Color us unimpressed

  • Article by: NEAL JUSTIN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 6, 2012 - 5:48 PM

One reason networks may be hesitant to cast minorities as leads in dramas is that some past efforts have flamed out in spectacular fashion.

"The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong" (1951): The first TV series with an Asian-American lead featured film star Anna May Wong as a Chinese art expert who dabbled in weekly mysteries. The quality of this effort is tough to judge because the whereabouts of any surviving episodes is a, well, mystery.

"Law of the Plainsman" (1959-60): Michael Ansara was of Lebanese descent, but he often was cast as an American Indian, most notably as an Apache tribesman who becomes a deputy U.S. marshal after attending Harvard. Ansara's focus may have been elsewhere. When the series launched, he was embarking on a 16-year marriage to future "Jeannie" Barbara Eden.

"Get Christie Love!" (1974-75): Former "Laugh-In" go-go dancer Teresa Graves tried to shake up the crime drama by playing a sassy cop who goes undercover as a prostitute, jewel thief, student -- anything but the star of a hit series.

"Outlaw" (2010): Jimmy Smits' impeccable taste left him when he agreed to play a Supreme Court justice who leaves the bench to open his own practice. He should have started by suing the writers of this mess.

"Undercovers" (2010): Hopes were high for this spy thriller when co-creator J.J. Abrams agreed to direct the pilot about a married couple lured back into doing CIA work, at least when they're not running a gourmet catering service. Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Boris Kodjoe smoldered, but the "adventures" fell as flat as an overcooked soufflé.

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