Baywatch: Season One review, Baywatch: Season Two review

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Buy your copy from Baywatch: Seasons 1 & 2 (1989-90) starstarno starno starno star Starring: David Hasselhoff, Erika Eleniak, Peter Phelps, Pamela Anderson
Director: Various
Category: Drama
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Look out: it’s another botched job of bringing a TV series to DVD. This supposed first and second season of “Baywatch” should actually be called seasons two and three, as the original first season that aired on NBC is not what comprises the first set. Instead, these are the syndication years. Not that it matters too much, as this show was always a train wreck. Bad acting, silly plot lines and of course the Hoff! I remember when “Baywatch” first debuted thinking to myself, “It’s got Hasselhoff in it? This show will never succeed!” And it didn’t. Well, not on NBC, anyway. But it ran on like a mutha when it went into syndication.

This is the same old “Baywatch” you’ve known and either loved or loathed. It’s important to note how bad ‘90s fashions really were at the beginning of the decade. We hadn’t yet fully released ourselves from the big hairstyles and tacky neon colors of the ‘80s, and you’ll see plenty of both in the extras of the episodes here. In fact, it would be safe to say those big hairsprayed-to-hell-and-back hairdos on the ladies are bigger than their breasts, which was basically the main asset of “Baywatch” (though even they couldn’t keep “Baywatch Nights” interesting).

It’s hard to fathom anyone actually watching this series with the same devotion other shows like “The X-Files” cultivated, but there you have it. Season One here offers up such doozies as “Money, Honey” in which Mitch Buchannon (the Hoff) is offered a leading role in a big action movie, which would bring him and his son mucho money. Of course, it’s not all fun and games, as the film’s producer wants to love on Mitch, which he’s not too keen on, and of course winds up remaining the poor lifeguard he is. Now that’s gripping beach drama! Then there’s “Sandcastles,” which the disc box info sums up perfectly by saying “Hobie becomes enamored with a homeless girl whose mother has disappeared.” Hey, as long as it had big bouncing boobs in it, there was going to be an audience for this dreck!

Let’s also not forget the two-parter “The Trophy,” in which Eddie is charged with statutory rape and Mitch comes to grips with the anger of a former lifeguard who’s now a paraplegic. More boobs! More sand! They will watch it! But don’t you dare forget the hilarity that ensues on the episode “Now Sit Right Back and You’ll hear a Tale” in which the Baywatch crew goes back to Gilligan’s Island and…ugh. Enough, already. This is one bad story after another. With boobs. Yawn.

Of course, Pamela Anderson joined for “Season Two” and you’ll get to see her in one of the first of her many breast augmentations (go back and check out her first appearance in “Playboy” if you want to see how she looked before the gross amounts of surgery). Therill to such episodes with titles like “Tequila Bay,” “Pier Pressure,” “Point Doom,” “Lifeguards Can’t Jump,” and “Stakeout at Surfrider Beach.” They all become one and the same episode after a very short time. Big on cheeseball drama, low on actual quality. But for those clamoring for the NBC episodes, the fifth disc in each series includes a couple episodes from those shows, with the first set featuring the pilot episode.

If anyone can actually drag themselves through a complete season of this show without experiencing some sort of physical pain, then kudos to them. It’s not really a travel back in time that reveals many (if any) rewards. The bonus features on the sets include photo galleries, trivia tracks, and a “Baywatch Background Featurette” in case you wanted to get your hands even dirtier while cruising through these shows. It’s great that the DVD format has brought back so many excellent TV shows back into the homes, but it’s equally tortuous at times when it also means reliving tripe like “Baywatch.” With boobies!

~Jason Thompson