The best and most important news of the fall television season is that the main character of the new CBS series Bull is named “Jason Bull.” Jason Bull! That’s his name! And he’s based on Dr. Phil! CBS made a show about Dr. Phil and they called it Bull and they made their fake young sexy Dr. Phil a guy named Jason Bull. You can look it up and everything.
But Bull is not the first show to use this strategy. Far from it. Television shows have been using the main character’s last name as a title for decades. You’ve got your more recent examples like House and Castle, as well as a bunch of iconic shows from years gone by, like Columbo, Seinfeld, and of course Cheers, starring Ted Danson as charming Boston bar owner, Sam Cheers.
So, with all that in mind, I figured I’d give this a crack myself. Here are five pitches for shows where the title is the main character’s last name. I think you’ll agree that they are pretty good.
(They are not pretty good.)
Murder: Benedict Murder was just a regular guy. Wife, two kids, a dog that liked to run around the yard. He just got a promotion at work, too. Everything was comin’ up Murder. Then one day the police showed up at his door and slapped the cuffs on him, and when he asked why, they informed him that he was being charged with the premeditated killing of his coworker, Betsy Thevictim. He told them he was framed, and he begged anyone who would listen to believe him, but his pleas fell on deaf ears. Now he’s on trial for his life and his only hope is his unconventional lawyer, a shenanigan-loving former Navy SEAL named Marty Contempt.
Malpractice: Peggy Sanders is fresh out of medical school and ready to start her career as an OB/GYN in Phoenix. Things are going great until she marries and takes the name of her high school sweetheart, Donny Malpractice, and now she can’t seem to get patients to come in and she can’t figure out why.
Balloons: After 35 years on the force, legendary police detective Rick Balloons is hanging it up to pursue his dream: retiring to South Florida and performing as a party clown at children’s birthdays. Things are going great and Rick is loving his new relaxing life, but then one day at little Nicky Agita’s pool party, he overhears Nicky’s dad, notorious Miami crime boss Tony Agita, discussing a robbery. That’s when Rick realizes that his new line of work is also the perfect cover, and that he can use it to try to bring down the entire Agita crime family one birthday party at a time. It’s almost too easy.
Sacramento: Brenda Sacramento is the new mayor of Sacramento and she’s in there with one mission: Take it to the fat cats in City Hall.
Magnum: Thomas Sullivan Magnum IV is an ex-Navy “NIA” (ONI) Captain and Vietnam Special Ops veteran who resigned his commission at age 33 because he never got to be 23. On the beautiful Hawaiian islands, Magnum is a P.I. who enjoys life, his buddies and friends and who waaaaaiiiiiittttt a second I just copied and pasted this from a user summary of Magnum P.I. that I found on IMDb. You know, Magnum P.I. was a hilarious show, in hindsight. Awesome, for sure, but totally hilarious. If you don’t believe me, try writing down your own summary of the show, then forget it was a real show and read your summary out loud, pretending it’s a new series some network is developing. Make sure to include the phrase “Ferrari-driving private eye with a mustache and Hawaiian shirt.” You’ll be amazed.
Hollywood here I come!