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Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger (特捜戦隊デカレンジャー) TV Asahi/Toei Co. Ltd., 2004 Exploited by Buena Vista Entertainment in 2005 as Power Rangers SPD Running Time: 25 minutes per episode Not Rated (Suggested TV-PG). Contains violence and mature situations. Cast Ryuji Sainei as Banban Akaza/Deka Red Tsuyoshi Hayashi as Houji Tomasu/Deka Blue Yosuke Ito as Senichi "Sen-chan" Enari/Deka Green Ayumi Kinoshita as Marika "Jasmine" Reimon/Deka Yellow Mika Kikuchi as Koume "Umeko" Kodou/Deka Pink Tomokazu Yoshida as Tekkan "Tetsu" Aira/Deka Break Tetsu Inada (Wakkein in Mobile Suit Gundam movies 1-2) as Doggie Kruger/Deka Master (voice) Mako Ishino as Swan Shiratori Ryusei Nakao (Frieza in Dragon Ball Z) as Agent Abrella (voice) Toshio Furukawa (Ataru in Urusei Yatsura, Asuma in Mobile Police Patlabor) as the Narrator "Emergency...DEKARANGER!" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1MwupHAPpU Synopsis Earth's population has increased dramatically over the past few years, partially due to aliens migrating to the planet and getting jobs here. But with every case of population growth, there's always a case of unusual criminal activities. To keep alien-related crimes in check, the Special Police Department (SPD) sets up an Earth branch near Tokyo, Japan. This branch consists of the special task force Dekaranger, who can take on any alien threat with their vast array of sophisticated weapons and mecha. But the Dekarangers get the biggest surprise when loose cannon Banban Akaza is transferred out of his home planet and joins the team as Deka Red. Lowdown I've been a casual fan of Super Sentai shows ever since the 1984 classic Choudenshi Bioman. But after Saban started licensing Toei's super sentai titles and turning them into Power Rangers, I started to lose interest in the genre. Then, a couple of days ago, a fansub of this new series came out, and I decided to check it out. Wow...despite the use of CG, Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger has the elements of Super Sentai shows we all know and love: cheesy special effects, near-laughable acting, awesome fight scenes and catchy theme music. Dekaranger even mixes the genre with the alien immigration subplot inspired by Men in Black. In the first episode alone, you can easily get to like the characters, from the hot-headed Deka Red to the cute Deka Pink, who spends most of the show taking a bubble bath. The battle scenes are a complete riot, especially when Deka Red makes his Earth debut. I can't wait for the next episode, when they bring out the Dekaranger Robo. Overall, Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger is a surprisingly excellent Super Sentai show. It sure as hell beats the snoozefest called Chouseishin GranSazer. Rating: A Links Super Sentai's Official Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger Homepage (Japanese) Toei's Official Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger Homepage (Japanese) References Wikipedia
CHiPs Rosner Television/MGM Television, 1977-1983 Warner Home Video, 2007-2008 (Seasons 1-2 only) Created by Rick Rosner Running Time: 48 minutes per episode Rated TV-PG for violence. Cast Larry Wilcox as Officer Jonathan A. "Jon" Baker (call sign: 7-Mary-3) Erik Estrada as Officer Frank Llewelyn "Ponch" Poncherello (call sign: 7-Mary-4) Robert Pine (Chris Pine's old man) as Sgt. Joseph Getraer (S-4)with Lew Sanders as Officer Gene Fritz (call sign: 5-David-5) Brodie Greer as Officer Barry "Bear" Baricza (call sign: 7-Adam) Paul Linke as Officer Artie "Grossie" Grossman (call sign: 7-Mary-5) Lou Wagner as Mechanic Harlan Arliss Brianne Leary as Officer Sindy Cahill (call sign: 7-Charles) Lowdown CHiPs chronicles the adventures of two California Highway Patrol motorcycle officers in Los Angeles. Jon is a cool-headed blond guy partnered with Ponch, a hot-headed Hispanic who is on probation. Together, they spend each episode chasing runaway vehicles or speeding villains on the freeways, resolving road rage, rescuing injured motorists in accidents, or arguing with Sgt. Getraer over just about everything. So the story level is pretty shallow in this series. Your typical episode has one main plot involving a freeway incident, coupled with some subplots that occur either on-duty or off-duty. Some episodes even have Jon and Ponch pulling over the celebrity of the week. Sure, the script is filled with cheesy one-liners (almost all of which come from Ponch), but in an era where oil prices and the automotive industry were at their worst, you have to admit that CHiPs had one hell of a budget. These days, action TV shows have to resort to CG effects. During its day, CHiPs took full advantage of newly built freeways before their grand openings; this meant a lot of unrestrained car chases and crashes on each episode. In addition, it popularized bike-cam angles that would be used in later action films. And while Ponch's off-duty hobbies may be rather quirky, you'll end up cheering for him and Jon by the end of each episode. CHiPs is best known for launching the career of Erik Estrada, though he could not achieve the same degree of success elsewhere. Larry Wilcox was supposed to have been the main star of the show, but perhaps because his character was too clean-cut, he always ended up playing second fiddle to Estrada's loose cannon of a character. This resulted in a lot of tension between the duo behind the camera to the point where Wilcox called it quits after the fifth season. Also, only hardcore Trekkies know that before Michael Dorn was Worf in Star Trek: The Next Generation, he was Officer Jebediah Turner in seasons 3-5. Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner (now Caitlin Jenner) appeared in season 5 as Officer Steve McLeish while Estrada went on strike. Another focal point of the series is the music. Season 1 uses jazzy instrumentals typical of police and detective films of the 20th century, spearheaded by John Parker's iconic theme. Veteran score composers Mike Post (The Rockford Files, Doogie Howser, MD) and Pete Carpenter (1914-1987) (The A-Team, Magnum, P.I.) also contributed to season 1's music. By season 2, the disco craze was at its peak, so the producers brought in a young Alan Silvestri (The Avengers, the Back to the Future trilogy) to rearrange Parker's theme for everyone to boogie to. Sadly, like all TV series, CHiPs ran out of gas halfway through its run. The series was plagued by on-set injuries (such as one in 1979 where Estrada broke his ribs and wrists in a motorcycle accident), declining ratings, and contract disputes. When Wilcox walked out after season 5, he was replaced by Tom Reilly as Officer Bobby "Hot Dog" Nelson (call sign: 15-Mary-7). That season tanked heavily and led to the show's cancellation in 1983. Fifteen years later, Jon and Ponch reunited in CHiPs '99, a story to be told next time. In short, CHiPs is considered a guilty pleasure to some, but an entertaining good guy show for most families. Let's see how Hollywood screws this one up on the big screen next year or so... Rating: B References The Internet Movie Database
Miami Vice Universal Pictures, 1984-1989, 2005-2007 Created by Anthony Yerkovich (Hill Street Blues, Big Apple) Executive Producer: Michael Mann (Collateral, Heat) Running Time: 50 minutes per episode (110 minutes for the pilot episode) Rated TV-14 for violence, suggestive drug use, and mild language. Cast Don Johnson as Detective James "Sonny" Crockett (a.k.a. Sonny Burnett) Philip Michael Thomas as Detective Ricardo Tubbs (a.k.a. Teddy Prentiss) Edward James Olmos as Lt. Martin Castillo Saundra Santiago as Detective Gina Navarro Calabrese Olivia Brown as Detective Trudy Joplin Michael Talbott as Detective Stan Switek John Diehl as Detective Larry ZitoGregory Sierra as Lt. Lou Rodriguez (eps. 1-4) In 1984, Universal Pictures and NBC unleashed a new kind of cop show on network television. Miami Vice featured the adventures of loose cannon Sonny Crockett and New York transfer Ricardo Tubbs, as they teamed up to clean the Miami streets of drug cartels and high-profile hoodlums. It was a major gamble for Universal, as they spent an average of US$1.5 million per episode. But thanks to the show's use of cutting-edge cinematography, outrageous wardrobe designs, elaborate pastel backgrounds, theatrical-grade special effects, a completely unique soundtrack and gritty storytelling, Miami Vice garnered dozens of nominations and awards from the Emmys and Golden Globes. It even launched the careers of big-name actors like Ving Rhames, John Leguizamo, Julia Roberts and Wesley Snipes. Styles come and go, and Miami Vice may have ended a decade and a half ago, but it still continues to inspire just about everyone in the entertainment industry. As a matter of fact, it was the key inspiration to Rockstar Games' best-selling game Grand Theft Auto Vice City. I'll tell you one thing: I never get tired of watching Miami Vice. And with 22 episodes on three double-sided discs, this newly-released DVD season 1 boxed set makes the viewing experience even better. Each episode is digitally remastered with crisp 5.1 surround sound audio. Whether it's the explosive action or the awesome title theme by Jan Hammer (Beyond the Mind's Eye), you have to crank it up. And sure, much of the series is over-the-top, but hey - it was the '80s; a decade devoid of boring reality-based TV shows. Aside from Sledge Hammer! and The A-Team, Miami Vice remains among the most fun-to-watch from that era. If you love this show as much as I do, then it's mandatory to add this boxed set to your collection. First-timers will want to check this out before Universal releases the new Miami Vice movie next year. Rating: A DVD Extras: A- Disc 1 includes the following supplemental material: - The Vibe of Vice - An introduction to how the series became a hit. - Building the Perfect Vice - Interviews with the people who created the series. - The Style of Vice - A look at the show's fashion and how it influenced pop culture. - The Music of Vice - How music by Jan Hammer, Phil Collins and other top artists made the soundtrack a best-seller. - Miami After Vice - Just a travel commercial by the City of Miami. Reference The Internet Movie Database
Sledge Hammer! Alan Spencer Productions/D'Angelo Productions/ABC/New World Television, 1986-1987 Anchor Bay Entertainment, 2004; Image Entertainment, 2011 Created by Alan Spencer Running Time: 27 minutes per episode Rated TV-PG for violence, mature situations and mild language. "Trust me. I know what I'm doing." - Sledge Hammer Cast David Rasche as Sledge Hammer Anne-Marie Martin as Dori Doreau Harrison Page as Captain Trunk "HAMMERRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!" - Captain Trunk Lowdown In 1986, ABC premiered Sledge Hammer! - a sitcom for people who hate sitcoms. Inspired by the 1971 Clint Eastwood film Dirty Harry and the classic 1965 spy satire Get Smart, the series chronicles the misadventures of Inspector Sledge Hammer - a loose cannon of a cop who talks to his .44 Magnum and has absolutely no regard for anyone's safety. Add female detective Dori Doreau and the ill-tempered Captain Trunk to the mix, and you have the funniest cop show ever made. "That was excessively violent and completely unnecessary. I loved it!" - Sledge Hammer Sadly, the series was cancelled after its second season as it was forced by ABC to compete head-to-head with The Cosby Show on the ratings game in 1988. Reruns played on some syndicated channels before being forgotten by many viewers for over a decade. And now, Sledge Hammer! is back - this time, in a remastered DVD set. The 22 episodes that comprise the first season are locked and loaded in four discs. Relive the antics of our trigger-happy antihero, whether he's blowing up a building to stop a sniper, posing as an Elvis impersonator to catch a serial killer, or stuffing a would-be robber with expired convenience store food. Police brutality is no laughing matter, but if it involves Hammer, you'll never stop laughing. If you like cop shows, you owe it to yourself to add this classic TV series to your DVD collection. And get the second (and final) season while you're at it. "That man makes Rambo look like Pee-Wee Herman." - Mayor Jack Flambo Rating: A+ "Go Hammer Go! Go Hammer Go!" - Cops watching Hammer attempt to defuse a time bomb on TV "Go Bomb Go! Go Bomb Go!" - Captain Trunk DVD Extras: A When you play the first disc, you are greeted with a hilarious introduction by creator Alan Spencer, who talks about the laugh track being deleted from the DVD episodes before getting hit in the head with a bottle. "Laugh tracks are offensive. They're an insult to an audience's intelligence who doesn't have to be told when to laugh at something. And the other thing that's inappropriate about laugh tracks on Sledge Hammer! is, the series was a drama. That's right - Sledge Hammer! carried a serious message about violence --" - Alan Spencer Each disc contains audio commentary with Spencer, Rasche, Martin and Page on selected episodes. Disc 4, on the other hand, is packed with these goodies: - Go Ahead, Make Me Laugh! - An exclusive documentary featuring interviews with Spencer and the original cast. - An alternate version of the pilot episode "Under the Gun," featuring 10 minutes of additional footage, an alternate epilogue and different opening and ending theme music. - Electronic Press Kit - Original 1986 interview with Spencer and Rasche. - Original TV Spots - Original Commercial Bumper - Alan Spencer's Message to Critics (audio) - Image Gallery - Including the Sledge Hammer! comic book by Marvel. - Original ABC and HBO pilot scripts (.pdf format) In addition, you get a booklet featuring liner notes and lots of useful trivia. And at $25.99 at Best Buy, this DVD set is a major steal. "A gun can't solve the world's problems, but give it a shot anyway." - Sledge Hammer Links Sledge Hammer! Online Reference The Internet Movie Database