Spin City S1-S6 (1996-2002)

Enjoyable if formulaic comedy show about the workers who help the mayor of New York run the city, though more often than not it’s the mayor not doing anything at all and his stuff doing first damage and then damage control. Central to the first four seasons was Michael J. Fox as the deputy mayor, as he was the de-facto head of staff and was the one really in charge of the city. After leaving due to Parkinson, he got substituted with Charlie Sheen, who managed to give his own spin on the role of the deputy mayor.

The overall progression of the show went from a 50/50 mix of very lightweight political themes and relationships of the stuff members to a 20/80 mix in favor of relationship-heavy plots with the onset of the third season. So, IMHO, the first major jump-the-shark moment was the whole third season. Once I had acclimatized myself to that mix, the second major jump-the-shark moment was Michael J. Fox leaving, as with him gone a few of the other actors left as well. Also Heather Locklear’s character went from competent and mostly self-assured (S4) to a more stereotypical female character who was nearly completely defined by her love life (I began to wonder what she did actually around the office). The show became even more focused on the interpersonal relationships (especially the one between Sheen’s and Locklear’s characters), though lightweight political elements were still present until the end.

So, it’s a show I liked not despite its mostly shallow nature, but because of it. The characters were well defined with different faults and obsessions, and while often looking like walking cliches on the surface, the actors made them work by showing different aspects of good & evil in good measure. After some time it was easy to like them and see all their ways as infused with charming quirks instead of annoying habits. That said, I think the show could have used a little more political bite, which would have given the show a higher profile and could have balanced all relationship issues, which felt a little bit too much like soap opera after some time.