#2. TRON Was Reborn as Automan (Sorta)
TRON was a big deal in 1982. Jeff Bridges becomes part of a program and has to ride around in neat cars and stuff. Perhaps I'm under-explaining things. But the point is, it looked cool for the time.
Trust me, if you were prepubescent in 1982, you'd be ejaculating over this. I know that makes no sense. Shut up.
But whereas TRON featured a programmer who was sucked into his game and forced to wear blue neon, Automan was about an "automatic man" who was sucked out of a program and forced to wear blue neon. It's filled with complicated science stuff. Maybe this will help explain?
So, much like Manimal, this is a show that was more about adopting a special effect from a movie and using it to ... fight crime. Automan could also make holographic cars and helicopters and stuff because that's what Automatic Men can do, I guess. And in the intro, you can see that they move a little like the TRON cars in sped-up fashion.
Anyway, as hard as it is to believe, if you steal a popular special effect from a movie and use it to fight crime in a TV show, you get pretty awful television. I think we as a society have learned this, which is why after Jurassic Park there was never a show called Velociraptor, P.I.
"Now that I've learned how to open doors, I'll solve this crime no problem!"
#1. The Renegades: What If the Warriors Worked for the Cops?
I can't pretend the 1979 movie The Warriors is a quality film, but I do know I love it. Lots of people do. It's lovable! What else would you call a movie about a NYC overrun by rival gangs, where one gang must fight through hostile territory to reach safety?
"I dunno. Anything but 'lovely.'"
Anyway, The Warriors was definitely a cult classic, and TV wanted a piece of it. They wanted a show about a "nice" gang right down to the handsome leader who walks around with a vest and no shirt. And they got it with The Renegades, starring a very young Patrick Swayze. But how do you make a show about gangs even safer for '80s TV? Why not have the gang work for the cops? That makes sense, right? It doesn't? Who cares.
What I am about to show you is the greatest intro to any '80s show ever. When I'm depressed, I watch this, and it cheers me up every time. This intro has so much '80s awesome that it makes Knight Rider look like a somber documentary about car maintenance. I give you ... THE RENEGADES!
There's so much to love about this gang. They've got a black guy who punches, an Asian guy who kicks, a hot tough chick who looks hot and tough, and then some Latino guy who is Latino! They're also really good at fixing their hair dramatically and walking. Oh how they walk! There's a lot of crime in inner city corridors, and they fight it!
But my favorite part of this opening is how it hamfistedly conveys the uneasy alliance between the Renegades and the cops. Y'see, despite the fantastic way the Renegades walk down the alley, it seems Capt. Scanlon just doesn't approve of these ruffians.
But Lt. Marciano sees something undeniably awesome about this gang. "I mean, just look at them!" he's saying. "They got a guy named Dancer! Come on!"
And then, seeing that Marciano has made a brilliant argument in their defense, the Renegades just hang back and say, "Awww, yeah, that's right. You know we're awesome. This is gonna be all right. We're all gonna be allllll right."
Anyway, The Renegades was cancelled in two seconds because it sucked an awful lot, but you can watch the full Warriors movie on YouTube right now.
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