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Published:February 8th, 2011 10:35 EST
Cobra: The Complete Series DVD Review

Cobra: The Complete Series DVD Review

By Garrett Godwin

For two decades, Knight Rider created the "super-vehicle" genre with shows like Airwolf, Street Hawk, and Viper, but it also inspired two created by the late Stephen J. Cannell, who would have turned 70 on Saturday.  The first was NBC`s Stingray (1985-87) with Canadian actor Nick Mancuso as the titular protagonist, an ex-spy with a mysterious past known only by the car he drives around in -- helping people in trouble not for money, but for favors that he will collect in the near future. 

The second was the short-lived, syndicated Cobra (1993-94) with 1980s cult action hero Michael Dudikoff of the American Ninja series as Robert "Scandal" Jackson, Jr., a former Navy SEAL who was shot in the face and presumed dead.  Thanks to plastic surgery, though, he was offered a job to become the lead operative/troubleshooter for Cobra, a private/non-profit organization whose sole purpose is to aid crime victims.  With the aid of his beautiful partner Danielle LaPoint (Allison Hossack) and their boss, ex-Fed Dallas Cassel (James Tolkan), they tackle everything from domestic violence to terrorism to serial killings to mobsters, helping those that can`t fight for themselves, bringing the guilty and corrupt to justice.

Originally, Cobra was supposed to be Viper, but Cannell was sued by Chrysler Corporation for copyright infringement, since there was a show called Viper that aired on NBC as a mid-season replacement in 1994 about the Viper Defender driven by "the most wanted man on wheels": former criminal Michael Payton turned lone crusader for justice Joe Astor (James McCaffrey).

So, Cannell re-christened it as Cobra about a latter-day Lone Ranger and his vintage AC Cobra.

Along with Cannell, the show was co-created by Steven Long Mitchell and Craig W. Van Sickle; both also co-created the long-running, popular NBC series The Pretender (1996-2000) with Michael T. Weiss as Jarod, a genius who can become anyone that he wants -- using those skills to help the innocent as a modern-day Robin Hood while seeking clues to his identity and his family as well as staying steps of the shadowy Centre that kidnapped him as a child and want him back. 

Though it lasted one season, Cobra is a fun, cool show with a handsome lead as the James Dean of the martial arts because, in its own way, it had the potential to be a Knight Rider for the 1990s.