Question: I saw the promo for Crusoe for the first time, and I would like to know who is starring in it, what is your opinion of it and if you think a historical drama on basic cable has a chance of survival? I had not heard one word about the show even existing until the Olympics ads, so I didn't know if that was a good or a bad sign.
Answer: I love that you're confusing NBC with basic cable, but honestly, if you saw the Olympics promos, you know about as much as we do. This is one of many new NBC shows that hasn't yet been screened by critics, because of late production starts or retooling or whatever excuse they have today. Crusoe won't premiere until October 17, so they still have plenty to time to work on the two-hour opener. What we know at this point is that this international co-production is being billed as a "13-part series" adapting the classic novel for TV. New-to-me Philip Winchester is playing Crusoe, Tongayi Chirisa is Friday, and in flashbacks you'll see Sam Neill as Crusoe's patron and Anna Walter as his wife. Alias's Mia Maestro is also listed in the cast, as "Olivia." Not having seen the show, it's hard for me to handicap, although the conventional wisdom is that it's undeniably a risky venture, especially given the Friday time period. The clips make Crusoe look like an extended miniseries of the sort Robert Halmi's company used to churn out, some better than others. My gut tells me this is one of those "others," but it would be nice to be swept away on a new island adventure, so we'll see.