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Published:June 25th, 2007 12:28 EST
Airwolf Faces a Bumpy Flight in Season Three on DVD

Airwolf Faces a Bumpy Flight in Season Three on DVD

By Garrett Godwin

The flight for justice continues with Airwolf: Season Three, now available on DVD.

Featuring all 22 episodes with previews of upcoming DVD releases of shows such as House: Season Two, the series continues to follow Stringfellow Hawke (Jan-Michael Vincent) as he pilots The Lady, the most advanced and elite helicopter in the world.  Together with Dominic Santini (Ernest Borgnine) and Caitlin O`Shannessy (Jean Bruce Scott), Hawke takes on missions of national interest on behalf of Archangel (Alex Cord) and the shadowy agency, the F.I.R.M, in exchange for information on his MIA brother, Saint John ("Sinjin").

Airwolf went into Knight Rider territory for most of this season.  For instance, the classic "Airwolf II" finds the team and Archangel being dismissed by the F.I.R.M. in favor of a self-centered pilot and Redwolf, the evil twin of the Lady, leading to a climatic battle of Airwolf against Airwolf. 

The F.I.R.M. became more integral in season three with the introduction of the assassination team, the Zebra Squad:

"Fortune Teller": Hawke and Santini must rely on a reluctant psychic to find and rescue Archangel, or else he`ll be eliminated.

Season three also marks the introduction of arch-enemy John Bradford Horn, a rich yet ruthless tycoon who will stop at nothing to have Airwolf:

"The Horn of Plenty": The season premiere finds Horn brainwashing Hawke into having his team bringing the Lady, and Dom and Cait must find a way to reverse the process before they end losing both Hawke and Airwolf forever.  Catherine Hickland (One Life to Live) guest stars as Horn`s daughter, who ends up falling in love with Hawke.

"Discovery": Horn resurfaces to get his hands on Airwolf again when he finds a woman who knows the location of the Lady, and the team may have a chance to finally bring their nemesis to justice. 

The search for Hawke`s brother continues this season:

"Half-Pint": Archangel`s information of St. John reveals that he may have fathered a son in Vietnam, leading Hawke to wonder whether his brother is dead or not, and decides to adopt his nephew.

"Birds of Paradise": The Young and The Restless` Eric Braden guest stars in the season finale as Hawke aids his nephew to find his missing guardian, his aunt, and ends uncovering a drug-smuggling and prostitution ring. 

Season three of Airwolf marks the absence of creator and executive producer Donald P. Bellasario.  CBS wanted the series to be more "family friendly" and action-oriented, causing disagreements over Bellasario`s original vision of his series.  This led him and his then-newlywed wife Deborah Pratt, who played Archangel`s assistant Marella, to leave Airwolf at the end of season two. 

Also, there was trouble behind the scenes of Airwolf, mostly due to the show`s troubled star, Jan-Michael Vincent.  His volatile personal life, as well as his drug and alcohol addiction, caused delays in production and it became hard for his co-stars to work on the set.  But when you see Vincent onscreen, it is hard to imagine him high and drunk; he still puts in a good performance.  When you watch Jan-Michael Vincent as Stringfellow Hawke on Airwolf, it is a look back of a once-promising career that could`ve led to great and better things for this actor.  But in the end, it goes to show that there is a downside for being famous.

Bellasario`s absence, expensive costs of the series, and low ratings caused CBS to cancel Airwolf in the spring of 1986.  However, the series reappeared for a fourth season in the form of a new cable network called USA in 1987 that many fans called inferior to the original, which is still the best.

See why with Airwolf: Season Three, now available on DVD.