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 ...
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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 pilot of the high tech helicopter; Jo, Dominic Santini's niece, is also part of the team; Jason Locke is the new contact at the agency; and Mike Rivers is a hotshot pilot. In it after finding Hawke, they decide to continue the deal that Stringfellow Hawke had with the agency: they keep Airwolf location a secret and will go on missions for the agency.Written by
The budget was so small at only $300,000 per episode (compared to over $1m on original CBS show), the production couldn't afford the real helicopter (aka "76S"). All scenes of the actors interacting with Airwolf used the studio mock-up (aka "88K") of the aircraft. Re-edited (plus unused B-Roll) footage of Airwolf in flight from the original series did the rest.
In 2013-2014, the original Standard Definition prints were adjusted by Universal Studios (on a limited, fixed budget over 6 months) by bringing in one of the original film editors (now deceased) to find and replace as much of the Standard Definition footage of Airwolf in flight as possible, with the new 2014 HD masters of the 35mm (2nd Unit) footage. See more »
I thought I would throw my 2 cents in on this infamous incarnation of the beloved show about a super helicopter.
Is it as bad everyone says? Sadly, yes... Here's the basic back story in case you didn't know. CBS canceled the original Jan-Michael Vincent starring version after it's 3rd Season. This was due to a combination of things, namely Vincent's severe drinking problems, the incredible expense of producing each episode(roughly a million, in 1986 dollars) and sinking ratings. This left the producers and other people with a vested interest in the show with a problem though. They didn't have enough episodes to sell the show into syndication. So the producers sold the rights to the USA network, who then in turn slashed the budget to a fraction of what it was and moved the production up to Canada to further save money. That's right, this season exists solely so they could produce enough episodes for syndication. That's a bad omen right from the start.
Each episode was now produced for about 150k, a far cry from that million on the original CBS series. This in a nutshell, is what made this the abomination that it is. Because of the pea sized budget, they could no longer afford to keep and operate the flyable Bell 222(aka Airwolf!). By the time this season was in production, she was already stripped of her modifications and sold to a German hospital, where she operated as an emergency transport until she sadly crashed and was destroyed in a thunder storm. This means all aerial footage of Airwolf seen here is recycled from the CBS show, although some of it was never actually used on the CBS show. That creates a nearly impossible obstacle to get past. How do you produce a show about a super chopper and not even have said chopper? Very poorly I'm afraid... They did however have the other Bell 222; the stage mock-up version to shoot the actors in. This Bell 222 however could not fly(it could only spin it's rotors very slowly), but being as it was ALL they had, they shoot the hell out of it. The NO-budget and the move to Canada also meant that NONE of the original cast could be retained. They were able to acquire the services of Jan-Michael Vincent(in a very uninspired performance) for the pilot episode. That was it. A bunch of a B-level Canadian actors take their places, but to be fair, they do an 'ok' job considering what they have to work with. You can't really blame them for this disaster. But without the characters so near and dear to us(Hawk, Dom, Archangel), it doesn't feel like the same show. You can't get rid of characters that had been with us for 3 years and expect fans of the show to happily accept and embrace the new characters.
Oh, and the lack of money also meant that the show was now shot on video instead of 35MM film. And trust me, you can tell! It's extremely cheap looking, like some crap cable show you might see on at 1 in the morning. In short, all of the production values of the CBS show are HISTORY. What you have here is nothing but a low budget Canadian cable show that happens to feature footage of Airwolf from the CBS show.
I won't even go into the countless continuity problems. The writers simply didn't have a clue. I question whether any of them had even watched the previous seasons...
Overall, this is an embarrassment and is best avoided. I recommend you pick up the first 3 seasons on DVD if you haven't yet and pretend this garbage doesn't even exist. This season is not available on DVD and likely never will be, but if you really want to watch it, it's readily available to watch online now. Both Hulu and Netflix have the entire season available to stream.
But like I said, just stick with the first 3 seasons and treasure those forever.
(Update: Amazingly, this season was in fact released on DVD. So there you go. Now you have Netflix and an official DVD release if you so desire to see this junk.)
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