Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Comedy > CHiPs – The Complete First Season

CHiPs – The Complete First Season


Picture: C+     Sound: C     Extras: C     Episodes: C+



Both MGM and NBC were in need of a hit TV series.  NBC had never been a #1 network and MGM had several TV bombs recently that should have done better, including the TV series version of Logan’s Run.  ABC, Fred Silverman, Leonard Goldberg and Aaron Spelling overtook CBS with more youth-oriented hits and including Charlie’s Angels, Three’s Company and some variety shows.  Out of nowhere, they got Paul Playdon (Mission: Impossible, Banacek, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, all reviewed elsewhere on this site) to develop a police show that was more comic and laidback than previous hour-long shows without being an outright drama (The Rookies) or comedy (Barney Miller) and not as strong as or at either.


By the 1977 – 1978 season for all of TV, the networks started to water down some entertainment, though this was not the dumbing-down of people just yet.  However, this show was built on the appeal and chemistry of its male leads at a time when that had not been done as explicitly with males for a female audience, though the motorcycles and guy jokes kept the men watching too.  Stars this season among the first 22 episodes include Paul Mantee, Eric Server, Reb Brown, Joanne Linville, Rosie Greer, Jackie Vernon, Marty Ingels, Vito Scotti, Jim Backus, Lorna Thayer, Fred Beir, Pamelyn Ferdin, Alice Ghostley, L.Q. Jones, Linda Dano, Melinda Fee, Robbie Rist, Ellen Travolta, Gregg Palmer, Alyscia Maxwell, Nita Talbot, Don “Red” Berry, Phyllis Diller, Huntz Hall, Marc Lawrence, Gary Sandy, Linda Thompson, Maggie Cooper and Edward James Olmos.


Those stars certainly helped the show, but some of those were more like gag appearances, though not as awful as a later silly hit like The Fall Guy, which owes something to this show.  Fans will enjoy this all over again, though others may wonder what all the fuss was about.


The 1.33 X 1 image is not bad for its age or from episode to episode, though color is not always rich and in some shots looks a bit faded.  The Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono sound is more limited, problematic and sometimes makes dialogue hard to hear.  I have heard TV from the 1950s with clearer dialogue, so the combination makes me think, along with aliasing issues, that these are late analog (maybe second generation) materials.  Fans will notice this with the famous Pete Carpenter/Mike Post theme song.  Extras include intros on some shows by Estrada and a featurette Chips: The Ride Out Of Spanish Harlem, where Estrada discusses and is talked about as a major reason for the show’s success.  It overrates the show a bit, but fans will like it.


Well, it was not always the scripts and might have been that disco spirit.  You can hear it in the theme song.


The show was such a hit, the Mego Toy Company actually bought a license from MGM to do action figures and the like.  The Mego/MGM alliance had already produced hit toys based on The Wizard Of Oz and an also amazing Our Gang collection, and the line for this show did very well.  Too bad the DVD set has nothing about the 8” and 3” action figure collections, but there are more sets on the way if this one does well.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com