But the series, which starred thirtysomething's Ken Olin as a cop struggling to stay honest and Murder One's Jason Gedrick as a mobster struggling to go straight, was the critic's darling. Time magazine called it the best television show of 1996 and "one of the more profound crime dramas ever to hit a television screen."
Swayed by the superlatives, CBS gave the show a second chance this spring. But no one, save for the odd critic, watched. Low Nielsens meant no more EZ Streets, no matter how much critics whined.
Now, those same critics who loved the show have taken a pot shot at the network, naming EZ Streets the program of the year this weekend at the annual Television Critics Association meeting. (The association comprises TV scribes at nationwide newspapers.)
And, if the state of the tube is to be judged by the 1997 TCA awards, then there ain't much on network TV worth watching. Only two shows that are currently broadcast on the major networks captured awards, two of which were individual acting honors. Andre Braugher of NBC's Homicide: Life on the Street was named the top dramatic performer and David Hyde Pierce of NBC's Frasier captured the award for best comedy performer. Homicide was named top drama.
Showtime's Bastard Out of Carolina was named best miniseries, HBO's The Larry Sanders Show won the award for comedy, ESPN's SportsCenter nabbed the sports award (duh) and PBS took home prizes for outstanding children's (Wishbone and Bill Nye the Science Guy) and news programming (The American Experience). PBS mainstay Fred "Mr." Rogers was honored with the career achievement award, beating out the likes of Bill Cosby, Roone Arledge and Steven Bochco.