Spin City

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ABC (ended 2002)

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witchinsider

User Score: 201

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Spin City Fan Reviews (27)

8.8
out of 10
Average
1,118 votes
  • A great show - just wasn't the same without Michael J Fox

    8.0
    I loved this show when it started up - even though it was a little too gag-based at times and the emphasis on Mike's relationships did occasionally steer into corny drama, the dialogue, the jokes, made up for it.

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    And the cast was a strong one - every member of the initial cast was perfect for their role. They weren't just believable, they executed every line and dialogue naturally and easily and with perfect timing and expression. There was never that awkward moment of something slightly off when you could sense, "Oh, they're acting." Even when the dialogue wasn't the strongest, they could deliver. You felt like you were watching a moment in their lives, not a set with actors reciting from memory and choreographed movements.

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    ... But it changed. And the big reason - Heather Locklear. I know, this sounds cliche. But the problem with Locklear was twofold.

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    First, the writers seemed to feel obligated to insert her into the show, so her appearance, her role - it all seemed so forced. Like they'd been forced get her character established front and center at gunpoint. She was the sassy strong female stock character who everyone wants and no one can have - a terrible cliche. Obviously, she needs to becomes Mike's love interest. Nikki gets written out of the show to make room and I'm convinced that Stacy's unexplained disappearance between seasons is related to Locklear's introduction - there's only enough screentime and Locklear needs to be the big star and I imagine it was made obvious at some point to Jennifer Esposito that she wouldn't have much of a role anymore.

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    And we, as the audience - we're forced to love her. The writers don't organically introduce her as one of the cast and have her grow into the storylines (like they did when they intro'd Stacy). Instead, Locklear's character gets all the main plotlines from the get-go - she is the new focus of the show.

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    Which I think is why most fans didn't like her. Spin City was no longer Spin City. It was a completely different show. Because the Spin City in its prime was an ensemble cast - a group of different actors playing off of each other in stories that involve all of them. Mike was the center, but he wasn't out there on his own. And that's what made it so good - the dialogue. That natural, smooth-flowing dialogue and movement between characters that I pointed out before - nine different characters with very different roles and actors who fit those niches so well - that was the great part.

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    But when Heather Locklear was introduced, suddenly, the show wasn't about that anymore. The show wasn't an ensemble cast - it was "Michael J Fox and Heather Locklear, with assorted supporting actors and extras." And that is the reason why the other actors left. Why stay if you essentially are just background?

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    That's why fans hated Locklear's character so much - not necessarily because of her character, who, though annoying, could've become an interesting addition to the group (the cold ambitious selfish bitch - hey, Dierdre made it work) - but because they changed the show entirely to make her the star.

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    I dunno who made that decision, whether it was the producers, the writers, the network, but someone, somewhere, decided the show needed to focus on two central characters rather than an ensemble cast. And that person needs to be forced to sit in a chair and watch all those later season episodes of Spin City until they weep and repent, because they ruined what could've been a great send-off to Michael J. Fox's distinguished career.

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    Because I know that someone was thinking, "Heather Locklear's available for the show? Oh, man, she's HAWT. Make the show about her." And that leads me to the other thing: Heather Locklear isn't actually that good an actress. She's adequate. Not bad, not the worst. But if it wasn't for her looks (which I personally don't like) and her reputation in soap operas (which aren't actually known for strong acting), she would be completely average.

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    The other actors on Spin City - hey, I'm realistic, they're not exactly Meryl Streeps or Tom Hanks. But they were PERFECT for the specific roles they played on the show. Maybe Barry Bostwick could not have been convincing in any other role - but he was a natural as the Mayor. All the actors were in precisely their element.

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    Heather Locklear simply was not. Every line she delivered, she delivered like she was selling makeup on one of her TV spots - a clean, polished line in a pleasant, lyrical tone - but people don't talk like that in real life. She wasn't terrible - she was adequate - but she simply did not belong on Spin City.

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    So instead of trying to make Heather Locklear belong on Spin City, they changed Spin City to make it belong to her. There was just enough of the original Spin City to keep the show just watchable in the fourth season, but with Michael J. Fox and Bill Lawrence gone, it plummeted.

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    And Charlie Sheen - ugh. Dude's like Heather Locklear - delivers every line in just one way - only for him, it's always a low, grating deadpan, like he's soliciting prostitutes on the street.
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