Show of the Day: Bull

19 Aug


To say that something is long forgotten assumes it was once remembered to begin with, which is why that phrase would not be applicable to Bull.  I’ve never met another person who remembers the existence of the show.  That said, even if you’ve never heard of the show it holds an important distinction in the annals of cable TV.  It was the first ever original series on TNT.  Now there are Leverage and Dark Blue and The Closer and Saving Grace and Rizzoli and Isles and all of them owe a little something to Bull, as the oldest child it may not have been the most successful, but it paved the way.

Bull was almost doomed from the start.  Named after the Bull market that seemed ready to last forever, the show aired as the dot-com bubble began its crash, making it look very out of place with circumstances.

Bull was a story of a group of young ambitious investment bankers who were about to break apart from the large, well established investment bank they were part of.  Making this transition even more controversial was the fact that the leader of the breakaways was the grandson of the founder of the investment they were all leaving.

I didn’t know a damn thing about investment banking when I watched the show (I don’t know all that much more now), but they managed to make it seem like a crazy, exciting, high-stakes world where the success of their young firm hinged on ten things going right every episode.  In the first episode, the rebellion from the old firm begins led by proud WASP scion Robin Roberts III, played by actor George Newborn, who might best be known for providing the voices for Superman in the Justice League series of cartoons, and Final Fantasy character Sephiroth in any English language incarnation of games that featured him.  His dad was portrayed by Ryan O’Neal, and his grandfather, known as the “Kaiser” who would become the primary antagonist of the show, was played by Donald Moffat, a British actor who might best be known for playing the evilUSpresident in Clear and Present Danger.  The show also featured Elizabeth Rohm who went on to a stint as Assistant District Attorney on Law & Order for a couple of years, and Stanley Tucci who played a more experienced negotiator who the team needs on their side to survive, but whose loyalty is in debate in nearly every episode.

Basically, in each episode they try valiantly to stay afloat, as the old firm tries to bring them down, attempting to sabotage their every deal.  There’s plenty of personal tension abreast as well.  We never got any resolution; Bull was cancelled halfway through its run, and I know of know way to get my hands on the second half of the season – though a youtube commenter on the preview above mentions that they showed the whole thing in Finland.

Did Bull make television history?  No, not really.  But I watched it, it deserves at least a rememberance that it once existed.  A marked grave, if not necessarily a yearly candle on its day of death.  I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

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