By coincidence I happened to spend half an hour last night going through Christopher Wicking's book on TV directors from the inception of network TV up through the eighties. One of his points is that visually TV quickly became static. For reasons of budget and laziness, there was a corporate style used by most TV directors. The best men and women found ways to do good work within those confines but too much "product" was dull and unimaginative.
Wicking credits Jerry Thorp and his Kung-Fu show with breaking all the rules and thereby freeing at least two generations of directors from the drudgery of television inanity. I happened to catch a Kung Fu episode a few weeks ago and even though Thorpe's approach has been imitated literally hundreds of times the visual style is still remarkable. It makes the story and the acting all the more interesting.
David Carradine was spot on in the lead. I generally liked his performances, though you could always see when he was phoning them in. There was a mystery in the face and the laconic voice that served him well. I always wonder what brings people to that moment in a hotel or bathtub or automobile when they finish it off. A year or so ago saw him interviewed at some length and he looked both weary and troubled. A fair share of his work will be remembered in the annals of popular culture.
Charlie Stella has a very cool blog. Go here: