Monday, August 31, 2015

31 Day Miami Vice Challenge, Day 31: What I Would Like to See Next

Honestly, after the fiasco that was Miami Vice: Remix and the underperforming film in 2006, I'm not sure the world needs any more Miami Vice. There are just some things that belong where they are: in the past. We already have the progeny of the show - The Wire, Breaking Bad, Law & Order, CSI: Wherever/Whatever/Whathaveyou, Justified, Longmire, The Shield, etc. - so it seems kind of unnecessary to flood an already oversaturated genre. It wouldn't be right to turn it into a comedy, either, because that would simply enrage fans of the show, and we all know how bloodthirsty fans are when it comes to the objects of their obsession*.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

31 Day Miami Vice Challenge, Day 30: Portrayal of Drug Use and Drug Users on Miami Vice

I really did choose the more complex challenges for the end of the month, didn't I? Today's challenge actually ties into yesterday's, something I didn't actually intend when I selected the order, but hey! It makes for a nice segue.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

31 Day Miami Vice Challenge, Day 29: Diversity on Miami Vice

Wow, it's already Day 29 ... where did this month go?? Like seriously, I feel like this month just started.
Via Wikipedia
Anyway, diversity. For a show produced in the 80s, as I've noted elsewhere during this challenge, Miami Vice was exceptionally diverse, unlike its younger cousin, CSI: Miami*, where even the Latino characters were ridiculously white-looking. The main characters were surprisingly evenly distributed: white Sonny, Switek, and Zito; black Trudy and Rico; and Latina/o Gina** and Castillo. Throughout the series, you saw all sorts of ethnicities cross the screen: Colombian, Haitian, French, Italian, Thai, Vietnamese, and Irish. And those are the ones right off the top of my head. They were cast in both the "good" and "bad" roles, sometimes against stereotypes. That's actually pretty impressive, even for today's standards.

Friday, August 28, 2015

31 Day Miami Vice Challenge, Day 28: Favorite Jan Hammer Music

Jan Hammer did some wonderful work on Miami Vice, and it is difficult to choose just one from three years worth of episodes (they recycled his work once he left the show after I think Season Three). But if I have to pick, it would have to be what has been called "Dorothy's Theme." It's used effectively in so many scenes, like here (from "Milk Run"): 

But here's the original (sorry about the quality, but I have no control over it because Youtube):

It's perfect for Dorothy's character (and any scene that is about innocence lost), and it makes me miss this series all the more. Well, the first three seasons, anyway.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

31 Day Miami Vice Challenge, Day 27: Most Dated Event/Concept

God, what about this show isn't dated? That would probably be the easier question. From Sonny's giant car phone to the sports cars to the architecture, I cannot think of a show that is more obviously 80s, even revelling in it. That's not a bad thing, of course, seeing as I get such a delight out of it, but it's more than a little difficult to nail it down to one single example.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

31 Day Miami Vice Challenge, Day 26: Fashion Fashion Fashion

Oh, the 80s. I managed to escape a lot of the fashion atrocities, being that I was between the ages of 0 and 7 during the decade, thanks mostly to my mom who dressed me in little get-ups* like this:
Courtesy Mom Lady
Circa 1987
My husband, on the other hand, was not so lucky. His mother had a huge crush on Sonny Crockett and used to dress him up as if he was Sonny Crockett, which leads to some rather awkward conversations that, well, I'd rather avoid at this point in time.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

31 Day Miami Vice Challenge, Day 25: Reflection of Real Life in the 80s?

I can only be called an 80s kid because I was born within the first part of the decade (1983, holla!), so this may be one of the more difficult challenges of this month. Three was born in 1976, so he has a much clearer memory of how things were back when Miami Vice burst onto the scene and limped into infamy with its craptastic later seasons. But I'm not going to defer to his memory. Instead, I will RESEARCH, because I am a geek and this sort of thing excites me.

Monday, August 24, 2015

31 Day Miami Vice Challenge, Day 24: Favorite Use of Pop Music in a Scene

A big reason that I fell in love with the early seasons of Grey's Anatomy was because of their expert use of pop and indie music, and it didn't hurt that I was introduced to a lot of artists I probably wouldn't have known existed (Tegan and Sara, I love you so much). While we may be used to such things now, this was not the way television was back in the 80s. Miami Vice capitalized on the growing popularity of MTV (oh, how I miss when you were actually relevant) and essentially created melding pop music with television. Genesis' "In the Air Tonight" was probably one of the best examples of this, echoing the emotional torpor Sonny was going through as he and Tubbs rushed to stop an elusive, powerful foe, and that was just the beginning.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

31 Day Miami Vice Challenge, Day 23: Worst Episode

There are two episodes that usually crown the "Worst of" list for Miami Vice: "Missing Hours" and "Cows of October." Both, unsurprisingly, are in the fourth season. To be 100% honest, I would just put "Missing Hours" here, too, because it definitely fits the bill as the worst episode, and I genuinely enjoy "Cows of October," kind of like how I love "Bad Eggs" from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I know it's terrible - and God, is it terrible - but it's at least fun. I cannot say the same for "Missing Hours," however, even if James Brown is featured as an alien involved in a secret government project.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

31 Day Miami Vice Challenge, Day 22: Best Episode

A lot of fans credit Season Two's "Out Where the Buses Don't Run" as the single best episode of Miami Vice, and I can say that, on some levels, I agree with them. It was well-written and full of twists and turns that even I, almost an expert at seeing these things coming, did not expect. And it makes you feel for the characters, as annoying as the guest star, Bruce McGill, was.

Friday, August 21, 2015

31 Day Challenge, Day 21: Something That Didn't Happen I Wish Did

I know that we technically got resolution with Tubbs' relationship to Valerie in the "lost episode" called "Too Much, Too Late*" - it played after "Freefall," the series finale, in January of 1990 - and it reflected the general burnout theme of the last season. But it still seems like there was so much left undone with the Valerie character.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

31 Day Miami Vice Challenge, Day 20: Something That Happened I Wish Didn't

And this is why I didn't list the Sonny Burnett arc as my least favorite storyline: I wanted to save it for this challenge. Any time any movie or television series uses amnesia as a plot device - Memento is not included in this list - I'm immediately disappointed and can foresee its downfall. Now, soap operas have used this trope since ... well, as long as I can remember*, but I don't think that we should use soap operas as a basis for doing anything.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

31 Day Miami Vice Challenge, Day 19: Least Favorite Storyline

Back on Day 8, I don't know if I made it abundantly clear that Caitlin as a character isn't so bad (she's actually pretty kickass, if you examine her prior to her marrying Sonny); it's that what position she played in the series made her the worst addition to Miami Vice. Plus, her death initiated one of the worst ideas - since "Missing Hours" - to happen to the show and probably put that final nail in Vice's coffin: the Sonny Burnett arc.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

31 Day Miami Vice Challenge, Day 18: Favorite Storyline

Seeing as Miami Vice was never big on arcs, this is actually kind of difficult for me to pick one of the few. If I look at the series as a whole, really the only true "arc" is the one that involves Sonny thinking he's Burnett, and we all know how I feel about that creative choice (hint: it was stupid). But even the series could be considered to be one long arc about the nature of fighting vice-based crime: it's the equivalent of playing Whack-A-Mole.

But by calling the whole series a storyline would be cheating, and I told myself I wasn't going to do that on this challenge.

Monday, August 17, 2015

31 Day Miami Vice Challenge, Day 17: Favorite Season Five Episode

Sigh. Season Five. Picking a single episode from this season isn't hard like it was back with Season One, where the high quality of the episodes make it difficult to choose; it's hard because they are pretty much all awful. The stupid Sonny Burnett arc comes to a close, and he somehow stays on the force, which is about as plausible as Tubbs being asked to join the Miami-Dade vice squad at the end of Season One's first episode.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

31 Day Miami Vice Challenge, Day 16: Favorite Season Four Episode

OMG, I'm all caught up. FINALLY.

Ahem, so onto the final challenge for today, in which I try to pick my favorite episode from a season of a series that was spiraling into absurdity. The first part of the season wasn't that bad, actually, but the one that really sticks out in my mind is "Child's Play," which eerily foreshadows today's police relationship with the black community.

31 Day Miami Vice Challenge, Day 15: Favorite Season Three Episode

At first, the entire reason "By Hooker by Crook" was my favorite third season episode was because it featured George Takei as the bad guy, but after repeat watches (thanks to the El Rey Network back when Three and I were living in the apartment paid for by his employer), I realized it was probably one of the better episodes of the whole series, from plot to acting to ... well, everything. Directed by Don Johnson himself, it also starred Johnson's then-girlfriend (later wife) Melanie Griffith and Vanity, one of Prince's muses, who is now oddly enough a Christian preacher, and those two women enough make this episode that much better.

31 Day Miami Vice Challenge, Day 14: Favorite Season Two Episode

Continuing my trend (is it a trend if it's only happened once before??) of picking more depressing episodes as my favorite, my choice from the second season's run deals with horrible reality of rape. It's also a Gina-centric episode, which tend to be kind of hit-or-miss (see Season Three's "When Irish Eyes Are Crying"), but I feel a lot of Gina's characteristics - that she personally identifies with female victims, for example - are appropriate for the subject matter.

31 Day Miami Vice Challenge, Day 13: Favorite Season One Episode

Season One is just generally a great season, with so many episodes that I will gladly watch over and over again. The only episode that I tend to skip is "The Great McCarthy," but it isn't so much that I dislike it; it's just kind of dull to watch a boat race, and I'd much rather get to "Glades" and see the swamp people go to war to save a little girl.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

31 Day Miami Vice Challenge, Day 12: Least Favorite Episode of the Series

My least favorite episode from the entire series obviously should come from Season Five, seeing as it was my least favorite season, but in fact, it comes from my nearly-least favorite season, Season Four.

"Missing Hours" is pretty much universally considered to be the worst episode of the entire episode, almost tying with "Cows of October," both in the fourth season, but I at least can enjoy the latter. With "Missing Hours," we got aliens. And James Brown. And Chris Rock. That's all you really need to know about the episode. It's awful and not even entertaining, and I hate that it was a Trudy-centric episode, because she's a pretty awesome character (she's in my top five favorite Vice characters).

And that's all I'm going to dedicate to this mess of an episode. If you wish to watch it, be my guest. You'll probably end up hating yourself by the end.

31 Day Miami Vice Challenge, Day 11: Favorite Episode of the Series

When I sat down to think of my favorite episode of the entire series, I immediately knew which one it was. It's not the best episode, which I'll tackle on Day 22, but it is the one I watch nearly every time I want to start a Miami Vice binge (it happens more often than I'd like to admit, actually). I have all the lines memorized, and yet I still get the same emotional ups and downs as when I saw it the first time.

31 Day Miami Vice Challenge, Day 10: Least Favorite Villain

There are so many famous people that appeared in Miami Vice prior to making their big breaks. For instance, Julia Roberts was in "Mirror Image," the final episode of Season Four, before even Mystic Pizza was released. Bruce Willis played a wife-beating arms dealer right before he landed Moonlighting. Benicio del Toro had a bit part as a criminal-turned-actor in Season Three. And Helena Bonham Carter even acted opposite Don Johnson as a drug-addicted doctor girlfriend of Sonny's. But just because someone is famous now and has done several movies that I adore does not mean that they are going to play a good villain in an episode of Miami Vice.

31 Day Miami Vice Challenge, Day 9: Favorite Villain

This is probably one of the hardest challenges to do, seeing as nearly every episode had a new villain, although most of the time, they were just expendable goons. Sure, there was Calderone* from Season One, who was as violent with his enemies as he was loving with his daughter, Angelina, and then Hackett, who finally pushed Sonny to the brink by the end of Season Four, but my favorite of all?

Friday, August 14, 2015

31 Day Miami Vice Challenge, Day 8: Least Favorite Minor/One-Time Character

Like I wrote back on Day 5, Season Four came pretty close to tying Five for the title of my least favorite season, and today's character is a big reason as to why. As a one-shot character, Caitlin Davies would have been awesome. She was gutsy, stylish, talented, passionate, and played by Sheena Easton, who actually did a really good job in the role. Hell, even if she had been a recurring character, trying out a long-distance relationship or something would have been okay. But instead the writers chose to have a whirlwind romance, where she and Sonny get hitched in, like, a day and begin a rather stupid venture called marriage between an undercover cop and a high-profile pop singer.

31 Day Miami Vice Challenge, Day 7: Favorite Minor/One-Time Character

Miami Vice had, if anything, a colorful cast of minor characters, ranging from the goofy - Izzy Moreno - to the truly terrifying - the assassin hired by Calderone in the first season. For today's challenge, though, I'm going to stick with non-villains, because that gets its own challenge next!

Who I chose for my favorite minor character was phased out pretty early in the series because of negative fan reaction ... probably. While I found him charming and amusing, I can definitely see why people would wish for his untimely, and undoubtedly painful death. He was comedic relief, much like Switek and Zito were, and when the show took a more serious tone, the writers excised him, and his last appearance was in Season Four's "Missing Hours," quite possibly one of the worst episodes of the entire series.

31 Day Miami Vice Challenge, Day 6: TV Show vs. Movie

Via Wonders in the Dark
I would like to preface this entry with the following statement: I actually really enjoy the Miami Vice movie, flaws and all, just as I enjoy the hell out of the television show, even as it revels in 80s campiness and a general lack of reality.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

31 Day Miami Vice Challenge, Day 5 Supplemental: Sonny's Unfortunate Hair

I was not kidding about this. Sonny's hair went through a lot of changes in the five seasons of Miami Vice, and a lot of them were not so pretty. His mullet was probably the most egregious example of why the 80s never needed to happen, fashion-wise, but Season Five just descends into absolute madness. 


31 Day Miami Vice Challenge, Day 5: Least Favorite Season

I nearly turned this into a tie because, let's face it, Vice really declined after the third season. Obviously, there are a myriad of reasons as to why this is the case, from its change in slots during its third season, in which the show was competing with Dallas, to the original writers departing from the show after a very successful second season. It could also be blamed on Dick Wolf, who completely changed the tone - by changing the color scheme to more subdued hues and by using what has made his Law & Order franchise so successful: the "ripped from the headlines" technique - and turned it into a much more serious, much darker show. What really offset the incredibly harsh quasi-reality of Miami Vice was that it was portrayed with such a light atmosphere, both with its pastels and its sillier qualities, like Izzy and Noogie, so it was more palatable with audiences that weren't quite ready to see that seedy underbelly of which they'd rather be unaware. And honestly, I preferred it that way. I don't expect a cop show about vice cops to be the equivalent of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, but I also was never a big fan of the super gritty character study that was Breaking Bad.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

31 Day Miami Vice Challenge, Day 4: Favorite Season

It is a very rare thing, indeed, when I pick the first season of any television show as my favorite. With Buffy, it was Season Three; with Battlestar Galactica, it was Season Two. Arrested Development really began impressing me during Season Two, and Xena (my next challenge!) definitely was incredibly rough during the first season (like I am going to give that away before I even begin my challenge). Usually, growing pains plague the first set of episodes, where the writers are working out the kinks of character development, plot points, etc., and while the second season was probably the best season of the bunch, I find myself going back to rewatch the first.

31 Day Miami Vice Challenge, Day 3: Least Favorite Main Character

It really does feel a bit like Sophie's Choice whenever I have to pick a main character from such a small main cast of characters. At some point throughout the five season of Miami Vice, I've loathed and loved every single one of them, so actually narrowing it down has been a tad bit difficult for me.

Well, mostly.

31 Day Miami Vice Challenge, Day 2: Favorite Main Character

Yeah, yeah, I know I'm behind - like, seriously behind - on this challenge, but the past two weeks have been simply taxing. I'll be posting an update on the insanity that was the process of moving our shit from the storage unit down to South Carolina, but for now? Onto a much belated Day 2 of the Miami Vice challenge.

Now, I'm going to talk more about diversity later on this month - Day 29, I believe - but I think it bears noting here, considering my favorite main character happens to be one of color. Like I said yesterday, Vice did an excellent job really showcasing its main locale, up to and including people who, you know, actually live there, much unlike Cameron Crowe's recent movie, Aloha, which didn't have a single native islander in its main cast, despite one character being 1/4 Hawaiian. I don't know if diversity was something that any of the creators had in mind when brainstorming for Miami Vice, but it definitely added something extra to the show, even if a lot of the people involved in illegal activity were people of color, a topic I'll actually get to later on this month.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

31 Day Miami Vice Challenge, Day 1: How Did I Discover Miami Vice?

Via Miami Vice Online
I was the girl who, at the ripe age of seven or eight, sat down with my dad and watched the unedited version of Top Gun* with my dad, so hearing swear words and seeing people die in explosions wasn't really anything that shocked me, but for some reason, Miami Vice was never something I was allowed to view. Maybe it's because neither of my parents were really into it - although my mother did admit later to enjoying the show during its original run - or maybe they felt the overt sexual themes and "realistic" depictions of drug use was something I was not ready to see. So it wasn't until over a decade later, after catching the odd rerun every now and then, that I finally decided, you know what, I want to watch this show. It was my first Netflix binge-fest, and I walked away from it feeling inspired, somewhat let down, and amused.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...