Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Sledge Hammer - From The Vault

  Script / Notes

Hello Dwellers and Welcome To The Basement…

And this week’s edition of From The Vault… and I’m going to ask you to Trust Me… Cause I know What I’m Doing...

Next Month, on September 23rd, will mark the 30th Anniversary of the sitcom Sledge Hammer!. For those of you unfamiliar with the show, Sledge Hammer was created by Alan Spencer, who was inspired by the Dirty Harry films to create an absurd comedic homage to the no-nonsense approach to law enforcement as portrayed by Clint Eastwood, and thanks to the release of Sudden Impact (the fourth in the Dirty Harry series) and NBC’s Hunter… and a recommendation from Leonard Stern who produced Get Smart back in the 60s, Spencer got a chance to present his concept to HBO… who… well, as networks are often to do… offered some suggestions but otherwise didn’t like… but as luck would have it, it would be ABC that would take a chance on the concept, and while there were some decisions and that had to be made for the sake of getting the show on the air (toning down the violence and adding a laugh track), it did result in Spencer’s first choice, David Rasche getting the lead role of Inspector Sledge Hammer… and the show was obviously apart of ABC’s Fall Lineup in 1986… and the show got an extra boost thanks to Peter Gabriel’s hit some Sledgehammer being on the airwaves at the same time, and was used with the advertising to build interest in the show.



The show itself when you break it down, is basically similar to buddy-cop films like Lethal Weapon, a somewhat out of the control cop is paired with a straight laced partner, each which there is a crime, the brain-dead mutants, yogurt-sucking creeps and sea urchins get discovered and dealt with it…. But where the show gets becomes memorable is that Sledge himself is very much ‘The LAW’, but is very much irresponsible and very destructive… using a bazooka to destroy a building just to get a sniper is just one of his rather impressive methods of police work… but still through various methods he does always come through in the end.

His partner, Dori Doreau (played by Anne-Marie Martin), is the‘by the book’ intelligent and sophisticated woman of the 80s, and serves as a great counter punch to Sledge’s… unique world view. Now I do consider the Doreau character to be ahead of its time, in that she was presented as an equal, and that any ‘issue’ of her being a woman was squashed in the pilot / first episode Under The Gun.

The supporting cast pretty much is Captain Trunk, played by Harrison Page… and for lack of a better term, is the perfect spoof of every single police captain / boss who is always on the brink of a mental breakdown when it comes to Sledge, and too a lesser extent and by proxy Doreau.

Getting back on topic, Sledge Hammer was a hit with the critics… but famously struggled in the ratings, being stuck between Dallas and Miami Vice on Friday Nights didn’t help, and was actually referenced in the show… but still it developed a loyal audience that followed the show when it started being moved to different time slots, but still it was going to end up getting cancelled… and knowing this the show’s first season ended with Sledge destroying the city when trying to disarm a nuclear warhead… and a caption reading ‘To Be Continued… Next Season?’…. And by some miracle, ABC elected to bring the show back for a second season… which saw the show being put up against The Cosby Show… and yeah… there was no third season.


Outside of the rare reruns that aired in syndication in the late 80s and early 90s, Sledge Hammer was basically forgotten about… there were some VHS tapes I believe… but those were more rare than finding a Democrat or a Republican that cares about America. So for a long stretch of the time… there was no Sledge Hammer… that is until 2004… when Anchor Bay Entertainment released the first season on DVD… with the laugh track removed from episodes that featured it, the un-aired version of the pilot, a documentary with Spencer and the Cast, and other features, including a 16-Page Sledge File giving more history about the show… in 2005, the second season was released, again featuring commentaries, a second documentary and other features included a tribute to Bill Bixby, who directed a number of episodes of the show… and both seasons had a few episodes that featured commentary from Spencer.

Also of note is that the band Baboon Rising did a metal version of the Sledge Hammer theme called ‘Bring The Hammer Down’, which is featured on the DVD menus on both sets. It’s very much a kick butt rendition.(Check them out on Facebook at facebook.com/baboonrising ) 

Both DVD sets were released in the book style case, that doesn’t really close and leaves some worry to the plastic that holds each disc breaking. That said the discs themselves all have their own unique designs, disc 1 of the first season, for example features a parody of Dirty Harry movie poster. The quality of episodes in terms of presentation varies a bit, as the first season was shot on a higher quality of film than the second, but other than that both seasons feature great writing and excellent execution from the cast.

Now these two DVD sets are now out of print, and the only way to get a copy is via the re-sellers market like eBay or Amazon… but Image Entertainment released the complete series on DVD, without any of the special features I mentioned above in 2011, and that is very easy to find.

And since as you know, I am a comic book collection, Sledge Hammer did get two comics published by Marvel, but I’ll be doing a seperate look at those in the coming weeks on Comics From The Basement.

Now to close this out, I figured I’d give my list of top 5 favorite episodes… considering there is only 41 episodes… this is pretty tough… and all five of my favorite episodes are from season one

5. Magnum Farce – In a parody of the Dirty Harry Film Magnum Force, Sledge gets more excessively violent to infiltrate a group of vigilante police officers… This episode basically takes the cheese out of the Eastwood film, and reaffirms that even though Sledge is a danger, he does go by the letter of law.

4. Under The Gun – The episode that started it all, Sledge is assigned to investigated the abduction of the mayor’s daughter, gets assigned Dori as his partner and sets the tone for the entire series. The tone is set perfectly, and features John Vernon spoofing his role of the Mayor in Dirty Harry

3. Witless – A parody of the film Witness… Sledge hides out with an Amish… excuse me… a Maninote farmer and his daughter to avoid the mob who have a hit out on him. What makes this episode work is that you don’t have to have seen Witness to get the jokes.

2. Desperately Seeking Dori – Dori gets whacked on the head and starts acting like Sledge… this is just awesome, basically seeing Dori being just as over the top and ultra-violent is a treat… which goes to show there is a little Sledge in even the most straight-laced of people

1. Dori Day Afternoon – Another spoof of shorts, this time of Dog Day Afternoon, with Sledge and Dori among the hostages in a foiled bank robbery. This episode hits the notes from the word go, from an ATM that eats Sledge’s card, to a sleaze ball banker… to a criminal that has somewhat similar tendencies than Sledge about someone stopping him when he’s going for his gun… to me this is the my favorite episode.

So I think I covered just about everything possible on this edition of From The Vault… which was more of a retrospective than anything else.

Till next time my friends… and you are my friends…. Have a good one!

Yet another sketch

Just a general mask and cape character

Why Is Star Trek Discovery Not Set in the TNG-era

Hello Dwellers and Welcome to the Basement...

After last night's issue with this week's Lets Play Star Trek Online video, I decided to do a quick commentary on my views on why Star Trek Discovery  is not set in the TNG-era. And in short... it's because the time frame Star Trek Enterprise and Star Trek The Original Series take place in there are places to be discovered and encountering the unknown....

If you agree or disagree with my comments in this the video log, leave your opinions in the comments section below! 

The Romulan Temporal Front - Lets Play Star Trek Online

Note: Some horse's arse went and flagged this week's video, I let that slide once... I ain't letting it slide again... I'm appealing it, and hopefully it will be restored.

Hello Dwellers and Welcome To The Basement...

Its Tuesday! Lets Play Star Trek Online!

This week's mission, The Romulan Version of the Temporal Front mission... and I will admit I did botch a mini section in terms of talking to the NPCs, so I did not get to include of the dialog trees with the Romluan Republic Representatives... and as a result I skipped over speaking to the secondary delegates that were in attendance....

That said this mission is one that recognizes that the player did 'The Core of The Matter' which is where the player first meets Krog, so when the player captures her here, this is a bit dialog that calls back to what happened in that earlier mission, which is pretty cool.

Other than that, there isn't much difference between the earlier game play I did back when the mission was added to Star Trek Online earlier in the year. But this will be the last mission to feature the Gorget, next week,putting her into dry dock, to break out a new ship next week.

This week's thumbnail image is a little disappointing for me, as I didn't get a good screenshot of President Okeg, or when the Tellerite Lt. Commander dove into the Line of Fire, Harrison Ford style, which is what I wanted to feature. Also... I still wonder how can S'taass can accuse Jarrock of poisoning J'mpok when S'taass is shown TALKING TO HER! It's as if the Klingon Empire is looking for an excuse to fight...

Also in a few weeks I will be covering Star Trek The Next Generation Issue #37 on my Sunday series 'Comics From The Basement'. 

11/19/2019 Grandia Highlights

Tonight we returned to Grandia, dealing with Typhoon Tower, then made our way to Gumbo and promptly dealt with the Dragon in the VOlcano. To...