The late ‘90s were the undisputed golden years for three things: Crushed velvet outfits, Beanie Baby hobbyists, and TV crossovers. Cosmo Kramer popped up on Mad About You, characters flitted from Ally McBeal to The Practice, Detective Munch leapt from Homicide: Life on the Street to Law and Order: SVU, Scully and Mulder went on The Simpsons. I felt like all the characters of my favorite programs were off living in some incestuous parallel universe. It was very comforting.
“Hack E.R.” was set in an emergency room, and it was directed by Eriq La Salle, best known for his role as Dr. Peter Benton in ER, and I so very much wish this had been an ER reunion/crossover episode.
The episode succumbs to a common disease of techie-hero shows: Code boredom. Much of the action is various characters yelling “Hurry!” as other characters write code to stop a medical equipment hacker, which doesn’t make for thrilling drama. In CSI world, federal agents can create patches and workarounds to stop sophisticated malware in hours or even minutes. It’s like watching a movie car chase where one car can randomly go 4000 miles an hour whenever it wants. You know who will eventually win.
But the ER setting and ER director got me thinking. Crossovers are passé, but reboots are RED HOT TRENDY. This was one of the better CSI: Cyber episodes this season, and it was still so bad that I honestly don’t have the emotional energy to recap it. The problem, however, isn’t the cast. Patricia Arquette won a fucking Oscar! Danson is an icon! Even the lesser-known names, like Charley Koontz, have proven they can do good work (he was “Fat Neil” in Community). Why not save these thespians and reassemble them in a much better show?
I’m not even in favor of TV reboots, I’m just really opposed to CSI:Cyber.
Yeah, you wouldn’t be able to get the whole sprawling cast of ER back, or even half of them. Clooney’s obviously out, they wrote Anthony Edwards off, and national treasure Maura Tierney is now on Showtime. Julianna Margulies is busy starring on the only actually good CBS show, though I’m holding out hope she could be blackmailed into participating by Archie Punjabi.
That’s fine! I’m CONFIDENT we could get Noah Wyle on board, John Stamos is a hard maybe, and the cast of CSI: Cyber could fill in the rest of the ensemble.
Imagine this: Dr. John Carter is older, wiser, but still practicing medicine. It’s his passion. Africa didn’t work out for him. Chicago hospitals are closing due to budget cuts, so he moves to... I don’t know, I haven’t thought this part of the reboot out yet. Point is, he joins a new hospital staff: Danson. Arquette. Bow Wow. Van der Beek. Koontz. Kiyoko. Hell, even bring CSI boss Peter MacNicol back, he played a doctor on Grey’s Anatomy and Chicago Hope. Ole Carter learns to work with them, maybe learns a little bit about himself along the way.
I’m not proposing the characters on CSI: Cyber become doctors. I’m proposing that the CSI:C yber cast be freed from its wretched program and enlisted to resurrect the finest hospital-based network television drama of all time. Why not?
Arquette could be a tough-but-vulnerable pediatric surgeon. Koontz could be an underestimated resident. Van der Beek could be the scowling secret lovechild of Dr. Robert Romano.
It’s just a thought.
Bad graphic explainer of the week: