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 the AIRWOLF thread!

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happydalek
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PostSubject: the AIRWOLF thread!   Thu Apr 26, 2012 2:39 am

Anyone want to discuss Airwolf? I remember bringing it up various times under various threads. I'm back into it after getting the theatrical version of the pilot on DVD, as well as the first season used for ten bucks. Also, almost every episode is available on Hulu. Wouldn't you know it, the one episode from third season that I wanted to watch is one of the few that is not available on Hulu! After watching a bunch of episodes recently, I'm happy to see that the impression I've held about the series has stayed the same after all these years:

- 1st season is far better than anything you could possibly expect from a show with a name like "Airwolf."

- 2nd season is exactly what you would expect from a show with a name like "Airwolf."

- 3rd season is far worse than anything you could possibly expect, even from a show with a name like "Airwolf."

I remember thinking the overt political references were really daring when first season originally aired; I also thought the ending of "Proof Through the Night" was really "deep." I thought that it would seem hokey and dated now, but upon rewatching, I was surprised that (aside from Marella's "we wear white hats" line), the Cold War stuff isn't that bad. It's also interesting how Airwolf puts forth a more complex view of America's place in the geopolitical arena, with episodes about Libya and South America, as other espionage shows of the time (like Masquerade, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Cover Up [which used to come on right after Airwolf], etc.) basically just dealt with U.S./U.S.S.R. relations.

Though I was sorry to see the format change so drastically after first season, I did like Jean Bruce Scott a lot and wish Caitlin had been as well defined as the original trio of characters in first season. By third season, they should have changed the name of the show, as it really wasn't about Airwolf anymore -- it was about this poor schmuck who kept coming across domestic disputes and petty criminal activity week after week, and he incidentally happened to have a super helicopter at his disposal that he could use to solve the problem, whether he needed it or not. Along these lines, my "favorite" third season episode that I wanted to see again was "Tracks," where Airwolf had to fight this crazed mountain man armed with a bow and arrows. My guess as to why it's not available on Hulu is that one or some or all of the cast of "Tracks" refused to give clearance in the hopes that the episode would not be made widely available at the click of a mouse Laughing

If every episode of the "fourth" season of Airwolf had been like "Malduke," it would have been terrific; this is the direction the show should have gone. "Malduke" was intended to be the last episode, but they really should have made it the first episode, setting the tone for the rest of the season, and only getting more and more outlandish from there. They tried, I suppose, with episodes like "The Puppet Master" and "Salvage" (I once joked that every single episode of this season should have been titled "Salvage," with all the recycled footage they used), but they played it safe and never pushed it over the edge like they did with "Malduke." When you have no budget (and no helicopter), you have to do something to make your show distinctive, and there are all kinds of creative possibilities that probably just weren't possible at the time when TV was more "by the book," but that you could get away with on TV nowadays. One of the things they could have done was just throw all pretense of realism out the window and turned it into a full-blown science fiction series where Airwolf was constantly battling enemies like Malduke. Heck, at that point, Airwolf was doing things like breaking through the atmosphere and firing lasers; why not? I admire what the producers of "Martial Law" did toward the end of second season when it was clear that the show was not going to be renewed -- it stopped being a cop show and turned into a completely whacked-out free-for-all where Sammo and Co. were fighting everything from genetically-engineered super soldiers to a James Bond-like mastermind villain bent on world domination -- The One (played by Tim Curry!), leader of SCORPIO. Sammo even got a bionic dog (but unfortunately his name wasn't Max). That's the kind of thing they should have done with the "fourth" season of Airwolf.
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Ronpur
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PostSubject: Re: the AIRWOLF thread!   Thu Apr 26, 2012 8:09 am

I haven't watched this show in years. But I remember some of the first season being really cool. I never really followed it to closely, but I remember building my model helicopter about the same time I build my Blue Thunder model. They looked awesome flying together!
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Cruel Angel
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PostSubject: Re: the AIRWOLF thread!   Thu Apr 26, 2012 8:35 am

Loved Airwolf cheers Out of all the 'super-vehicle' shows at the time: Knight Rider, Airwolf, Blue Thunder, and Streethawk... Airwolf definitely had the best overall story quality and tone. KR might have had a chance if they had just stuck with the serious tone of the pilot movie, but that quickly went out the window.

Agreed on your season by season breakdown Very Happy 1st season was the best. 2nd season was pretty good. I didn't mind Caitlin because they still kept her on the periphery and wasn't a main player like String, Dom, and Michael.

Third season... sigh. Bellisario left, so did Deborah Pratt. Then the Firm became the FIRM stuff, and that was never the same. Then throw in Vincent's alcohol and drug problems really starting to affect production that season... and that just killed it.

4th season. Ugh. String and Dom just got done so wrong with the way they were 'written out'. Then we are supposed to believe that St John was in deep cover all this time, and for 3 years Michael had no clue and was not able to find out? Much less the more evil Firm members that were trying to get an edge in recovering Airwolf by any means necessary?

I did question their decision at the time to going into a series and only being able to reuse aerial footage from the previous one. But, it was not insurmountable (hey, when you grew up watching Star Trek, Buck Rogers, Galactica, you were used to seeing the same set of shots over and over Razz ) I liked that it was more 'ground focused' as a result, and having the characters be more involved could have been a good thing. In that regard, I think it failed because the actors didn't get any input into the stories at all character-wise. All of the season scripts were written before production began, so they were stuck with what they were given. They had a good cast, esp with Geraint and Michelle. Would have been interesting to see what they could have done with an additional season and being able to actually evolve the show.

And I would be remiss without mentioning the theme song Very Happy One of my all time favorite instrumentals. I have the 'ascending bridge' portion of the tune as one of my ringtones.

The Airwolf Themes CD set that Mark Cairns put out back in 1999 finally got released on digital in 2007 , so you could download specific tracks or the entire album. This was a very good thing, except to collectors that didn't like the idea that people were now able to get the music without having to shell out several hundreds of dollars to buy the OOP CDs. Levay did three tracks himself for the release- the one he did of the theme with the extended aerial is a must have Very Happy

Cairns is developing a sequel CD set that might make it out this year, with him and another composer doing extended remixes of many of the music pieces from the first set. Only 2000 will be printed, but hopefully they will get a release on digital later on too.


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masterkhan
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PostSubject: Re: the AIRWOLF thread!   Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:49 am

Always loved that theme tune! My neighbour had all the eps on video and watched them in order when he was at work,(he worked in a video rental store at the time.)
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happydalek
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PostSubject: Re: the AIRWOLF thread!   Thu Apr 26, 2012 1:06 pm

Agree with everyone on the Airwolf theme! Of all the “techno” themes of 80s (like Streethawk, The Equalizer, etc.), Airwolf is the coolest. Although the “techno” version is clearly the definitive one, I also love the orchestral version used during first season. There are so many beautiful and effective aspects of the composition that come through the orchestration that you just can’t get out of a keyboard. My favorite aspects are the return to the A theme immediately following the B (when an oboe takes the lead line and the triplets are replaced by subdued strikes); the cello that plays the C theme; and how the violins jump up to sixth position to hit that third octave F in the second half of the B theme. Also in that second half of the B theme, you can feel the underlying structure (G/C – G – G/C – G) much more forcefully when it’s played by the horn section (as opposed to how it’s conveyed through arpeggiated notes in the “techno” version).

Looking back, it’s funny how I perceived Jan-Michael Vincent’s problems during third season. Clearly I knew about them from all the bad press (and that horrible TV Guide article covering a day of shooting Airwolf during third season, which was so horribly biased against the entire production), but somehow I never made (or didn’t want to make) the connection to those scenes when Jan-Michael was clearly drunk or high. Maybe I was too naďve, even though I was in college at the time, but I just couldn’t imagine that they would actually use scenes with a visibly drunk/high actor on a prime-time network TV show, so they must simply have been bad takes they had to use for reasons of time, or a change in Jan-Michael’s approach to playing Hawke in that particular scene; anything but the obvious. I was also a fan and thought he was a really good actor (in things like The Mechanic and Big Wednesday); maybe that was part of why I tried to block out the reality.

You make a good point about the more “ground-based” stories, C.A. – that’s the kind of thing they could have capitalized upon. I also agree about Rivers and Jo – I think Barry Van Dyke was a likeable guy, but was probably not as strong an actor. Even just thinking about the few St. John moments in the original series (the flashbacks in “HX1” and the fake St. John in “Echoes From the Past”), I don’t think Van Dyke would have been as convincing in those as Christopher Connelly. I don’t know about Locke, who seemed like a charismatic guy and a solid actor, but the scripts didn’t give him much to do. Even though Locke was supposedly their superior, for the most part he was interchangeable with any of the other three once he got into the cockpit and became an actual member of the team.

I used to have that model as well, Ronpur! I never finished it, though, as you clearly needed a good paint job to really sell it, and that was beyond my abilities. A few years ago, there was an incredible Japanese model and die-cast miniature. The die-cast was amazing – it had battery-powered spinning rotors, landing gear that could extend/retract at the touch of a button, opening doors, and add-on pieces for the chain guns and ADF pod. Oh, and the sunburst bay doors opened as well! If you search “Aoshima Airwolf” on Ebay, you can still find them.
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happydalek
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PostSubject: Re: the AIRWOLF thread!   Sun Apr 29, 2012 12:30 am

My Top Three Favorite Episodes of each season of Airwolf!

1st season:
1. the pilot
2. "And They Are Us"
3. "To Snare a Wolf"

2nd season:
1. "Fallen Angel"
2. "The Hunted"
3. "Sweet Britches"

3rd season:
1. "Crossover"

4th season:
1. "Malduke"
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masterkhan
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PostSubject: Re: the AIRWOLF thread!   Mon Apr 30, 2012 12:52 pm

There's an extended version of the theme tune that lasts 5.20mins. I don't think i can upload it but you'll find it on Y.Tube.
This version is my favourite and motivates me everytime i work out.
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happydalek
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PostSubject: Re: the AIRWOLF thread!   Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:50 pm

R.I.P. Ernest Borgnine Crying or Very sad
http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/08/showbiz/obit-borgnine/index.html
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Cruel Angel
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PostSubject: Re: the AIRWOLF thread!   Sun Jul 08, 2012 7:01 pm

happydalek wrote:
R.I.P. Ernest Borgnine Crying or Very sad
http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/08/showbiz/obit-borgnine/index.html

Bye bye Dom. Sad
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PostSubject: Re: the AIRWOLF thread!   Sun Jul 08, 2012 7:23 pm

I first saw him as Harry Booth in The Black Hole
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Captain Ironmac
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PostSubject: Re: the AIRWOLF thread!   Sun Jul 08, 2012 7:24 pm

so sad to hear Ernest has gone, he was a great man
RIP Dom XX
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jaredofmo
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PostSubject: Re: the AIRWOLF thread!   Sun Jul 08, 2012 7:24 pm

Back when the CW was UPN, they'd air reruns of Dragnet and McHale's Navy late at night. To me, Ernest Borgnine was Commander McHale!
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guvnagrover
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PostSubject: Re: the AIRWOLF thread!   Sun Jul 08, 2012 7:25 pm

R.I.P. Ernest...think I'll watch The Poseidon Adventure
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Captain Ironmac
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PostSubject: Re: the AIRWOLF thread!   Sun Jul 08, 2012 7:26 pm

Whoosier Whovian wrote:
I first saw him as Harry Booth in The Black Hole

I remember him in that good fillm
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Ronpur
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PostSubject: Re: the AIRWOLF thread!   Sun Jul 08, 2012 8:21 pm

I remember him in many things, and loved him in all of them!
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