Original Air Date: January 3rd, 1984
If Magnum P.I.
and The Whiz Kids
had a baby, Riptide
would be their love child. Not just content to have machismo running around in tighty whities, Riptide also features a lovable computer geek nicknamed Boz who has a robot called the Ro-Boz, which I'm sorry, is totally adorable! Actually, all of the actors are extremely endearing and a lot of fun to watch. So, although you are guaranteed to get at least two car chases and just as many fist fights (as well as some nice peck checks) per episode, this show is all about friendship. Well, ain't that sweet?
You totally thought I was joking about the tighty whites, didn't you? Riptide
aired from 1984 - 1986, featuring a half first season and then two full seasons. Coming a few years after Magnum
and one year before Miami Vice
, the pilot was a two hour episode that set up the show as a carefree, action packed mystery involving two burning hunks named Nick and Cody (Joe Penny and Perry King, respectively). The episode starts off with a boat explosion that kills everyone except one beautiful girl who just happened to be scuba diving when the "accident" occurred. She is picked up by grizzled sea captain Mama Joe (Anne Francis who is billed in the main titles of several episodes of the first season, but rarely appears) and given to the Riptide boys, a newbie detective duo who reside on their boat in King's Harbor (a fictional coastal Southern California beach community). Good army buds from the Nam, they also sport healthy competition when it comes to the attention of the ladies, and so begins the solving the mystery behind the sunken boat and the fight for the affection of the survivor, Kimba Hall (Karen Kopins from Fast Forward and Once Bitten, making her one of the coolest chicks on the 80s!).
Thom Bray = so cute!
These down and out detectives bring in their old army bud, Murray "Boz" Bozinsky (Thom Bray), a famous computer whiz who is fed up with his office job (I mean really
fed up!) and he brings along the Ro-Boz, who can pretty much do anything except bring you a drink without pouring it on you (this later becomes a bit of an ongoing joke through the show).
The story for the pilot is competent and fun, a little complicated but fairly easy to follow. The show actually featured some fun mysteries in the later episodes. I liked that the crime solving parts were a little Murder, She Wrote
. And thusly, it was the birth of a pretty amazing series.
Nick helps the Ro-boz get his investigating-on!
All three seasons of Riptide
were recently released on DVD and I just picked up Season One (with Season Two currently on the way!). I had the vaguest memories of this show, but mostly remembered the boat and the easy going flow of action. It's an obvious riff on Magnum P.I.
but original enough that I am wary to make any comparisons (except for Cody's mustache, which made him that blonde alternative to Tom Selleck. Nice to know there are choices in these matters!). They doubled the hunk factor but took some great lessons from Magnum's camaraderie with his Nam buds. So yeah, I made a comparison, what of it?
Slightly dumbfounded machismo at its finest!Riptide
was created by Stephen J. Cannell, who along with Donald P. Bellisario and Glen A. Larson, made some of the best escapist action television of the 80s. And say what you will about one-off episodes, which often feature characters who disappear in the ether never to be seen again, but the overall enjoyment of this kinds of "mindless" action fare frankly blows a lot of newer stuff out of the water. I remember when people watched television to escape and not to feel all bad about something. Riptide
is one of the best of those shows to air in a decade full of great escapist television, and that my friend is no small feat.