Writer. Publisher and owner of Luft Books. An Angeleno adrift in New York City, I've got a BFA in screenwriting from USC's film school, a fiendish love of pop culture, and a Duran Duran lyric for every occasion. Reach me on Twitter or at me_richter(at)yahoo(dot)com.
I haven't written one of these in a few years, so some explanation might be in order before diving in. Despite the flippant title, the Strange Sick Sad Career mantle is bestowed only upon actors I genuinely like, such as Jonny Lee Miller and Michael Rosenbaum and Ioan Gruffudd… and, now, Thomas Gibson, who is freaking amazing in his role as ultra-grim FBI unit chief Aaron Hotchner on the CBS crime procedural Criminal Minds. How amazing? Consider this: I voted for Gibson with a clear conscience when he went head-to-head against Fringe's magnificent John Noble in Entertainment Weekly's Under-Appreciated Entertainer of 2010 poll, an honor Gibson went on to win.
So… what’s strange or sick or sad about Gibson’s career? Fair question. After all, he’s spent thirteen of the past sixteen years starring in well-received prime-time network television shows (three seasons on Chicago Hope, five on Dharma and Greg, and he’s presently well into his sixth on Criminal Minds), which …
This is the backdoor pilot for the short-lived spinoff series, The Girl From U.N.C.L.E., and man oh man, it is terrible.
Illya, dressed in a fancy ruffled tuxedo, poses as an advertising executive and loiters around a swanky party for Caresse Cosmetics, which is in the process of choosing Miss Moonglow, the new face of the company. The party is teeming with pretty ladies; Caresse’s cofounder, Jean Caresse (Mary Carver, the mom from Simon & Simon), asks Illya for his opinion as to which one should represent her company. “Personally, I would prefer a woman of accomplishment,” Illya says. This bit of straightforward common sense alarms Jean, who is a seasoned THRUSH agent. Jumping into action, she grabs a henchwoman and alerts her to her suspicions that a cute blond U.N.C.L.E. agent has crashed their party. Illya snoops around and ends up captured by Jean’s evil brother, Arthur (Kevin McCarthy).
No U.N.C.L.E. recap this week due to a combination of an overpacked agenda and general inertia, but have no fear:
a) I'll post a new recap early next week, and:
b) it's just going to be that stupid third-season episode where Illya dresses up as the Abominable Snowman for absolutely no good reason, so you're not missing all that much.