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RIPTIDE (1984-1986)

Created by: Stephen J. Cannell & Frank Lupo

Director: Michael Lange (9 episodes, 1984-1986), Bob Bralver (7 episodes, 1985-1986), Bruce Kessler (6 episodes, 1984-1986), Ron Satlof (5 episodes, 1984-1985), Tony Mordente (4 episodes, 1984-1986), Michael O'Herlihy (3 episodes, 1984-1985), Michael Switzer (3 episodes, 1985-1986), Arnold Laven (2 episodes, 1984), Chuck Bowman (2 episodes, 1985-1986), Kim Manners (2 episodes, 1985-1986), Robert Sallin (2 episodes, 1985), and Perry King (1 episode).

Writers: Babs Greyhosky (18 episodes, 1984-1986), Tom Blomquist (16 episodes, 1984-1986), Stephen J. Cannell (10 episodes, 1984-1986), Frank Lupo (7 episodes, 1984-1986), Burt Pearl (6 episodes, 1985-1986), Steven L. Sears (6 episodes, 1985-1986), Paul Bernbaum (4 episodes, 1985-1986), Mark Jones (3 episodes, 1984), and Terry D. Nelson (2 episodes, 1985-1986).

Cast: Perry King as Cody Allen, Joe Penny as Nick Ryder, and Thom Bray as Murray "Boz" Bozinsky (56 episodes), Jack Ging as Lt. Ted Quinlan (27 episodes, 1984-1985), Ken Olandt as Kirk Dooley (8 episodes, 1984-1985), Marsha Warfield as Max (5 episodes, 1984), June Chadwick as Lt. Joanna Parisi (5 episodes, 1985-1986), and Anne Francis as Mama Jo (4 episodes, 1984).

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA): Not rated

DVD Release Date: October 14, 2008

Runtime: 2700 minutes, 13 discs

Genres: Crime comedy/drama

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

The good news is that all three seasons are available on DVD now, both in individually boxed seasons and all three seasons combined in a set. Fans are not stuck with only season one (from Sony) as we were for quite some time. The not so good news for die-hard fans is a few things have been changed, and not for the better. Several of the episodes originally contained popular music of the time, which has now been replaced by what sounds like generic music from a studio band. Most noticeably absent is John Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War is Over)" from "Home for Christmas" — the episode where Nick Ryder isn't in a holiday mood so he volunteers to escort the body of a soldier killed in a training accident to the funeral in Wyoming. "Do Wa Ditty" in "Catch of the Day" has been replaced by a non-descript song, even though the reference to the original "Do Wa Ditty" song remains. There are other now missing songs but you get the idea. I suspect copyright issues were involved but can't say for certain.

For my tastes, Murray Bozinsky and his naivety and geekiness are played way over the top too frequently to the point of being so annoying, rather than Nick and Cody telling him they'll explain it to him later, I think a sharp "shut up" is in order followed by shooting him. His annoyance factor rivals that of season two co-star Ken Olandt as Dooley. I would keep the Roboz, the child-sized orange robot Bozinsky created and toss Bozinsky and Dooley overboard. To be fair, the Bozinsky character isn't always so annoying, it depends on who wrote the episode. Some of the writers didn't seem to be able to write decent dialogue for Murray; whether that's because they didn't like the character or just didn't have the writing skills to write for the character. Or maybe the writer thought they were being clever. Whatever, it doesn't work for me.

If watched over a short time span the viewer will recognize that some of the plots or aspects of the plots are reused rather frequently. Cody's character has an episode with a love interest then Nick's character has to have an episode with a love interest. Nick has an episode involving old high school friends who are up to no good then Cody has an episode involving an old buddy who's up to no good.

Quibbles aside, overall the series is a fun romp in the Southern California sun with three guys living on a boat at Pier 56 in the fictional King Harbor, (and in season one, moored near The Contessa, a sailing schooner crewed by bikini-clad young women) using the boat as their base of operations for the Riptide Detective Agency. The series packs plenty of action in each episode with guns, car chases, brawls, and a pink helicopter.

The biggest thing missing from the release of these episodes is any accompanying special features. I would have liked to see interviews with the cast members. Behind-the-scenes information would also have been welcome.

While this series had many loyal fans, it was cancelled quickly (too quickly, many fans conjectured) when rival TV series "Moonlighting" starring Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd eclipsed it in the ratings. "Moonlighting" took a nose dive the next season but "Riptide" was never revived.

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