One of the most well-known and beloved shows of the late 70's/early 80's, "CHiPS" focused on a pair of California Highway Patrol motorcycle officers, Officer Jon Baker (Larry Wilcox) and Officer Francis Llewellyn 'Ponch' Poncherello (Erik Estrada). Each episode saw the two in hot persuit of crime rings, car thieves, bikers and occasionally, helping out motorists in trouble.
One of the elements that still stands out about the series are the motorcycle chases, which are really rather impressive, especially considering the show's budget and age. These sequences are mostly pretty tense and filmed quite well, as they do a nice job of giving the audience the feeling of weaving through traffic on a bike while in persuit on a busy highway.
The series is still macho, goofy fun and the second season does improve matters, as the series seems to have a bit more of a budget behind it to go a little bigger on action and open the show up slightly. While not exactly epic by any means, "CHIPS" seems a tad bit bigger in season two. The chemistry between Wilcox and Estrada remains another reason for the show's success and the duo's performances (as well as Robert Pine as Sergeant Getraer) were enjoyable. The cast seems more comfortable in their roles in the second season and the creators have a little more fun with the show's mixture of everything from the intense (an escort mission in "The Volunteers") to the completely absurd (frat boys out for vengence after they get busted for pot in "The Grudge".)
The stories aren't too vastly different from what you'll find in many of the other crime dramas from the era, but "CHiPS" at least doesn't take itself too terribly seriously, and offers some mildly funny one-liners and comedic moments scattered throughout each episode. "CHiPS" may look pretty dated at this point, but I found the series still surprisingly fun years later.
23. 2- 1 16 Sep 78 Peaks and Valleys
Some thanks: The guys are accused of negligence after a roadside rescue. Some moves: Ponch enters a disco contest.
24. 2- 2 23 Sep 78 The Volunteers
It's no easy road when Ponch and Jon escort a convoy carrying volatile chlorine gas.
25. 2- 3 30 Sep 78 Family Crisis
Fast company: Jewel thieves use a tricked-out movie stunt car. Jon's nephew falls in with joyriders.
26. 2- 4 7 Oct 78 Disaster Squad
Film at 11, chaos anytime. A TV news crew creates turmoil for Ponch and Jon.
27. 2- 5 14 Oct 78 Neighborhood Watch
The guys are rotated into neighborhood duty..and into encounters with skateboarders and reckless driver.
28. 2- 6 21 Oct 78 Trick or Trick
At night, they ride. Halloween patrol leads to run-ins with costumed beggars and bonafide bandits.
29. 2- 7 4 Nov 78 High Flyer
Ponch thwarts an auto-theft ring while on chopper assignment. A teen shows up at Jon's door at 1 a.m..
30. 2- 8 11 Nov 78 The Grudge
They pledge a payback. Frat boys busted for pot seek revenge against arresting officers Ponch and Jon.
31. 2- 9 18 Nov 78 The Sheik
A pompous Middle Eastern royal claims diplomatic immunity during his encounters with our heroes.
32. 2-10 25 Nov 78 Return of the Turks
Ponch's old buddies relive their hot-rodding past. A wannabe with ties to Jon poses as a biker officer
33. 2-11 2 Dec 78 Supercycle
Catch him if you can! A caped motorcycle daredevil performs his stunts on the public streets.
34. 2-12 9 Dec 78 High Explosive
Jan befriends a troubled youth who fired a pellet gun near a freeway and caused an accident.
35. 2-13 16 Dec 78 Down Time
Put out an APB for blonde, beautiful burglars. Ponch's prized car is boosted by a cadre of female thieves.
36. 2-14 6 Jan 79 Repo Man
Gotcha! The guys take down an auto-repossession scam. Jon's heroics make him a minor celebrity.
37. 2-15 13 Jan 79 Mait Team
The Multi-discipline Accident Investigation Team seeks the cause of a deadly chain-reaction crash.
38. 2-16 20 Jan 79 Pressure Point
Cover (c)ops. Our heroes go undercover, posing as a diplomat and his driver to nab extortioners.
39. 2-17 27 Jan 79 The Matchmakers
Cupid wears a badge: Ponch and Jon think a widow and a veteran officer would be perfect together.
40. 2-18 3 Feb 79 Rally 'Round the Bank
A series of drive-thru bank robberies has the CHP on alert. Ponch's mom comes to visit.
41. 2-19 17 Feb 79 Bio-Rhythms
Load of trouble. A female trucker faces violent industry rivals. The CHPers take part in a bio-rhythm study.
42. 2-20 24 Feb 79 Quarantine
No one in or out. The department's in disease quarantine. Oh, yes, what appears to be a bomb is in the corridor, too.
43. 2-21 3 Mar 79 CHP-BMX
Sgt. Getraer gets careless with evidence. The unit sponsors a BMX team. Safety first, everyone!
44. 2-22 10 Mar 79 Ride the Whirlwind
Trailblazers. CHP initiates a pilot trail-bike patrol. Guess who's part of it!
VIDEO: "CHiPS" is presented in 1.33:1 full-frame by Warner Brothers Home Entertainment. Sharpness and detail aren't too bad, as the presentation looked crisp and clear throughout much of the show, save for a few soft-looking scenes here-and-there.
A few slight instances of artifacting and edge halos were also spotted. Colors looked a touch subdued, but seemed accurate to how the show has always looked, if my memory of the series is correct. In my review of the first season, I did discuss that the elements used for that season set did not appear to be in the best of shape, showing some considerable wear at times. However, the second season did look somewhat better, as the episodes did Overall, the series did look somewhat more worn than I'd expected, but otherwise fine.
SOUND: The show's mono soundtrack fared pretty well, as while the show's classic score could sound a bit flat, it was still clear and without any distortion or other issues. Dialogue remained crisp throughout the show, with no issues.
EXTRAS: While it's not really an extra, "The Greatest Adventures of CHIPS" is an episode that essentially acts as a "best of". A new featurette, "The Real CHIPs", has Estrada taking a look at actual California Highway Patrol. While not exactly in-depth, it is interesting to see the real day-to-day activity of the CHIPS.
Final Thoughts: "CHIPS" remains entertaining in the second season, which offers improved plots, entertaining performances and some very fine action sequences for a '70's show. The DVD boasts somewhat better image quality than the first season, fine audio and a couple of minor extras. Recommended for fans.