Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Bronx Is Sizzling

Tonight wraps up what has been my favorite miniseries of the summer, "The Bronx Is Burning" (ESPN, 10 p.m.) OK, maybe it's tied with BBC America's "Jekyll," but "Bronx" has been a tremendous amount of fun.

I've sung the praises of lead actors John Turturro (Billy Martin), Oliver Platt (George Steinbrenner) and Daniel Sunjata (Reggie Jackson) often enough here, so it's time to give props to the supporting cast, which has been fantastic. Kevin Conway (Gabe Paul), Erik Jensen (Thurman Munson), Alex Cranmer (Graig Nettles), Leonard Armond Robinson (a hilarious Mickey Rivers), Loren Dean (Fran Healy) and others not only look like the real-life guys, but really capture their personalities.

With its fun, ’70s-style theme music and credits, "Bronx" has done a good job in really capturing the New York of 1977.

Oh, and thanks for the Ramones joining the soundtrack over the past two weeks.

I usually criticize ESPN for their made-for-TV movies, but "Bronx" has been a grand slam. I'm sorry to see it end, but hey, 1978 was a pretty eventful year for the Yankees as well....

WARNER ROBINS LITTLE LEAGUE: Dalton Carriker, who hit the game-winning home run for Warner Robins on Sunday, will be one of the guests tonight on "The Late Show With David Letterman," (CBS, 11:35 p.m.).

AROUND THE DIAL: Some have criticized "Heroes" for adding too many cast members to what is already one of TV's largest ensembles, but "Lost" is trying to one-up that show.

Jeff Fahey becomes the fifth new addition to the "Lost" cast, joining Jeremy Davies, Lance Reddick, Ken Leung and Rebecca Mader. While I trust the producers of the show, "Lost" cast additions tend to be a hit-or-miss affair. For every great addition like TVGuy fave Michael Emerson, you also get Michelle Rodriguez. But Fahey is a very likeable actor, so I'm staying positive. ...

Kevin Smith ("Clerks," "Dogma" et. al.), already signed up to direct an episode of "Heroes: Origins," will also direct an episode of "Battlestar Galactica" later this year. ...

Fox has announced the hosts for the tentatively titled "Next Great American Band," which takes the "American Idol" format and applies it to bands. (Why it took anyone five-plus years to come up with this concept after "AI's" success is the true mystery. I mean, it seems fairly obvious.) John Rzeznik of the Goo-Goo Dolls, Sheila E. and "Australian Idol" host Ian Dickson make up the triumverate of judges. ...

TUESDAY'S BEST BETS: On "Eureka," (Sci-Fi, 9 p.m.) someone apparently comes close to wiping out the universe by recreating the Big Bang. I don't know about you, but considering how wonky these science experiments go every week on this show, I think someone really needs to shut the town down. I'm just saying....

Also, a new episode of "Damages" (FX, 10 p.m.), which I have enjoyed but apparently others haven't.

9 comments:

zodin2008 said...

Oh, wait, "Damages" is still on? Ha...kidding. Sort of.

I agree about "Bronx" but I feel guilty for enjoying it as a die hard Braves fan who also feels ESPN wildly overexposes the Yankees and Red Sox over everyone else.

If they do a Bosox TV movie next Summer, I will protest. (and people should be wary of Red Sox features after that craptastic "Fever Pitch" flick with Jimmy Fallon).

Still, I can't deny the incredible entertainment value of "Bronx". Atfer "Mad Men", by far the best thing this Summer, "Bronx" is arguably right behind it, along with "Entourage", "Big Love" and "My Boys", and ahead of "Rescue me" (also with Daniel Sunjata).

Speaking of Sunjata, he's an enjoyable actor to watch, and he's done a good job maybe capturing the essence of Reggie's giant ego (and giant insecurity) of the time period, but he really isn't as much like the actual Jackson as say Turturro is as Billy Martin.

The supporting character you left out who's been brilliant & hilarious as well is the guy who's been playing Lou Piniella. The funny thing is, I went to see who the actor was on IMDB but they didn't have him listed at all--completely left him out!

Phillip Ramati said...

IMDB didn't list Lou Pinella or the guy playing Yogi Berra, who has also been pretty spot on.

I think Sunjata is close enough in looks to the actual Reggie where it hasn't been a distraction, though not as much a resemblance as Erik Jensen is to Munson.

zodin2008 said...

The guy playing Yogi has been great, as well as Max Casella as Dick Howser.

Well, since I actually met Howser when he was alive back in the 1980's, Casella isn't exactly spot on (seeing as Howser was rather corn fed midwest type and Casella is the ultimate Italian/NY kinda guy) but he's still rather humorous.

Jonathan said...

Jeff Fahey is a very likeable actor, and it's nice to see his return to television; maybe that will get him away from all the DTV movies he's been doing. Now maybe they can just cast Brian Bosworth and Don "The Dragon" Wilson and we could have a nice DTV trifecta on "Lost." Could be fun.

Toby said...

Joe Grifasi is playing Yogi, and he has been great. Another excellent portrayal hasn't been seen since the Son of Sam subplot wrapped up, but Michael Rispoli really nailed the portrayal of Jimmy Breslin.

I also liked the way they burned the NY Post in the way it covered the Son of Sam story. But their sports beat reporters have been good.

This is definitely the best historical adaptation on TV this year, to my way of thinking.....

zodin2008 said...

If you count the brief cameo of Arthur Nascarella as Tommy Lasorda in last week's episode, I believe I can think of at least 5 actors who have appeared on "The Sopranos", that were in this mini series.

I agree about Rispoli who is still most memorable in his all too brief role as Jackie Aprile Sr.

Phillip Ramati said...

Thanks for the info, Toby. I forgot to mention Rispoli, who was so good in the role that Jimmy Breslin himself recommended Rispoli for the lead in an upcoming stage play based on Breslin's life.

It's not often the casting directors get credit for the success of a TV show or movie, but the crew that worked on "Bronx" did an outstanding job.

Roger Green said...

I posted about it at my blog today.

Phillip Ramati said...

Interesting comments, Roger. Feel free to post a link of TVGuy to your site, if you wish.