|Index||4 reviews in total|
The 1980's saw a tremendous boom in independently produced comic books
with more mature storytelling. One of the most successful pioneers of
that boom was a book called, "Jon Sable, Freelance", created and drawn
by Mike Grell. Grell made a name for himself with "Green Lantern/Green
Arrow" and his own book, "Warlord", a mix of Edgar Rice Burroughs and
Robert E. Howard. "Jon Sable" told the story of a man who worked as
mercenary/bodyguard, and also wrote children's books on the side. He
lost his family in Africa when they were killed by poachers, as a
warning to Sable, a game control officer. Sable hunted down the killers
and returned to his home in the US. There, unable to sell his story (he
had done some sports writing before going to Africa), he fell back on
his only other skills; hunting and killing. Eventually, an agent
contacts him about publishing the stories he used to tell his kids. He
writes the stories using a pseudonym, BB Flemm, and they become a big
The series was full of humor and adventure, and featured a depth of characterization often missing from comics. The series was optioned for a movie, with people ranging from Eddie Murphy to Gene Simmons interested in the project. Eventually, it was turned into a TV series, starring Lewis Van Bergen and a then-unknown Rene Russo.
In the series, Sable is wanted for murder in Africa, and must hide under the name of Nicholas Fleming, which he uses to publish his stories about leprechauns, based on bedtime stories he told his children. Meanwhile, he acts as a bodyguard and troubleshooter for people in need. He is aided by a blind computer hacker, named Cheesecake. Rene Russo was his literary agent and love interest, and the only good thing in the series. Despite his routine use of a gun in the comics, Sable never uses his gun to kill in the show; probably due to it's early time slot, on Saturdays.
Lewis Van Bergen delivered his lines out of the side of his mouth, and was boring as could be. Cheesecake was meant to be comic relief, but failed miserably. Only Rene Russo showed any charisma or talent (she also had the best legs on TV). Only one of the episodes showed any spark; that being the one where the son of the man who murdered Sable's family comes looking to kill Sable. It finally brought up some of Sable's past, but didn't capitalize on it.
The comic series had a wealth of material that would make a great movie or TV series; but, leave it to Hollywood to screw it up. It became another in a long line of comic-to-screen failures. Bootleg video dealers often carried this series at comic conventions, but time wold be better spent hunting down the comics. They were classics.
Sable was beginning to grow into a great show. In one episode his blind assistant is attacked and uses a masterful trick to live. It was one of the most memorable fight scenes I've ever seen. They took out a lot of the comic book aspects out of the show...I missed the cool outfits from the comic, but it was starting to get up on it's own two feet when the show was quickly cancelled. I was lucky enough to tape all the episodes, but I'd love to see a DVD of this show. Maybe a few last unaired episodes somewhere? They might have been even better than 5 & 6 which are wonderful.
If the TV show Sable had been shown to its test audience ages 18-25 it would have done so much better. They aired the show on Saturday evenings!! What 18-25 year old is home an a Saturday EVENING WATCHING TV!? Stupid Producers! Now Gene Simons was on his way to producing an awesome movie, The book is great, the comics are great, the writer is great, the art is great! If you agree you should visit www.MikeGrell.com for great information containing future Sable books and comics by author/artist/father;), Mike Grell. Cant say that Lewis Van Bergen is much of an actor, but Rene Ruso has got some killer curves!
The problem with this show is the same problem that occurs with a lot
of shows derived from other sources - especially those based on comics.
The creative types in Hollyweird think they have a lock on all the creativity in the world. Mike had created a neat set of characters - and no Jon Sable wasn't who he turned into at night - that is who he was - a mercenary who wrote children's books. B.B. Flemm was the name he used when he appeared in public, wearing a wig and fake mustache. There was no idiotic character who walked around with his own laugh track.
The show could have been done the way Mike created it and wrote it and the results would/could have been a 10, not a 5.
Definitely go to Mike's web site, or better yet - read the comic.
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