RARA-AVIS: Re: Stephen J. Cannell

From: Kevin Burton Smith (kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 02 Oct 2010

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    Brian wrote:

    > The day after Kevin mentions him in the course of discussing great TV
    > writing, Stephen J. Cannell has passed away. His contribution to great PI
    > writing with ROCKFORD alone qualifies him for discussion on this list.

    But toss in CITY OF ANGELS and TEN SPEED & BROWNSHOE, not to mention THE DUKE, HARDCASTLE & McCORMICK, RIPTIDE, BOOKER et al, and all his non-P.I. stuff, and then add in all his crime novels and you've got a guy that shaped, for better or worse, a lot of what we read and see in the P.I. genre now.

    In fact, comparisons to the ROCKFORD FILES seem to be Standard Operating Procedure for any P.I. show they make these days -- whether they're appropriate or not. And usually not.

    The one thing I never got is why -- since Cannell so obviously loved the stuff -- he never wrote a real private eye novel. Crazy cops and plenty of grifters of one sort or another, but no P.I.s.that' I'm aware of.

    Although I suspect the commercial failure of such heart-on-his-sleeve labours of love TV as CITY OF ANGELS and TEN SPEED & BROWNSHOE and the wild success of some of his lamer, less heartfelt cash cows (THE A-TEAM, anyone?) may have had something to do with it.

    Kevin Burton Smith Editor/Founder The Thrilling Detective Web Site
    "Wasting your time on the web since 1998."

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