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Last fall CBS tried a series called VEGAS.  It was a Mad-Mennish cop show pitting a cowboy sheriff against a Chicago mobster during the baby steps of casino Vegas.

Such a fresh yet obvious idea should have been an instant classic, but CBS killed the show while it was getting off the ground. 

My wife and I typically avoid CBS because of their obsession with broadcasting dead bodies.   You know, procedural cop shows.


There's only so many ways to make a murder victim interesting, and we believe TWIN PEAKS ultimately mastered that genre -- and in doing so -- ended our interest in murder mysteries. 

It turns out viewers felt the same way, but for what I'd presume are different reasons.  If you're a MAD MEN viewer like me, you watched VEGAS for the aesthetic peek into last century.  Unfortunately the show was a little cheap in this department, or should I say, not as dedicated to production design.  Therefore viewers like me were being tricked into watching VEGAS:  CSI.  On the other hand, viewers who wanted grisly CSI  fare were seeing lame old school murder mysteries.  Lose/lose.
Another reason why the show failed was that the planned female lead -- Carrie Anne-Moss of MATRIX fame -- was no longer her kick-ass self.  Instead she came off as rather sedate and regrettably superfluous.   I know this sounds like I'm age discriminating here - for of course she's not a kick boxer type in this series at this age -- but a late great screenwriting teacher once said to me:  if you put a gun on the stage, use it.  Most of us were introduced to Carrie as a 'gun' but on this series she wasn't even a slingshot.

The show must have been aware of this casting backfire because faster than you can say 'Vegas Resort Fee' one Sarah Jones was introduced as 'Mia Rizzo'.  Talk about a weapon.  Jones was intense, beautiful, strong, and yet vulnerable.  She played a mobster's daughter who was in love with the Sheriff's brother.  An extremely well written character that many actresses would shine in, sure, but boy oh boy did Sarah Jones hit the jackpot. 

Once Mia became a series regular my wife and I went from thinking VEGAS was 'okay' to Must See Mia TV.  Dennis Quaid and Michael Chiklis were solid and entertaining, but Mia was one of several supporting actors that did some serious lifting.

Hollywood rarely writes for smart women -- so please be patient Sarah Jones.   You did a terrific job --

-- and that script will find you.



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