Thursday, May 10, 2012

Various Season 3 Musings

You may notice I stuck a fancy little header up here. I found that picture of Perry and Hamilton among my screengrabs, loved it, and decided I had to do something with it. And I thought maybe I’d toy with the idea of a header. It looks like I didn’t stretch it far enough, though; I see part of the original, lighter red header waving at the side. Oh well.

Yesterday was kind of a bizarre day and I haven’t come prepared with a topic. I’m not quite sure whether to make some commentary on an episode or talk about something at random.

My local station has gone into season 3 now and I’ve resumed recording, since I don’t have any season 3 DVDs. Syndication-cut episodes are better than no episodes at all! (And better than Hallmark-level cuts. Eeep.) So far I’m enjoying season 3, as I remembered I did. Hamilton has seemed quite peaceable and congenial so far. It’s always nice when the writers do that. And as always, he’s interested in justice above everything else.

According to Storrer’s episode guide, he makes some sort of derogatory comments in The Startled Stallion tonight, but that’s part of his personality too. And judging from the context surrounding his complaint, I can’t say I blame him for being upset. Apparently Perry unleashed one of his courtroom theatrics and Hamilton protested. Then the judge reprimanded him and said he was in on it. But since nobody bothered to tell Hamilton, that just makes him look unfairly ridiculous. If Perry’s going to tell the judge, it seems it would only be right to tell Hamilton too. In later seasons, he would have told them both. Several times in seasons 7 and 8 we see them all conferring in the judge’s chambers. I’ll know more what I think when I see the episode again tonight. But it doesn’t seem like the judge should get prickly when he was in on the scheme and Hamilton didn’t have a clue.

Paul Drake’s Dilemma will be on tomorrow, and since I haven’t made a commentary post on that one yet, maybe I’ll plan that for the weekend post, after I’ve had a chance to see it again.

Season 3 is interesting in several ways, both good and bad. There were mostly TV-only scripts that season (as opposed to book-inspired). Sometimes the results were amazing, such as with Paul’s episode and The Prudent Prosecutor. Other times, as I recall, they continued to fall back on the book-inspired, wild and unfounded accusations towards Perry. Those stuck around through some of season 4 and then faded away, from what I can tell. (Which only makes their abrupt return in season 9 all the more bewildering.)

Also, I think season 3 is the only season in which William Talman is seen wearing bow ties. I wonder why. Were they especially popular that year? And why did he stop? Did he decide he really didn’t care for them? In any case, it’s an interesting look for him. Sometimes he wears a necktie in the first set of court scenes and then comes back with a bow tie for the second set.

Of course, season 3 is also the time when that disaster happened that resulted in William Talman’s arrest and subsequent suspension. I have to admit, I’m still puzzled as to exactly what really happened at that wild party, since William insisted he was innocent on all charges. But I figure that there’s probably no one left who really knows what happened (unless Barbara Hale or someone in the crew does), and that regardless, it’s really not important now. It’s over and done with, and William is thankfully remembered not for that but for his portrayal of Hamilton Burger—and his courage in speaking out against smoking.

When season 3 was on last year, I hadn’t prepared myself for those episodes coming up as soon as they did. I had thought season 3 finished alright and season 4 was where things first messed up. So when the cherub episode started and the truncated opening was first shown, I was rather unhappy. I later heard that they were in the middle of filming that episode when William was arrested. I wonder if any footage exists of Hamilton in that episode instead of a deputy.

Apparently in reality, the worst of the disaster must have been over by the time season 3 ended, since CBS decided to air two of their shelved finished episodes with William and test audience reaction. And the audience was willing to forgive and forget. Although I wonder why it took so long to get everything squared away when season 4 started up. I think Hamilton was only in three episodes in the first half of season 4, and two of those were the other episodes filmed earlier that year as part of season 3.

I confess, I really wish CBS would have been releasing the seasons as full sets and not in halves. I would love to have DVD copies of The Prudent Prosecutor and The Fickle Fortune, but that would entail buying the season halves that overall have very few episodes with Hamilton. Which puts them at the bottom of my priority list. I wish the prices on the second half of season 4 and all of season 6 would come down a bit.

(Speaking of season sets, CBS is finally going to release season 5 of Touched by an Angel this summer. And it’s reportedly going to be a full set, not a half, as they were doing with it before. Could this possibly mean anything where Perry is concerned? Oh wow, if season 7 would be released in one chunk . . . !)

I tried to figure out once the order in which I would rank the seasons. It’s probably drastically different from most people’s lists. From favorite to least favorite, I believe I ended up with:

Season 2
Season 6
Season 7
Season 8
Season 3
Season 4
Season 5
Season 1
Season 9

All the seasons that were the least book-inspired rank high. 3 and 4 hover around the middle, for their level of character presentation and development as well as the unfortunate absence of . . . certain persons. And the seasons that seemed more book-inspired rank lower.

Please note that I admit the plots of many book-inspired episodes are incredible. Gardner apparently did know how to write a good mystery, if those episodes are fairly accurate to his stories. But I rank character development higher than overall plot, so I frankly enjoy episodes in some of the other seasons much better. And anyway, I think some of the plots in seasons 7 and 8 are sadly underrated and are quite exciting and intense in their own right.

As a parting, I forgot to mention on Sunday that I started a new experimental Livejournal writing project. I’m afraid it’s getting me a bit sidetracked from the current mystery. I’m posting a short fanfic a day again, using this month’s writing prompts on 31 Days. And this time I’m exploring missing scenes from my story The Broken Ties. There were several things I wanted to get into but didn’t have the chance, and I’ve long wanted to try this project. This month’s themes made me decide that now is a perfect time.

I am gathering all of them under this link, if anyone wants to look. I got started late, so the first four themes will be posted on the 31st, along with the story for that day. They are not going up in chronological order, since the themes inspired me all over the place, but I always say where in the story they fit in.

I am a bit surprised with how these are coming out. They’re mostly darker than the original story, and some of them are more from the villains’ points-of-view. (Although the main focus appears to be Hamilton’s difficulties, since Vivalene wanted to specifically make things a horror for him.) My Vivalene character seems to want to be even more devilish than before, too. Hmm.

I’m particularly excited to post Saturday’s; it will have Leon and I’ll be trying to patch up any oversights I made with him in the original story.

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