Thursday, April 09, 2009

Top 10 fave 80s mystery/detective tv shows

Tomorrow's a holiday here in Barbados, so I'm starting the weekend early with another list of faves.

It's no secret that I loved 80s tv. (I was a schoolkid then so I had a lot of time (homework permitting) to indulge in being a couch potato.) In retrospect, as corny as the 80s were in terms of fashion, that decade produced some of the best television shows to date.

I had a hard time trying to rank my favorites because there were so many and oh so good, but I did the best I could. Today I'm listing my fave mystery/detective shows, so this post doesn't include some of my old adventure faves like Knight Rider, A-Team, Street Hawk and Battlestar Galactica. I'll deal with them another day.

Well, here's my list. Let me know your faves and we'll take a walk down memory lane together.
10. Hill Street Blues (1981-1987)
Long before the Law and Order and CSI franchises existed, the police drama that had everyone talking was Hill Street Blues. The gritty, award winning show boasted a talented ensemble cast, and yielded a future director in Betty Thomas (Sgt. Lucy Bates) and Emmy winner in Dennis Franz who later went on to NYPD Blue. What I especially remember about Hill Street Blues was the roll call at the beginning of each show, and the sergeant who would also warn the officers to "be careful out there".
9. Matlock (1986-1995)
Andy Griffith's bumbling style in the legal drama Matlock was an excellent cover; the bad guys always thought they had outwitted him and then he would tie them up in legal knots on the witness stand. I liked to watch the show as well to see if Matlock would wear any other suit apart from a white one. He never did.
8. Murder She Wrote (1984-1996)
I loved me some Jessica Fletcher. Who would have thought that the premise of a elderly author solving mysteries would work? Millions tuned in weekly to watch Ms. Fletcher solve mysteries, and somehow she always got the bad guy/gal to confess, with the police waiting conveniently outside. And she only got into a physical altercation once that I remembered. Criminals were obviously softies on that show....
7. Simon and Simon (1981-1989)
Rick and AJ Simon were as different as brothers could be, and their contrasting approach to detective work was the heart of the show. Gerald McRaney (Rick) went on to other roles in Promised Land, Jericho and Deadwood. Jameson Parker (AJ) I never saw on tv again.
6. Miami Vice (1984-1989)
Miami Vice was more than a tv show, it was an assault on the senses. Men in pastel colours (shocker!), sun-drenched beaches, half-naked women, power boats and crocodiles made for a powerful aphrodisiac. And oh, Don Johnson wasn't bad to look at either.
5. Hunter (1984-1991)
Fred Dryer (Sgt Rick Hunter) was like a modern day Dirty Harry with his big gun and wisecracking attitude. Hunter could never drive a car without crashing it, so his partner Dee Dee McCall never let him drive her hot ride, a red Dodge Daytona, if I remember correctly. His catchphrase was "It works for me", and this series worked for me as well.
4. Magnum P.I. (1980-1988)
To this day I still dream of visitig Hawaii because of the lush scenery I glimpsed on Magnum P.I.. Also, because of the show's star Tom Selleck, moustaches and Hawaii shirts became ver popular. I also have fond memories of Higgins, TC, Rick and of course, the Dobermans.
3. Macgyver (1985-1992)
To show the popularity of this show, even now when people rig up some contraption or other, it's described as "macgyvering". Richard Dean Anderson could manufacture a weapon or an escape device out of anything it seemed, which was a good thing since he always seemed to be in a tight spot. Anderson later went on to fame in Stargate SG-1, but to me he'll always be Macgyver.
2. Remington Steele (1982-1987)
I believe Pierce Brosnan was destined to play James Bond. His stint on Remington Steele proved he looked good in a suit, could think on his feet and had charm to spare. Co-star Laura Holt (Stephanie Zimbalist) didn't stand a chance against him and we fell in love with him right along with her.
1. Moonlighting (1985-1989)
"We'll walk by night, we'll fly by day, moonlight strangers, who just met on the way..."

Al Jarreau's theme song for the smash hit Moonlighting is synonymous with the show which introduced Bruce Willis to the world and oh yeah, Cybill Shepherd starred in it too.

But seriously, the love/hate relationship between David Addison and Maddie Hayes was the centre of the show, and frankly it wasn't the same after they hooked up. The witty dialogue and sexual tension between the co-stars are unmatched to this day.

Anyhoo folks, have a Blessed Easter and see you next week, si dieu veux.


Jdid said...

wicked list!

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