The series has been revamped with an all new cast: St. John, the brother whom Stringfellow Hawke had been looking for during the original series, has finally been found and is now the new pilot of the high tech helicopter; Jo, Dominic Santini's niece, is also part of the team; Jason Locke is the new contact at the agency; and Mike Rivers is a hotshot pilot. In it after finding Hawke, they decide to continue the deal that Stringfellow Hawke had with the agency: they keep Airwolf location a secret and will go on missions for the agency.
I thought I would throw my 2 cents in on this infamous incarnation of the beloved show about a super helicopter.
Is it as bad everyone says? Sadly, yes... Here's the basic back story in case you didn't know. CBS canceled the original Jan-Michael Vincent starring version after it's 3rd Season. This was due to a combination of things, namely Vincent's severe drinking problems, the incredible expense of producing each episode(roughly a million, in 1986 dollars) and sinking ratings. This left the producers and other people with a vested interest in the show with a problem though. They didn't have enough episodes to sell the show into syndication. So the producers sold the rights to the USA network, who then in turn slashed the budget to a fraction of what it was and moved the production up to Canada to further save money. That's right, this season exists solely so they could produce enough episodes for syndication. That's a bad omen right from the start.
Each episode was now produced for about 150k, a far cry from that million on the original CBS series. This in a nutshell, is what made this the abomination that it is. Because of the pea sized budget, they could no longer afford to keep and operate the flyable Bell 222(aka Airwolf!). By the time this season was in production, she was already stripped of her modifications and sold to a German hospital, where she operated as an emergency transport until she sadly crashed and was destroyed in a thunder storm. This means all aerial footage of Airwolf seen here is recycled from the CBS show, although some of it was never actually used on the CBS show. That creates a nearly impossible obstacle to get past. How do you produce a show about a super chopper and not even have said chopper? Very poorly I'm afraid... They did however have the other Bell 222; the stage mock-up version to shoot the actors in. This Bell 222 however could not fly(it could only spin it's rotors very slowly), but being as it was ALL they had, they shoot the hell out of it. The NO-budget and the move to Canada also meant that NONE of the original cast could be retained. They were able to acquire the services of Jan-Michael Vincent(in a very uninspired performance) for the pilot episode. That was it. A bunch of a B-level Canadian actors take their places, but to be fair, they do an 'ok' job considering what they have to work with. You can't really blame them for this disaster. But without the characters so near and dear to us(Hawk, Dom, Archangel), it doesn't feel like the same show. You can't get rid of characters that had been with us for 3 years and expect fans of the show to happily accept and embrace the new characters.
Oh, and the lack of money also meant that the show was now shot on video instead of 35MM film. And trust me, you can tell! It's extremely cheap looking, like some crap cable show you might see on at 1 in the morning. In short, all of the production values of the CBS show are HISTORY. What you have here is nothing but a low budget Canadian cable show that happens to feature footage of Airwolf from the CBS show.
I won't even go into the countless continuity problems. The writers simply didn't have a clue. I question whether any of them had even watched the previous seasons...
Overall, this is an embarrassment and is best avoided. I recommend you pick up the first 3 seasons on DVD if you haven't yet and pretend this garbage doesn't even exist. This season is not available on DVD and likely never will be, but if you really want to watch it, it's readily available to watch online now. Both Hulu and Netflix have the entire season available to stream.
But like I said, just stick with the first 3 seasons and treasure those forever.
(Update: Amazingly, this season was in fact released on DVD. So there you go. Now you have Netflix and an official DVD release if you so desire to see this junk.) I have mixed feelings about this show. Part of me enjoyed it very much and part of me didn't.
Let me first talk about what I did like. The plots were very good at times and it was great just seeing Airwolf on TV again. It also helped that the four stars were all very good actors. There were some brilliant shows during it's run.
(SPOILERS AHEAD)However, there was a lot that spoilt it for me. This was a new Airwolf series that wasn't going to feature the original cast so the writers had to find out a way to get rid of the original cast. They did it in the most unbelievable way.
Firstly,Jan-Michael Vincent did make an appearance in the first episode. He showed up at The Firm's HQ to find out Michael Archangel had been reassigned. I didn't like that. Fans of the original series will agree that the character of Archangel would surely have made an announcement to Stringfellow Hawke if he was going to be reassigned.
Secondly, Dominic Santini was killed off. Ernest Borgnine was not in this episode;they used a lookalike instead. The character of Santini was killed off by an explosion which I thought was pretty cheap. Also, there was no sign of Caitlan from the original series.
Thirdly, Major Mike Rivers played by Geraint Wyn Davies was assigned to find Airwolf's hiding place and he did it with great ease. This was quite insulting as throughout the original series the government tried everything to find Airwolf and with no luck wheras Major Rivers found it within days.
Setting up the new Airwolf series was done in an unbelievable way. Stringfellow Hawke was killed off (I think)and the four new stars took over the show. They used Airwolf's old hiding place which had mysteriously gained a truckload of new equipment and technology. Then they went off to fight the bad guys. Throughout the series there were times when the old Airwolf tune was not used during action scenes. In a nutshell this series somewhat ruined the spirit of the original series.
It wasn't totally bad. There were good episodes (even the ones which used stock footage)such as The Stavograd Incident and they can probably be enjoyed by most fans. I guess what ruined it for me was the way they set up the new show. If it would have had the same budget as the original and a believable storyline in the first episode I would have enjoyed it a lot more.
It wasn't too bad though. Maybe I am being too hard but I would recommend the original series instead. 646f9e108c
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