Monday, May 4, 2015

Forgotten TV: W*A*L*T*E*R (1984)

As you could probably tell, 20th Century Fox wanted to continue to mine M*A*S*H for more series. AfterM*A*S*H lasted a couple of seasons, and included what was supposed to be a back-door pilot for Gary Burghoff to get his own show.

Unfortunately, W*A*L*T*E*R, which was burned off in July 1984, didn't connect as well as it should have with network suits.

Walter O'Reilly (Burghoff) cast aside his more familiar nickname of Radar upon returning stateside. He moved back home to Iowa and tried his hand at farming. That failed, and he had to sell the farm. He sent his mom off to live with his aunt, and O'Reilly moved to St. Louis, where he became a police officer.

So what went wrong? The very fabric of the character lay in the nickname. Early on in M*A*S*H, and I believe this was more fully addressed in the movie, O'Reilly had an uncanny precognitive ability to detect arriving helicopters. Those skills were not part of the pilot, as O'Reilly was now just another guy.

Ray Butenika, Noble Willingham (later of "Good Morning, Vietnam" and Walker, Texas Ranger), and Victoria Jackson, later of Saturday Night Live, co-star.

After this aired, Fox & CBS simply closed up the M*A*S*H well. I don't hear of anyone wanting to revive that franchise. Do you? Didn't think so.

Rating: B.

No comments: