11 February 2001 | blanche-2
underrated Canadian TV series in the Moonlighting tradition
Diamonds, a Canadian television show which attempted to cash in on the success of Moonlighting, played in the U.S. on CBS late night in the late 1980s. For its last season, it was picked up by USA channel. By then, the series had French producers and, by and large, the USA channel shows were never as good as the earlier ones.
For one thing, the effects man, Darryl, a Woody Allen type, had been replaced by Rene, who had his own charm but not the comedic sense of Darryl. The producers then brought in character elements that had not existed earlier - suddenly, we learned that Christina and Mike had broken up because Mike was a compulsive gambler; Rachel, Christina's best friend, was now her "agent". The one good thing was the introduction of Mike's father.
But all that aside, Diamonds had a gifted cast - Nicholas Campbell, Peggy Smithhart and Tony Rosato who not only had grand chemistry but used the art of improv to great effect in their scenes. They were often joined by Maury Chaykin, in his pre-big screen days, as Donald, an old producer friend. "Donald's Wedding" was probably Diamonds' best episode but that was among many, many wonderful ones.
In one episode, Mike and Christina are mistaken for Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd; in another one, they are hired to be actors in Donald's film and an actor doing a death scene asks a distracted Christina, "are you going to really cry?" "Only if you promise to really die," she answers.
There is a friend who uses a phone booth as his office - "I like what you've done with the place," Mike tells him, after someone runs the phone booth down. There is their ex-agent, Murray Wolf, who walks around with a tape recorder saying things like "Memo to self- Christina is the most beautiful woman in the world." The series was a joy and always left you with a smile on your face.