smith (Caroline Langrishe), along for the ride.
Here's the first few minutes of the first episode to give you an idea of what the show was like. There'll be more later:
About the blog
A UK media blog focusing on the best scripted TV from around the world, with daily news, views, exclusive reviews and good conversation. There's a bit of a bias towards the latest and greatest US TV, but we also cover Scandinavian, Canadian, European and Antipodean TV, as well as UK TV ranging from new Doctor Who to old Z Cars, and BBC4 to S4C.
Add in film, theatre, art, books, events, competitions and even weekly reviews of Wonder Woman comics, and you've (hopefully) got officially the fourth best blog on the web for media lovers. Oh yes, and there's The Barrometer, the ultimate guide to quality TV.
Praise for the blog Cision: fourth most important UK TV blog Blogging Edge: Blogger running Britain 2013
"For most of us watching the telly of an evening is a way to wind down and relax, but for Rob Buckley it’s his blogging bread and butter. With reviews of cult classics and up and coming US and Brit television shows, The Medium is Not Enough is fast becoming essential reading for TV buffs, with over 50,000 hits a month."
"The Medium Is Not Enough is a light-hearted look at TV, often from the US, but also from the UK. With varied, well-written content, the blog features healthy engagement and features well in search engines."
"Billing itself as 'officially the fourth most popular UK TV blog', there are several whimsical regulars here that could help it climb as high as number three…"
I'm Rob Buckley, a freelance journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of, although you might have heard me on Radio 5 Live's Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I've edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for trade magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider and the equally short-lived Death Ray and Filmstar magazines; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it "web site for urban hedonists" The Tribe. I'm freelance now and have contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network and TV Scoop.