Friday, December 30, 2011

Nostalgia Theater: T.J. Hooker Edition

We close out this year's bumper crop of Nostalgia Theater entries with a look back at this 1982-1986 series that proved the enduring star power of Captain Kirk even several hundred light years away from the cozy confines of the U.S.S. Enterprise.

T.J. Hooker was a show about William Shatner as a cop. And that's it. 

Oh, there was some backstory shoved in there about T.J. (Thomas Jefferson) being a detective who returns to the beat and trains recruits, solving crimes and tossing off witty one-liners with his young, hip partner Adrian Zmed and his young, blond partner Heather Locklear, but let's be honest. That was all just window dressing for the show's central conceit: Shatner, Shatner, and more Shatner. I mentioned last week that hourlongs during this era weren't exactly challenging, and this is a good example of how a show could coast through four seasons just by dressing a charismatic star up as a policeman (a similar feat would occur in the '90s with Walker: Texas Ranger -- minus the charisma).

T.J. Hooker also marked my very first exposure to its larger-than-life star, imprinting itself on me during my formative years. When I saw Star Trek: The Motion Picture afterwards, my brother had me convinced that it was actually T.J. Hooker in space. "That's Captain Hooker," he said, elaborating that,  "he's an astronaut now." I'd love to say the lesson here is that my brother was kind of a jerk, but I think the real lesson is that I was a bit of a dullard as a kid. Like so many of its ilk, Hooker has been left by the wayside today, with reruns exceptionally rare, and only a single DVD release to mark its existence. Here's the title sequence from the second season (with score by X-Files' composer Mark Snow), offering a window into a simpler time, when all of America thrilled to the exploits of William Shatner. As a cop.

1 comment:

Glenn Greenberg said...

Without a doubt, one of the dumbest shows that has ever aired on television.

Yet I watched nearly every episode, usually cringing my way through. The episode with the Beach Boys is particular high(low?)light.

Most memorable episode: the one guest-starring Leonard Nimoy. Not GOOD, just memorable.

:-)