Before "Miami Vice". Before "Cagney and Lacey". Before "Lethal Weapon". Before "Tenspeed and Brownshoe". Before "48 Hours". And before "Hardcastle and McCormick" there was the one cop show the defined it's own character and launched the cop show genre as we know it today. That television show was "Starsky & Hutch". The series became one of the biggest hits at ABC producing 92 episodes during its four seasons on the air running from September 10,1975 until May 15, 1979. Created by William Blinn and Produced by the team of Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg(along with Joesph T. Naar and Adrian Samish) under their production company Spelling-Goldberg Productions for the ABC Television Network. Spelling-Goldberg productions were behind an array of great shows that they produced ranging from "The Rookies", and "SWAT" to name a few.
Interesting points about this show. "Starsky & Hutch" premiered as a pilot 90-minute movie that aired as the "ABC Movie of the Week" on April 30, 1975. It was a smash hit and so successful that the network gave the greenlight for this as a weekly series on September 10, 1975. So successful that it was nominated the Golden Globe in 1976 for Best Television Series and won the People's Choice Award in 1976 as Overall Favorite Television Program(tied with another ABC show "Welcome Back Kotter that same year). The series starred David Soul(coming off another TV-series "Here Come The Brides",and "Owen Marshall:Counselor At Law")and Paul Michael-Glaser(a former daytime serial actor who crossed over in theatrical films starring in the Oscar nominated "Fiddler on the Roof",and his guest star appearances on television series like "Kojak", "Cannon","The Streets of San Francisco","The Rockford Files",and "Toma")as undercover detectives who work for the Los Angeles Police Department under the supervision watch of Captain Dobey(Bernie Hamilton). The informant was the street-wise/educated sidekick Huggy Bear(Antonio Fargas) who know what crimes were committed before Starsky and Hutch and even Captain Dobey solve them. There cases ranged from police corruption to murders, rapists, cults, bank robbers, and whatever else was creeping in the streets of modern day Los Angeles in the mid-1970's. This was a series that was action-packed bringing in big time guest stars with superb acting,superb direction and excellent production values.
The show had a excellent premise in its first couple of seasons(Micheal Mann wrote and directed the first four episodes for Season 1)with some big time directors ranging from George McCowan, Earl Bellamy, Don Weis, to Sutton Roley, Jack Starrett, Fernando Lamas, Barry Shear, Leo Penn, Dick Moder, Michael Schultz, and Ivan Dixon. Even Paul Michael-Glaser and David Soul were behind the camera for various episodes. Big time writers from William Blinn, Michael Fisher, Rick Edelstein, Ron Friedman, to Edward J. Lakso, Robert I. Holt, James Schmerer, Amanda J. Green, to Jackson Gillis, Mann Rubin, Jeff Kanter, Dan Ullman, and Sidney Ellis. Not to mention Paul Michael-Glaser who also wrote an episode for the series.
Not to mention the guest stars ranging from Suzanne Somers, Alex Rocco, Frank Converse, Stephen McNally, Janet Margolin, Lynda Carter, Will Geer, Joan Blondell, Roger E. Mosley, Ron Moody, George Dzundza, Carl Betz, Albert Paulsen, Karen Valentine, Val Avery, John Ritter, Morgan Woodward, Malachi Throne, Kim Cattrall, Gary Lockwood, Samantha Eggar, Don Gordon, Philip Michael-Thomas, Yvonne Craig, Calvin Lockhart, Scatman Crothers, Bill Duke, Edward James-Olmos, Al White and many more.
Several good episodes do stand out from this series that included the series premiered pilot episode "Savage Sunday"(Season 1, Episode 1). The best episodes included "The Set-Up",Parts 1 and 2(Season 2, Episodes 16 and 17); "The Fix"(Season 1, Episode 5); "The Plague",Parts 1 & 2(Season 3, Episodes 8 and 9); "The Hostages"(Season 1, Episode 15); "Death Rides"(Season 1, Episode 3); "Starsky and Hutch are Guilty"(Season 2, Episode 25); "A Coffin For Starsky"(Season 1, Episode 21); "Targets With A Badge",Parts 1 & 2(Season 4, Episodes 18 and 19); "The Trap"(Season 3, Episode 15); "The Shootout"(Season 1, Episode 14); "The Bloodbath" (Season 2, Episode 14); "Hutchinson For Murder One"(Season 3, Episode 18); "Satan's Witches"(Season 3, Episode 16); "The Committee"(Season 2, Episode 21); "The Trap"(Season 3, Episode 15); "Death In A Different Place"(Season 3, Episode 5); "The Hostages"(Season 1, Episode 15);and the final episode of the series "Sweet Revenge"(Season 4, Episode 22). The worst episodes of "Starsky and Hutch"...."Murder At Sea",Parts 1 & 2(Season 2, Episodes 3 and 4); "Huggy Bear and the Turkey"(Season 2, Episode 20); "Ballad For A Blue Lady"(Season 4,Episode 14); "The Golden Angel(Season 4, Episode 15);and "The Bounty Hunter"(Season 1,Episode 22).
ABC kept moving the show around in different time slots to find its audience which was very successful during its entire four year-run with Season 1 on Wednesday nights for the 1975-1976 season. The next season it moved to Saturday nights for the next two seasons. The final season saw the show moved again to Tuesday nights until its cancellation in 1979. The show that eventually replaced "Starsky & Hutch" after four seasons was another Aaron Spelling produced series...the short-lived science fiction/drama "The Lazarus Syndrome" that lasted one season.