RARA-AVIS: Bond & Bob

Ted White (tedwhite@compusnet.com)
Thu, 04 Feb 1999 14:39:07 -0500 I stand corrected by James Doherty; FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE *was* the
fifth Bond book. So the big question in my mind is, what happened to

John Weaver asks what happened to the TV show, "Maximum Bob"? Well,
John, it was a "miniseries," launched in the late summer, and it ran
its course. Tom Shales gave it a bad review in the Washington POST,
but I taped it anyway, missing (by oversight) just one episode (the
3rd, I think).

It bears a passing relationship to the book, but turns Leonard's
knowing characterizations into comic book caricatures, and it somehow
resists getting any deeper than superficial throughout. By the middle
of the series it's left the book back on the highway and is cutting
across open fields and the occasional swamp. The sequences in which
Bob runs for governor and the case of the woman on death row being two
examples. By the end of the series I had no interest in seeing it
continued; even the most interesting characters (Kathy Baker and the
sheriff) had turned to cardboard, and the plots depended on the
increasing stupidity of all concerned. Believability had disappeared.

I saw the movie of "Get Shorty" recently. It struck me as a similar
trivialization of the book, with a hasty ending. Novels don't make
good movies. A movie can't work with anything bigger than a novelette
without having to condense or get rid of some of the plot.

--Ted White

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