Last Saturday night, the 2 boys were playing video games, the 2 girls were baking chocolate chip cookies, while I was channel surfing. I couldn’t really find anything to watch on cable for some reason. The sports channel showed formula 1 and soccer, Btv showed playoff playback games, while my other “suki” channels like HBO, Star Movies, The History Channel, National Geographic and Discovery were showing docus that didn’t appeal to me. I turned to Fox Crime and they were showing previews of their shows like CSI, The Glades,Bones and Dexter among others. TV crime dramas have gone a long way. I miss the old buddy cops /crime fighters of my youth. Where’s Ponch? Where’s Starsky? Without fear of revealing my age, here are some buddy cop tv series I miss watching when I was growing up.
1.) CHiPS! (1977-83) The adventures of two California Highway Patrol motorcycle officers . and starred Erik Estrada as macho, Officer Francis (“Frank”) “Ponch” Poncherello and Larry Wilcox as his serious partner, Officer Jonathan “Jon” Baker. Ponch is the “wild 1″ getting into trouble, and would have many love interests. Baker is the family man, following things by the book, and more often than not ends up bailing out Ponchorello. They of course had a Captain who would always back them up. The show showcased exciting chase scenes that made being a highway patrolman glamorous. The series ran for over six seasons. Here in the Philippines, it was shown on Ch. 7, every Thursday at 7pm. Trivia found in the website crazyabouttv.com revealed Jon and Ponch never once pulled a weapon on anyone during the entire series! Click here to watch the opening of the show.
2.) Starsky and Hutch (1975-79) In typical buddy cop genre, one of them was a streetwise cop and the partner was the calmer and worked by the book. Together, they fought crime of the streets for their (another stereotype) gruff captain who always chews them out but always counts on them to get the job done. This series was alsofamous for the vehicle the detectives used. The two cops rode on a red Gran Torino with a white stripe, the first time I saw cops not riding those big dark bulky cars. Their weapons were also not the typical snub nose police specials. Hutch was carrying around a .357 Magnum, while Starsky carried a .45 pistol. Starsky and Hutch often got street info from a snitch called “Huggy Bear” The show starred Paul Michael Glaser as Dave Starsky, David Soul as Ken “Hutch” Hutchinson and Antonio Fargas as Huggy Bear. The show ran for 4 seasons and was aired every Saturday at 7pm on Ch. 7 here in the Philippines. Click here to watch the opening title sequence
3.) Charlie’s Angels (1976-81) Not your typical police, as they were private investigators, Not really buddy-cops, more like in today’s parlance, BFF’s. BUT, Who cares? The opening montage, “Once upon a time there were three little girls who went to the police academy. They were assigned very hazardous duties.” “But I took them away from all that and now they work for me. My name is Charlie.” (Cue music) Tananna,nananana…..Classic! This tv show, was about three women who worked for Charlie, owner of the Townsend Detective Agency. Charlie would give them their assignments by telephone intercom every week. He was never seen by the girls or by the viewers. Only his trusted assistant Bosley knew his real appearance. The Angels were brave, smart, skillful, beautiful, sexy women who fought criminals dressed in the occasional revealing outfits and bikinis. (Woohoo!) The show was a big hit and became so popular, that some of cast started demanding more money. But the producers would not budge, so cast changes were inevitable. The original cast was Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett -Majors and Jacklyn Smith. Fawcett was replaced later by Cheryl Ladd. Jackson also left to be replaced by Shelly Hack, who was later replaced by Tanya Roberts. For us boys growing up, this was our “Baywatch.” The show ran for 5 jiggly seasons. It was shown on Sunday Night at 8pm at Channel 7. Trivia found in the website crazyabouttv.com revealed that Fawcett’s hairstyle became such a hit with Charlie’s Angels female viewers that a huge number of them changed to what became popularly known as “Farrah Fawcett Hairdos”. Click here to watch the opening title sequence of season 1, season 2 and 3 here. Season 4 here. Season 5 here.
4.) The Professionals (1977-83) The show was a British crime series about two top agents (not your typical American detectives)and their fight against terrorism and other serious crimes. It starred Martin Shaw as Doyle, Lewis Collins as Bodie and Gordon Jackson as their boss Cowley. They formed CI5 and used unconventional and brutal methods to beat criminals. In typical buddy cop genre, Doyle is the softer, compassionate one, while Bodie is ruthless and serious. I don’t remember seeing him smile, ever. In typical buddy cop mantra, Bodie and Doyle have a deep respect and friendship for each other despite having completely different personalities. (Doyle wears striped polos and sneakers while Bodie goes to work in a suit.) They are Ci5’s best agents. They will not hesitate to bend the rules to get the job done with their boss chewing them out but at the same time depending on them. I liked watching this series as the British type of action is vastly different than that of the US. They fight scenes were more violent more brutal, while they dealt with extraordinary criminals and terrorism as well. Their opening theme song still resonates in my mind, and is one of my all time favorites. The show ran for 6 seasons and was shown on channel 7. I think it was 8pm every Thursdays. Click here for the opening title sequence.
5.) Miami Vice (1984-89) The show was about two cops working through the Miami Police Department’s Vice division. They regularly went after criminals dealing in prostitution, drugs and illegal firearms. The TV show was known for its modern fast-paced action and its soundtrack, not your typical tv music. The series starred Don Johnson as Sonny Crockett and Philip Michael Thomas as Ricardo “Tubbs”. Edward James Olmos played their boss, who played it low key. Unlike other cop bosses who would be shouting at his star policemen. He was calm and calculating, soft spoken. Quoted as, “The show that was written for an MTV audience, which was more interested in images, emotions and energy than plot and character.” Miami Vice was a different type of cop show. Being a cop was now cool, sports cars, fancy weapons, and fancier clothes. The show was famous because of the clothes worn by the stars. The typical attire of Italian sport coat, pastel or light T-shirt, white linen pants, and no socks loafers made Don Johnson a superstar. In fact I think the whole Vice squad wore colorful outfits always. The music of Jan Hammer, distinctive, synthesizer, instrumental music was another series staple. To this day I still have the Miami Vice soundtrack cd. This series influenced Pinoy’s clothes, the way they smoked, and music they listened to. The show ran for 5 seasons and could be seen Saturday Nights at Channel 7. Click here for the opening and closing montage.
6.) The Streets of San Francisco (1972-77)– From New Wave policemen, to old fashioned police detectives. The opening sequence was always classic 70’s. Theme music playing, cue voice over:” The Streets of San Fransico, A Quinn Martin Production. Starring Karl Malden, and Michael Douglas. Guest stars…. Tonight’s episode…..” I placed this one because this was my dads favorite show, and had all the requirements of a buddy cop type of show. This show featured a crafty old veteran policeman (Malden) and a young hotshot handsome partner in Douglas. They solved crime in, yup, the Streets of San Francisco. This series was par for the course during this era. Minimal action scenes, less violence, the occasional chasedown and shooting, but was mostly a procedural drama show as the leads relied on clues, and guile than brawn. The show lasted for 5 seasons. In it’s last season, Douglas was replaced by Richard Hatch. Here in the Philippines it was shown on Channel 9, Wednesdays I think. Click here for the opening sequence.
7.) SWAT (1975-76) This tv show was about the missions of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Special Weapons and Tactics unit or S.W.A.T. They are called in to deal with situations that are extremely, dangerous, that normal policemen cannot do and often include volatile hostage situations which made for highly explosive police action. Steve Forrest starred as the unit’s leader, Lt. ‘Hondo’ Harrelson, and Rod Perry as Hondo’s second-in-command. The show also starred Robert Urich who would later star in other tv shows like Vegas and Spencer For Hire, James Coleman was the team sniper,who wore his cap backwards when he was about to take a shot and Mark Shera was the youngest member and the teen heartthrobl as Officer Dominic Luca. This was the first time I saw policemen using m-16 rifles, bulletproof vests and sniper rifles, quite a departure from small handguns and shotguns. The series is most famous for its opening theme song, which apparently became a number-one hit single in 1976. The memorable title sequence starts with a beeping signal, the squad rushing and grabbing their weapons and running to their van. The show unfortunately ran for only 2 seasons and was shown on Channel 2 in the Philippines. Click here for the opening title sequence.
The popularity of these tv shows were tremendous, as posters,toys, lunchboxes, even boardgames were made available to the general public.
Despite the violent themes of the shows children gobbled up the merchandise.. You have to remember though that times then were different. In fact some of these shows were made into movies.
I miss watching those tv shows.
Thanks to DVD though, I can still occasionally relive those great buddy moments.
(pictures taken from various places. Credit to the owners)