Sunday, November 15, 2009

Early Spelling: Honey West

I have mixed feelings about Aaron Spelling. On one hand I do love Charlies Angels (circa Farah Fawcett) and thought I might one day marry Jonathan Hart, but generally I don't like how the type of shows he produced (such as T J Hooker) came to dominate television in the 70s and 80s. The style is formulaic, action-packed, with storylines that fit neatly into their 40 minute or so time slot, with no depth. Spelling didn't produce them all, but he was probably the godfather of that genre that replaced grittier shows like Ironside and Kojak.

But having said all of this, I'm quite pleased at having just discovered one of Spelling's first shows, Honey West. There was just one series of 30 episodes made showing in 1965 to 1966. The show is black and white, has those Spelling trademark plots, but is possibly one of the first shows to feature a feisty independent female lead and was probably rather remarkable when it was first shown. Honey runs a detective agency with her less interesting male friend, who there are appears to be a will they/won't they type of relationship (in the style of Remingston Steele). She drives a sports car (rather like Penelope Pitstop!) and she owns a pet ocelot called Bruce (the only detective to do so, to my knowledge).

I've just watched two episodes and so far her investigations seem to involve rescuing less feisty heiress and actresses from the evil schemes of men. Besides the ocelot, there is a good dose of quirkiness to the show, and some amusing dialogue such as when Honey was rescued by her male associate and she asks him how he knew where to find her, and he replies "I'd already looked everywhere else".
So its easy on the brain but sometimes that is good. It makes a change from the utter misery-fest of SVU.

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