in the continued theme of the fragmented television universe, in this weekend’s New York Times (at least the web site) is running a virtual debate of sorts under the heading of Do We Need [broadcast] Network Television?
There is commentary from four different writers, my favorite perhaps was from Ed Roberts who ironically hosts a radio show about television. He’s also written a book about The Rockford Files so him throwing in some Jim Rockford references into his commentary wasn’t a particular surprise, but I agree with him anyway and it was a nice stroll down memory lane:
“The Rockford Files,” for example, remains timeless and well loved because it melded actor and character. You had a personality in James Garner, who was one of the best “reactors” in the business, coupled with writers (Roy Huggins, Stephen J. Cannell, David Chase, Juanita Bartlett) who showcased his skill to great, often humorous, effect by forcing Rockford to react to all sorts of odd people or situations.
That kind of writing elevated “Rockford” from a standard private detective series to a show that crossed genres (blending humor and, in many cases, social commentary within an episodic whodunit) and remains fresh even now.