In 1982, as schlock TV was building towards its pinnacle—I recently went back and watched the first two episodes of Airwolf and was shocked, now that I live in a golden age of TV, how unfathomably insane it was—a producer named Eric Bercovici had an ambitious idea. The former Hawaii Five-O writer created a gritty Chicago drama about doctors, lawyers, and cops, sort of Chicago Hope plus The Chicago Code, starring then-obscure actors like Dennis Franz and Craig T. Nelson.
And it ran an hour and a half, every week.
Somehow, this wasn’t a recipe for success. It only lasted a season, perhaps because of its length, its cast of unknowns, NBC’s third-place standing, and its Saturday night ”kiss of death slot opposite Love Boat and Fantasy Island” (subsequently shifted to Friday against Dukes of Hazzard and Dallas). Running a bottle episode as its first episode was probably also a bad idea.
But it didn’t just fail: it vanished from existence. Even in the Internet’s age of plenty the closest I’ve come to an episode was an expired listing for a script on eBay Italy. Fortunately, someone did manage to put the opening on YouTube.
Then again, maybe it was doomed from the theme song.
2 weeks ago