Cooler Than You’ll Ever Be
Got the Miami Vice first season DVD today. Holy crap, is this show perfect. The key to any great TV show–Homicide, The Simpsons, The Sopranos–is the way that it just shows up sui generis, simultaneously staking out its own unique territory and slamming the door behind it so that anything that comes afterward looks like the pathetic imitation it is. TV has metamorphosed so much in the last fifteen years that Vice can seem dated and corny, but looking at it through a twenty-first-century lens is akin to wondering why Robert Johnson didn’t mix in a drum-and-bass track with “Love In Vain.”
By current standards, the show’s got some seriously goofy elements–Sonny Crockett’s wacky alligator pet, Philip Michael Thomas’s acting, the occasionally melodramatic background music–but man, this show encapsulates the ’80s like nothing else. (Whether that’s a good thing or not depends on whether you lived through it.) Even though it’s constrained by ’80s network standards–which didn’t even allow dead bodies to be shown–it still hints at a darkness that shows like The Shield would deliver on years later. Being a good Southern boy, I expect my stories to have a strong setting–and Vice delivers that every episode. South Florida is a living, breathing character in this series.
So–Vice is good stuff. I watched it first as a high schooler, then more recently in reruns while I was handling Logan’s midnight feedings a year or so back. And it’s done strange things to my creativity…which I hope to reveal in the coming months.