Baywatch – Series 1

Just for the hell of it, I’ve been re-watching a show I used to love as a kid - Baywatch, series 1.

For the record, I think after series 1 Baywatch quickly degenerated into an absolute joke. The show was cancelled after the first series in the US and the original creators (including David ‘don’t Hassel the Hoff’) clubbed together to fund and shoot a scaled-down 2nd series. Thereafter, complete hilarity ensued from series 3/4 onwards when viewers were insulted by the likes of man-eating octopi and even more fanciful plots. Enough said, I think.Shauni

The first series was corny enough, mind; it was absolute cheese on a plate quite frankly. Yet there was something innocent and wholesome about the storylines. Granted, they were entirely predictable, atrociously overacted and added up to create a show that remains very ‘of its time’. But therein lays its glory: I love the 80s-ness of it all and watching it back now serves up a complete blast from the past every time. From one glorious episode to the next it’s hardcore 80s all the way - from the Hoff’s bouncing 80s hair right down to the super-high-rise bikinis.

Some of the scenes are terribly cringeworthy – particularly the ‘young love’ scenes with Mitch’s son, Hobie (or ‘Nobby’ as my girlfriend seems to refer to him) but it was a classic TV show for a classic era and its corniness is all part of its charm, I suppose. On the downside, the series also seems to become progressively weaker as it wears on – or maybe that’s just the novelty wearing off for me.  It certainly has a patchier feeling than the first 10 episodes or so.

Although I was tempted by the low price of series 1 from Amazon.co.uk, I ultimately ordered the German version from Amazon.de as wanted the unedited version and the one which contained the original title track and in-programme music. The British version, due to IP complications, features a terrible soundtrack which doesn’t do the show justice and much of the original music which accompanies the trademark slow-mos has been replaced. Although many people associate Sunblock’s ‘I’ll Be There’ title song with the show, for me, the Peter Cetra’s ‘Save Me’ was by far and away the best. The montage and soundtrack was, quite rightly, regarded as one of the best ever created for a TV show in the 1980s/90s.

Finally, I remember always having a bit of a ‘thing’ for the lovely Shauni played by the stunning Erika Eleniak pictured above.  Watching the show again all these years later, I can still see why she caught my young eye. Now I have to admit that I’m not much into blondes but Shauni’s the full meal deal and she’s certainly still got it. No one ever did a red swimsuit such justice and even though I was slightly perturbed by noticing this time round that she had a monobrow, I can live with that.

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