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» iRewind Talk » 80s Culture » 80s Television » Hooperman - late '80's detective drama/comedy starring John Ritter (1987-1989)

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Author Topic: Hooperman - late '80's detective drama/comedy starring John Ritter (1987-1989)
Nostalgic for the '80's
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Does anyone out there remember "Hooperman"?! THis was a late '80's drama/comedy starring the late John Ritter as a detective in S.F.

When I was a teen back in Fall '87, I remember catching a couple of episodes of this series and thinking it was fairly good.

Unfortunately, it's never been released to DVD (as far as I can tell), and maybe not even VHS.

This is one of those shows that will probably never be released to home video due to it's obscurity, however hopefully at some point a company will clean the video up & release it for streaming.....

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Crash
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Yes, very good, Stephen Bochco show, an early example of a half-hour dramedy. The late, great John Ritter was a cop who was also the owner of a rundown apartment building. He had a cute neighbor played by Debrah Farentino, and you saw some soon-to-be Hill Street Blues regulars like Barbara Bosson, as his boss, show up. It was very lightweight, almost whimsical in tone, with some gentle laughs, some drama, and some social commentary. It was way, way ahead of its time. (I think that the closest thing on today is Andy Samberg's Brooklyn Nine-nine, another half-hour comedy with social commentary.) It's one of those shows that even though it lasted two seasons, was never was released to home video and never turns up in reruns. Maybe the Cloo Network in the US, which sort of thrives on old mystery and cop shows, will dig it up.
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Nostalgic for the '80's
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Glad that I'm not the only one that remembers this show.

As a kid, I was a fan of "Three's Company" back in the early - mid '80's, primarily because of the women - LOL. However, I felt that Hooperman - as short lived as it was - was a far superior show; much more layered & interesting. I do remember one episode where Hooperman had to talk down a criminal who had a gun pointed at him; other scenes were much more comedic. It was a great combination of comedy & drama, which is not easy to pull off - but was done very well here.

I think Ritter got typecast as Jack Tripper on TC, so that may have been why Hooperman didn't do better at the time.

I tried to keep up with the show, but didn't watch it as often as I would have liked. Plus, IIRC they changed the air time at least once during the short-lived series.

I would definitely be onboard for a DVD/Blu-ray collection of both seasons. However, I would settle for streaming. Unfortunately, I don't think "Hooperman" is currently available for viewing in any way, shape, or form. As was mentioned, it's never been re-run (to my knowledge).

[ 05. October 2016, 10:13: Message edited by: Nostalgic for the '80's ]

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Logan 5
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I remember the airing of Hooperman well. It was on Channel 4 over here. It had that late 80's jazzy slick feel. It makes me think of 'Thirtysomething' for some reason. I remember liking it, but don't recall much about it other than Ritter being good.
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Nostalgic for the '80's
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quote:
Originally posted by Logan 5:
I remember the airing of Hooperman well. It was on Channel 4 over here. It had that late 80's jazzy slick feel. It makes me think of 'Thirtysomething' for some reason. I remember liking it, but don't recall much about it other than Ritter being good.

I remember "Hooperman" being great, but other than that don't remember much - given that the last time I saw this was when it aired on TV, almost 30 years ago. This is definitely one of those shows that deserves to be re-discovered on DVD/Blu-ray, and/or streaming. Unfortunately, due to it's obscurity I'm not sure that will ever happen. Obviously, other than those of us who saw this when it originally aired, I doubt many others are even aware of the series.
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Nostalgic for the '80's
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Wanted to bump this thread with the amazing news that "Hooperman Seasons 1 & 2" actually both got released on DVD in January 2017. Amazing - since this is one of the last TV shows I would ever have thought would see a physical media release.

Here are some links:

http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Hooperman-Season-1/22819

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N90AT92/ref=pe_2601620_226362790_em_des

2017 is the 30th anniversary of the original airing of the show (Fall 1987), so I wonder if there's a connection.

I don't have these sets yet because I've got a huge backlog of DVD's I'd like to watch, but it's nice to know they're out.

In any case, I'd like to think that my creating this thread last Fall had something to do with this release - LOL.

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Crash
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Wow! Amazing! Thanks for the info.
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Pittsburghgirl
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I honestly don't remember this show at all. It sounds good.
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Logan 5
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quote:
In any case, I'd like to think that my creating this thread last Fall had something to do with this release - LOL.
Take the credit! Now just send out the vibes for Midnight Caller...
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Pittsburghgirl
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Yes! Definitely would like to see Midnight Caller!
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Crash
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Come on Warner Archive! Give us Midnight Caller!
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Nostalgic for the '80's
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quote:
Originally posted by Pittsburghgirl:
I honestly don't remember this show at all. It sounds good.

Based on what I remember, "Hooperman" was a great series. I only caught a handful of episodes, but do remember liking the fact that JR was playing against type to some extent - i.e., there were funny elements...but I found the show to be very dramatic as well.

At the time this show was on, I wasn't as much into TV shows as I am now, and as such wasn't taping shows to watch later; I may not even have had a working VCR at the time. So, either I saw them when they aired, or I didn't see them at all. So, I remember trying to watch the show when it was on, but I couldn't always keep up with the air-times, etc.

I will probably end up buying the DVD set(s) at some point, and when I do I'll post an review once I see this; looking forward to this - the late '80's nostalgia will be very strong here, given that the show ran right at the end of the decade. I may not be able to see this for a while, however - I have a huge back-log of DVD's/Blu-ray's to watch - LOL.

[ 15. February 2017, 07:09: Message edited by: Nostalgic for the '80's ]

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Nostalgic for the '80's
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Though it's taken me a while, I finally watched Hooperman S01 on DVD. What a great series! I had only caught a couple episodes here & there back in the day, so had never seen S01 in it's entirety before. And, it was even better than I remember it - fantastic. Extremely well-written, clever, funny/witty, and sad. I was also impressed by the realism in many of the episodes. Apparently, this show coined the term dramedy - very appropriate.

IMHO this is Ritter's best role, and the other cast is great as well, including Debrah Farentino, Barbara Bosson (probably best known as Fay Furillo from Hill Street Blues), Felton Perry, Clarence Felder, and others.

And, in a category by herself is the extremely hot Sydney Welsh - as sexy officer Maureen DeMott. Wow. I really miss the '80's [Wink] One of the running jokes in S01 is how DeMott typically goes after guys who aren't into women, including one of her fellow officers - ha ha.

Also really liked the jazzy score/music, including the great theme song:

Some of the best episodes from S01 include the following. Note there are SPOILERS below:

-Hooperman & Boris "Bobo" Pritzger (Felder) go undercover to stop a series of convenience store robberies, and Bobo ends up having to kill the perpetrator to save Hooperman's life. Afterwards, the seemingly tough/macho Bobo breaks down @ work, after becoming distraught/suffering PTSD from shooting the criminal.

-Hooperman ends up buying a very well preserved & impressive older car (for a price he can't afford) from a drug dealer who had just been arrested & needed the money for legal fees - ha ha. He notices that his car is getting unwanted attention due to the recognizable license plate.
Soon after, he discovers a bomb underneath of it; he was being targeted by the drug dealer's enemies who thought he was connected to him in some way. Very funny (but also cringe-worthy) scene as the bomb squad intentionally sets off the bomb & destroys the prized car, while Hooperman & McNeil (Perry) look on.

-Hooperman ends up becoming the advocate of a career criminal who is dying. Despite Hooperman trying to help him by getting him a room in a hospice (so he won't have to go back to prison), the criminal ends up intentionally getting himself shot & killed. Very realistic & sad ending.

-Hooperman & co. investigate a series of crimes where people are badly beaten & in some cases chained/bound, but not robbed. At first, the beatings seem random. However, on further investigation the one common denominator is that they are all parents who have had complaints against them for abusing their children. Hooperman realizes the perpetrator is a woman who works at a local child protective agency & is enraged at the crimes committed against innocent children by one (or more) of their parents. This episode really shines a light on child abuse, which many people weren't talking about much prior to the '80's.

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Nostalgic for the '80's
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Here is my technical review of the S01 Hooperman DVD set:

-The Picture Quality (PQ) was decent. It was definitely better than a VHS rip & also better than a lot of other '80's TV shows I've seen on DVD. But, it could stand some improvement. That being said, I'm not sure this can ever get any better than what we see here - given the limitations of the source material.

Some of my favorite scenes in S01 were the night-time scenes of S.F., i.e. Chinatown, the city skyline @ dusk, etc. Excellent.

-I did like that this set offered subtitles, since that's not always the case with '80's TV shows on DVD.

- The Audio was, overall, decent. However, there were unfortunately numerous quick audio dropouts on these DVD's, notably Episode 3 & some in the final episode. Very distracting, but didn't mar/ruin my enjoyment of the show. I'm certain this issue has nothing to do with the players, but that issues were with the DVD's themselves. I'm not going to bother trying to get replacements for these, given that it seems like this is systemic with all of the DVD sets - and AFAIK Olive (the manufacturer/producer of these DVD sets) hasn't offered replacements:

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