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One of the more successful TV police dramas which seemed to be
exploding all over the place during the Seventies as westerns declined
and because they were getting expensive to make was The Rookies. The
show was about three eager young police officers straight from the
Academy on their first assignment. The three, Georg Stanford, Brown,
Michael Ontkean, and Sam Melville served as cops in the mythical
community of Santa Clara in California.
I liked the show because it showed three idealistic young cops and a time when idealism was at a premium. The Rookies debuted while Richard Nixon was running for re-election and we got treated nationally to all the stories about Watergate and the aftermath during the run of this show.
In that vein it was also nice to see a moral authority like Lieutenant Eddie Ryker who took The Rookies under his wing and taught them to be good cops. As a police officer Ryker was one of the best ever shown on television and it gave Gerald S. O'Loughlin his career role. He was and remains one of my favorite television police officers.
The women and the gay men certainly had a lot of nice beefcake to look at with the three Rookies. Michael Ontkean left the series midway to pursue a movie career and he's best remembered for Making Love to Harry Hamlin and Kate Jackson in Making Love and for that never to be forgotten strip tease on ice in Slap Shot. He was replace by Bruce Fairbairn for the rest of the show's run.
Speaking of Kate Jackson, she was the only regular female in the series and she played Sam Melville's wife. She was also a nurse in the emergency ward at the Santa Clara Hospital. Kate's got incredible skill or luck if you prefer in picking television series. The Rookies was her second series, she was in Dark Shadows, after The Rookies came Charlie's Angels and The Scarecrow and Mrs. King. That's one pretty substantial record and most would envy her for just one successful TV series. Kate as a nurse allowed her to get into the action in a few shows, she was not just home waiting dinner for Sam Melville. They were like a lot of young marrieds then and now, struggling to maintain a two income household and both with stressful occupations.
The Rookies were not supercops, they were young and inexperienced and made mistakes out there. Those mistakes became the basis of many a story line. But under Gerald S. O'Loughlin's wise tutelage they weren't Rookies when the series ended its run.
Just wanted to say that I've been watching reruns of The Rookies on TVLand and still say it's a great show. I'd rather watch ones like this than some of what they have on TV now. I'm happy that TVLand is airing these great 'classic' shows. Hopefully they will be on for quite some time.
Excellent show! The 70's was not only the best time for television but especially for the police shows. I hope it comes out on dvd as S.W.A.T did. You have to remember that this is an older show & we loved it back then. To watch it now would bring back memories of childhood & how much we waited to see it every week. To me, that is what the Rookies is all about.
In the 70's, a hip action television series had equally hip and
exciting theme music. The Rookies theme is no exception. The music
prepared us for the hard edged drama that was to come. The music had a
definite urban edge. The audience was prepared for the hard street
scenes and the gritty action that these police dramas promised.
When viewing vintage series', the music sets the mood and reflects the era that the series is part of. In my opinion, 70's television theme music that perfectly reflected the times and expressed the programs that they were representing.
"The Streets of San Francisco" , Chico and The Man, The Rookies, The Courtship of Eddie's Father and Maude are exceptional theme songs.
If you are looking for a really cool cop show then the rookies is the show for you. It may have been made back in the 70's but the stories are really good. It also benefits from the fact that Kate Jackson is in it. She brings a clean polished performance each time she is on. And the 3 Rookies (actors) have a really great chemistry.
I'm so glad to say that this summer on August 7, 2012 Shout Factory is
releasing The Rookies Season 2 on DVD. It's been a good number of years
since Season 1 but the waiting is finally going to be over! Season 2
has some great episodes that I still remember. Such episodes are
"Cauldron" which puts both officers Terry and Willie in the hands of a
madman who leaves them both stranded in the desert without any hope of
being rescued. There's also "Time Lock" about a bank robber who holds
Terry Webster and 3 female bankers hostage inside the bank. There are
other episodes that I can't think of right now but I know are some
great ones. So, let's enjoy the second season and hope that the
remaining seasons 3 and 4 can also be released!
I remember this series with great fondness. I was seriously contemplating a career in law enforcement when I grew up, and this show had great appeal. Three brand-new, fresh-out-of-the-academy police officers were going to clean up the mean streets of Santa Clara, California! They were all "pretty people": Michael Ontkean, Georg Stanford Brown, Sam Melville and, not to be forgotten, Kate Jackson. The plots were frequently paper thin and the acting was always terribly earnest, but there was still a certain something that made it very watchable. Not the least of these intangibles was Gerald S. O'Loughlin as the supervising (and long-suffering) lieutenant. It does not stand the test of time - I mean, really, who believed that two rookies would be assigned to ride together and a third would be assigned to lone patrol with no senior officer in sight? And while replacing Michael Ontkean with Bruce Fairbairn didn't work for me, it still has the charm of nostalgia.
I used to watch "The Rookies" as a kid and out of nostalgia's sake, I decided to try watching the old episodes now that they are out on DVD...big mistake. I was appalled at how badly written the show was--but it's not the sort of thing an 8-11 year-old would notice (and that's how old I was when the show aired). I have now noticed several things about the show that all contribute to its sucking badly: the cops are really not cops but social workers, Kate Jackson is NOT one of these rookies but ends up in the show for no apparent reason (any time anyone goes to the hospital, Kate is THE nurse on duty who treats them), plot holes big enough to drive the USS Enterprise through and the ability to take a good plot idea and completely ruin it. Yup...this show sucks. If it hadn't eventually resulted in a good spin-off series ("S.W.A.T."), I would have nothing positive to say about the show other than it gave folks like Georg Stanford Brown and Gerald O'Laughlin work--and it did have a really cool 70s theme song.
This is one of the first of what I call the "super cop" shows, shows that portrayed police officers as super heroes rather than how they were portrayed on shows like Adam-12 and Dragnet. Shows like this, SWAT, T.J. Hooker and Starsky and Hutch probably wouldn't make it today against shows like C.S.I., NYPD Blue and, of course, the Law and Order franchise due to the fact that todays viewers prefer realism and not the escapades of three rookie cops who think they know it all. Also, this show seemed to revel in putting Kate Jackson's character of Jill in the middle of the action every once in a while. If I were an officer, I would make sure my wife stayed as far away from my job as much as possible.
I agree with the reviewer who said "It doesn't hold up." Very true - it is dated. I loved this series when it was on so when I saw that TVLand was airing it again I had to watch a couple of episodes. It's an enjoyable look back but that's about it. The stories don't hold up and this notion that 3 young officers and one young nurse can crack and solve all the crimes in their metropolis is pure folly. It shows us where we were as a society in the early 70s and makes me happy that we have moved beyond that! It is still better than any of the garbage that network TV has offered in the 80s and beyond. Check out the December 1974 issue of MAD magazine for a great spoof on this series! I reread that issue of MAD again after watching TVLand and it hits the nail right on the head regarding several aspects of this show!
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