Friday, June 7, 2013

What Might've Been: S. W. A. T. (1975)

Everyone knows this theme song:

But what folks might not know about S. W. A. T. is that it lasted just 14 months (February 1975-April 1976), and its demise might be attributed to the high level of violence, which the real life SWAT team in LA, which was the model for the fictional team on the show, disapproved of. Then again, there was a growing glut of high-octane crime dramas on the air, so S. W. A. T. didn't stand out from the crowd as much as it wanted to.

The series was spun off from The Rookies (which we reviewed recently), but lacked the staying power. Steve Forrest (ex-The Baron) led the ensemble cast, and was one of two cast members to return for the 2003 feature film reboot with Samuel L. Jackson & LL Cool J (Rod Perry was the other). As for the rest, Mark Shera moved on to Barnaby Jones, and Robert Urich's resume grew with each passing year. Soap. Tabitha. Vega$. Gavilan. Spenser For Hire. Need I say more?

There currently exists a reality series entitled S. W. A. T., which owes its existence more to Cops than the original series. As a result, Sony is in no hurry to try to mount a rebooted version of this series. As for the iconic theme song, it became a #1 hit for Rhythm Heritage, but the version heard on the show was composed by Barry DeVorzon, better known for composing the theme to the soap, The Young & The Restless, which became an iconic anthem itself after gymnast Nadia Comaneci used it as her theme at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, hence "Nadia's Theme", and that enabled DeVorzon to climb the charts after all.

Rating: C.


magicdog said...

The show was a novelty because SWAT teams were fairly new to police work. When this show premiered, they'd existed for less than a decade, and tended to exist in larger metropolitan police precincts like NY & LA.

Today, SWAT doesn't get a series reboot because it's so common to use them now. It seems my local area SWAT gets called in the minute someone might be a hostage or to break down the doors of a marijuana grow house. If anything they're overused and have lost the mystique they once had.

For the record I did like the movie reboot and it was a nice touch seeing Forrest and Perry on screen - not to mention the theme song getting replayed in various ways. If there was a cast that could have rocked a TV reboot, those guys could have done it.

hobbyfan said...

Great point on today's SWAT teams. Seems like every major city has them and needs them in case of major emergencies.

I meant to do this when Forrest passed away a couple of weeks back, but I was busy with other stuff. I may come back to that this week, coupled with Esther Williams.