Bob Sassone reports over at TV Squad that Rykodisc is releasing the four, made-on-the-cheap-in-Canada SPENSER reunion movies on DVD. Those crappy, flatly-directed, and exceedingly dull MOWs shouldn’t be mistaken for the underappreciated SPENSER FOR HIRE series (and I’m not just saying that because I wrote for it).
Robert Urich and Avery Brooks were the perfect Spenser and Hawk,
the scripts were literate and intelligent, and the on
location filming in Boston added a lot of atmosphere and color. But
then the show was cancelled, and they decided to make these rather
so-so movies, and they don’t include Barbara Stock as Susan Silverman
(sorry again: Wendy Crewson and Barbara Williams just aren’t the same).
The good news? They aren’t the lame Joe Mantegna Spenser
flicks that A&E produced later, and it’s great to see Urich and
Avery together again. The bad news? It’s not the TV series.
I hope the TV series comes out on DVD soon and not just because I’d like pristine copies of my episodes. It was a very good PI series and seems to have dropped out of syndication a few years ago.
Unlike Bob Sassone, I actually liked Joe Mantegna as Spenser a lot (and I love his readings of the Parker novels on CD) …but he was teamed with lousy actors as Hawk and, once again, the movies were shot on the cheap in Toronto with bland Canadian actors. The scripts weren’t so hot, either. I think if they’d cast Mantegna and Avery Brooks, and shot the movies in Boston, and hired better writers (like Bill Rabkin & me!), the movies might have worked…
Tom Selleck, who did a bang-up job playing Parker’s Jesse Stone on TV recently, would make a good Spenser. So would Robert Forster who, incidentally, does a great job reading the Jesse Stone novels on CD.