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Miami Vice

Started by H-O-W-L, November 06, 2021, 03:07:34 PM

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H-O-W-L

Felt like making a thread about it -- gearing up for my usual winter rewatch. Doubt I'll do a blow-by-blow on every episode as I tried (and failed) to do with Being Human but just wondering what the rest of CAB thinks of it? I think large chunks of it (Seasons 1 and 2, and big swathes of 3) are fanfuckingtastic, and probably the most nihilistic police-critical cop procedural there is. Episodes like Milk Run really stick with me.

paruses

The original? Was there a remake or was it just a film?

H-O-W-L

The original series from the eighties, aye. There was a film in '06 but it was basically a re-take on the concept. I've never seen it just because it doesn't appeal to me.

Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth

The film is rather shit, as I recall.

I don't think I've ever seen the series, but I do remember reading that it isn't (to begin with, anyway) remotely as cheesy as its ultra '80s trappings would suggest.

monkfromhavana

There's a bit in the either the pilot where Sonny's wife and kid have been taken into protective custody and he's walking with his wife by the sea. Their chat would make an amazing sample on some kind of mellow techno track.

I always mean to give it a full rewatch, always get stuck around 8 episodes in, but I have to concur that it is fantastic TV. Everyone always going on about the budget as if it explains everything, but you could easily have just fucked it all up and they didn't.

paruses

I have seen bits of the film and remember it trying too hard  it also being ultra violent. Long time ago now though. Mind, I can't believe it was in '06.

I hardly remember the series. It was just a bit after my bed time. I also have the feeling though that although it might be one of the most 80s things, it was more than the sum of its parts (unlike, say, Dynasty. Or Howard's Way as it was known in the UK).

Quite fancy watching it now - would I need DVDs or is it stream/steal -able?

Shit Good Nose

Always recorded it when ITV had it as part of their late-night cop series lineup, which was Vice, Crime Story and Mike Hammer (can't remember in which order they were aired, and I THINK Sledge Hammer may have been in the mix as well), and loved it.  But I've not seen any of them since then (although I do remember catching the Phil Collins episode on Bravo, or whichever cable channel was showing it in the late 90s/early 00s, during the day and being very pleased his "wanker" line was still in there).

Famous Mortimer

Excellent podcast "The Rewatchables" did an episode on a double episode of the show a while back (they normally only do movies, but both hosts are big fans). My limited knowledge leads me to believe it dropped a little in quality when Michael Mann left? And they probably made too many episodes - the US 20-odd episodes a year thing probably didn't do them any favours.

Also, Philip Michael Thomas' unfinished 1978 movie "Death Drug" (which he added a music video to, slapped an intro and outro on, and said "that'll do" in 1985) is available for your free entertainment and is extremely entertaining.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6T5qjiVdaco

H-O-W-L

Quote from: paruses on November 06, 2021, 06:10:51 PMI hardly remember the series. It was just a bit after my bed time. I also have the feeling though that although it might be one of the most 80s things, it was more than the sum of its parts (unlike, say, Dynasty. Or Howard's Way as it was known in the UK).
Quote from: Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth on November 06, 2021, 05:32:45 PM

I don't think I've ever seen the series, but I do remember reading that it isn't (to begin with, anyway) remotely as cheesy as its ultra '80s trappings would suggest.

Yeah, there's definitely eighties visuals but it's not like it's all "haha we're flash and eighties and COOL!" -- The fact it was shot almost entirely on location in the then-decaying, still heavily crime-riddled Miami gives it a real visual grime, a kind of neon noir, that makes it feel really visceral and real even despite dealing with cops that shoot 30 blokes in an average weekend (under par for america har har har).

Plenty of episodes end on open endings, or just straight up grim failure, and it feels like a total antidote to the follower series that always have the coppers being these successful deconstructive genius Batman types. Plenty of times Crockett/Tubbs screw up, or the system fucks them rawstyle, and bad people get away or win. Sounds miserable but it makes compelling viewing.

Quote
Quite fancy watching it now - would I need DVDs or is it stream/steal -able?

I've only ever pirated it.

As for the comments of quality, it does dip in Season 3, and then dips hard in Seasons 4 and 5. They become sort of the preposterous shit the series is often publically joked about for being, rather than the dark (but still vibrant) tone of the first three seasons. I suggest watching 1-3 through, and then only dipping in for episodes of 4 and 5 that really catch your attention. Skip freely.

It's also a series that holds up when binged -- I used to watch it in my 2nd monitor 24/7.

My favorite episodes are Shadow in the Dark, The Home Invaders, Milk Run, Evan, Out Where The Buses Don't Run, Buddies, and Heart of Darkness.

Dex Sawash

Love the sequences of Sonny out jumping waves in the Chris Craft[nb]switched boats to Wellcraft in later seasons I think[/nb] with the Russ Ballard track playing.


https://youtu.be/Jw135y5IL7c

H-O-W-L

Quote from: Dex Sawash on November 06, 2021, 06:34:44 PM
Love the sequences of Sonny out jumping waves in the Chris Craft[nb]switched boats to Wellcraft in later seasons I think[/nb] with the Russ Ballard track playing.


https://youtu.be/Jw135y5IL7c

Aye, this scene was the one that sold me on the show, having been unsure of it when watching the first handful (though Heart of Darkness is a fucking killer second episode. Hard as fuck and featuring a startlingly dark and dramatic turn by Ed O'Neill of Al Bundy fame.)

Shit Good Nose

Quote from: Famous Mortimer on November 06, 2021, 06:19:17 PM
Excellent podcast "The Rewatchables" did an episode on a double episode of the show a while back (they normally only do movies, but both hosts are big fans). My limited knowledge leads me to believe it dropped a little in quality when Michael Mann left?

I don't think he ever left, but he definitely took more of a backseat for the duration of Crime Story, mainly because NBC promised him full creative control and a serialised format for that over five years (which would have covered five years in the story as well) as he was fed up with episodic TV by then and wanted to do something a bit more like UK and European TV drama series of the time.  Course, NBC forced him to drop the serialised focus a bit about two thirds of the way through the first series, and then pulled the plug early on the second series (if memory serves ITV showed the second series in its entirety after NBC stopped airing it before it finished).

bgmnts

The episode where Tubbs pretends to be a Jamaican undercover to get into a squat is brilliant. As is the episode where they go to the island. That has someone famous in it that I cannot remember at all. Quite a few "oh it's them!" In Vice.

Goldentony

really enjoyed Series 2 the first time I watched it though. Felt like towards the latter half there were more than a few episodes that end on a totally hopeless note. Series 1 is perfect, though. Whatever the episode is with the bald guy fom Sex & The City? probably the best one for me outside of the pilot or whatever you want to call the first one. Out Where The Buses Don't Run also great. The finale with John Leguizamo?? Sons And Lovers!

Series 1 has a house band doing an amazing cover of Self Control while Tubbs does some insane shit on the dance floor -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyGLHkwsKWw

H-O-W-L

Quote from: Goldentony on November 06, 2021, 06:44:13 PMWhateve the episode is with the bald guy fom Sex & The City? probably the best one for me outside of the pilot or whatever you want to call the first one.

Aye, that's Milk Run! Probably my favorite too, because of the utterly hopeless, PTSD-stricken look on Crockett's face at the end. The pure black nihilism of that episode is completely unbeaten if you ask me.

Glebe

Nostalgic stuff. Jan Hammer's Crockett's Theme is fantastic. There was an episode called 'The Home Invaders' that put the shits up me though.

Quote from: Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth on November 06, 2021, 05:32:45 PMThe film is rather shit, as I recall.

Yeah load of absolute guff.

Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth

Quote from: Glebe on November 06, 2021, 08:03:08 PM
Nostalgic stuff. Jan Hammer's Crockett's Theme is fantastic.
I was just about to say that (even if it still makes me think of that Nat West advert it was in).


McChesney Duntz

Who do you consider the best/weirdest cameo in the show's history? Me, it feels like a tossup between Leonard Cohen and Frank Zappa ("weasel dust"!).

mothman

James Brown as an alien (probably).

As a teenager in the 80s, this was my jam. The problem is I went to a boarding school and so hardly ever got to watch it. I was able to see much more of it later in the run, but I swear by then (89/90) I must have been the only one in the U.K. still watching. Didn't know anyone else at all who still was by then.

H-O-W-L

Quote from: McChesney Duntz on November 06, 2021, 08:12:26 PM
Who do you consider the best/weirdest cameo in the show's history? Me, it feels like a tossup between Leonard Cohen and Frank Zappa ("weasel dust"!).

Best cameo is probably Bruce Willis. He plays such an irrational wanker of a character. While we all know he's a real-life cunt it's startling to see him play such an abject jet-black villain.

Weirdest is Penn Jillette (!!!)

Shit Good Nose

By the way, I genuinely like the film.   

Glebe

Boy George on The A-Team was strange.

Famous Mortimer

Quote from: Shit Good Nose on November 06, 2021, 06:42:08 PM
I don't think he ever left
I was just going from, well, that podcast, and then looking at Wikipedia, whose article about this show keeps using present tense when it's definitely not appropriate. It doesn't sound like he had much to do with the show after season 2, though.

After this discussion, though, I've decided to get a set of it, and have a watch. I barely remember it.

The Culture Bunker

Quote from: H-O-W-L on November 07, 2021, 05:19:37 PMWeirdest is Penn Jillette (!!!)
Frank Zappa was pretty odd, as I don't remember him doing much else outside music (he did a voiceover cameo as the Pope in Ren and Stimpy, I think?) Pro-hunting gun nut Ted Nugent popped up as a wrong 'un in an episode too, I think.

Glen Frey from the Eagles was in an episode named after one of his songs, which must have been flattering for him.

Shit Good Nose

Quote from: Famous Mortimer on November 07, 2021, 07:14:28 PM
I was just going from, well, that podcast, and then looking at Wikipedia, whose article about this show keeps using present tense when it's definitely not appropriate. It doesn't sound like he had much to do with the show after season 2, though.

After this discussion, though, I've decided to get a set of it, and have a watch. I barely remember it.

I want to say that in season 3 they started to introduce quite a lot of lame comedy, but I MIGHT be conflating that with when they did that towards the end of season 1 of Crime Story, which up until that point was wall to wall misery.



First half of season 1 is great. Think the 20 episodes a season does make it a tough binge.

H-O-W-L

I've started my rewatch. Been jumping around episodes a bit but I got through Season 1 since I started the thread. Stil lthink it holds up great. I like that the yuppie/affluent lifestyle is never shown as being good, lovely, perfect, idealized -- it's the more simple home lives that are more focused on as being "worth it", and what Crockett and Co try to keep intact from drug-guns bastard-men. Bit of a generic righty thing I guess but I do think it works well.

People have this really weird image of Vice as being this shoulderpadded big-haired looney tunes show where yuppie-ism and consumer culture are celebrated unironically, but it's genuinely nothing like that. The simpler hardships of life and struggles of marriage, home/work balance, etc, are at play. There's never really any unironic chandelier-shagging high-falutin' lifestyle stuff in the first three seasons. It's been a while since I saw S4 and S5 and I believe it dips into this there, but it never truly embraces it. The fact that the finale ends with them
Spoiler alert
bitter, broken, and dejected even by their own careers, to the point they throw down their badge and abandon even the idea of law enforcement forever
[close]
is kinda the capstone on that.

There's a very noir tone to it; big corporations, the government, and the establishment are all either incompetent or corrupt and to be feared/scorned, etc.. it's very much more Robocop than the silly parody image it has in the public eye.

The Culture Bunker

I remember at the time wanting to watch this - I'd have been seven or so, and had seen pics of some of the fancy cars the show featured and was impressed to say the least. Alas, my auld mam wouldn't tape it for me. When I finally did watch some of it 20 years on, I remember being mostly impressed by Edward James Olmos, whose whole demeanour seemed to be at odds with the two leads. I saw an interview with him where he states his character's look (cheap worn-in suit, skinny tie) was his idea.

H-O-W-L

Yeah that element of Castillo (and Castillo as a whole) is great. He said that he wanted to contrast the Vice cops, who are given finances for clothes so they can work deep-cover as drug dealers (Crockett notably dresses less flashy in the office) with his character, whom buys his own suits off the rack, or even second-hand, with his salary.

Goldentony

Castillo is one of the best things about it. Mad that they had that bloke who looked like Mick Miller before him.