Monday, April 04, 2005

Kojak's back

We had an article on the original Kojak, Telly Savalas, about a week ago. Recently, the USA Network launched a new version of Kojak, this time starring Ving Rhames as the bald, lollipop-sucking detective.

Rhames himself was not a fan of the previous series, according to an interview with the Miami Herald (registration required):
''Kojak wasn't on in my house,'' he told the Boston Sunday Globe. ``I grew up in Harlem one block away from the Apollo Theater, where a version of Kojak's show was happening every day in the neighborhood. There were thugs and criminals and detectives running around. Why would I want to watch a show about that? I think I've seen one rerun.''
While I think the idea of a Kojak re-make with Ving Rhames sounds like a neat idea, initial reviews of the series are not optimistic. From an
article in the New York Times:
"Kojak" fans do not need to worry that this remake will ever supplant the original. It seems destined to go the way of the 2003 remake of "Dragnet" - nowhere.
The Reuters review of Kojak focuses on the differences, too:
"Who loves you, baby?" was the catch phrase uttered by Telly Savalas as Kojak, the colorful, lollipop-sucking New York police detective in the 1970s. Fans loved him. He stood out as a unique character in what had largely been a bland world of police drama. Universal, which produced the hit series, loved him, too, for all the obvious reasons.

Universal, now a part of the NBC Universal leviathan, is trying to share the love again, reviving the name of the series and many of its trappings, while doing its best to ignore the fact that the new star, Ving Rhames, for all his acting chops, is about as similar to the original Kojak as Lt. Columbo is to Andy Sipowicz.
As far as I know, no Canadian networks have picked this one up yet, so I won't have a chance to watch it. Too bad; I'd be interested in watching it, even with the initial negative reviews.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We had the first episode here in the UK last night, (though it wasn't the 90 minute pilot) and I thought it was rubbish, in fact it was arse clenchingly embarassing rubbish. I didn't expect Telly Savalas, but Ving Rhames just seemed ridiculous. It takes more than a bald head and a lolly pop to stand out in the world of the TV cop. tinabailey37@yahoo.co.uk