A scientist who has created a super helicopter has defected to Libya and taken the machine with him. A secretive government agency hires an ex-Vietnam War pilot to go to Libya, steal the chopper and bring it back.
Donald P. Bellisario
Rick Hunter is a renegade cop who breaks the rules and takes justice into his own hands. Partnered with the equally stunning and rebellious Sgt. McCall, the tough-minded duo set out to crack down on L.A.'s slimiest criminals.
The series has been revamped with an all new cast: St. John, the brother whom Stringfellow Hawke had been looking for during the original series, has finally been found and is now the new ... See full summary »
Barry Van Dyke,
Geraint Wyn Davies,
Lt. Frank Chaney of the LAPD is a maverick cop with unorthodox methods who is assigned to the Blue Thunder Team, which uses a very advanced gadget-filled helicopter in its fight against crime. "Blue Thunder" is capable of great speed and maneuverability, can run silently in "whisper mode", and is armed with the most powerful weapons in development. His partner is a fresh-faced rookie with the improbable name of Wonderlove, and ground support is supplied by ex-athletes Ski and Bubba, who drive a sophisticated van.Written by
Marty McKee <firstname.lastname@example.org>
LOOSELY based on the 1983 movie of the same name, the Blue Thunder TV series portrayed the title helicopter in a positive light in contrast to the movie which was dark and gritty.
Like most TV shows based on movies, this was NOT meant as a sequel, but alternate reality to the events and plot of the movie.
With the super vehicle genre underway; NBC's Knight Rider was in its second season; and with Airwolf set to premiere on CBS two weeks later, ABC's answer was reversing the dark theme of the movie and have the helicopter fight crime as was intended.
The result was another cop show, but with a super helicopter. But unlike most cop shows of the time, this one was not too dark or too violent, it was fun! It was really the antithesis of what the movie was about which was using the "Special" in an abusive government manner. For TV, the Special was going to fight for truth and justice!
Unlike other TV shows based on movies with the same name, the characters and their names were changed. James Farentino plays a convincing role as Frank Chaney, the pilot for Blue Thunder. Dana Carvey of Saturday Night Live fame plays his systems officer, JAFO Wonderlove. (While there was a JAFO in the movie, the name was Lymangood.)
The only other character from the movie besides the helicopter to (seemingly) make it to the TV series is Captain Braddock played by Sandy McPeak. Like the role originated by the late Warren Oates, McPeak's Braddock was a force to be reckoned with as the main pilot's boss. (Though McPeak resembled Oates and his character was just as gruff, his take was just as different.)
Rounding off the Blue Thunder team is a ground support crew played by Bubba Smith and Dick Butkus.
I recently caught the series on DVD. While dated, the stories in my opinion were very watchable. Like many shows of the time, there were "yeah right" moments that were incredulous even for artistic license. But you can get enjoy them easily.
Unlike most other cop shows of the time, this one didn't have support of real law enforcement in the use of their facilities or technical support. But then again, how do you get technical support for a helicopter that does not exist?
While the episodes had a watchable quality to them, unfortunately they were not too original. Some of the plots you could have seen in other cop shows (minus the helo). While the show appeared to have original flight scenes (interspersed with stock or unused footage from the movie), it was apparent the show was on a budget. Later episodes did the re-use of stock footage act (more) common to shows with special effects and flight scenes of the time.
I echo some of the other reviewers that the show suffered from competition from other super vehicle shows. While this did not air on the same night on those other shows, sometimes people can take in only so much state-of-the-art vehicles in one week.
Whether there was competition from other super vehicles or not, the series could have continued if the writing was better. Superb writing leads to more viewers as a result, great ratings, especially when they involved super vehicles. When all you have is a vehicle ahead of its time, but don't have a story, then your buck ends right there. Or when your stories are identical to other cop series, you might as well stick to them.
When viewed as a different story from the movie, and different premise than the other super vehicle shows, this was not a bad fare.
A good show that could have been better.
0 of 0 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this