Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A casting mistake could doom "Mockingbird Lane" before it starts

The new-look Munsters have been assembled for NBC's Mockingbird Lane, a dramatic rebooting of the beloved gothic sitcom, devised by Bryan Fuller, whose Pushing Daisies was critically acclaimed but ratings-challenged in its lone season on ABC a couple of years back.

Eddie Izzard (ex-The Riches) will don the cloak of Grandpa, made famous, of course, by Al Lewis. Portia de Rossi (ex-Arrested Development, Ally McBeal) has landed the role of Lily (formerly played by Yvonne DeCarlo). The biggest stunner of them all, however, was who was chosen to play Herman Munster.

Jerry O'Connell (ex-Sliders, Crossing Jordan, My Secret Identity, The Defenders) was cast as Herman a week ago, and that has raised some eyebrows. Now, John Schuck, the last man to play Herman (Munsters Today) wasn't exactly a tall guy, either, so the rationale against casting a tall actor on the order of Fred Gwynne does make some sense, though at least one unenlightened fellow on Yahoo! felt it made more sense to pay tribute to the original series by casting the tallest actor currently available, and that would be Brad Garrett (ex-Everybody Loves Raymond), whose last series, 'Til Death, lasted a couple of seasons on Fox. With Garrett being known more as a comic actor, not a dramatic one, however, that might've been a strike against him, despite his talent as an impressionist. Hey, you can't have everything.

However, given Universal's recent track record of poor revivals (Night Stalker, Knight Rider, & Bionic Woman all failed to get past the first season of their reboots), revamping Munsters into a dramatic series to appeal to the "Twilight"/Vampire Diaries audience doesn't guarantee it'll work. Given that it's still a year away from premiering, and at that a year ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Munsters franchise, there's plenty of time for Fuller to fully realize his vision and sell it hard and strong to the legions of Munsters fans.

As far as I'm concerned, thanks, but I'll stick with the original.


magicdog said...

How do they intend to make this a dramatic reboot???

The original made sense as a comedy in having the majority of the family look like classic movie monsters, while Neice Marilyn was the "oddball". How is the same premise going to work in a dramatic format?

Besides, as you mentioned, reboots of some shows are not always a good idea, especially if the original was so beloved for decades.

I remember years ago, Brad Garrett did a great impersonation of Herman Munster during his old standup routines! If anyone should have been cast as a (comical) Herman in a reboot, it should have been him.

I can't imagine Jerry O'Connell doing this at all either! It's not going to come out well at all!

hobbyfan said...

Like I said, they're looking for a piece of the audience attracted to the "Twilight" movies and CW's Vampire Diaries (Lily & Grandpa are supposed to be vampires, anyway). O'Connell's misfortune of late is another factor, but whomever is doing the casting isn't doing his/her homework. Neither is NBC.......