With television shows so dark and gritty, one of the things I miss are shows where we know the good guy is going to win in spite of the odds–and getting there is fun.
That’s Airwolf. It was a show from the 1980s, probably originated because of a popular film called Blue Thunder, about a high tech cop helicopter. Blue Thunder was also made into a series, but it didn’t last very long.
Airwolf was produced by Donald P. Bellisario. If that name doesn’t familiar, it’s the same guy who does NCIS. The stories were top notch. Not just stunts, but characters you wanted to watch.
It starred Jan Michael Vincent as a former Vietnam War pilot named Stringfellow Hawke, and Ernest Borgnine as his fellow pilot. Alex Cord rounded it up as a spy.
The flying scenes were stunning. Okay, we knew Hawke was going to blow up the bad guys at the end, but the battle in the air…that was plain fun.
One of my favorite episodes was when six missiles were launched at Washington, DC. Of course, Airwolf took off after the missiles launched, so they really had a head start. Hawke and Santini push Airwolf to the limit–the helicopter’s going so fast that it might come apart. Hawke nails the missiles one at a time, getting four–but the last two are getting out of range. And then he misses! Of course, he shoots down the last ones just in the nick of time.
It’s immensely satisfying when the good guys win.
Below is a video of some of the flight scenes to the Airwolf theme.