Download Formats: M4V, AVI, MTS, MKV, M2TS, 3GP, ASF
original title: Airwolf
tags: A New Kind of Weapon. A New Kind of Hero.
keywords: femalegunfighter, vietnamwarveteran, helicopter, culttv, actionhero, espionage, helicopterpilot, stolenhelicopter, secretagent, attackhelicopter, prototype, electronicmusicscore
Airwolf is of course factually inaccurate at times, but that doesn't detract from the enjoyment. These days people can be too picky about technology, but in the 80's you could just kick back and relax with some pure escapism.
The pairing of JMV and Ernest Borgnine was inspired - a duo who lit the screen up, despite problems behind the scenes.
And 'the lady' herself still looks fresh, which for a show that's nearly 30 years old is a real testament to the design crew.
It's a tragedy that shows like this aren't made anymore. Remakes of say Knight Rider have concentrated on the team - forgetting the fact that classic 80's TV relied on just having 1 or 2 main characters (not to mention whatever vehicle they had). The super vehicle genre was in full swing when Airwolf flew into the air on CBS in early 1984. Inspired by the 1983 movie, "Blue Thunder," Airwolf was a faster helo and more heavily armed made to fight the Cold War while the former was built to fight urban crime. Action movie star Jan-Michael Vincent (Stringfellow Hawke) led a great cast with Ernest Borgnine (Dominic Santini) and Alex Cord (Archangel Briggs). Deborah Pratt did an excellent recurring role as Marella throughout seasons one and two.
Season one of Airwolf portrayed well how this super helicopter fought its foreign enemies whether in Libya or Russia (among others). There were attempts by foreign baddies to steal the "Lady" (as she was affectionately known by her crew), plus domestic government types who wanted her back.
Season two introduced a new character: Caitlin O'Shanessy wonderfully played by Jean Bruce Scott. However years later, I read an unconfirmed account that Deborah Pratt was originally going to be the female lead in season two making her character Marella a regular role. CBS network interference is said to have prevented Pratt from having her shot at a regular role on the show. Not cool.
Anyways, season two continued the Lady's battles. While she still fought foreign enemies whether overseas or in the USA, many stories were evident where the direction of the show was going: less foreign enemy conflicts and more domestic problem stories. Apparently, network executives stepped in thinking they knew what was best for the show. While some of these domestic problem stories were not bad, you had to watch and wonder why a helicopter built for war was dispatched to problems better suited for Blue Thunder.
When season three came along, original series creator and producer Donald Bellesario was no longer on board. The quality of the stories were evident that DB was no longer there. All the stories do not have Airwolf fighting any foreign enemies; they all take place on U.S. soil. While there were stories that had to do with National Defense and Security, they did not involve foreign enemies with their air forces.
Network interference of how the show "should" go was ultimately what shot down Airwolf. Jan Michael Vincent had problems with drugs, alcohol, showing up late for a shoot, or showing up drunk, high or hungover. That was ammo for CBS to ground Airwolf permanently.
(Airwolf was revived for another season on the USA network. The budget was shoestring as was the quality. The original characters were not on-board for that iteration, but even if they were, they would still have the poor writing to contend with.)
Fans of Airwolf like to bash season 4 on how terrible it was and rightly so. But what they don't realize is how the final season of the original broadcast was nothing to write home about either. Sure, JMV's problems were the nail in coffin of the original, but even without his problems, the show would still have been canceled because of the poor stories that resulted in poor ratings.
Airwolf was one of the few series that was inspired by a movie that was able to get renewed for a second season; most shows inspired by or based on movies never go past the first season (like the the Blue Thunder TV series inspired by its movie!). The writers dazzled both the network and the viewers. At the end of season one, we were ready for more and got our wish.
Unfortunately, network involvement in what they thought the show should be and who should/should-not be in it led to its demise. If CBS let Don Bellesario and the writers do their jobs instead of them trying to put their noses where it didn't need to be, then they would have gotten more out of Airwolf in money, ratings and seasons. According to the patches on their uniforms both Stringfellow and St. John Hawke served in the Air Cavalry during the Vietnam War.-It is stated that Stringfellow and St. John Hawke needed a special waiver and permission from their commanding officer, Colonel Vidor, in order to serve in the same unit in Vietnam. This is because of a genuine military regulation dating from the Second World War forbidding family members serving in the same unit in case it affects their tactical judgement and sparing their family the possibility that they could both be killed in the same battle. In Hawke and St. John's case an exception may have been made as they were the only members of their family left.-Dominic Santini served in both World War 2 and the Korean War. According to his stories in World War 2 he flew P47 Thunderbolt fighters in the European theatre and also ferried bombers from the US to North Africa via South America. It was during this time he met and befriended Hawke and St. John's father and helped raise both of his sons after they were orphaned.
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