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Lee Goldberg (Los Angeles, CA USA)

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101 Best TV Crime Series
101 Best TV Crime Series
by Mark Timlin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Filled With Errors & Not Much Meat on the Bone, 23 May 2011
Let me state at the outset than I am a fan of Timlin's books, so if I had a bias going in, it was a favorable one. That didn't last long.

The pluses are that Timlin, a top-notch mystery author himself, is a real fan of the genre and he writes in a casual, easy-going style. As a whole, the book provides a nice overview of a bunch of British series and a handful of US ones that might not be familiar to most UK viewers.

The cons, however, far, far outnumber the pluses. Apparently, Timlin's actual knowledge of the shows he's talking about isn't as strong as his admiration for them...and nobody bothered to fact-check the book, so it is filled with cringe-inducing errors and unfortunate omissions.

For example:

1) he refers to the lead of THE FUGITIVE as Dr. David Kimble when, of course, everyone knows it's Dr. RICHARD Kimble.
2) He says the iconic IRONSIDE theme was composed by Oliver Nelson when it's actually among Quincy Jones' most famous pieces of music (Nelson supplied some of the episodic scores, but didn't compose the theme).
3) He says that the Quinn Martin shows had a voice over that went "This has been a Quinn Martin Production" when, in fact, each show opened with the narrator announcing the name of the series, followed by the words "A Quinn Martin Production."
4) He says LIFE ON MARS began with DCI Sam Tyler walking down a Manchester street, listening to David Bowie on his iPod, when he's hit by a car. That is, in fact, totally incorrect, making this reader wonder if Timlin actually saw the show he was writing about.
5) When discussing HARRY O, he says the hero was an ex-LA cop. He was actually an ex-San Diego cop.

I could go on and on. Beyond the numerous errors, there's also a lack of detail. For instance, when referring to KOJAK, he mentions the 2005 remake with Ving Rhames but either completely overlooked, or was totally unaware of, the six KOJAK TV movies Savalas did on CBS, and later ABC, a decade after the original series was cancelled. In fact, almost all the entries suffer from a paucity of useful information in favor of irrelevant, personal asides by the author ("Oddly enough, it was 'Hill Street Blues' that got me my first video recorder; back when it started, I was offered a job driving a loser heavy metal band called 720. The show had just started and I took the job o the condition that the manager paid for the hire of a VCR. He agreed. Blimey the thing was the size of a suitcase...") Perhaps Timlin is a celebrity in the UK, and the readers there are more interested in his asides than information about TV cop shows, but it doesn't play on the other side of the pond.

One other beef...I found Timlin including his own short-lived series, SHARMAN, among the best TV Crime Series to be more than a little self-indulgent (although he didn't write the entry, he had someone else do it, which only makes the inclusion feel even more self-serving). If only he'd given all the other series mentioned in the book the same loving attention as he did his own (he gives THE SOPRANOS three tiny paragraphs, but the short-lived SHARMAN gets four pages!).

Overall, unless you can get this book at a major discount, I'd skip it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 21, 2011 10:44 PM BST

Six Million Dollar TV Themes
Six Million Dollar TV Themes

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Version of Popular TV Themes, 26 Jan. 2001
John Gregory (aka Chaquito) delivers big, brassy, powerful interpretations of some popular, and obscure, TV detective and fantasy themes. His takes on "It Takes a Thief" and "The Names of The Game" are simply fantastic... and the best versions of either track available anywhere.

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