Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:April 14th, 2009 18:35 EST
Airwolf Season 4 Review

Airwolf Season 4 Review

By Garrett Godwin

Twenty five years ago, idealistic, romantic hero Stringfellow Hawke (Jan-Michael Vincent) became the pilot of the most advanced, elite helicopter in the world known as Airwolf. Aka "The Lady", she is capable of going Mach-1 plus with over a dozen weapons added to her arsenal. With Dominic Santini (Ernest Borgnine) and Caitlin O`Shannessy (Jean Bruce Scott, Magnum PI), Hawke takes on missions of national interest for the white-clad, eye-patch Michael Coldsmith-Briggs III/"Archangel" (Alex Cord) and the shadowy, covert FIRM in exchange for information on his brother Saint John ("Sinjin"), who has been missing since Vietnam.

In the spring of 1986, CBS grounded Airwolf after three successful seasons despite good ratings. The reason behind the network`s decision was due to both expensive production costs and the troubled personal life of its star Vincent, who has been in trouble with the law several times due to his drug and alcohol dependence. Yet, the Lady took flight once more when USA Network picked up Airwolf "as a new chapter begins" in January 1987: starting with the premiere episode "Blackjack" that features the long-awaited reunion between String and St. John (Barry Van Dyke, Diagnosis Murder).

However, fan reaction was negative, for this was a brand-new Airwolf -- separate from the original, with a new cast that includes Van Dyke, Geraint Wyn Davies (Forever Knight) as Major Mike Rivers, and Michelle Scarabelli (Alien Nation) as Jo Santini, Dom`s niece. Gone were the white suits, as the FIRM became "The Company" with Anthony Sherwood as government liaison Jason Locke; no mention of Caitlin and LeVan "Half-Pint" Hawke, the possible half-Vietnamese, half-American son of St. John; Dominic was killed off in the opener, and Archangel was briefly mentioned as being reassigned "far East".

Season four of Airwolf consists of 24 episodes shot in Canada on a shoestring budget; stock footage from the original and a full-sized mock-up version of the Lady was used for production. For instance, the episode "Salvage" involves the Airwolf team investigating claims of strange things that a fellow operative may have heard -- similar to season two`s "Firestorm"; the aerial finale was from season three`s "Airwolf II", as the Lady faced off against the Scorpion, another evil double of the Lady. Airwolf was grounded for good in the summer of 1987 after four seasons and 79 episodes. "They need an additional 26 episodes to enhance the syndication package. All the scripts were already written" Scarabelli said in a 1990 Starlog interview.

If Airwolf returned for a fourth season, the main characters should continue to be developed, as the search for St. John should`ve continued; Hawke adjusting to being a father to Half-Pint, who`s now part of the family with Dom and Cait, as he becomes part of the Airwolf team -- whether String likes it or not. The writers need to bring back evil tycoon John Bradford Horn, his beautiful daughter Angelica (Catherine Hickland, Knight Rider, One Life to Live, The 30-Day Heartbreak Cure) who fell in love with Hawke in season three, and Archangel`s assistant Marella (Deborah Pratt), while still bringing in the action, espionage, and suspense that made Airwolf a hit with fans all over the world after 25 years.

Still, if a fan of season four, you can watch it at Hulu -- including all three seasons of the original, which will always be the best. All episodes of Airwolf can be found at www.hulu.com.