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Case Number 10649

Buy Baywatch: Seasons One And Two at Amazon

Baywatch: Seasons One And Two

Baywatch
1989 // 880 Minutes // Not Rated
Baywatch
1989 // 968 Minutes // Not Rated
Released by First Look Pictures
Reviewed by Judge Cynthia Boris (Retired) // January 22nd, 2007

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All Rise...

Judge Cynthia Boris digs deep and finds the universal truths revealed in Baywatch. You know, the ones not revealed by Pam Anderson's bikini.

The Charge

"I don't want any lifeguards running around playing Magnum P.I."

Opening Statement

Too late, buddy, they already are. Welcome to the world of Baywatch, where saving people from drowning is the least important thing these lifeguards do.

Facts of the Case

Mitch Buchannon (David Hasselhoff, Knight Rider) and his lifeguards are in charge of keeping the world—I mean, beach—safe. In between rescues, the lifeguards have a life, so we get to see them date, marry, raise kids, and get involved in bigger issues such as the environment and the homeless. Think of "The Beach" as a microcosm of The Earth, or at least Paris. Stand in a lifeguard tower long enough and the whole world is bound to pass by.

In Season One you get South Philly transplant Eddie (Billy Warlock); a pampered girl trying to make it on her own, Shauni (Erica Eleniak, The Beverly Hillbillies); and Harvey, the skirt-chasing prankster (Tom McTigue). Michael Newman was a real lifeguard brought on board as a consultant but ended up being a cast member. Jeremy Jackson takes over the role of Mitch's son, Hobie.

Disc One
• "The One That Got Away"
• "Money, Honey"
• "Fabulous Buchannon Boys"
• "Point of Attack"
• "Sandcastles"

Disc Two
• "Thin or Die"
• "The Trophy Wife Part 1 & 2"
• "If Looks Could Kill"
• "Reunion"

Disc Three
• "War of Nerves"
• "Big Monday"
• "Sea of Flames"
• "Now Sit Right Back and You'll Hear a Tale"
• "The Chamber"

Disc Four
• "Sharks Cove"
• "Lost Treasure of Tower 12"
• "The Big Spill"
• "Game of Chance"
• "Summer of '85"

Disc Five
• "Panic at Malibu Pier"
• "Photo Gallery"
• "Trivia Track"
• "Baywatch Background Featurette"

Season Two changes as the cast widens its scope. Warlock and Eleniak leave for movie careers (how's that going for you?) and in comes a newbie named Pamela Anderson as CJ. David Charvet (Melrose Place) enters as spoiled Matt; Nicole Eggert appears as sweet, young Summer; and the rough and ready Alexandra Paul (Dragnet) joins in as senior lifeguard (and Mitch's former lover) Stephanie Holden.

Disc One
• "Tequila Bay"
• "Rookie of the Year"
• "Pier Pressure"
• "Malibu Beach High"
• "Point Doom"

Disc Two
• "Princess of Tides"
• "Masquerade"
• "Lifeguards Can't Jump"
• "Dead of Summer"
• "A Matter of Life and Death"

Disc Three
• "Island of Romance"
• "Strangers Among Us"
• "Vacation Part 1 & 2"
• "The Tower"

Disc Four
• "Stakeout at Surfrider Beach"
• "Shattered Part 1 & 2"
• "Kicks"
• "Fatal Exchange"

Disc Five
Bonus NBC Episodes
• "In Deep"
• "Heat Wave"
• "Photo Gallery"
• "Trivia Track"
• "Baywatch Background Featurette"

The Evidence

First off—David Hasselhoff is tall. Seriously. He makes everyone on the show look like midgets! Now that I've got that off my chest, on with the show. Baywatch is what the world thinks of when they think of Southern California—beaches, surfers, and busty girls in bikinis. You'll get all three of those when you watch, but you'll also get hunky lifeguards, great rescue action, and quite a bit of heart.

You see, Baywatch started off as a guilty pleasure on NBC. It starred Hasselhoff and Parker Stevenson (The Hardy Boys), so there was something for men and women to look at. They had speedboats, jet skis, and helicopters and there was action aplenty. But all those things cost money; at the end of the first season, NBC canceled the series. Rather than take this lying down, co-creator Douglas Schwartz took some advice from his uncle Sherwood (Gilligan's Island, Brady Bunch). One word advice (no it wasn't "plastics"): it was "syndication."

Schwartz and his partners took on the daunting task of producing Baywatch on their own and selling it into syndication. It was the best decision they could have made because the show soon rocketed to success. On the downside they had to slash the budget right off. That meant canning Parker Stevenson and bringing in a continual cast of unknown (read cheap) actors. One of those unknowns was Pamela Denise Anderson, who is almost unrecognizable in her first season when compared to later photos of her from the show.

The slash in the syndication budget also meant cutting down the number of action sequences. They relied on "bottle" or flashback episodes that used previously filmed footage to carry the action. It is also rumored that Hasselhoff wanted the show to be more about the relationship between himself and his son and this is actually a good move. The scenes between Hobie and Mitch are endearing and they add a great deal of depth to the series. (Yes, I said depth, now go away.)

Many episodes use the old-school theme method of weaving together several plots. Hobie happens to get poisoned by toxic waste the same week a toxic waste avenger comes to town looking for Mitch's help. You may be surprised to find a number of heavy themes here, from the care of the homeless to families dealing with schizophrenia to teen gangs and parental kidnapping. There are violent crimes, including "The One That Got Away," where a rapist is terrorizing women on the beach; "The Trophy," where Eddie is falsely accused of statutory rape; and "The Tower," which has Summer and Stephanie being held hostage by a psychopath. Yes, psychos, murderers, rapists—and oh yes, "Now Sit Right Back and You'll Hear a Tale," which has the cast members living in a Gilligan's Island fantasy.

What other TV series gives you such a mixed bag of treats?

The Rebuttal Witnesses

For a series that is as well liked as this one, Baywatch is treated pretty shabbily in these box sets.

If you're not familiar with the show, you're bound to be perplexed by the first episode, "The One That Got Away." It's a dark tale about a rapist stalking women on the beach and it's obvious that the characters in the show have backstories that have been previously explained. Even Mitch's arrival isn't all that heralded, which you would expect when watching the introduction of the show's lead character. There's a good reason for this. "Season One," isn't really "Season One." It is actually the first syndicated season, which is actually "Season Two" of the series. To make matters worse, this isn't even the first episode of the second season. The two-hour season opener, "Nightmare Bay" which features the new character introductions is mysteriously absent from this DVD set.

They were kind enough to include the original NBC aired pilot, "Panic at Malibu Pier." You'll find it on disc five, but I suggest you watch it first before launching into the rest of the set. Apparently, First Look plans to include a few of each of the NBC season episodes on each season set, so in theory, you'll have them all if you keep up. Personally, I think these are some of the best episodes so I was glad to find them included as bonuses.

You'll get that same feeling of, "what have I missed," when you watch the background featurettes on these sets. They appear to begin in the middle of a conversation between the series creators. You could blame this on the fact that they obviously took one long interview and cut it up into pieces for use on each season's set. That doesn't explain, however, why the featurette on Season One doesn't begin at the beginning.

More nails in the coffin. The Photo Gallery stills look like low-res photos downloaded off the Internet and will someone please explain "Trivia Track"? It sounds like it should be an option to turn on subtitles with trivia on each episode but I couldn't find out how to access it on any of these DVDs. Seriously, someone please email me and tell me how to trigger this feature, it's driving me nuts.

Biggest complaint from fans world wide—the famous Baywatch theme, "I'll Be Ready" has been replaced by a slower song that doesn't fit the exciting opening title montage one little bit.

Closing Statement

Baywatch has gotten a bad name over the years as schlock TV. The slow motion running, bouncing babes and buff boys have oft been parodied and for that alone they deserve a spot in the "jiggle TV" hall of fame. But most of the bad mouthing of this series is just sour grapes. The series had an amazing eleven-year run on syndicated TV and was shown in more than 140 countries and in 32 different languages. I'd even go so far as to say that the series was even more popular abroad than it was in the US. Maybe that's because it epitomized what people saw as the American Dream, or should that be California Dreaming—sun, surf and a killer day at the beach.

The Verdict

This court finds Baywatch: Season 1 and Season 2 to be the ultimate in guilty pleasures. Dig deep and you'll find some buried treasure under all that sand.

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Genres

• Drama
• Television

Scales of Justice, Baywatch

Video: 90
Audio: 90
Extras: 50
Acting: 82
Story: 82
Judgment: 82

Perp Profile, Baywatch

Studio: First Look Pictures
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• English
• Spanish
Running Time: 880 Minutes
Release Year: 1989
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Baywatch

• Bonus network episodes: Panic at Malibu Pier, original series pilot
• Photo gallery
• Trivia track
• Baywatch background featurette

Scales of Justice, Baywatch

Video: 90
Audio: 90
Extras: 50
Acting: 85
Story: 85
Judgment: 85

Perp Profile, Baywatch

Studio: First Look Pictures
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• English
• Spanish
Running Time: 968 Minutes
Release Year: 1989
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Baywatch

• Bonus network episodes: In Deep, Heat Wave
• Photo gallery
• Trivia track
• Baywatch background featurette

Accomplices

• Baywatch Official Site
• IMDb








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