One of the best shows of the 90's, "Wings" enjoyed a solid run on NBC from 1990-1997, enjoying critical acclaim and respectable ratings, despite increasing competition. The series took place in Nantucket (while interiors were obviously filmed on a soundstage, the occasional extriors were taken at the Nantucket Airport) and focused on Joe Hackett (Tim Daly), who ran a small local airline out of the small airport. The opening episode saw Joe reunited with long-lost brother Brian (Steven Weber), a smart screw-up who has just suffered a break-up and lost his job.
After a puzzle left by their recently departed father eventually leads them back to where they currently are, the two brothers decide to work together. Joining them are attendant Faye Cochran (Rebecca Schull), dim (but always interesting) mechanic Lowell Mather (Thomas Haden Church) and lunch counter owner and childhood friend of the Hacketts, Helen Chapel (Crystal Bernard). There's also competition in Roy Biggins (David Schramm), the owner of the rival local airline.
The series did get going with a little more steam once the cast was filled out with Tony Shaloub as local taxi driver Antonio Scarpacci and Amy Yasbeck as Helen's upper crust older sister, Casey. Weber and Daly offer great lead efforts and play off each other well as two very different brothers. Bernard is spunky and enjoyable as a romantic interest and Church gets great lines and offers a terrific deadpan delivery. Schramm is also entertaining as the "villain" of the show.
The sixth season of the series saw the show start to wind down, as it was the last season for Thomas Hayden Church, who saw a rise to fame thanks to his memorable portrayal of the eccentric mechanic. While some thought that the actor may return for the finale, he did not and was replaced in the seventh season by Budd Bronski (Brian Haley). Many considered the departure of Lowell the point where the show had "jumped the shark".
This season's core focus was the relationship between Joe and Helen, who continued to have their ups and downs - even breaking up at one point - before working towards a wedding in the season finale. While these two were not exactly the most interesting characters on the series, Bernard and Daly paired up together added up to more than the sum of their parts, as the two had great chemistry with one another.
While much of the season was focused on Joe and Helen's impending wedding, the other characters did get their chance to shine in a few episodes. Lowell highlights include the amusing "The Waxman Cometh" and " Portrait of the Con Artist as a Young Man" and Antonio gets "Et Tu, Antonio?" and "All's Fare".
97. 40346-097 20 Sep 94 Whose Wife is it Anyway?
- After her one-night stand with Joe, Helen rushes off to New York to be with fiancee Davis. Yet, Joe heads off after her and ends up proposing.
98. 40346-098 27 Sep 94 Twisted Sister
- Helen's sister Casey returns for the wedding, but after she ruins Joe's dinner plans, Helen confronts her and gets a surprise.
99. 40346-099 4 Oct 94 The Shrink
- When Brian becomes increasingly depressed about Alex leaving him, Joe gets him to see a shrink, who winds up treating Joe instead.
100. 40346-100 11 Oct 94 The Spark and How to Get It
- Convinced he's over Alex, Brian hits the singles scene.
101. 40346-101 18 Oct 94 The Waxman Cometh
- When he inherits $25K from a relative, Lowell buys the town's wax museum, which he considers a "good investment".
102. 40346-102 1 Nov 94 Is That a Ten-Foot Sandwich or Are You Just Glad to See Me?
- Casey and Brian are planning an engagement party for Helen and Joe, but everyone thinks they're having an affair.
103. 40346-104 8 Nov 94 All's Fare
- Just as Antonio gets the nerve to ask out Casey, she gets swept off her feet by a businessman.
104. 40346-103 15 Nov 94 Miss Jenkins
- Brian is thrilled when his attractive 9th grade teacher asks him out, but not so thrilled when he gets low marks in the bedroom.
105. 40346-105 22 Nov 94 If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother
- When Helen's mother comes to visit, Helen thinks it's to give her a big check for the wedding.
106. 40346-106 29 Nov 94 The Wrong Stuff
- In order to compete with Roy, Brian convinces Joe to hire a legendary astronaut to promote Sandpiper Air. The only problem is that the astronaut turns out to be an obnoxious drunk.
107. 40346-107 13 Dec 94 Insanity Claus
- When Antonio eats a stressed-out air traffic controller's last doughnut, he holds the entire airport hostage on Christmas Eve.
108. 40346-108 3 Jan 95 She's ... Back
- Sandy Cooper is back and Joe can't seem to make anyone believe she's obsessed with him.
109. 40346-109 10 Jan 95 Have I Got a Couple for You
- Joe and Helen are bored with life on Nantucket until Roy introduces them to a couple they love - and who aren't so crazy about them.
110. 40346-110 31 Jan 95 Fools Russian
- Roy orders a Russian mail-order bride, who turns out to be out of his league. Even after she meets someone else, he won't let her go.
111. 40346-111 7 Feb 95 Let's Call the Whole Thing Off
- After Joe and Helen crash a wedding to check out the venue, their bickering causes them to have a huge fight and break up.
112. 40340-112 9 Feb 95 Remembrance of Flings Past (1)
113. 40340-113 14 Feb 95 Remembrance of Flings Past (2)
- Brian's old girlfriend, Sarah appears, but she may have arrived with news for Joe instead.
114. 40340-114 21 Feb 95 Gone But Not Faygotten
- Fay decides that it's time to retire, so Joe hires Casey, who turns out to be an excellent worker. Meanwhile, Fay begins to reconsider her choice.
115. 40340-116 28 Feb 95 Ex, Lies and Videotape
- Brian is asked to appear on a popular women's daytime talk show, only to be surprised when Alex appears.
116. 40340-115 21 Mar 95 Portrait of the Con Artist as a Young Man
- Casey gets Lowell a gallery showing of his metal sculptures, but he freaks out when he's asked to make more pieces.
117. 40340-117 4 Apr 95 The Love Life and Times of Joe and Helen
- Brian gets a video camera and makes a video diary about Joe and Helen's relationship, interviewing their friends.
118. 40340-120 2 May 95 A House to Die For
- With Cranky Carolton Blanchard at death's door, his greedy nephew starts selling off his possessions, offering Joe and Helen his house at a bargain price.
119. 40340-118 9 May 95 Nuptials Off
- After Helen realizes she forgot to mail in her paperwork for the divorce from Antonio, she schemes to fly them to Mexico for a quick divorce.
120. 40340-119 16 May 95 Et Tu, Antonio?
- Antonio plays host to his successful cousin, then finds himself falling for his cousin's fiancee.
121. 40340-121 23 May 95 Boys Just Want to Have Fun (1)
122. 40340-122 23 May 95 Here It Is: The Big Wedding (2)
- Casey throws Helen a bachelorette party, while Brian throws a disaster of a party for Joe. Then, there's the wedding day, which isn't without some obstacles.
VIDEO: "Wings" is presented by Paramount in 1.33:1 full-frame, the show's original aspect ratio. Sharpness and detail are pretty standard throughout, as while the picture never looked crystal clear, it at least mostly appeared moderately crisp and well-defined.
Flaws were spotted at times, but never really took away from the presentation. Some minor shimmering and artifacts were spotted, but the source elements looked to be clean. Colors remained bright and nicely saturated, with no smearing or other issues. Overall, the DVD presentations of the show remain just satisfactory.
SOUND: The series is presented here with a clean, clear stereo soundtrack. Dialogue, music and other elements sound crisp and never distorted or otherwise problematic.
EXTRAS: Unfortunately, the show continues to be offered with no extras. For a series that was this popular, I hope that at least the last season will maybe offer some kind of retrospective featurette when it is eventually released.
Final Thoughts: "Wings" still cranks out some funny moments in the sixth season, but the series does start to become a little more uneven as the show begins to show signs of winding down. The DVD set disappoints, as while the audio/video quality is fine, once again we get no supplements whatsoever. Recommended for fans.