I learned this was available on YouTube from The Rap Sheet: Homage? Spoof? Or Both?
I think this was the best series Stephen J. Cannell ever produced.
ABC hyped the living hell out of it — much like ABC still overhypes series today — and then abandoned it when the audience didn’t ramp up quickly enough.
Those of us who watched from the start instantly fell in love with it and looked forward to every episode.
Jeff Goldblum is shockingly young in this with a higher-pitched voice than my memory recalls. Ben Vereen is solid gold. Cannell’s writing is top-notch and all of the scripts are peak writing. The Mark Savage bits some see as camp or as making fun of pulp detective fiction — but it’s clear that Cannell loved the stuff and this was all being done out of that affection.
It’s one of the great tragedies of TV that ABC didn’t wait for an audience to find it.
Goldblum went on to do movies. Cannell had to exit TV as independent producers were pushed out. Vereen moved on to other things.
But for one glorious moment, they were all together in their prime and gave us this wonderful series.
Now, the pilot that began it all: