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Ed O'Neill is still most famous for his role of Al Bundy in Married.....With Children, but few remembered how he tackled the role of Popeye Doyle in the eponymous 1986 TV film sequel to The French Connection, and though not as gripping as Gene Hackman he nonetheless did a commendable job in a very difficult role. O'Neill really flexes dramatic muscle as Detective Joe Friday, in a much-faster-paced version of the classic series that at times reads like a real documentary, a goal Webb strove to achieve throughout the original run of Dragnet but which Dick Wolf and company have the resources to pull off.
While this new version of Dragnet is more keyed toward crime-solving and has a much greater intensity as a result, it nonetheless leaves some room for levity, such as in the recently-aired Bel Air kidnapping episode where the perp makes a deal with the LAPD to rat out his boss, but is arrested anyway because the FBI wants him. "We're local, they're federal," deadpans Ed O'Neill's Joe Friday, a line more fit for Ben Alexander's Frank Smith or Harry Morgan's Bill Gannon than Joe himself.
Ed O'Neill has thus succeeded in keeping an iconic character in TV history "alive and working," and TV land's LAPD knows that its most famous working detective is still on the job in the 21st century.
Ed O'Neil's Joe Friday was great, viewers needed to let him grow into the role, like Raymond Burr did with Ironside after Perry Mason. Ethan Embrey was more than quite capable as Bill Smith. I am of an older generation and just want to watch shows with good scripts and believable characters.
Some one have sense and bring it back as it was in the first few episodes, and like good wine let it mature.
Apparently ABC thinks the latter. Which is why we now have numerous tight-shirt-clad model-quality women wandering around the station house, pretending to be cops. Including the always annoying Rosalyn Sanchez, who is neither as attractive nor as good of an actress as she or her handlers seem to think. There's nothing wrong with having female cops on a show, but why are they always so stereotypically "attractive", and always wearing tight rayon shirts to show off their bulging silicone? Sure, breasts are fun. But is it necessary to dump sugar on our every meal? Do these catalog women really belong on a purportedly serious cop show with rumpled old Ed O'Neill?
Dragnet is an ancient franchise, one that was supposedly built on the strength of the stories. Ed O'Neill is a very good actor (and I wish the posters would stop with the lame "Married With Children" jokes, they're not funny). It is possible to have a good show that doesn't rely upon the tired formula of scantily-clad women pretending to be professionals in a professional environment. Look at the X-Files, which although flawed towards its end, started out as the tale of a rather mousy-looking guy and a kind of dumpy girl solving weirdo crimes. It gained acclaim from its stories. Even "ER" started with a lot of less-than-Fabios on its staff. Same goes for "NYPD Blue", which used to have "real" New Yorkers on its stage. Notice a pattern? After each of these shows started to add more and more models to the set, the show quality disintegrated. Sure, one of them is still a powerhouse, and one lasted for a while. But that's because they were spending good will they had built up with the audience. Dragnet wasn't left on its own long enough to build up good will; so now we have a cookie-cutter show that is trying to earn a place. And now it is sure to fail.
Please, for the love of god, stop tinkering with these shows to meet the teenage demographic! There are enough damn shows out there for small-minded, short-attention-span teenage boys. Give us some stories and something to figure out - you know, the things television crime shows used to be about.
The later television show with Harry Morgan as the partner aired every night after the 6 PM news where I grew up. Joe Friday was not cynical he was a flag waving TRUE BELIEVER. There were never dirty cops in the original Dragnet, the crooks were all bad guys and Joe and his partner put as much energy into catching the thief of a Baby Jesus statue as they did in finding a murderer. They didn't worry so much about "civil rights" and TECHNICAL things like that. They were only interested in arresting the crooks. I don't think Joe Friday ever cracked a joke or took a drink. They SAID that all the cases were REAL but I have read that it was partly due to the way you could define "real" in those days.
Ed is playing Joe Friday as at 21st Century cop. There may have been a better choice for Friday but I don't know who. The chemistry between the two leads seems great to me. I love the way Mike Post has updated the theme, One of the most easily recognizable TV Themes ever! The new version sounds like L.A. to me. Frankly just because of that I was willing to give it a chance. It showed some respect for it's predecessor.
I am enjoying the show and I think it will last a while. Sometimes you can go home.
And this is not 1967 anymore.
This show has been rebooted in a very effective manner. I think this is not only the best show in ABC's lineup, but it is one of the best shows on network television. This show is a textbook example of how you update an old television show into the 21st century. Furthermore, the casting and acting is very effective. Ed O'Neill and Ethan Embry play their roles very well. I hope this show remains on the air for some time. It is well worth it.
But, ABC has decided to tinker with the formula. Change the title of the show, move it to Saturday nights, and remove one of the leads. I liked Ethan Embry, a lot. I'd love to know why he was dropped from the show.
I will continue to watch, as I like Ed O'Neill, and the whole concept of the show. I'd like to see a tie in, perhaps with some of the other Dick Wolf family of shows, like what was done with "Law & Order/Homicide" in the 90's. Tie all four of the Wolf shows together in a week long plot.
Might be fun to see Katey Sagal turn up on a show, too. "Awwww, Pegggggg!" But that might be just too much.
The storytelling is taut and well-paced, the secondary characters very well-written (check out Cleo the hooker in "Silver Strangler").
In a word, I like this show.
If you see it as the New Coke version, all you can see is something that's different from Jack Webb's classic. It has a different feel and the same name, different style but the same character, and it's too much like other shows on the air. It won't be what you want.
I prefer to see it a akin to the New Beetle; A 21st century re-take of a classic old show. It's not the same as the original but it doesn't claim to be. Joe Friday is a hard, cynical cop of our times. He's seen it all and yet he still cares. The voice-overs let you see how he sees the situations. It's different than Jack Webb but TV is vastly different now and audiences are more savvy. Look at shows from the 50's and 60's; stilted dialogue, simple plots, and hokey criminals. Audiences today don't think all answers are simple. Webb had audiences that were used to Perry Mason; today they're used to Law & Order and NYPD Blue. The New Dragnet had to take that into account or they would have been competing with TV Land. It's by the producer of Law & Order and has many similarities but the same can be said of Adam 12 in its' day. Webb's Dragnet was right for its' time and the new Dragnet is right for the new millenium.
I like the New Beetle and that doesn't change my feelings about the classic Beetle. And I like the new Dragnet too.
Unlike the original TV series in the 1950's and the 1960's with Jack Webb, this version is well updated and more serious, built for the more adult look at police work. A far stronger version than the two Jack Webb movies and much greater than the 1989 short lived "Dragnet in the 90's' This version starring Ed O'Neil and Ethan Embry top all, and in my opinion is one of the best TV cop shows on the airwaves today. Personally I still like the chemistry of the 1987 comedy spoof "Dragnet" with Dan Akroyd and Tom Hanks, but this New Dragnet has everything you could want, murder, intrigue, and mystery.
I am going to tape all the episodes just in case the series is short lived. But I think despite what critics say the audience will love this rendition of the classic TV show