Action (TV series)
|Created by||Chris Thompson|
|Theme music composer||Warren Zevon|
|Opening theme||"Even A Dog Can Shake Hands"|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||13|
|Executive producer(s)||Joel Silver
|Camera setup||Single-camera setup|
|Production company(s)||Silver Pictures Television
Christopher Thompson Productions
Columbia TriStar Television
|Distributor||Sony Pictures Television|
|Original release||September 16, 1999– May 10, 2000|
Action is an American 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 two.
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. At the start of the series, Peter's latest film, Slow Torture, is a monumental flop, and he is under tremendous pressure to make his next film a big success. Peter is bossy and arrogant to his subordinates and is morally unscrupulous in negotiating with Hollywood talent. It is once or twice suggested that Peter is sexually confused.
Wendy Ward, played by Illeana Douglas, is a former child actress who gained fame as the cute star of the TV show, The Elephant Princess (not to be confused with The Elephant Princess). Her career tanked during her teen years due to a nasty coke habit, and she is now a high priced call girl. Through circumstance, she ends up becoming Peter's date at the premiere of his movie Slow Torture. After she gives her honest criticism of Slow Torture, Wendy is named Vice President of Production at Dragonfire Films and has an open relationship with Peter. Wendy's character is an intentional play on the "hooker with a heart of gold" movie stereotype.
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. Lonnie is one of the few people Peter actually treats with respect. Lonnie has served in many wars, including World War II, and often complains about past injuries, most notably the fact that he only has one testicle. As he puts it, "The sack is half full."
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. Stuart is gay.
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 Alan Rifkin. Adam lives alone, is sexually frustrated and has had the same agent represent him for most of his floundering professional career. A source of frustration is his lack of respect from Hollywood, most notably from Peter who never seems to recall his correct name.
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 a make or break situation and Asher wields his power with the same aplomb as Peter does. Watching Peter squirm is one of Asher's not so secret delights.
Bobby Gianopolis, played by Lee Arenberg is the chief executive of the unnamed movie studio. Bobby G, as he is well known, uses menacing threats to get what he wants from Peter and the rest of the Dragonfire staff. Often these threats involve withdrawing his massive financial backing or exposing his gigantic penis. Bobby G is gay, but married Jane, Peter's ex-wife, in order 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. It is never revealed why she and Peter broke up, but 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. Peter did not know he conceived another child with her, as he was extremely drunk and thought he had sex with someone else at the time. Jane told him this also out of spite, as he'd always wanted a son. Jane threatened that if he tried to bring it to public knowledge, Bobby would pull his backing.
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 sleeping with Peter, moved on to become a production assistant at Dragonfire Films, where she then slept 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 PR disaster. She is dry, practical, cold-hearted, and is portrayed with the aura of a hitman/cleaner. A sound effect of lightning and thunder usually follows mention of her name.
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 Terence Malick). He has a predilection for hydro-colonic therapy and tends to accentuate his bravado by grabbing his listener's testicles, a tendency that irritates Peter. Titus accidentally drowns in the episode "Dead Man Floating".
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 was notable for its heavy use of cameos by celebrities, who played themselves.
- Keanu Reeves is fondled by Wendy Ward during a movie premiere. (Episode #100)
- Steve Kmetko and Jules Asner report on the extremely low opening weekend take of Slow Torture on their show E! News Live. (Episode #101).
- Salma Hayek runs into Peter in a restaurant and reveals that Peter sexually harassed her early in her career. (Episode #101)
- Sandra Bullock vehemently protests the sex tape of her and Peter that he is selling on his website. (Episode #103)
- Steve Kmetko appears interviewing Cole Riccardi. (Episode #103)
- Tony Hawk breaks a leg when Peter distracts him, trying to get him to convince Leonardo DiCaprio to do Peter's movie. (Episode #104)
- Scott Wolf, much shorter than he has appeared on TV, begs Peter to cast him as an action star, then threatens him after one short joke too many. (Episode #104)
- Mike Walker of National Enquirer arrives to get the scoop directly from Peter on the new film. (Episode #106)
- David Leisure appears as a career-crashed security guard. (Episode #107)
- David Hasselhoff appears at a charity auction. (Episode #108)
|PC||Title||Original air date||DVD
|100||"Pilot"||September 16, 1999||1||Chris Thompson||Ted Demme|
|101||"Re-Enter the Dragon"||September 16, 1999||2||Chris Thompson||John Whitesell|
|102||"Blood Money"||September 23, 1999||3||Don Reo||Bryan Gordon|
|103||"Blowhard"||September 30, 1999||4||Don Reo||John Whitesell|
|104||"Twelfth Step to Hell"||October 7, 1999||6||Will Forte||Gil Junger|
|105||"Dragon's Blood"||October 28, 1999||7||Adam Hamburger & David Hamburger||Adam Bernstein|
|106||"Love Sucks"||December 13, 1999||8||Jim Vallely||John Fortenberry|
|107||"Lights, Camera, Action"||January 17, 2000||10||Adam Hamburger & David Hamburger||James D. Parriott|
|108||"Mr. Dragon Goes to Washington"||February 21, 2000||5||Ron Zimmerman||Danny Leiner|
|109||"Dead Man Floating"||March 14, 2000||11||Dave Jeser & Matt Silverstein||Larry Shaw|
|110||"Strong Sexual Content"||April 3, 2000||9||Don Reo||John Fortenberry|
|111||"Last Ride of the Elephant Princess"||May 3, 2000||13||Jim Vallely & Ron Zimmerman||Vahan Moosekian|
|112||"One Easy Piece"||May 10, 2000||12||Will Forte||Don Reo|
* Aired on FX following network cancellation.
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 was also the first Fox series to receive a TV-MA rating, but not the last, as High School USA! on the ADHD block was later rated TV-MA.
On August 27, 2013, it was announced that Mill Creek Entertainment had acquired the rights to various television series from the Sony Pictures library including Action. The Complete series was subsequently re-released on April 1, 2014.
As of 2012, the series is in reruns on IFC, the Independent Film Channel.