CHiPs

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The first season of any tv series is always the most interesting because there’s always that unsure feel to it like, ‘what? they bought the pilot? We got to make this thing now?’

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It’s interesting to watch the readjustments taking place after three or four shows.

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More of this. Less of that. You know what I mean.

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C.H.i.P.s (California Highway Patrol) was no exception. It was 1977. I guess you could say they started off with some very run of the mill eps. Establishing characters. Back story.

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One of the standout characteristics of what I’ve seen of the first season (14eps) is the soundtrack/scoring. There’s a jazzy brass and funky bass theme running through the whole thing with a myriad of variations on the main theme.

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At times they keep the music up high and the dialogue down at low volume. I like it. At about ep10 they got stuck into some full blown small stone phaser use too.

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The early part of the series swung between light comedy and serious stuff.

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Unfortunately neither of the leads are comedy actors. They brought in lots of cameos. Obviously, it was easy for the producers to find plenty of old actors ready to do bit parts. And in a strange way art was probably imitating life, given that this was L.A.

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Baker delivers some bad news to a wife and son: “Your dad’s dead”. (ep4)

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H.R. Puffnstuf; postmodern intertextuality, you saw it first on CHiPs.

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Marjorie Bennett as Mrs.Downey was a recurring character. A grand old English dame in her 56 Cadillac.

For me, CHiPs stands somewhere between the predictable sparseness of Thunderbirds and something more exciting like battlestar galactica. That might sound harsh, but I do really like watching CHiPs. And it is over 30 years old. There’s something about the landscape of Los Angeles and environs at that time. It can also be seen in The Omega Man starring Charleton Heston.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/3588809562/” title=”bearndowney by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2444/3588809562_d0834355ba.jpg” width=”449″ height=”341″ alt=”bearndowney” /></a>

Mrs.Downey giving Bear the run around.

Apparently the first two seasons are available on iTunes but there are other wasy too. I hope they release the other four.

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