The Philosophy of TV Noir, The Fugitive, and Barry Morse
A sad note to report this morning: Barry Morse, who played the obsessive Lt. Philip Gerard in the classic 60s television show, The Fugitive, passed away on Saturday, February 2, at the age of 89 (hat tip to my pal, Aeon Skoble). I loved Morse in the series; his portrayal of the character could have been one-dimensional, but it evolved wonderfully over the course of that remarkable television show. (And will somebody please tell me why the character was renamed Sam Gerard in the action-packed film version?)
I should note for the benefit of fans of the original television series, starring David Janssen as Dr. Richard Kimble, the DVD releases continue. Season 1, Volume 1 was released in August of 2007; Volume 2 is due out on February 26. I loved everything about this series... from its acting and morality-play plots to its classic score, it is one of the finest television series ever made.
While I'm on the topic of The Fugitive, you can read about that series and other great examples of "TV Noir" in an absolutely spectacular new anthology, edited by Steven M. Sanders and Aeon J. Skoble, entitled The Philosophy of TV Noir.
The book is part of the University Press of Kentucky's "Philosophy of Popular Culture" series. I provided a blurb for it (which appears on the back book jacket), so I might as well reproduce that here, because it sums up my thoughts precisely:
Given the centrality of television as an organ of popular culture, this book is profoundly important to understanding the legacy of film noir. This anthology is a natural, necessary, and brilliant addition to the series.
The book includes chapters on Dragnet, The Naked City, Secret Agent, Miami Vice, 24, The Sopranos, CSI, The X-Files, The Prisoner, Twin Peaks, and, my favorite chapter, the one written by Aeon himself: "Action and Integrity in The Fugitive" (disclaimer: yeah, he gives me an acknowledgment in his notes, but this is no 'quid quo pro'... the essay is terrific!).
Pick up this book! Get the DVDs!
And remember Barry Morse...
Noted at L&P.