I used to watch Moonlighting in the 80’s. Back then, I thought it was so fresh and funny. The crackling dialogue, the rapid fire pace, the screwball comedy chemistry between the two leads. There was also mystery to boot. I loved it. Is still as fresh and funny? Is the show as good as I remember it being? I mean, ourmemories rarely hold up to reality. Watching this box set in 2005 was quite an experience. Does the show hold up? Yes and no. It feels atad “dated” (but what show from the 80’s doesn’t…. But the fresh wit and originality still come shining though.
6 discs, the feature pilot, and 23 episodes of Moonlighting are here. If you don’t know the show, Bruce Willis (in the series thatmade him a star) plays David Addison, an authentic smart a$$ in need of a job. He hounds Maddie Hayes (played by the gorgeous Cybill Shepherd) for a position at her detective agency. Addison is hired and together, Dave and Maddie, form a partnership based on dislike, but with a definite electric energy. Plagued by production delays and contract disputes, Moonlighting went downhill after these first few seasons. There was even a season (or part of a season) without Dave and Maddie! But Moonlighting‘s originality was alwaysevident. An episode in black and white and the famous “Taming of the Shrew” show were examples of a televsion program that always wanted topush the envelope. Moonlighting pushed it, pushed it till it broke.
Heard in Dolby Digital 2.0, this audio track is fairly clear. Due to the nature of the crackling dialogue, this mix has to be good. Andit is. Front heavy (but the show wasn’t in stereo), the mix comes through strong and clean. The memorable theme song, music, and great source songs (Moonlighting always had cool songs) come through as well. A good mix, not an aural extravaganza, but accurate for the nature of the show.
The video transfer can be seen in 1.33:1 full frame. The colors look good for an 80’s show. There is a nice amount of detail, with very few digital artifacts. Flesh tones are natural, the two stars look great. It’s nice to see Bruce Willis with a full head of hair. The image is sharp and clear, and doesn’t have that “I taped if off of TV” look. You know…you go out and you come home and watch the shows you taped. I can’t imagine the show looking any better.
There is a nice assortment of extras here:
There’s an excellent featurette called “The Story of Moonlighting”. This is a two part featurette and gives a nice overview of the show. It features interviews with creator Glenn Gordon Caron, stars Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd, and other creative people on the show. The issues addressed include origin of the show, the development of the show’s style, and production difficulties.
The other featurette is called “The Moonlighting Phenomenon”. This is a short featurette that talks about the criticaland popular response to the show. Fans and critics alike pipe in here.
There are a number of audio commentaries for this box set. The commentaries occur for episodes that are particularly “ground breaking”. The Pilot, the “infamous” black and white episode, and the Christmas special (where the cast breaks the fourth wall and comes out into the set) are a few examples. Main actors, directors, and Glenn Gordon Caron participate in separate commentaries.
To round out the extras there are a few minutes of Moonlighting pilot promos, a gag reel, and deleted scenes.
Groundbreaking at the time, but not so much now, Moonlighting was a series that had a good time with itself. In this box set, we see Moonlighting in its prime. And we see it before it “jumped the shark” when Dave and Maddie finally “got together”. With good audio, video, and extras, fans of the show should be happy. This box set should also be a nice introduction for new fans. In a time when television is swamped with “reality”, it’s nice to see a show that had “imagination”. Here’s to Dave and Maddie.
Special Features List
- Audio commentaries
- “The Story of Moonlighting” featurette
- “The Moonlighting Phenomenon” featurette
- Pilot Promos
- Gag reel
- Deleted Scenes