Friday, December 30, 2011

TV – Starsky & Hutch Ride Again on RTV

UPDATE: Okay, so the main theme by Mark Snow (T.J. Hooker, The X-Files) for the third season currently running on RTV is not as catchy as Tom Scott’s funky second-season theme and doesn’t mesh well with the slightly revamped, still hilarious opening credits (with new freeze frames for Paul Michael Glaser and Bernie Hamilton, the latter of whom looks cool this time speaking into a squad car CB radio on location). But the show is just as entertaining to watch, with a solid cast and a nice balance of action, comedy, and drama. And hang in there, true believers, because Tom Scott’s “Gotcha” theme apparently returns for the fourth and final season. Even though it was only used in two nonconsecutive seasons, it is considered the official Starsky & Hutch theme (just do a search of ringtones if you don’t believe me).

ORIGINAL POST: The 1970s TV cop duo is cleaning the boob tube (or LCD or plasma set) of crime at 8:00 p.m. weeknights on RTV (Retro Television Network), and it’s quite the “trip” down memory lane.

The funky second-season theme by Tom Scott is both catchy and cheeky and complements the hilarious opening credits much better than Lalo Schifrin’s grim, downbeat, first-season theme.

And hilarious the opening credits are, 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 wacky main theme, 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 and main theme 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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