Spin City: Season Three
I gave a great deal of thought regarding how to “spin” this review of the DVD release of the third season of the 1990s sitcom “Spin City.” The sad truth is that the first two seasons of this series about deputy mayor of New York Mike Flaherty and his bizarre staff were better.
The spin is that the third season was still decent television comedy but was too bland, which was likely due to the progression of the Parkinson’s Disease of series star Michael J. Fox. I had not realized how much he carried the show until seeing the contrast between these largely lifeless episodes and the second season shows that were released on DVD a few months ago. The fact that the show resorted to adding Heather Locklear, not to mention Charlie Sheen later, to the cast the following season confirmed that it was in decline.
It seemed that the pilot light had also gone out under the formerly better cast; One of the worst examples is Michael Boatman, who played Carter the openly gay director of minority affairs, He seemed to just express mild outrage at bad behavior and be generally fussy. None of the story lines from the first half of the season even involved a minority affairs issue in this series set in a city with a highly diverse population.
I had forgotten the job that Nikki, the often unhappy middle-aged “Cathy” of the office held at city hall. Her third season role was limited largely to efforts to kindle and later sustain a romantic relationship with Flaherty.
The sad truth is that many of the plots were generic sitcom chestnuts that any show could have presented. The Thanksgiving episode had the staff and the mayor’s estranged father join him at Gracie Mansion for dinner. Typical conflicts erupted among the staff, and the same pattern that had defined the relationship between the mayor and his father continued. Even the twists in resolving these storylines merely reflected the more cynical tone that began invading sitcoms in the ‘90s.
In an apparent attempt to attract animal lovers, other episodes had Flaherty bringing a baby deer that he had shot accidently to the hospital and feuding with a monkey several weeks later. Even the “Cousin Oliver” of the season was Carter’s suicidal geriatric dog Rags.
As a big fan of Fox and series creator/executive producer Bill Lawrence of “Scrubs” and “Clone High,” I regret that this review was not better. I do think that the predicted online sale price of approximately $15 will be worth the benefit of owning every season that has been released on DVD.
I am especially eager to hear from anyone whose views regarding this season differed from my own; my e-mail address is email@example.com.
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Review by John Stahl
John Stahl is a freelance legal writer who is also a fan of classic and cult television programs. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spin City: Season Three
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