Sunday, December 24, 2006

Chase Scenes

I was a little worried when some months went by without further seasons of The Rockford Files, but fortunately Universal has announced the complete third season for February 2007.

This was the season when The Rockford Files went from good to really good. The first season had to tone down the humor a bit more than the creators probably wanted (the network didn't want a lot of jokes and they especially didn't want too much of Stuart Margolin as Angel); the second season was funnier but may actually have gone too far in the direction of goofiness. The third season -- you can read the list of episodes here -- got the serious/funny mix about right. It also added a new writer to the staff, the young David Chase, who immediately started writing some of the best scripts. I've mentioned this before, but the regular writing staff of Rockford in this period was one of the best ever: Stephen J. Cannell, Juanita Bartlett, and Chase. All three would return to write the Rockford TV movies that James Garner made in the '90s.

I should probably add, apropos of nothing, that when the New York Times compared Chase's The Sopranos to Cannell's Wiseguy, Chase wrote a letter to the paper saying he'd never seen a single episode of that show.

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