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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday Wild Card: The Best Show You (Probably) Never Saw

In 1988, ABC premiered a sci-fi mystery television show developed by mystery writer William Link science fiction writer Isaac Asimov. The series starred Parker Stevenson (formerly of Hardy Boys fame, later of Baywatch fame, at that time of married-to-Kirstie-Alley fame) as the reclusive scientific genius Austin James and Ashley Crow as his perky and quirky new secretary, Mickey Castle. (Years later we would come to know Ashley as "Claire's mom" on Heroes.)
Certainly owing some of its concept to the long-running British series Doctor Who, Probe presented a "Sherlock Holmes" for the silicon age, with the eccentric Austin James solving mysterious crimes involving advanced technology with Mickey in tow - often having to provide explanation and apology for James's misanthropic style. (I think Monk owes at least a nod toward this series.)
Two months (and seven total episodes)after Probe debuted as a mid-season replacement, ABC canceled the series as it never found its place in the ratings. No mystery there. After the pilot episode, Probe took up its regularly scheduled spot on . . . Thursday nights. (In 1988 NBC owned Thursday nights with The Cosby Show, A Different World, Cheers, and Night Court.)
Still, I made a point of watching every episode (amid a bit of contention in my house as this was before DVRs), and I was sorry to see it go.
Thanks to the age of YouTube, I can re-watch some of the episodes, and I've put the first fifteen minutes or so of the pilot up here if you want to check it out.

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