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Saturday, June 24, 2006

Spelling Blahs

Upon seeing Aaron Spelling's obituary this morning, it occcured to me that he was responsible for more TV series that I never watched than just about anyone else.

That speaks to two factors: 1) how prolific he was at making TV (take a look at this rundown on IMdB) and 2) his talent for making a lot of schlock -- and I'm not just talking about Tori -- from "The Mod Squad" and "The Rookies" to "Dynasty" and "TJ Hooker."

Much of it achieved hot-show-of-the-moment status during its run ("Melrose Place," "Beverly Hills 90210"), or served as a place for multiple has-beens to appear in an ensemble together as guest stars ("Love Boat," "Fantasy Island"), or has been turned into a bad big-screen movie ("Starsky & Hutch," "Charlie's Angels," "SWAT").

Spelling was proof that making successful television is not the same as making quality television. But too often, those who are responsible for the latter only hit the creative bullseye once or twice and then are never heard from again. Spelling specialized in getting the darts into the board so often that flops like "San Pedro Beach Bums" and "B.A.D. Cats" and even the incredibly bad Lucille Ball comeback vehicle he produced in 1986, "Life With Lucy," didn't count against him in the Hollywood hierarchy of hitmakers.

That's something, I suppose, but it's not necessarily good.