Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Soundbytes: The Thrill is Gone

Henry Simmons and NYPD Blue: Catch it while it lasts.
[Captures via Da DL Crib]

If you’re a Henry Simmons fan—and who isn’t?—listen up. Images like these are about to disappear from prime time television. On March 1, ABC will pull NYPD Blue from its lineup.

After 12 seasons, the ‘net is retiring the well-decorated detectives at the 15th Precinct. Blue debuted in September 1993, and the series earned 27 Emmy nominations during it's first season. Since then, it’s received an astounding 82 Emmy nominations, and has won 20.

Producer Steven Bochco said if he had tried to launch NYPD Blue today instead of '93, he never could have gotten it off the ground. "The medium has become increasingly conservative," he told television critics attending their annual winter tour in Los Angeles. "I don't think today we could launch or sell a show like NYPD Blue." After Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" during last year's Super Bowl halftime show telecast on CBS, he says Blue has had to fight with ABC over content that was never questioned before.

Originally, Bochco hoped the show's success would pave the way for more sophisticated drama. But just the opposite has happened. The airwaves have become cluttered with lame reality fare, and fluffy scripted shows like The OC, and Desperate Housewives.

Many long-time Blue aficionados—myself included—are not surprised by the cancellation. In the past six years, the show has faltered since Jimmy Smits’ character—Detective Bobby Simone—was killed. There's been a revolving cast, and the writing has lost its punch.

But lucky for us, the show has survived and we've been treated to these weekly yummy images of Henry Simmons on Tuesday nights. In less than two weeks, it'll be twice as nice: besides being seen Tuesdays on Blue, you can catch the hottie in HBO's Lackawanna Blues. The movie boasts an all-star cast, including S. Epatha Merkerson, Mos Def, Louis Gossett, Jr., Macy Gray...and NYPD Blue alum Jimmy Smits.

NYPD Blue (ABC) Tuesdays 10/9c. Rerun daily on TNT. Check listings.