Sledge Hammer! premiered on ABC 30 years ago and was cancelled after only two seasons. In a recent interview with Splitsider, creator Alan Spencer discussed his short-lived cop comedy and its upcoming revival special in San Francisco.
Sledge Hammer! starred David Rasche as a comically absurd version of Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry character. Anne-Marie Martin and Harrison Page also starred.
Speaking to Splitsider, Spencer said he would be interested in a reboot of the comedy only “as long as it’s true to itself in its satirical nature and has something to say.” He added:
I mean, I’ve gotten inquiries off and on — and now they’re more frequent — about rebooting Sledge Hammer! because the current climate of Hollywood is a big recycle bin, but when they talk about it they talk about a tone and a version of the show that has nothing to do with Sledge Hammer; they’ll say it’s like Naked Gun,and that wasn’t what I was doing. I wasn’t doing that style — it’s very, very different and had more verisimilitude. I mean, the comedy of a modern Sledge Hammer! is closer to Tarantino than anything like that — over-the-top violence played for laughs and everything. … But I am interested in it. There’s actually a studio I’d like to work with because it’s run by the original executive who fought for Sledge Hammer! back in the day, so I’m having very serious talks about doing it now.”
Spencer also discussed the current state of TV comedy, saying networks are playing it too safe and need to take bolder risks like when ABC greenlit Sledge Hammer!:
The thing about Sledge Hammer! was it was a big risk — it’s easy to see how that could’ve not worked from the pilot form, but it did. Executives right now are just trying to keep their jobs, and the way they keep their jobs is not to make a mistake: “Who greenlit this!?” [laughs] You know? That’s why we see lots of zombies and why CBS should’ve changed their name to CSI at one point — everything was procedurals and that sort of thing. You know the show I miss the most and wish was still on and wish the actor was still around? Columbo. That’s what I miss actually. But the Andy Kaufman spirit…that needs to prevail. To confound an audience and to dare not to get a laugh — to dare that your laugh will come later, after you’re done with your work and people then realize what you’ve done — that’s interesting to me.”
All 41 episodes of Sledge Hammer! are available on Hulu Plus, and Spencer has teamed with SF Sketchfest for a 30th anniversary live special of the cult series on January 17th.
What do you think? Are you a fan of Sledge Hammer! Would you like to see a reboot?