MIAMI VICE -- episode recommendations ?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Richard--W, Jun 14, 2010.

  1. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    I looked in on MIAMI VICE occasionally when it was new, but I never had the patience to stick with it. Commercial interruptions and station I.D.'s spoil my enjoyment of narrative programming. My objection hasn't wavered in the twenty-five years since MIAMI VICE made its debut, but I am rediscovering the program now on DVD. Free of sales pitches, I like what I see and hear. This was a remarkable program.


    What are the 5 best episodes?

    Anyone care to share their thoughts on the 5 best episodes?
     
  2. Curtis F

    Curtis F Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, you have to start with the pilot. Then watch "Calderone's Return (parts 1 and 2). Then "Smuggler's Blues" and "Rites of Passage". The best episode of the first season in my opinion is "Evan".


    I don't know if I can only do five. These episodes are all from the first season. I could recommend quite a few more.
     
  3. Mr. Pacino

    Mr. Pacino Second Unit

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    "Miami Vice" is the greatest TV show ever.


    Season 1-3 are great. Season 4 is the worst of the series but has nevertheless some good episodes like the one where David Bowie´s wife Iman played a killer!


    Season 5 is good but not as great as Season 1,2 and 3.
     
  4. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Producer

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    I don't have time to look up the names for five episodes, but I do remember my favorite one so far(I'm halfway through season 2).


    'The Home Invaders' from season 1.

    Just downright awesome.
     
  5. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    Thanks for the input, guys.

    Got any more suggestions, I want to hear them.


    Go ahead. Recommend some more.


    I think "Definitely Miami" from season 2 is perfect.

    A beach noir with a memorable femme fatale.

    I get a kick out of Don Johnson's bemused, weary cynicism.

    Jan Hammer's metallic instrumentals are vital to the storytelling, more so than the pop-hit-songs.

    He captures the sound of pastels, if you know what I mean.

    The whole tone and movement of the thing is perfect.

    Edited by a maestro in three-quarter time.

    The script, every shot and composition, the transitions, the pacing, the bodies and the clothes, the location and the aesthetics, the horizontals of the beach and the verticals of the hotel, all combine into as perfect a 49 minutes as I've ever seen on television.
     
  6. JosephJohnson

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    Great thread topic. So far, I only have seasons 1 and 2, but I would also mention EVAN from season 1. I think the second season is much stronger in terms of storytelling. The BUSHIDO was great and focused on Castillo's backstory. OUT WHERE THE BUSES DON'T RUN was tense and exciting. FRENCH TWIST had a featured cameo by Leonard Cohen! My personal fave and what I consider a quintessential episode of the show is the season 2 episode entitled PAYBACK. That episode had an unbelievably atmospheric cold open, a great storyline, strong performance from Don Johnson, and everything seemed to be working against Crockett. It's just a solid episode and it features Frank Zappa as a smuggler.
     
  7. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer
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    I have to agree with Curtis' recommendations, but I'll add in a few.


    The first season of the show was unquestionably its best. They did the most interesting stuff and pushed the most that year. The rest of the series struggled to live up to that legacy. 14 Emmy nominations were not an accident.


    From the 1st season, I'd say:


    Cool Runnin'

    Hit List

    No Exit

    Give A Little, Take A Little

    Score

    Golden Triangle

    Milk Run

    Smuggler's Blues

    Rites of Passage

    The Maze

    The Home Invaders

    Evan



    The 2nd Season was a giant letdown. The very first episode, mostly set in New York, was terrible. Not only did the show look like it was simply repeating stuff that had worked 1st year, but the Jan Hammer score was mostly a bunch of recycled cues. This scoring problem would repeat throughout the next three seasons, although Hammer would write new scores and new cues here and there. Things got bad enough that fans wrote a bunch of angry letters in, and NBC had to acknowledge it in a news story. Near the end of the season, Michael Mann returned from post on Manhunter and the Crime Story pilot to try to put things back together. The 2nd season had a few decent and even good episodes sprinkled among the dross.


    2nd Season:

    Out Where The Buses Don't Run

    One Way Ticket

    Payback

    Trust Fund Pirates

    (I like Definitely Miami's visuals and music, but the script is really bad when you actually listen to it.)


    The 3rd Season was an attempt to get back to some basics, with a complete change in color scheme (going to Day for Night) and the hiring of Dick Wolf as the head writer while Michael Mann went over to Crime Story full time. Somehow the airing order of the first episodes got juggled so that the season opener "El Viejo" with Willie Nelson was shoved back to air several weeks in. This was to make the destruction of the Ferrari Daytona an event for the season premiere. But a few episodes later, that car appears in "El Viejo" with no explanation. Due to Dick Wolf's influence, this and the next season would mostly focus on episodes pulled from the headlines, with a kind of approach that Law & Order would later perfect.


    3rd Season:

    Shadow in the Dark (actually a better hit on the work Michael Mann did in MANHUNTER)

    Forgive Us Our Debts

    Lend Me An Ear

    The Savage (later retitled Duty and Honor)

    Viking Bikers From Hell

    Heroes of the Revolution



    The 4th Season got more interesting. Contrary to Miami Vice fandom, this was actually a step UP from what had been going on for the prior two seasons, as Michael Mann's limited contribution included a strong focus on writing. During this season, the series actually took a few steps forward to develop the characters and allow Crockett to become a more interesting series lead. Jan Hammer brought in a collaborator, Jon Peterson, to develop new score cues as he was becoming completely burnt out on the series.


    4th Season:

    Contempt of Court

    Death and the Lady

    Child's Play (reintroduces Crockett's wife and son)

    Rock and a Hard Place

    Deliver Us From Evil

    Mirror Image (Season Finale where Crockett loses his memory - to my mind, this is the proper Series Finale)



    The 5th Season is a complete waste of time. By this point, Michael Mann was almost completely absent from what was happening, and the series seemed to be running without any sense of itself. Jan Hammer had also left the series, and Tim Truman took over the scoring duties with a few cues that got endlessly recycled during the season. Probably the only positive of the season is that Michael Talbot lost some weight and looked like he had gotten in better shape for the final year. I can't recommend any episodes from this season as the writing is almost uniformly bad and the cast looks quite tired with the material. A couple of notes from this season: when asked about the end of the series, the cast has noted that they didn't realize the series was over, and some have noted that the show could have kept going. If you watch the 5th Season ender "Freefall", you can easily see this is the end of the line, and anyone saying otherwise must be quite confused. Secondly, that last episode lists a writer named "Frank Holman". There is no such writer but a character with that name was featured on Crime Story (named after a real criminal in Chicago), leading me to think that this is likely a pseudonym for Michael Mann, who must have been rewritten for him to have removed his name from the script.


    I really liked the series, but the real meat of the show comes in the 1st season. It's a pretty steep fall after that...
     
  8. cineMANIAC

    cineMANIAC Cinematographer
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    Best cop show ever. I don't remember the season it aired but the episode where Sonny and Crockett were sitting at an outdoor cafe staking someone out and one of them says something like why are we out here on the hottest day of the year while lots of bikini-clad chicks stroll by, that's my favorite. I think what I liked best about this series was the location setting and action taking place on those sweltering Miami streets.
     
  9. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer
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    Luis,


    That was in "Definitely Miami" in the middle of the 2nd Season. Great episode visually, with a running theme of extreme heat. Problem was that the actual script wasn't all that great. But there are great opening and closing montages. The opening is a bit where a guy drives his Porsche into a sand dune area and gets shot/buried by Ted Nugent to the tune of "Angry Young Man", and the close is a series classic where both main stories end badly to the tune of Godley & Creme's "Cry".
     
  10. cineMANIAC

    cineMANIAC Cinematographer
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    Yes! that's the episode, Kevin. Every time I watch it I feel like I need to keep a wet towel nearby to wipe away the sweat. These guys had a real talent for capturing the true essence of Miami: the back alleys, docks, neon-lit streets and that nightclub scene! Producers today have tried but failed to get that same look and feel of the city on current Miami-set shows, which is a pity.
     
  11. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer
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    Keep in mind that they also lifted a lot of the look from Brian DePalma's Scarface.
     
  12. Timothy E

    Timothy E Supporting Actor
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    I agree. A lot of people, including myself, have forgotten how much DePalma's Scarface influenced the look of Miami Vice. This fact was very apparent to me when I went back and watched Scarface recently.
     
  13. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer
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    They also went back and shot most, if not all, of the Miami locations used in Scarface. I'm still a big fan of that first season, though. I know it looks dated, but for me, it's still great stuff, with strong writing, directing and acting.
     

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