Sam McCloud is a rustic country sheriff from a rural part of the United States. He travels to the big city and joins the police force, using his country ways and laid-back approach to nab ... See full summary »
Sam McCloud is a rustic country sheriff from a rural part of the United States. He travels to the big city and joins the police force, using his country ways and laid-back approach to nab the bad guys. Written by
I love this website and all the comments on it! McCloud was my favorite TV series and still is way up there. I would love to trade with anyone who has the 90-minute episodes on home video. I have the 2-hour shows from A&E and some of the 90-minute shows from the CBS Late Movie, but fairly often I have only opening and closing credits for episodes (particularly from the poor second season, and the going-downhill seventh).
One correction: "Return to the Alamo," the best episode of the series, was directed by Walter Doniger. E.W. Swackhamer directed the next "Alamo" episode, "The Day New York Turned Blue," which is still my favorite. The first "This Must Be The Alamo" was directed by Bruce Kessler (who does an excellent job), and Dennis Weaver himself directed the last (and least available) "Alamo" episode, "'Twas The Fight Before Christmas," which among other things features "Dallas" star Linda Gray in her first major role. On re-watching this episode last Christmas, I think it may be the best in the whole series.
In my opinion, the show took a while to find its stride. The 60-minute first-season episodes, which were combined into 90-minute or 2-hour TV movies later on, are fair but a little too countrified for my taste. The second season is generally quite bad, due to writing by Peter Allan Fields (five of the seven episodes). When Glen A. Larson got back from "Alias Smith and Jones" and took over the reins in the third season, the writing got noticeably better (he scripted five of the best episodes -- the first three "Alamos," "The New Mexican Connection" and "Butch Cassidy Rides Again," as well as two of the worst -- "The Barefoot Stewardess Caper" and "Night of the Shark"). Michael Gleason was nearly as good a writer (with the fourth season's "The Colorado Cattle Caper" making the top five). Lou Shaw wasn't in their class, but turned in several good scripts ("The Man With the Golden Hat" was probably his best).
The show had more changes in theme music than any other series I know. David Shire contributed a pretty poor twangy theme song for the first two years. In year three, they had four themes in five episodes! (Two of them are "chase music" from the episodes themselves.") The show hit the mark with the fourth-season theme, which was re-arranged each season to lead off with the hard-driving music as McCloud and the horse pounded the pavement. It's my favorite theme of all time (the arrangement for season six is the best). In the seventh season, among many disappointments, the theme was cut down in the opening and used only three times over the opening credits. The 1989 "Return of Sam McCloud" reunion-film theme was forgettable and had no relation to the others. When will people learn that a good theme song and opening sequence is vital to a show's success????
The series really Jumped The Shark when Michael Sloan came on as producer and head writer during the final season. His debut, "Bonnie and McCloud," was pinned by Variety as "perhaps the sappiest episode in the entire series," and his next episode, "The Great Taxicab Stampede," is just plain idiotic. Surprisingly, his other two scripts ("'Twas The Fight Before Christmas" and "London Bridges") are pretty good; I suspect he had uncredited help and a lot of it.
Great job, fans!
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