Wednesday, June 5, 2013

"Viper’s up here, great..."

When we go to family reunions my brother-in-law usually looks at my outfit, smirks, then says something like, "1986 just called.  They want their shirt back."  Welcome to another edition of Must See TV Thursdays - 1980s style.

Do you remember the show "Viper?"  If you weren't 15 for the two episodes it was on, you probably don't.  I suspect the pitch went something like, "It's like Airwolf, but with cars."  The premise was that a guy worked for a secret company and drove a tricked out Dodge Viper against the forces of evil in a future where everything else is controlled by other secret companies who have thugs that drive inferior Dodge products and the occasional Ford.  Note: If you read about you'll see that isn't exactly true, but that's what I remember so the show clearly failed to properly communicate it's premise.  Apparently it was also on in the 90s.  Another reason it failed.  I dare you to name one show from the 80s that could survive outside of the 80s.

Problem was, other than NO plot (which, if you are 15 doesn't really matter), Airwolf only had two "good" seasons and wasn't a strong basis for a new series because it's pitch went something like this; "It's Knight Rider, but with a helicopter."  (You can find anything on the internet.)  If you weren't 12 back then and missed the show, skip it on Netfilx, it's terrible.  Really.  The basic premise was that a guy worked for a secret company and flew a tricked out helicopter against the forces of evil  represented by other secret companies, evil overlords, oppressive ranchers, and illegal gambling ring operators (it was the 80s...) who all had thugs that flew inferior helicopters and the occasional jet.  Oh, and there was one episode where they had boats and tried to blow up a passenger jet that had crash landed UNDER the ocean using depth charges.  I'm not making this up.  They shouldn't have either.

Knight Rider, of course, was about a guy who worked for a private company, drove a tricked out Pontiac, and fought the forces of evil "in a world of criminals who operate ABOVE the law."  Whatever that meant.  It wasn't original at the core - you can see everything from the Lone Ranger to Batman in its DNA - but the skin was fresh and the voice was different and it had Germany's favorite Pop star in it - you may know him as the coach of the German Dodgeball team in a certain Vince Vaughn movie, or if you can't sleep at night, as Mitch Buchanon.  It was a new telling of an old tale, not a retelling like the others.  They were the Camero to KR's Trans Am.

Of course if you watch it today you'll need to bring a lot of wine anc crackers to go with all of the cheese.  It's horrible.  Except for the theme song which is still ranked number two behind Dr. Who as the best TV theme of all time.  Go ahead.  Flame me.  I'll be discussing the special case of Magnum PI tomorrow.


  1. The A Team. The A Team could have survived outside of the 80's. I would be tempted to throw MacGyver out there too, but I'll stop while I'm ahead.

    1. The A-Team is hit or miss, if you liked it when it was on, you'll probably still be good watching it now but it isn't getting new fans the way Magnum is.

      MacGyver did not make the jump. Sorry. I'll compare them in a future MSTVT post. Or perhaps you'd care to offer a counterpoint in a guest post?