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Published:February 19th, 2006 12:20 EST

SOP reporter: Action TV shows of past 'take away troubles of the world'

By Garrett Godwin

There are several formulas for what makes a good action series:

*Good guys and Bad guys

*Plenty of car chases

*Lots of action

*The good guys always won and saved the day


But there is one more thing of what makes a good action series: you gotta have a great set of wheels!

And that is what these popular shows from the mid-70s through the 1990s have.

Starsky & Hutch (1975-79, ABC)

Vehicle: 1974 red, white-striped Ford Torino

With Starsky in the driver's seat and Hutch riding shotgun, they take gangsters, drug dealers and other criminal elements on the streets of California.

Dukes of Hazzard (1979-85, CBS)

Vehicle: 1969 Dodge Charger

Cousins Bo and Luke Duke fight the corrupt system in Hazzard County.  As modern-day Robin Hoods, they always outrun Boss Hogg, Rosco, Enos, and Cletus as the villians of the week with the aid of The General Lee.

Knight Rider (1982-86, NBC)

Vehicle: Pontiac Firebird

Before wearing trunks and becoming king of both the lifeguards as well as the beach, David Hasselhoff was king of the road.  Both Michael Knight and his talking car KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand) formed and unusual partnership and friendship.  KITT was invincible, intelligent, and can go at 300 mph.  Together, the two of them are champions of the innocent, the helpless, and the powerless in a dangerous world where criminals think they're above the law-- but not to Michael Knight and KITT.

The A-Team (1983-87, NBC)

Vehicle: Black, red-striped, sleek GMC van

Another favorite from the 1980s, what made this series so great is that nobody really got hurt despite heavy gunfire, violence, and car chases.  With B.A (Mr. T) behind the wheel, Hannibal (George Peppard), Face (Dirk Benedict), and Murdock (Dwight Schultz) aids people in need while on the run from the Army.

Hardcastle & McCormick (1983-86, ABC)

Vehicle: Coyote X

The Coyote is really one of the top TV cars-- and one of the top cars in the world -- ever, with the late, great Brian Keith as former judge Milton Hardcastle and Daniel Hugh Kelly as ex-con Mark "Skid" McCormick.  The duo goes after criminals who've gotten off on technicalities, and bring them to justice.

Viper (1994, NBC; 1996-99, syndicated)

Vehicle (s): Red Viper RT/10 Roadster, then Blue Viper GTS Coupe/Defender

Though the syndication series was okay, I'd still prefer the "classic" 1994 series because of better special effects, characters, and storylines.  Another is it had a comic-book feeling to it; sort of a cross between Knight Rider (except the car doesn't talk) and Batman.  It is  WAY better than Knight Rider.  Both shows follows a Viper sports car when, with the flick of a button, becomes an silver, indestructible vehicle known as the Defender to fight crime.  It is "the perfect weapon for an imperfect future".

Whether these heroes work inside and outside the law and playing by their rules, they proved that good does triumph over evil-- even if it means every week.  We wanted to be the ones to take on the bad guys, be heroes-- and probably get the girl at the end.  Those shows made us feel safe and protected, taking us away from our troubles of the world and our lives for just an hour or more.  Everytime we watched these shows, whether in syndication or on DVDs, we discover our youth again.  They are a part of our childhood, both now and forever.