Tuesday, April 2, 2013

TV Show Review: The Fall Guy - Complete Season 1


Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Stunts, action, fun!
Cons: Prologue, too little Heather Thomas
The Bottom Line:
Wonderful action
You won't believe it's TV
Served with 80's cheese



"Cause I'm the Unknown Stuntman Who Made Eastwood Look so Fine."

The 1980's featured plenty of action shows on TV. One I loved was The Fall Guy. And while I suffers a bit from the cheesiness of the decade, it still holds up remarkably well today as seen in this season one DVD set.

The show revolves around Colt Seavers (Lee Majors). Colt works as a stunt man for TV and the movies. His cousin Howie Munson (Douglas Barr) has recently moved to California to start working with Colt. Rounding out the trio is Jody Banks (Heather Thomas).

Unfortunately, stunt work doesn't meet all their needs, so they have to take on cases working for bail bonds woman Samantha Jack (Jo Ann Pflug). And it's a good think that Colt knows stunts because bail jumpers don't come in easily and Colt sometimes (okay, often) has to perform some death defying stunt to recapture them.

So what kind of cases does he get involved with? There's the corrupt sheriff that won't come in. He finds several excuses to head to Hawaii, getting caught up in international intrigue once. He lands in jail several times, once even on purpose. He tracks an arsonist to a town where he isn't welcome, rescues a former flame from her politician husband, and spends some time in Nevada running afoul of the mob. There's never a dull moment when Colt is around.

This show features plenty of stunts for the action junkie in anyone. Each episode starts with Colt doing a stunt on the set of some movie. From there, he gets involved in a case that involves several more stunts. Honestly, I am surprised they got this done on a TV budget. Granted, each episode features lots of car chases and car jumps, but we also get some hang gliding, skiing, and a truly heart pumping airplane jump without a parachute. Occasionally there's something that looks cheesy, but for the most part it holds up well today.

While the plots are basically an excuse for stunts, they tend to hold together rather well with some unexpected twists along the way. There were a few where I was glued to my seat trying to figure out how Colt and the gang would come out of the situation in one piece.

The acting is on par with the stunts. The four leads do a fine job in each episode bringing their characters to life. The guest stars are mostly okay. Occasionally there's one that doesn't do a good job, but they are easy to overlook.

Since the show was set in the world of Hollywood, a number of famous actors of the day wander through the show in fun cameos. They mostly show up in the first half. We get to see the likes of Farrah Fawcett (in a very touching post divorce scene), Tom Selleck, Lou Ferrigno (aka TV's Incredible Hulk), Robert Wagner, Linda Evans, and Herve Villechaize of Fantasy Island fame. Buddy Hackett shows up as a mentally challenged man that Colt has to clear of murder. And Heather Locklear makes one of her first TV appearances here.

I do have some complaints about this season, but they are minor. Several times an episode, we get a shot of Colt's truck driving down the street with some dialogue obviously dubbed over the top. That's probably one way they saved on their budget, but it annoys me. Equally annoying is the prologue. After the opening credits and theme song (which get their own chapter break), Colt comes on and sets up the show for us. It's the same explanation every time. I mean, identical words and pictures. Yet this doesn't have a chapter break. I would have loved to skip that if I could. Finally, Heather Thomas does have nearly enough to do as Jody. There are some episodes where her role is really just a cameo. She does feature more prominently in some of the later episodes of the season, but she really needs to be around in all of them.

This season got three releases for some unknown reason. This is the set I recommend you buy. It contains all 22 episodes on six disc plus both of the bonus features. The other two sets are exactly half of what you get here, including bonus features and price. And, if you can find this one on sale, you could actually save money getting it all at once.

So, what exactly do you get? The full frame picture and mono sound are fine. There's nothing here that will blow you away, but let's be honest. Since the shows aired in 1981 and '82, I doubt we'll get much better today. Disc one contains a short documentary on how the show came to be that include new interviews with Lee Majors, Heather Thomas, and creator Glen A. Larson. Disc six contains a featurette on the theme song. Frankly, the only reason to watch this one is to see the composer perform all the verses. Not much of interest here.

This is escapist television at its finest. If you like stunt work or are looking for a fun show, this will appeal to you. And if you remember the first season of The Fall Guy from the 80's, you'll love catching up with old friends.

Season 1 Episodes:
1. The Fall Guy Pilot (Two Hours)
2. The Meek Shall Inherit Rhonda
3. The Rich Get Richer
4. That's Right, We're Bad
5. Colt's Angels
6. The Human Torch
7. The Japanese Connection
8. No Way Out
9. License to Kill Part 1
10. License to Kill Part 2
11. Goin' for it
12. The Adventures of Ozzie and Harold
13. Soldiers of Misfortune
14. Ready, Aim, Die
15. Ladies on the Ropes
16. The Snow Job
17. Guess Who's Coming to Town?
18. Child's Play
19. Charlie
20. Three for the Road
21. The Silent Partner
22. Scavenger Hunt

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