Thursday, February 16, 2017

A Modern Classic (?): Moonlighting (1985)

Moonlighting was not your average detective show.

Launched as a mid-season replacement series in March 1985, Moonlighting was part of ABC's retooled Tuesday night lineup, experiencing a period of transition after the comedy block that had dominated the 70's and early 80's had come to an end, with Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Soap, & Three's Company (the latter continued briefly as Three's a Crowd) had all ended their runs. Cybill Shepherd, in her first television series, played fashion model-turned-detective Maddie Hayes opposite newcomer Bruce Willis as David Addison, Jr.. The plot had Hayes bankrupt after her manager had embezzled her earnings from her modeling career, and after a meeting with Addison, was persuaded to join forces with him.

An assortment of production delays, including injuries to Willis and Shepherd taking time to start a family, resulted in the series losing some steam at the midway point. The early success enabled Willis to make the transition not only to movies (i.e. "Blind Date", "Die Hard"), but to music, as he released an album of R & B covers toward the end of season 2. Series creator Glenn Gordon Caron left the show due to creative differences around the end of season 3, and it could be argued that was where the wheels fell off.

Shepherd, who had been best known for "The Last Picture Show" before taking on Moonlighting, had suggested to Caron that the show be developed in the manner of a Howard Hawks movie. Caron didn't quite get the reference point, so he, Shepherd, & Willis screened some of Hawks' films for inspiration.

To be perfectly honest, even though I am a fan of detective stories, I never watched this show. I don't know why. Maybe it was because I was more into MTV back in those days. Hence, no rating.

Here's the intro, with the title song performed by Al Jarreau.


Hal Horn said...

I always liked Remington Steele better, but Moonlighting was fun to watch, at least during the first two seasons. IMO when the power plays started behind the scenes the quality started to slip.

hobbyfan said...

In a way, Moonlighting was Rem in reverse, as each show had 1 legit sleuth, the other learning on the job. The only other link between the two was both shows' male leads (Bruce Willis, Pierce Brosnan) going on to successful movie careers.