Original Air Date: January 3rd, 1984
If Magnum P.I. and The Whiz Kids had a baby, Riptide would be their love child. Not just content to have machismo running around in tighty whities, Riptide also features a lovable computer geek nicknamed Boz who has a robot called the Ro-Boz, who is totally adorable! Actually, all of the actors are extremely endearing and a lot of fun to watch. So, although you are guaranteed to get at least two car chases and just as many fist fights per episode (as well as some nice peck checks), this show is all about friendship. Well, ain't that sweet?
These down and out detectives bring in their old army bud, Murray "Boz" Bozinsky (Thom Bray), a famous computer whiz who is fed up with his office job (I mean really fed up!) and he brings along the Ro-Boz, who can pretty much do anything except bring you a drink without pouring it on you (this later becomes a bit of an ongoing joke through the show).
The story for the pilot is competent and fun, a little complicated but fairly easy to follow. The show actually featured some fun mysteries in the later episodes. I liked that the crime solving parts were a little Murder, She Wrote. And thusly, it was the birth of a pretty amazing series.
All three seasons of Riptide were recently released on DVD and I just picked up Season One (with Season Two currently on the way!). I had the vaguest memories of the show, but mostly remembered the boat and the easy going flow of action. It's an obvious riff on Magnum P.I. but original enough that I am wary to make any comparisons (except for Cody's mustache, which made him that blonde alternative to Tom Selleck. Nice to know there are choices in these matters!). They doubled the hunk factor but took some great lessons from Magnum's camaraderie with his Nam buds. So yeah, I just made a comparison, what of it?
Riptide was created by Stephen J. Cannell, who along with Donald P. Bellisario and Glen A. Larson, made some of the best escapist action television of the 80s. Say what you will about one-off episodes, which often feature characters who disappear in the ether never to be seen again. The overall enjoyment of this kind of "mindless" action fare frankly blows a lot of newer stuff out of the water. I remember when people watched television to escape and not to feel all bad about something. Riptide is one of the best of those shows to air in a decade full of great escapist television, and that my friend is no small feat.