The First Season
In the late 1980s, a new television aired on NBC called Baywatch. The series did not do very well and NBC cancelled it at the end of its first year. The series went into syndication and individual funding sources helped keep it alive. In 1991, Baywatch started its second season. Afterwards, Baywatch grew in popularity and ran until 2001--its eleventh season with two hundred and forty-two episodes. The series has been herald as one of the most popular (in terms of audience numbers, not necessarily quality) television series worldwide.
Baywatch, in its first nine seasons, takes place on the sunny beaches of California. The final two seasons followed Hasselhoff's character relocating to the beaches of Hawaii. Baywatch's stories deal with beautiful lifeguards saving drowning swimmers and thwarting criminal masterminds. Another major aspect that Baywatch is well-known for is its beautiful female cast that runs on the beach in slow motion while certain parts of their bodies bounce.
This review covers the "first season". While it is dubbed as the first season, it is not really the first season of the show. The episodes included in this set come from the series first season in syndication. First Look Home Entertainment, the group putting out the DVDs, started the season numbering from the series' first season in syndication. The actual first season that NBC aired is being included in the syndicated season releases. For instance, this release includes the original pilot episode "Panic at Malibu Pier". It is also important to note that due to licensing issues, the two-part season premiere episode "Nightmare Bay" (from the syndicated season one) is not included in this set.
Headlining the season one cast is Mitch Buchannon (David Hasselhoff). Mitch is a Los Angeles County lifeguard. He is in charge of the lifeguard team. He is also a single parent trying to raise his son Hobie (Jeremy Jackson) while managing his career. Eddie Kramer (Billy Warlock) is the young, charming lifeguard with a heart. He is your average good guy who tries to go out of his way for others. Shauni McClain (Erika Eleniak) is similar to Eddie. She has a good heart and continually finds herself overly involved in situations trying to help people. The two are engaged in a romantic relationship.
Harvey Miller (Tom McTigue) is the woman-crazy lifeguard. He adds a brief bit of humor with a non-serious personality. Don Thorpe (Monte Markham) is Captain of the Los Angeles County lifeguards. He is Mitch's direct superior. Garner Ellerbee (Gregory Alan-Williams) is the police officer who helps the Baywatch crew out on occasion when their paths cross criminals and murderers. He is a reoccurring character, but shows up frequently.
The season one content has stories that include elements like drama, comedy, and action. The actual focus varies from episode to episode. Some episodes are very dramatic like "The One That Got Away", where Vanessa Angel guest stars as a lifeguard who is forced to relive traumatic events when a crazed fisherman tries to assault her. Some other dramatic stories include "Thin Or Die", Eddie teaches an overweight girl how to feel good about herself, "If Looks Could Kill", Mitch gets a little too close to a wonderful woman who turns out to be a killer, and "Big Monday", Hobie tries to show he isn't afraid of anything by surfing deadly waves. Many of these episodes also feature a lot of cheesy action with guns and fight scenes.
Other episodes have a humorous angle. A good example is "Money, Honey", where Mitch is given a chance to make extra cash by starring in a movie. The overall notion of the storyline and how the characters carry themselves produces fun, light humor. And of course the episode "Now Sit Right Back And You'll Hear A Tale" that includes some of the Gilligan's Island cast.
Overall, Baywatch's first season in syndication provides a variety of episodes that you will either love or hate. As for the general content, I did not care for it much. The acting performances are far from quality and the writing rarely includes anything close to average. Nor are the characters anything special. There are a few aspects I enjoyed about them, but not enough to really get into the show. The bottom line, I think this show is best reserved for the fans looking to subdue nostalgia. However, if you can catch re-runs on television, you might be better off saving your money.
12. Reunion: Mitch attends his high school reunion, rekindling an old flame with ex-wife Gail, while Eddie plays father for a day.
The release has subtitle support in the English and Spanish languages.
Baywatch Through The Years is a photo gallery of the cast in action and posing. There are a total of thirty pictures.
A Conversation With The Creators (16:00) is an interview featurette with the show's co-creators and executive producers Michael Berk, Doug Schwartz, and Greg Bonann. The interview begins with Berk in mid-sentence introducing their topic of discussion, which is the episode "The One That Got Away". They talk about problems they had with British censorship. Then they talk about how the show had a lot of freedom because they did not have a network directing them. The remainder of the discussion continues with them talking about different aspects of the show and its impact.
Clip of Girls on the Beach (2:00) is an Easter Egg (I made up the name!). It is accessed from disc 5's menu. While "A Conversation With The Creators" is selected, press the right arrow on the DVD remote to highlight the female lifeguard shape. The clip is a montage of scenes with girls on the beach, lifeguards and civilians.
Note: In addition to this season not including all of its episodes, music has been replaced, most notably the opening theme song.