Author has written 6 stories for Remington Steele.
What a show Remington Steele was! A sparklingly witty comedy-romance which I've been a fan of forever. It was hugely influential – the granddaddy of every ‘shipper’ couple from David and Maddie in Moonlighting to Castle and Beckett in Castle. But RS was also weirdly underrated as well – it seems so unfair that it never won an Emmy or Golden Globe, especially for the perfect jewel of TV that was the first season, when Simple Simon shows like Murder She Wrote and Dynasty did. There ain't no justice, if you ask me. But hey – I guess that's the mass market! Ratings are everything, which is why by-the-numbers dreck like Diagnosis Murder and Matlock went on forever and RS just scraped four-and-a-bit seasons, right? (Oh dear! I hope I haven’t just alienated a whole bunch of Diagnosis Murder fans!)
This is just a little introduction, as it seemed to me that when people read something, including fan fiction, it's immensely beneficial to have some background to provide context. Notwithstanding the postmodernist assertion that there is the text and only the text, it's just normal for readers to respond more to something when they know a little about how it came to be.
My stories are a tribute to the show. RS was a fluffy piece that nevertheless included two multilayered, growing and changing and, above all, real characters in Laura and Remington. And so, I pick up their story where the show ended; you might call it my literary Season 5, if that doesn’t sound too pompous. I've numbered my stories because they're vaguely chronological, with a background arc of what our favorite couple is up to, but they can all be read as stand alone tales. I'm writing them out of order anyway, as creative inspiration strikes me.
Remington and Laura were tricky characters. Remington was an immoral man – a lying, thieving, vulnerability-exploiting, philandering criminal – who was on a difficult journey of redemption, although he might only have been dimly aware of that journey. And Laura was perhaps especially tricky. She was an independent, sometimes willful person and an early post-feminist. It might be hard for viewers today (or fanfic readers) to realize what a break she was from previous generations of female TV characters. When RS came on, Charlie's Angels – which featured three jiggling, bikini-clad ‘private investigators’ who took orders from a guy they’d never even seen – had just ended the year before. Laura struggled with so many of the questions raised by women’s liberation: work versus family, independence versus a relationship and whether it was possible to 'have it all'. There's a direct line of descent from Laura to the issues characters like Carrie Bradshaw or Bridget Jones wrestled with (although Laura was not such a comedy character).
This is a roundabout way of saying that in writing my fanfic, I’ll try to stay true to the essence of the characters. I think one of the problems in RS fanfic – although I have hardly read much, I’ve got to admit at this point – is that because we love these characters so much and are into – above all – their relationship, fanfic writers (who are really almost all shippers) tend to sentimentalize RS.
This might be a sweeping generalization and I might be way off-base, but it seems to me as if a lot of RS authors can't wait to have Remington and Laura cooing "I love you" to each other every five minutes and trying to outdo the Brady Bunch in terms of domesticity! As one fan website put it, so much RS fanfic fizzles out into boring house hunting and discussions about kids' names. (Why? I have a theory that it’s because these fanfic authors subconsciously want to turn Laura into an avatar of themselves – settled, domestic, quite often moms themselves. Don't shoot me – it’s just a theory!)
I think it’s obvious Laura and Remington’s marriage would’ve been spicy, and maybe even a little competitive! And it always seemed to me hugely debatable whether either of them would ever even have children. There was probably quite a bit of Stephanie Zimbalist in Laura – and while (of course) they were not the same – it’s telling that SZ never married or had children. Abigail and Frances were the motherly matrons in that family – Laura much, much less so. And so my stories will never descend into portraying Laura as a baby-making machine who drops six rug rats with 'Oirishy' names like Ronan or Sean. Feh!
The show never was treacly, and I believe it does the characters a disservice to treat them that way. Of course, this is not to attack other RS fanfic authors, because it’s a broad church and everyone has the total right to draw the characters and their destinies as they want to. I totally respect everyone's freedom to spin off into new tangents, but my stories will be grounded in the series canon. Remington won’t discover a long-lost grandmother in them – ’cos there’s no evidence in the show that he ever had one. Laura won’t start hanging out with her younger sibling, because it’s clear that the show runner, Michael Gleason, never really meant (once the show had settled down) for her to have another sibling other than her sister Frances. And in my stories, Remington and Laura’s relationship will never become some sort of Harlequin Romance.
Writing is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent application. I have so many ideas for continuing these tales, but of course, it takes a lot of time and effort to re-work them until I think they're good enough to post here, especially as my stories are pretty long and ambitious. So while I shall keep writing, progress might be slow, but I hope I can put out a new story at least every few months (maybe!?!). I did hit a little writer’s block on my orchestral story, and I know how aggravating it is when an author starts a story and leaves it hanging, so instead of frustrating any potential readers, from now on I won’t post a story until it's fully completed.
I hope you enjoy these tales, and if you can, do leave feedback – what’s good, what’s bad, how to improve them. But most of all, if you've never watched it, check out Remington Steele on DVD or on Hulu. It’s absolutely fab!