WILL the THRILL'S
TOP DOZEN THRILLING TV SHOWS!
Whether seaside or spaced-out, these classic
television shows all take place in Thrillville, baby.
them on your local cable network and petition the studios to release them all
- BATMAN (1966-68)
- Adam West and
Burt Ward are the Dynamic Duo around here. I dig Batman in all of his
incarnations (especially the outstanding 90s animated series) but this campy
classic is the ultimate interpretation of the legend as far as I'm concerned,
which has a lot to do with my world view - the Dark Knight is okay, but for me,
absurdity trumps tragedy. The sets, the villains, the scripts, the music, the
colors, the camerawork, the gadgets, the Batmobile are all
- 77 SUNSET STRIP
- Efrem Zimbalist Jr. and Roger "Mr. Ann-Margret" Smith are
impossibly suave detectives, and beat jive-talkin' hipster sidekick Edd
"Kookie" Byrnes is my favorite all time TV character next to Mister
Ed. I bought an original "Dino's" ashtray off him for twenty bucks. The
theme song is the bomb. Incredible list of guest stars. Snappy scripts. The
ultimate in Vintage Cool.
- HAWAIIAN EYE (1959-1963)
- This is one of three "Sunset" knockoffs WB produced following the
same basic format of swingin' bachelor dicks, dangerous dames, tough gangsters
and catchy soundtrack music. Almost every episode features Connie Stevens
singing standards in a tiki lounge. I also love SURFSIDE 6 (Miami
version) and BOURBON STREET BEAT (New Orleans) but the Polynesian
setting, plus Robert Conrad, make this one #2 behind "Sunset."
- PETER GUNN (1958-1963)
Mancini's score and Blake Edward's hardboiled, stylish production set the
standard for TV PI cool, featuring Craig Stevens as the Man and Lola Albright
as his long suffering love interest. There was also a 1967 feature called
"Gunn" which I'm still trying to track down, better call Pete in
for the job...did you know the famous theme has lyrics, too? It's actually
called "Bye Bye."(Two volumes, 32 episodes on DVD from A&E Home
- THE WILD WILD WEST
- Robert Conrad returned from his stint with "Hawaiian
Eye" in the greatest Western sci-fi spy series of all time, as secret
service agent Jim West; forget the awful 90s big screen remake, that was a
travesty. This show, and its stars, including sidekick Artie Gordan (Ross
Martin) was effortlessly cool, with more than its share of gorgeous gals and
nifty gadgets. - (Now Available from Fox DVD)
- THE OUTER LIMITS
- for my money, even cooler than the more sophisticated
"Twilight Zone" because it has so many more bitchin' monsters.
The updated series is okay but can't compare to the moody brilliance of the
original. (Both seasons on DVD from MGM/UA).
- VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA (1964-1968)
I dig all of Irwin Allen's 60s sci-fi shows (especially "Lost in
Space" and "Land of the Giants") but again, the sheer
number of bitchin' monsters makes this one the standout. Mummies, werewolves,
menfish, aliens, cyborgs, phantoms, robots, apemen, dinosaurs - you name it,
Admiral Nelson (Richard Basehart) and Captain Crane (David Hedison) faced it.
Plus the Seaview (along with its Flying Sub) is probably the niftiest TV prop
of all time next to the Batmobile. - (Now Available from Fox DVD)
- STAR TREK (1966-1969)
- I don't
think I qualify as a Trekkie since this is the ONLY 'Trek' I truly love, for
all the reasons some fans denigrate it - the cheese, the rubber monsters, the
miniskirts, the mascara. You just can't beat the magical ensemble of Kirk,
Spock and McCoy, either. The subsequent series and movies are pale imitations
as far as I'm concerned. I guess I'm more of a Shathead than a Trekkie, but
whatever, the original is still the greatest. (All three seasons on Paramount
- THE GREEN HORNET (1966-1967)
- Few people remember Van
Williams from "Surfside 6" and "Bourbon St. Beat"
since this short-lived series became his signature role, and of course Bruce
Lee as Kato is the main reason it became a lasting legend. But it was also just
a great show - the music, fashions and 'Black Beauty' rule.
- THE MAN FROM UNCLE (1964-1969)
- the best of all the
007 TV knockoffs, hands down, with awesome music and colorful, exotic
backdrops; also a great primer for lounge living, if you can survive it... - (Coming Soon from WB DVD).
- JOHNNY STACCATO (1959-1960)
this beatnik noir classic only lasted one season but it made the most of it -
great New York locations, awesome jazz soundtrack by Elmer Bernstein, and John
Cassavettes was outstanding as the hardboiled piano playin' PI.
- KOLCHAK, THE NIGHT STALKER
- I hear they're planning to update this show about
a modern day monster hunter, but Darren McGavin owns this role, sorry, and we
don't need any fancy CGI guest creeps spoiling things either. Favorite episode:
"The Zombie." One of the greatest shows of the decade, and again, cancelled way
too soon. It lives here in Thrillville. - (Now Available from Universal DVD).
- HAWAII 5-0 (1968-1980) Praise Jack Lord and pass
the ammo. The circa '70s Hawaiian (mostly Oahu) locations would be enough to
make this a Thrillville staple, but the often grim, exciting plots and
incredible array of guest stars only add to overall allure of the seductive
scenery and aloha ambience. Book 'em, Dano - (Now Available from Paramount DVD).