handout

 

Sony said it will create an online service featuring episodes of T.J. Hooker (among others), starring William Shatner.

 




A LITTLE TV: In a quest to render as much potential revenue from their assets, Sony announced last week that it will be creating a new online service to feature episodes of TV shows from its library edited down into tightly compacted shots it’s calling “minisodes.” The first offerings will feature titles such as Charlie’s Angels, Starsky & Hutch and T. J. Hooker, and will be available in June when the Minisode Network dbuts as part of MySpace.


Apparently inspired by the Seven Minute Sopranos – a fast and very funny distillation of six seasons of the hit HBO show that was a recent YouTube sensation – the minisodes will be the whole episode, not just a collection of clips. As described by Steve Mosko, the president of Sony Television, in yesterday’s New York Times business section, “So in Charlie Angels, they have a meeting, Charlie’s on the intercom telling them what the assignment is, there’s a couple of fights, and then a chase, and they catch the bad guy. Then they’re back home wrapping it up.”


Mosko said that T. J. Hooker, the frantic and campy cop show that starred William Shatner from 1982 to 1986, was particularly watchable in the minisode format, with bursts of action and the inevitable shots of the star throwing himself over the hoods of cars. “Shatner is just hilarious,” Mosko said.


“There are no expensive costs,” said Mosko. “It’s just editing. Our people are really having fun with this. We’re not overthinking the process. You could almost look at this and say a group of college kids put this together.”


It’s not exactly an original idea, either, though one gets the impression that no one remembers the little reels of 8mm film that one used to be able to order from catalogues and ads at the back of magazines and comic books, which featured TV shows and whole movies cut down to ten-minute versions. I remember an old high school friend, Cadillac Bill, showing his copy of Tony Curtis in The Boston Strangler on the wall of the gym between bands during one memorable Rock Nite, blithely unaware of the violent rape scene that managed to stay in the drastically edited little film as it played out above our heads next to the basketball scoreboard.


The priests at St. Mike’s noticed it, however, and called Bill and the whole student government into the principal’s office first thing Monday morning, where they were forced to keep a straight face while Bill, unaware of having done anything wrong, tried to defend the film by insisting that The Boston Strangler – even in its bowdlerized, mail-order version – was a cinema classic, and that Curtis was an Oscar-nominated actor. I don’t think anyone was overthinking the process then, either.



rick.mcginnis@metronews.ca