Action (TV series)

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Created byChris Thompson
Opening theme"Even A Dog Can Shake Hands" performed by Warren Zevon
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13 (5 unaired)
Executive producers
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time30 minutes
Production companies
Original release
ReleaseSeptember 16 (1999-09-16) –
December 2, 1999 (1999-12-02)

Action is an American dark comedy series about a Hollywood producer named Peter Dragon, who is trying to recover from his last box-office failure. It aired on Fox during the 1999–2000 season. The series was critically praised for its irreverent and sometimes hostile look at Hollywood culture. Thirteen episodes were produced. The show was created by Chris Thompson and the show runner was Don Reo. Future Saturday Night Live cast member Will Forte was the story editor for twelve episodes, and wrote three.



  • Peter Dragon, played by Jay Mohr, is the head of Dragonfire Films. Peter got his start as a screenwriter for gay pornography, but eventually moved up the ladder of Hollywood as a hotshot producer of tasteless action films. Under tremendous pressure to make his next film a big success, Peter is bossy, arrogant, and unscrupulous.
  • Wendy Ward, played by Illeana Douglas, is a former child actress as the cute star of the TV show, The Elephant Princess (not to be confused with The Elephant Princess). She had been a teen cocaine addict, and is now a high priced hooker with a heart of gold. Peter names her Vice President of Production at Dragonfire Films and has a romantic open relationship.
  • Lonnie Dragon, played by Buddy Hackett, is Peter's uncle and chief of security at Dragonfire Films. Lonnie and Peter seem to understand each other perfectly.
  • Stuart Glazer, played by Jack Plotnick, is President of Production at Dragonfire Films. Stuart desperately wants to be taken seriously as a Hollywood developer, but is frequently abused and ordered around by Peter. In spite of his important sounding position, Stuart is often asked to do demeaning tasks like babysit Georgia, have suits dry-cleaned, and order gift baskets for star talent.
  • Adam Rafkin, played by Jarrad Paul, is a Jewish struggling screenwriter whose screenplay, Beverly Hills Gun Club, was picked up by Dragonfire Films for development. Adam's script was actually bought mistakenly by Dragonfire Films because his name was confused with the much better known writer Adam Rifkin.


  • Asher, played by John Vargas is the eurotrash maître d' that runs the high-end restaurant where every power player in town lunches. Getting the right table is vital, and Asher wields his power with the same aplomb as Peter does. Watching Peter squirm is one of Asher's delights.
  • Bobby Gianopolis, played by Lee Arenberg is the chief executive of the unnamed movie studio. He uses menacing threats to get what he wants from Dragonfire, such as withdrawing his massive financial backing or exposing his gigantic penis. He is homosexual, but married Jane, Peter's ex-wife, to quell any rumors of such. Many critics have suggested that Bobby is a parody of former FOX CEO Barry Diller.
  • Jane Dragon, played by Cindy Ambuehl, is Peter's ex-wife. She remarried with Bobby Gianopolis mostly to spite Peter. She is manipulative, scheming, and is so orally gifted she can hum and whistle at the same time. She has a daughter by Peter named Georgia and was pregnant with his second child, unknown to him.
  • Georgia Dragon, played by Sara Paxton, is Peter's daughter by Jane. Ten years old, she is deceptively innocent but mildly stone-hearted for her age, a trait she gets from her parents.
  • Jenny, played by Erin Daniels, is a struggling Hollywood career woman. She used to work at UPN, but after having sex with Peter, moved on to become a production assistant at Dragonfire Films, where she then had sex with Wendy. She is in competition with Stuart.
  • Cole Riccardi, played by Richard Burgi, is a famous action star who has been in many of Peter's movies. He is introspective, self-obsessed and secretly gay.
  • Connie Hunt, played by Amy Aquino, is the aggressive publicist assigned to Peter Dragon by Bobby Gianapolis after a major public relations disaster. She is dry, practical, and cold-hearted.
  • Titus Scroad, played by R. Lee Ermey is an eccentric American movie director loosely parodying real-life Italian director Tinto Brass (albeit lightly crossed with Terrence Malick). He has a predilection for hydro-colonic therapy and tends to accentuate his bravado by grabbing his listener's testicles.
  • Holden van Dorn, played by Fab Filippo is a hotshot young actor, with a very public record of alcohol and drug abuse.
  • Reagan Lauren Busch, played by Jennifer Lyons is a sexy starlet with an anxious appetite and recurrent weight problems.

Action also frequently used celebrity cameo appearances (performers playing themselves).

Theme song[edit]

The song in the opening credits, "Even A Dog Can Shake Hands", was performed by Warren Zevon from his album Sentimental Hygiene.


TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
11"Pilot"Ted DemmeChris ThompsonSeptember 16, 1999 (1999-09-16)100
22"Re-Enter the Dragon"John WhitesellChris ThompsonSeptember 16, 1999 (1999-09-16)101
33"Blood Money"Bryan GordonDon ReoSeptember 23, 1999 (1999-09-23)102
44"Blowhard"John WhitesellDon ReoSeptember 30, 1999 (1999-09-30)103
55"Mr. Dragon Goes to Washington"Danny LeinerRon ZimmermanOctober 21, 1999 (1999-10-21)108
66"Twelfth Step to Hell"Gil JungerWill ForteOctober 28, 1999 (1999-10-28)104
79"Strong Sexual Content"John FortenberryDon ReoDecember 2, 1999 (1999-12-02)110
810"Lights, Camera, Action"James D. ParriottAdam Hamburger & David HamburgerDecember 2, 1999 (1999-12-02)107
97"Dragon's Blood"Adam BernsteinAdam Hamburger & David HamburgerUnaired105
108"Love Sucks"John FortenberryJim VallelyUnaired106
1111"Dead Man Floating"Larry ShawDave Jeser & Matt SilversteinUnaired109
1213"Last Ride of the Elephant Princess"Vahan MoosekianJim Vallely & Ron ZimmermanUnaired111
1312"One Easy Piece"Don ReoWill ForteUnaired112


Caryn James of The New York Times said "the show is truly subversive and daring in its scabrous attitude".[1] Tom Shales of The Washington Post called it "the most daring and outrageous new comedy of the season",[2] and The Seattle Times called it "a dead-on satire of lost souls in the entertainment biz, with enough boldness to qualify for cable viewing".[3] Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly gave the series a grade of B, saying, "Action shreds Hollywood corporate culture more viciously than current big-screen spoofs like Bowfinger and The Muse. The difference is, Action's acid heartlessness renders it a more artful but ultimately less likable piece of work."[4]

David Zurawik of The Baltimore Sun found the series insulting and the pilot episode in particular to be culturally insensitive.[5] He wondered whether audiences are supposed to identify with or despise Peter Dragon.[5]

Broadcast and syndication[edit]

Fox canceled it due to ratings.[6] Of the 13 produced episodes, only 8 ran on Fox in 1999. The remaining five episodes were eventually broadcast on other networks such as FX and Comedy Central. This is the first Fox series to receive a TV-MA rating.

The show reran on IFC from 2012 to 2013.

Home media[edit]

On February 21, 2006, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released the complete series on DVD in Region 1.[7]

On August 27, 2013, it was announced that Mill Creek Entertainment had acquired the rights to various series from the Sony Pictures Television library including Action.[8] The complete series was subsequently re-released on April 1, 2014.[9]

As of March 2009, the show can be purchased on iTunes.


  1. ^ James, Caryn (September 16, 1999). "Television Review – Forget the Good Guy. It's a Hollywood Satire, and It's Out for Shock". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 18, 2022.
  2. ^ Shales, Tom (September 16, 1999). "Fox's 'Action': A Tart Take On Tinseltown". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved June 18, 2022.
  3. ^ McFadden, Kay (July 23, 1999). "Kay In L.A.: FOX For Fall - The Naked Truth". The Seattle Times. Retrieved June 18, 2022.
  4. ^ Tucker, Ken (September 17, 1999). "TV Show Review: 'Action'". Retrieved June 18, 2022.
  5. ^ a b Zurawik, David (September 16, 1999). "Fox should wrap 'Action'; Review: Forget the buzz: This series is unfunny and insulting. Let's hope it's rendered inactive -- soon". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on October 31, 2020. Retrieved June 18, 2022.
  6. ^ "UPN and Fox Rise From Their Own Programming Ashes". Chicago Tribune. May 3, 2000. Archived from the original on June 18, 2022. Retrieved June 18, 2022.
  7. ^ "Action DVD news: Check out AA (Action Artwork) -". Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  8. ^ "Site News DVD news: Mill Creek Licenses 52 TV Shows from Sony for Low-Cost DVD Release -". Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  9. ^ "Action DVD news: Announcement for Action - The Complete Series: Uncut and Unbleeped! -". Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 14 December 2015.

External links[edit]