Dear Television Moguls

Don’t mess with Magnum

Posted: February 8, 2018 at 1 a.m.

Listen here, Hollywood and L.A. I know I'm not an authority on much in your world. I don't know the first thing about carrying on calmly while the earth shifts violently beneath you. I can't tell you how to "hang 10" unless it involves five pairs of socks and a clothesline. And I couldn't follow your gnarly dialect if you tied me to a post and like, totally made me watch the movie Valley Girl for a week straight.

But I do know something about 1980s television. I was bosom buddies with the boob tube. And I like, totally get that you want to pan that nostalgic gold by rebooting fan favorites in hopes of having a ready-made audience. Fuller House found a niche on Netflix, and Roseanne and Murphy Brown, with their original cast, sound intriguing. But you set yourself on dangerous footing last week when I learned that you ordered a pilot for a new and "improved" Cagney & Lacey and (gulp) my beloved Magnum, P.I.

Let's pause for dramatic effect while that statement sinks in for my regular readers. For newbies, welcome, and please know that I may or may not have an overzealous passion for the incomparable, Hawaiian-shirted, Navy Seal turned private investigator, Thomas Magnum, played by the incomparable, mustache-laden, pinup of my youth, Tom Selleck. Not to mention my love of Higgins, T.C., Rick, Zeus and Apollo. Cheers to anyone else who feels my pain.

Now moguls, I want to believe you're just some good old boys never meanin' no harm, but family matters, and those shows were like family in a time when everyone was watching the same programming on the same three channels. Trying to resurrect platinum with tin is murder -- yes, MURDER, she wrote! -- of all that was good about the platinum. Larry Hagman is J.R. Ewing. Richard Dean Anderson is MacGyver. And Tom Selleck is Magnum, P.I. Period. End of story. Die-hard fans of media masterpieces don't accept a new kid on the block trying to imitate an old icon. It's like trying to pass off Ben Affleck for John Wayne. Dr. Thunder for Dr Pepper. Store-brand golden crème cakes for Hostess Twinkies. I CAN TELL THE DIFFERENCE.

And I don't blame the new actors. After all, they're just the fall guys to a dynasty of TV tycoons trying to show everyone who's the boss. There are bound to be some growing pains in the industry with all the satellite and streaming competition these days. And the iconic actors are much older and married with children now, so they aren't the head of the class anymore. But seeking out perfect strangers to fill such big shoes is not the answer. What made those characters become icons was our collective experience as a society watching what that actor brought to that character during a specific time in our lives. It's why everybody knows their name.

So please, I implore you, don't mess with Magnum. Try something new. You'll love it when a plan comes together.

NAN Our Town on 02/08/2018