Airwolf: Season 1

Airwolf: Season 1


Reviewed by: Gator MacReady

In the early Eighties, cool vehicle shows seemed to become really popular. After the success of the Blue Thunder movie, producer Donald Bellisario nicked the idea and made a show of a big, black helicopter that could do loads of things, like fly about the desert shooting and well...that's it. Come on! At least K.I.T.T. could talk.

In the pilot episode, a brilliant scientist who designed the Airwolf chopper is flying around in circles on the Airwolf open day, showing off the chopper's limited skills to a bizarrely over-impressed audience of Government officials. But he does a 1-80 and guns them all down before nicking the chopper and flying off to Libya to sell it to deranged Arabs who use each other for target practice.

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The man in charge of the Airwolf project, the cycloptic and simply named Michael "Archangel" Coldsmith Briggs III, survives the attack and calls upon renegade chopper pilot Stringfellow Hawke (no relation to the London night club owner and sex symbol) to nip over to Libya and steal the chopper back. Sounds like Iron Eagle I-VII? Hawke agrees, but only if they promise to find his brother who is still MIA in 'Nam, or something. This plot device is an obvious hook to churn out more seasons.

And Airwolf did exactly that for a few years. Every week baddies would get together in a bit of desert outside of LA to do their evil deeds only to be thwarted by a cumbersome chopper, filled with ludicrously dated equipment that in real life would fall out of the sky like a bus instead of buzzing around at a zillion miles per hour.

Despite being one of the most low-concept shows to ever be a hit, I just find it boring. I like Ernest Borgnine, but can only assume he signed on for this show to pay off his loan shark. I'm not too keen on Jan-Michael Vincent either, the man who (to quote Biff Tannen) took his life and flushed it completely down the toilet. He's not much of a hero and his character is too brooding to ever really connect with. Where are the fun characters like Face, Murdock and Sam Beckett? Those are characters you can root for.

Universal studios did some cool shows in this part of TV history. But in regards to military antics and blowing stuff up, Airwolf is to The A-Team what Street Hawk was to Knight Rider. Donald Bellisario scored much bigger, more dynamic hits with shows like Quantum Leap and Murder, She Wrote. This one is too simple and too derivative.

Even the music was dull. Sylvester Levay, the man who did droning scores to Cobra and Navy SEALS, made a totally crap theme for this show that has nothing on the classic A-Team tune. But I seem to be in the minority here as a limited edition score CD that was released a few years ago goes for absolutely ridiculous amounts of money on auction sites. It's just too synth for me, which dates it badly.

I'm sorry to say that Airwolf just don't do nuthin' for the Gator. Give me a crack commando unit, or David Hasselhoff's Knight Rider afro any day.

Reviewed on: 05 May 2006
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The adventures of a big, black, heavily armed chopper.
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Director: Virgil Vogel, David Hemmings, Nicholas Corea, Donald P Bellisario

Writer: Donald P Bellisario

Starring: Ernest Borgnine, Jan-Michael Vincent, Alex Cord, Deborah Pratt, James Whitmore Jr., Shannen Doherty, Raymond St Jacques, David Carradine, Lance LeGault, Walter Gotell, Phil Rubenstein, Henry Darrow, Sondra Currie, Rafael Campos

Year: 1984

Runtime: 576 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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