I’m not sure if this’ll become a regular feature, but I’ve had a few of these rolling around in my head lately, so let’s see what happens. The premise is pretty simple: rebooting an old franchise with newer cast members. The Nerd Lunch guys do it all the time with their Re-Do podcasts, so I’m not reinventing the wheel. I do, however, seem to love the one-hour weekend syndicated drama format more than most, so I’ll probably be focusing on more of those sorts of shows. Anyway, today we’re going to talk about The Fall Guy (yeah, I know it was an ABC show, but I grew up with it in syndication, and that’s exactly where it would land in today’s TV climate).
One of my favorite shows of the 80s, The Fall Guy starred Lee Majors as stuntman Colt Seavers, a man who works as a bounty hunter when not taking scrapes for stars like Robert Redford on screen. He’s accompanied by his cousin Howie (Douglas Barr), and stuntwoman Jody (Heather Thomas). First off, let me just take a moment to give Douglas Barr a round of applause. While not a household name, he was THE utility player of 80s television. If not for him and Terry Kiser, we wouldn’t have had anything to watch. Anyway, The Fall Guy was pretty formulaic – Colt gives us a voiceover of what life’s like as a stunt man, then he’d get a job to go after someone who’s jumped bail. His awesome truck usually jumped something cool, and Colt and Howie usually got into a fist fight in a dive bar. Oh, and when people shot at each other, no one got hit – in true Glen A. Larson fashion.
When thinking about a reboot of this franchise, it’s actually a lot harder than you’d assume. You see, Hollywood hasn’t really cranked out too many prettyboy actors like Robert Redford in recent years. We’ve either got the metrosexual who does his own stunts (Will Smith, Tom Cruise), or CGI taking care of the hard stuff. So, that would be a leading theme in this new incarnation. This Colt Seavers would actually be more successful as a bounty hunter, as the stunt industry is getting smaller. He’s still trying to get jobs here and there, but he’s realizing that Hollywood has changed, and his stuntman days are numbered. Also factor in that he’s not the youngest kid on the block, so even the jobs opening up are going to younger guys, with fewer broken bones.
Considering all the work is in LA, the show would remain in LA. Not that Colt couldn’t go on location for shoots, but HQ is in LA. I want a particular LA, though. I fell in love with the decadent, otherworldly LA depicted in shows like V.I.P. and Fastlane. That’s the LA where everyone goes to make dreams come true, yet they’re too oblivious to realize very few people’s dreams are coming true. I want the LA where every waiter’s an actor, and the real stars don’t give a shit about them. There’s glitz and glamour everywhere you look, but no one seems to know how to get from where they are to that. Colt hates this world, but he knows where his bread is buttered. He resents the fact that the “stars” get the attention, while he does all the heavy work (what little there is to be done lately). I want the same tongue-in-cheek nature of V.I.P. (which I think owes a lot to the original Fall Guy), and I want D-list guest stars, like David Faustino and Kato Kaelin. It’s a weekend show, with no network backing, so that’s the guest budget we’re working with.
Colt Seavers – Michael Biehn
If this show were to start in the fall, Biehn would be 57 – about 10 years older than Majors when he had the role. That said, I couldn’t think of anyone better. He’s still in great shape, and he’s got the bumps to sell the role. They don’t make ‘em like Majors/Biehn anymore, as you need a guy who’s ruggedly handsome, has a shit-eating grin, but also couldn’t care less about the “stars” around him. Again, working with a weekly syndicated budget, this is a major coup. I almost went with Greg Evigan, but Biehn is the right choice. The perfect choice. In the event Biehn turned it down, I’d go with David Chokachi.
Howie Munson – Kyle Bornheimer
This is a tough role to cast, as Howie isn’t exactly “bumbling”, but he’s not the most coordinated guy. He’s got a good heart, though, and earnestly wants to learn the stuntman trade from Colt. He’s milquetoast with an edge. For this, I’m going with Kyle Bornheimer. You may not know his name, but you’ve seen his face. I first noticed him when he was on NBC’s short-lived Perfect Couples, with Olivia Munn and Waitress from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. Currently, he’s the lead on ABC’s soon to be canceled Family Tools. His career is almost like Douglas Barr’s, but I could see him in the role so perfectly.
Jody Banks – Kaley Cuoco
Here’s where things get a little tough. Everyone knows that Heather Thomas was on this show to add sex appeal. Well, her and Markie Post. She was a stuntwoman, but she usually just walked around in a bikini. If this were Maury, she’d be the Sexy Decoy. I need someone hot, but also with the physicality to pull this off. I also need someone who works within the budget. I want to keep the Happy Endings cast employed, so I gravitate to Elisha Cuthbert for hot/funny, but Eliza Coupe for hot/athletic. Still, I think both might be out of the price range of this little venture. Nope – got it. Kaley Cuoco. Her star is rising, but I don’t think she’d cost too much. Her recent commercial push shows she’ll take any job, and TBBT only has about 3 more seasons in it. She’s perfect for the humor and the physicality. I’ll say, however, that her addition to the cast bumps this up from syndication to a USA Original Series (yeah, they call ‘em that even when they’re not).
Look at it! Look at it JUMP! Yeah, that truck’s a member of the cast just as much as Colt. It ain’t going anywhere.
The original stays. I’m not sure if Michael Biehn can sing, but if he can, he’s doing it. If not, we’ll just use the Lee Majors version. Majors will already have cameos as Colt’s inspiration and mentor. I once toyed with the fact that New Colt was really just the brother of original Colt (which mean New Colt’s name would have to be Something Else Severs), but I never really like that stuff. So, Majors will be around, but we’ll call him something like “Dutch”. Anyway, the song. This is it:
So, there ya have it. I think it’s got about 3 seasons in it, if scheduled properly. Who knows – might even make it to 5. I say 3 seasons because that’s when renegotiation would occur, and I’m sure this show would require a favored nations clause, like Three’s Company. Basically, when one gets a raise, they all get a raise – even if one makes more, which would be Cuoco. Negotiations tend to fall apart at that point, as Suzanne Somers can attest. Anyway, this isn’t the show that’s gonna win awards or get rave reviews. It’s guilty pleasure television. It’s TV for the tween and teen who’s wrapped up in video games. Even if it can’t ween them off the XBox teat, then it’s guilty pleasure TV for bored husbands and lonely spinsters. The bottom line is that they don’t make TV like this anymore. A lot of folks might say that’s a good thing, but I’m not one of them. So, this is just my attempt at bringing back a little, albeit important, piece of my childhood.