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 Posted:   Apr 6, 2008 - 6:15 PM   
 By:   Eric Paddon   (Member)

Glad I helped to make your week, neo. smile Sorry, I'm not able to contribute more than I have to this thread but hopefully one day when I get a chance to watch some of these episodes for myself that will be rectified (since I expect you to keep this thread going a long while). wink

Congrats on reaching the century mark!

 
 Posted:   Apr 7, 2008 - 5:34 AM   
 By:   Scott M (Oldsmith)   (Member)

I never actually watched this show when it first aired, but as I got older, I wished I had. Just the fact that a show of this type revolved around an older gentleman was unique enough for the era. Hell, even today it would be odd to see someone 55 years old carry a show like this. But then again, actors of this quality are rare. Ah what would Richard Basehart have done with a show like this when he was that age, instead of fighting monsters and aliens?

I'll be getting this show very shortly.


(meaning GRAY, not the insulting, black-and-white version usually fed to the undemanding American masses with their McDonald's mentality and entertainment appetite)


Sigh.... Gotta spoil it with the America bashing. I am so weary of this. Ah well...at least you're enjoying our TV show. ;-)

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 8, 2008 - 6:39 AM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

Ah, Olds, what's actually really wearying is the disposition to imagine "bashing" during democratic discourse when merely pointing out the obvious about a medium whose predisposition (because of the economics involved) is always to specifically dumb down rather than generally elevate (unless you've been watching a version of teevee we haven't since time immemorial).

But let's not major in minor subjects, shall we?

Re your point about Woodward and McCall, in an interview around the time of his series



Mr. Luck commented "I feel that The Equalizer and Gabriel's Fire with



had the last strong father figures to appear on television. Most of the father figures that you see on tv in recent years are essentially buffoons, or they are extremely weak."

As far as



he added "... but in a way, what I learned on The Equalizer was that the great stories to be told are the stories about the redemption of people. The Equalizer was a person who was searching for redemption and he was in the process of trying to be a factor in the redemption of people around him. And in that sense, that's part of the dramatic problem in literature in general that you create in the story that you're telling ... these are not just stories about horror or horrible things, but stories about hope. We truly want to say we're doing stories about hope."



As for you, Eric, we await your responses whenever you've played catch-up. Considering Mr. Luck's seeing himself as a Christian in Hollywood, it'd be enlightening to see your perspective on the series by identifying and pointing out just the very themes (and sensitivity toward such) you and he share.



And afore moseying on to Season Two, this seems like an oppotune time to take aim and share our picks for Season's One best eps:

1. "Lady Cop" and "Dead Drop" – tied for best First Season ep.

2. "The Lock Box".

3. "Out of the Past".

4. "Reign of Terror".

5. "China Rain".

6. "The Distant Fire".

7. "Breakpoint".

8. "The Defector".

9. "Bump and Run".

10. "Torn".



Your turns ... wink

 
 Posted:   Apr 8, 2008 - 9:00 AM   
 By:   Scott M (Oldsmith)   (Member)

Ah, Olds, what's actually really wearying is the disposition to imagine "bashing"

Yes, I suppose it is possible to misinterpret undemanding American masses with their McDonald's mentality as a "bash" when it clearly isn't. Or something. :-/

I admit many of our TV shows aim pretty low when it comes to intelligence required. Yet, at the same time, we have an very impressive list of powerful, highbrow and insightful programs all throughout the history of the medium. This is where generalizations fail, like "all the English are fey, all the Germans are evil and all of the Norwegians hate complete, chronological soundtrack albums."

Now that we're both weary, I return you to our program in progress.


 
 
 Posted:   Apr 8, 2008 - 9:41 AM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

Thank you, matey. Now that we've agreed to disagree, what dost thou think of Mr. Luck's comments?

And pick up the DVD, willya, so the rest of us have the luxury of further illuminations, okay? ... wink

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 14, 2008 - 8:55 AM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

SEASON TWO of



23. Prelude

began with an intense high-stakes script from Carleton Eastlake incisively directed by Richard Compton which focuses on the latter-day fallout when an American journalist is captured and tortured by a dictator McCall helped put in power.

There's a riveting scene in his apartment between McCall and Scott,



especially when the latter accuses his father of still getting "his kicks" by throwing people against the wall and forcing his will on them. Which leads the anguished McCall to erupt in one of his more memorable tirades of how his ideals were corrupted by the agency, the modern day mayhem The Company still sanctions and, finally, setting his son straight once and for all where any judgment of him is concerned.

Not only is Woodward wrenchingly torn during these monologues, it’s the set-up for a truly thrilling showdown he has with Control



later in the ep (filmed at The Cloisters, it looks like) when both old antagonistic friends lay into each other with a vengeance.

Robert Joy also returned as Stock



with the first of two appearances by James Rebhorn as a trigger-happy vindictive Company agent (his next appearance, tho, is truly unforgettable but we’ll get there when we get there).



This was also the inaugural ep which introduced Lori Loughlin



as Jenny, the journalist’s worried daughter and, eventually, Scott’s girlfriend.



One of the more moving sequences occurs at the end with McCall and Scott walking along the river, the former lamenting all the lost time he can never recover and the latter (with the formidably unvisionary innocence of someone still evergreen) saying something along the lines of they have all the time in the world.



Only youth can afford such optimism smile

 
 Posted:   Apr 14, 2008 - 11:18 AM   
 By:   MikeJ   (Member)

Classic episode... Great way to open up the second season.

 
 Posted:   Apr 16, 2008 - 1:22 AM   
 By:   TheSaint   (Member)

Neotrinity probably remembers this...the cameo Woodward does as McCall on the New Year's eve program CBS produced in 12/31/85 hosted by Al Jarreau? Al is late to the venue where the show is being taped so, McCall(who just happened to be leaning on a nearby lamp post reading a newspaper)offers to help him by driving him to the venue just in time to start the show.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 16, 2008 - 5:55 AM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

For once we're not guilty, Saint-er, as you ascribe far too much unearned credit our way; we'd not heard of your vignette before (let alone seen it) but it sounds like a doozy! (Howcum THAT doesn't turn up on YouTube?!) wink

[ Now, where were wee afore that delightful interruption? Oh, yes ... ]



24. Nocturne.

Another Eastlake-Compton team-up puts McCall aiding a blind music critic who believes she's heard the phone voice of the critter who raped her some years before.

Jessica Harper is intelligently poised as the critic (with one of the most sensually melodious voices - when complimented on her looks, she muses "Am I pretty? It's been so long since I've seen myself ..." - you'd ever care to hear)



- she's since become quite a successful author.



And for those who remember the NBC series, "Then Came Bronson" from the 60s,



it was especially nifty to see Michael Parks



utilized as one of McCall's former associates, equally haunted by yesteryear exploits and in self-imposed exile until the former plays go-between in getting him to help the lady in peril. Parks can occasionally seem unnecessarily mannered (almost to the point of inaudibility) but he's focused and impressive here ("What're you, God, Robert?" he justifiably hits Our Hero with early on).



There's a charming finale in a nightclub as the three share reflective notes while, in the background, Ashford and Simpson perform a particularly winsome duet, closing the ep well on the high note ... wink

 
 Posted:   Apr 16, 2008 - 5:07 PM   
 By:   TheSaint   (Member)

For once we're not guilty, Saint-er, as you ascribe far too much unearned credit our way; we'd not heard of your vignette before (let alone seen it) but it sounds like a doozy! (Howcum THAT doesn't turn up on YouTube?!) wink


For the aforementioned clip to appear anywhere, someone would had to have taped that New Year's Eve program, and how many would tape such a thing? There's probably some big Al Jarreau fan out there who may have taped it and doesn't realize they have it. CBS probably has it in their archive(you should see the stuff they unearthed for the Perry Mason 50th anniversary dvd set)but someone from Universal would've had to ask for it to include it on the season 1 dvd set, and I'm sure no one at Universal remembers such an appearance.

 
 
 Posted:   May 8, 2008 - 8:14 AM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)



"The episodes of



for me was like boot camp, something every budding composer should do when he gets out of school. After the first three episodes, you’ve used up all the chord shapes you have in your cookie jar.



And then in episode four, you’ve got to come up with something here, now, today, for this emotion, attitude or action. You learn where to go for what you need for that scene today, rather than going with what you wrote earlier, that might work for that scene.



That’s where you really become a film composer. Not a composer, classical or otherwise, who waits for inspiration and sets it down on paper.



Film composers must have complete control over the emotional impact and call it up at will. That’s the part that appeals to me, the variety of musical endeavor ..." - Stewart Copeland.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 17, 2008 - 7:54 AM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)



We’ve been considerably remiss re our artful Equalizing addiction, so to amend matters somewhat (before continuing on with Season Two), wethot this contemporaneous review from Elvis Mitchell of The Herald was chockfull of pertinent insights. Mitchell subsequently went on to become one of the more interesting film reviewers The New York Times has seen fit to showcase in recent years, and this earlier effort of his remains rich with residual insights (especially the cashmere compliment!).

[ “The Equalizer”:



A Trim, Intelligent “Death Wish”
.

“The Equalizer”, trades admirably on a stripped-down, yet oddly heightened version of the urban angst and bleak realism that “Hill Street Blues” pioneered. The CBS show comes from a line of progression beginning with “Hill Street”, whose gritty humanist purview led to the surreal veracity of “Miami Vice”. With the cashmere-and-silk minimalism of “The Equalizer”, “Hill Street”'s sphere of influence has come full circle: “The Equalizer” combines the grim anarchy of the street with an ascetic fantasy of a ramrod-stiff avenger summoned to restore order where chaos reigns. It's almost a reinvention of the hero for the 80s, a trim and intelligent “Death Wish”.

Robert McCall (Edward Woodward) - “The Equalizer” - is a Manhattan-based former CIA operative who wears his soured idealism as a shield. Essentially, this tight-fisted belief in a rusting value system is all that he has left. McCall left The Agency because he can no longer delude himself into thinking the activities he performed on the agency's behalf were “good”. To assauge his guilt, he has made himself available to the public. Through advertisements in the New York Times classifieds,



he offers his services as trouble-shooter to anyone in need.

“The Equalizer” works on a level that one wouldn't expect from a CBS show. It's dark and adult – the charged and inventive opening credits depict New York City as the dread zone, where criminals and thugs inflict wide-scale terror while forbidding synthesizers and restrained percussion underscore the sweat and tension. It refuses to offer a safe and sweetly artificial view of its middle-aged hero as a winking, roguish charmer; this isn't the predictably arthritic sappiness of “Barnaby Jones” or even “Crazy Like a Fox”, which now precedes “The Equalizer”.

“The Equalizer” is close to a perfect revenge fantasy for the 80s. Its hero is caught in the throes of trying to reclaim his own sense of morality after years of anesticizing self-denial as a CIA operative.

McCall moves back and forth between the public and private sectors; the stories occasionally involve his helping innocents whose lives unintentionally rub up against the intelligence sub-culture as well as the brutality of the streets.

When the show is at its best, the slim and precise plotting gives Woodward a chance to show off his talents. He plays McCall as a man who practices a willful, surly anonymity, capable of surprisingly assured physical tactics. Even when you don't specifically register McCall's presence, you know that he's a man not to be trifled with, a taut version of John Le Carre's dolorous George Smiley.



McCall plants himself in the midst of the messes and troubles of his clients, a fierce astrignet among the panic-stricken. When a client confesses to fear because of his unwitting entanglement in espionage, McCall replies ( in a brittle and clipped tone contemptuous of the man's quavering) “Don't be scared. Be angry”.

It's the wit and control that Woodward displays in the title role – he embodies a tenacious clinging to an old-world chivalry and ruthlessness – that further embellishes disdain for the conventions of gray-haired adventurous TV shows. And the show has audaciously broken tradition by having the hero appear 20 minutes into the show, taking extra time to set up the story.

Woodward's presence is so firm that such a risk can be taken and pay off handsomely. Casting Woodward in the title role (instead of a low-cheeked stud-mobile) was ingenious, because his chagrined authority gives the show an apt context.



In one episode, titled ‘The Defector’, McCall is called upon by an old friend to help his young daughter, which McCall’s nemesis (a cagey long-time Russian adversary) finds fascinating. “Is she your lover?” the Russian purrs with enormous self-satisfaction. “No,” McCall answers with a bemused finality.

[ Such a realistic contention – that a TV show hero isn’t a constant sexual magnet no matter what his age – makes NBC’s “Blacke’s Magic”, which still falls back on the tired device of having the much-younger woman chase the wily older hero, look even more out of touch. ]

And, in the same episode, when McCall has been informed the young woman was abducted from his home – his apartment being a neutral and secret place – he responds as if the law of physics had been reversed. “No. They couldn’t have her. She’s at my house,” McCall intones with an unnerving presence of mind.

‘The Defector’ features a fine score as well. Stewart Copeland (the percussion muscle behind The Police) is “The Equalizer”’s composer, and provides particularly elegant and haunting musical accompaniment for that episode, which shifts admirably between the main story and a rather mangled subplot.



Copeland’s participation, in addition to being something of a coup – his subtle and thoughtful musical contributions aren’t as intrusive as Jan Hammer’s moody bass noodling on “Miami Vice” – is also an in-joke: Copeland’s father was a highly-placed CIA operative in the Middle East.

“The Equalizer” plays off its new-world realism so well that it’s often compared – wrongly, I think – to “Miami Vice”. Even The CBS Evening News recently ran a condescending feature on “Vice” and its ilk, “The Equalizer” chief among them.

With its Spartan story-telling techniques, and the brisk, sharply-composed photography, “The Equalizer” is much closer to the crime-suspense shows of the late 1950s, such as “Naked City”. Fear of violence has probably been as integral to a prime-time program since “The Untouchables”, when high-caliber gunfire would erupt suddenly and crazily, sending extras scurrying for cover.

“Miami Vice” is an evolution of sorts from the grimy nihilism of “Hill Street Blues”, which remains the old world as the officers of the Hill Street Precinct continue to swim up-sewer.

But “The Equalizer” is a smart retreat, combining the amorality of the intelligence community with a steadfast grip on morality to provide perspective. (The show does stumble at times because of slipshod plotting, which makes it seem as if it is whipped together too quickly).

It’s similar to “Miami Vice” in one important way: it’s helping to define new boundaries for entertainment TV in the ‘80s. ]



As McCall would say (with his subtle Everest understatement and Mona Lisa smile):



“Not bad” ... wink

 
 Posted:   Jun 17, 2008 - 1:15 PM   
 By:   MikeJ   (Member)

Is 'The Defector' the episode where McCall blows up his adversary in his own car via remote control?

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 17, 2008 - 8:25 PM   
 By:   James Anthony Phillips   (Member)

I've just ordered this from DeepDiscountDVD. It should arrive by the end of the week. Goodie, goodie!

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 18, 2008 - 7:35 AM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

Actually, Magnanimous One, yer about 13 eps ahead (and a truly transitional, transformational revelation it is, too). 'The Defector' is Ep. 3 with Melissa Leo.



As to that, let's be a wee bit more careful we don't inadvertently provide Spoilers for those less privy to explosive plot points, oui?

 
 Posted:   Jun 18, 2008 - 10:25 AM   
 By:   MikeJ   (Member)

hahaha Whoops... Gotta watch them spoilers...

 
 Posted:   Jun 18, 2008 - 3:22 PM   
 By:   Mr. Marshall   (Member)



"The episodes of



for me was like boot camp, something every budding composer should do when he gets out of school. After the first three episodes, you’ve used up all the chord shapes you have in your cookie jar.



And then in episode four, you’ve got to come up with something here, now, today, for this emotion, attitude or action. You learn where to go for what you need for that scene today, rather than going with what you wrote earlier, that might work for that scene.



That’s where you really become a film composer. Not a composer, classical or otherwise, who waits for inspiration and sets it down on paper.



Film composers must have complete control over the emotional impact and call it up at will. That’s the part that appeals to me, the variety of musical endeavor ..." - Stewart Copeland.



i am grateful someone here tipped me to the fact that THE RYTHMATIST album contains several selections from the show.
A seller on the trading post has it for 50 bucks !
(i got it for a dollarsmile)

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 25, 2008 - 7:20 AM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

26. Joyride.

Although the plot peg of two young kids driving off a truck fulla crack isn't the apex of intrigue, the ep is notable in that it's the first appearance of another of McCall's former colleagues, Sonny Raines, charmingly portrayed by dapper Cleavant Derricks.



Other co-stars (in addition to a young Christian Slater) are Roger Robinson as one of the dealers,



Kristen Vigard



and Eddie Jones



as Lt. Harrigan, the latest in the lengthening line of harried police officials crossing consternated paths with



Note: Yes, we're aware we've skipped a number and, no, it's not accidental. The four episodes comprising what we feel are the finest of Season Two we're saving for last.

Trust us, it'll be worth it. You have Control's



word on it ... wink

 
 Posted:   Jun 25, 2008 - 10:26 AM   
 By:   MikeJ   (Member)

We can also take some comfort in knowing that Ashford & Simpson did not return to wreak more havoc on McCall in the remaining episodes of Season 2... but who can say if or when they would ever return?

No one expects...

 
 Posted:   Jun 26, 2008 - 12:21 AM   
 By:   TheSaint   (Member)

So, has anyone heard anything about the sales of The Equalizer S1? So far there has been no mention of a 2nd season release on TVShowsonDvd.com.

 
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