Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Classic Reborn: The Untouchables (1993)

After Brian DePalma had successfully resurrected The Untouchables on the big screen with Kevin Costner, Robert DeNiro, & Sean Connery, some wondered if there would be more to the story in the modern era. Five and a half years later, fans got their answer.

The Untouchables was revived in syndication, launching in January 1993, but the closest thing to star power they had was in John Rhys-Davies ("Raiders of the Lost Ark") and William Forsythe ("Dick Tracy"), the latter of whom was cast as Al Capone, picking up for DeNiro. Tom Amandes top-lined as Eliot Ness, filling the gumshoes worn previously by Costner and Robert Stack. Unfortunately, nearly 18 months later, the series was cancelled.

So what went wrong? Too much time had elapsed since the movie hit theatres, and had long since been released on video. Capone was not a regular in the original series, appearing in a 2-part pilot and played by Neville Brand. Christopher Crowe felt it was necessary to include Capone this time around to create more conflict between Capone & Ness, which took away from the direction of the earlier series. Obviously, there wasn't a need for a voice-over narrator a la Walter Winchell, but viewers voted with their remotes.

Co-star David James Elliott would resurface on JAG not long after The Untouchables ended. The series served as a bounce-back vehicle for John Haymes Newton (ex-Superboy), but he wasn't heard from again after cancellation. Actress Hynden Walch is better known to cartoon fans these days (i.e. Teen Titans GO!).

Here's the open:

Rating: B.


magicdog said...

I rather liked this show! Ironic since I hadn't even seen the film!

I thought the cast was good. Amandes was an adequate Ness. I recognized "Superboy" John Haymes Newton right away. I thought Forsythe made a great Capone! I had forgotten David James Elliot being in this though.

I remembered Michael Horse - if anything it was his role as Tonto in the 1981 version of the Lone Ranger that cemented him in my mind. Paul Regina I always remembered for his role in the Showtime series, "Brothers".

I had no clue Hynden Walsh was in this!!

The show was able to touch on a few things the original series couldn't. Two which come to mind are the one with a drug addicted (but high end) call girl who justified her lifestyle by the nice clothes she could afford and the brand new car she drove. The other was a two parter about a serial killer in which both Ness and Capone collaborated (the infamous unholy alliance) to catch. I thought it deserved a longer run.

hobbyfan said...

It deserved a longer run, but it was in an era when nostalgia could only carry a revival so far (i.e. Bradys).

Scott J. Larson said...

I was under the impression that the reason it ended was because William Forsythe wanted to move on.

hobbyfan said...

I don't know where you got that information, but I'll need some verification.