From 1987: AIRWOLF II: THE STAVOGRAD INCIDENT on UK VHS.
Not ringing any bells? That's not entirely surprising.
This 'sequel' to the original straight-to-tape (although it may have had a theatrical release in some overseas markets) AIRWOLF movie (actually a spiced-up version of the TV movie starter peppered with additional material to qualify it for an '18' certificate... an unusual release plan for a TV show with strong playground appeal) is actually a spliced together two-parter from the show's woeful fourth season.
CBS pulled the plug on the expensive show after three seasons (actually 2.5 as it debuted as a mid-season replacement, pitched against BLUE THUNDER in the chopper wars) leaving Universal in a pickle. They needed to bulk up the episode count so they could reap the rewards of reruns in syndication. They needed another season of episodes to make the package substantial enough to tempt local stations.
Enter cable outfit, and fellow MCA business, USA NETWORK to bankroll another season. Hurrah. But the economics of cable demanded costs stripped to the bone. The original cast and production team were all let go, cheaper replacements hired and production shifted to Canada. Other economies included raiding the stock footage library, editing the show on tape (giving it a cheap sheen) and skimping on sets and costumes.
The new writers jettisoned the continuity of the first run by bringing in Hawke's hitherto lost in Vietnam brother as the 'Wolf's new pilot. Enter Barry Van Dyke, apparently Universal's go-to guy for cheap shot-on-the-fly follow ups (hello GALACTICA 1980).
I'm not sure if the new episodes ever made it to ITV but I did see a few when the show went unto reruns on BRAVO in the early noughties. The whole final season is on DVD but, presubably on quality grounds (the picture and optical effects look pretty poor throughout and presumably don't exist in anything approaching HD), doesn't appear as part of the UK BR set. This 'film' never made it onto a digital format.
Typo alert ...? I'm guessing that final paragraph should read "... but presumably on quality GROUNDS ..." not "quality groups". Took me a moment to make sense of that.ReplyDelete
How did they make the pilot episode into an 18 certificate? What dodgy footage could they possibly find for Airwolf?
Typo fixed. My tablet occasionally has its moments.Delete
Spicing up TV pilots for overseas wasn't uncommon. The original BAYWATCH VHS release was - literally - a revelation.