Monday, October 31, 2011

TV – Starsky & Hutch Ride Again on RTV

RTV’s weeknight syndication package of the 1970s TV buddy cop show has cycled back to the inaugural 1975-1976 season, and although Lalo Schifrin’s grim, downbeat main theme is not as cheekily catchy as Tom Scott’s theme for seasons two and four, the show is still a hoot to watch. From the get-go, the ensemble cast blends perfectly, and the opening credits are a riot.

The opening credits are hilarious because, although the show is called Starsky & Hutch, the guy who plays Starsky (Paul Michael Glaser) and drives the flashy red and white-striped Ford Gran Torino is the second actor listed. David Soul (Hutch) gets top billing, and over a freeze frame of him yelling and flailing his arms maniacally.

Antonio Fargas, who plays nightclub-owning street informant Huggy Bear, gets special standout billing (“and Antonio Fargas as Huggy Bear”). But then, all of a sudden, the credits list Bernie Hamilton (the irascible but lovable Captain Dobey). That’s it – just Bernie Hamilton. It’s like the credits are saying, “…and Antonio Fargas as Huggy Bear – oh, by the way, Bernie Hamilton.”

There’s more to the show than just the hilarious opening credits, and certainly much more than the insipid, shallow, and unworthy big-screen Starsky & Hutch parody starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson. Stiller and Wilson may be funny (not really), but they’re no David Soul and Paul Michael Glaser. Soul and Glaser are solid actors with great screen chemistry, and Glaser is a better and more accomplished film and television director.

Even if you’re not into TV cop shows or don’t particularly care for Starsky & Hutch, at least just check out the opening credits of the current rotation of episodes on RTV. It’s one of the more entertaining highlights of classic 1970s television.

--Raj Manoharan

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