Isaac Fischer | sacramento, ca United States | 10/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The second season of vice is arguably the best and here are some of the reasons why: The Prodigal Son -- the premiere two hour episode may be the best vice, ironic that it takes place in New York, not Miami. Features Penn Gillette and Jean Simmons. Out Where the Buses Don't Run -- brought up by another reviewer and for good reason. Great music and atmosphere featuring that guy from Animal House and The Insider. Definately Miami-- featuring Ted Nugent as a psychopathic drug dealer and Arielle Dombasle as his psychopathic girlfriend that Crockett almost falls for. Great music again and great ending featuring "Cry" by Cream. Little Miss Dangerous -- great music and a great story about a homicidal hooker who Tubbs takes under his wing. Trust Fund Pirates is also a great one -- rich, trust fund kids who take to being pirates and robbing drug smugglers on the open seas out of boredom features Rick Belzer and Noogie "Nug man" Lamonte. Bushido some fans did not care for it but I loved it. It was directed by Edward James Olmos and gives some background on Castillo's spook days as he goes after an old friend who has become a double agent. Different music and a different feel. A really great opening scene in this one as Crockett and Tubbs use night vision and Zito hides under the sand with a snorkel! Sons and LOvers is an important episode in which Tubbs former lover, Angelica, comes back (remember from Return of Calderone) with some bad news for Tubbs. This was an important episode for the history of vice and the Calderone saga. Unfortunatley, this season featured a couple of the lamer episodes such as: The Fix -- Bill Russell as a judge with a gambling habit forces his son to fix a basketball game (but does have a powerful ending) and French Twist -- where a french cop chases a french bad guy and Crockett falls (sort of) for the cop. I did not care for these two episodes, although they weren't horrible and I'll enjoy watching them again. But other than those two, this is probably the best season of vice by far!"
Best Season of Classic Vice
J. Bremmekamp | 12/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The second season of Miami Vice is undoubtedly the better of the first two, and therefore the best one featuring the "classic" Vice look & style. There are those who actually prefer the darker look of season three or even people who hold seasons four or five in higher esteem (*shudder*), but if you love Vice for the pastels, the Daytona Spyder and the contrast between light glamour and dark cesspits of crime, this is definitely the best episode for you.
Episode breakdown: Prodigal Son - 90 minute season opener. Crockett and Tubbs go to the Big Apple and take on a group of extremely ruthless and dangerous Colombians, who are actually backed by even more powerful forces. A great eipsode, even though it's not set in Miami. The sequence of Sonny walking the nightly New York streets while Glenn Frey's "You Belong to the City" is playing or the powerful showdown at the WTC come to mind.
Whatever Works - Dirty cops and the Santeria cult dominate this well done episode. Features an appearance by The Power Station performing their T.Rex cover "Bang a Gong (Get it On)". Again a nicely developing plot and great showdown here.
Out Where the Buses Don't Run - Crockett & Tubbs have to deal with a retired and kind of whacky vice cop who just might lead them to something big. Or not. Episode with a lot of funny moments but also a very strong ending featuring Dire Straits' "Brothers in Arms".
The Dutch Oven - one of the slightly weaker episodes, mainly featuring Trudy being torn between love and duty. Not bad but a bit lengthy. Good start though, when Trudy has to kill a suspect in the line of duty and has to deal with the ensuing investigation which puts heavy pressure on her.
Buddies - A young mother trying to make amends in Miami's night life and an old army buddy of Crockett's with ties to organized crime form the parallel plot lines of this episode. Good one, though not excellent.
Junk Love - very strong as well as very disturbing episode, involving a Napoleonic smuggler, his beautiful girlfriend and a very dark secret. Another good showdown.
Tale of the Goat - another cult plot, this time Voodoo. Plot is so-so, but well done and very enjoyable actually. Great acting on most parts. Towards the end Tubbs risks much and nearly pays a very high price.
Bushido - extremely strong episode, how anyone could feel otherwise is beyond me. Castillo gets cought up by his past and has to protect his former associate's wife and son from Russian agents. Features a great villain played by David Rasche (Sledge Hammer) and a memorable showdown in an old ruined villa on the Keys. Directed by Edward James Olmos.
Bought and Paid for - another episode featuring mainly supporting cast (namely Gina) but actually still a very good episode. Gina is out to nail the guy who raped her Haitian friend, but has a hard time doing so because of his father's wealth and connections. Great plot, great performance, rather weak showdown though. Also featuring a nice Lambo - Ferrari chase.
Back in the World - Johnson's first effort as director and not a bad one. Plot is about Crockett's army past reaching back to the last days of the Vietnam war and how characters from that time suddenly reappear in Miami's drug scene. Great plot, good performance, great showdown. Music is exclusively by The Doors throughout this episode.
Phil the Shill - the musical godfather of Vice finally making an appearance - and in a leading role, too. Phil Collins plays a shady game-show host and scammer who settles for a while in Miami and could lead the vice cops to a big time drug dealer. Very memorable episode. If it lacks anything then maybe some seriousness, it's one of the lighter episodes; but still: very much recommended.
Definitely Miami - this episode is so much Miami Vice, it borders on the verge of being cartoonesque. Seems to be THE best episode ever for most fans, though not for me. I find it to be horribly overdone. But whatever, since most people seem to agree on this one being absolutly great, let's say it's at least not bad. Crockett gets involved with an oh so helpless but great looking girl, which in turn is tied to a scamming and murdering drug dealer played by Ted Nugent. Plot and performance aside, the music is actually great once more, the episode features many visually appealing scenes with great camerawork and I have to agree on the ending being outstanding as well.
Yankee Dollar - good but not excellent episode. Nevertheless outstanding for a single scene... a single picture actually: close up of Crockett's face holding a suspect at gun point at his deceased girfliend's house. One of Johnson's finest moments. The overall plot is a bit standard and a bit unexciting, but still a really good episode, last but not least because of the good performances.
One Way Ticket - another very good one. French Canadians, a killed DA and a questionable defense attorney form a plot which doesn't win prizes for innovation but is enjoyable nonetheless. Very well done episode with a great ending.
Little Miss Dangerous - Tubbs tries to help a young [scarlet woman] who might or might not be involved in the killings of a psychopath. A strong plot and a great performance, don't miss out on this one. Once more a great showdown.
Florence Italy - if there are any really weak episodes in this season, THIS is undoubtedly one of them. Which is a pity, because choosing the Miami racing scene as a plot element sounds intrigiung at first. The realization sucks though. The plot is straight and forgettable, the acting sub par - an episode not worthy of this season.
French Twist - really great ep. Unusual plot involving Interpol agents and an international drug dealing assassin, well performed, well done.
The Fix - good episode about a gambling judge and his basketball playing son. A bit cheesy at times, a bit predictable, but overall not bad.
Payback - another outstanding episode. An imprisoned dealer gets his revenge on Crockett by making his supplier (played by Frank Zappa) think that Crockett has stolen $3 million dollars drug money from him. Great boat scenes.
Free Verse - ambivalent episode. Great plot, great performances and for many people probably a great ep. Me, I find the loud, hard partying, chairbound but lyrically ingenious and politically motivated exiled Cuban grandpa quite unnerving and clichéd. But see for yourself - if you like his character, you'll love this episode.
Trust Fund Pirates - good episode. Trust fund babies playing murderous pirates and a trafficking pilot who could help Crockett & Tubbs in finding those brats. Really well done, another one worth seeing.
Sons and Lovers - an outstanding last episode for an outstanding season. Angelina Calderon is back and she didn't come alone: she brought her son and tries to protect his daddy - Tubbs - from being killed by her young, but ruthless, half-brother. It pretty much all ends in tears, but true Vice fans wouldn't want it any other way.
And just in case you missed my point so far: if there's any remote chance that you might ever get at least ONE season of Miami Vice on DVD - get THIS one."
Pastel Colors, Good Music, and Awesome Cars in Excellent 198
Kim Anehall | Chicago, IL USA | 12/16/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The 1980s were a decade of gaudy use of pastel colors and digitalized music that became extremely popular. It was also booming decade for the business community through the emergence of the yuppie. The yuppies were now the new generation after the hippie, but instead of embracing love, they cherished the almighty dollar. Through the quick expansion of the 1980's generation a new culture emerged that clinched on the old traditions of the previous generation - the drug use. However, the drugs now became stronger and more "chic", as people began to powder their noses.
Through the increasing wealth and the growing demand of celebrity drugs such as cocaine, a rich and almost untouchable criminal culture began a symbiosis around those who could afford the coke. This criminal culture brought New York detective Ricardo "Rico" Tubbs (Philip Michael Thomas) to Miami, as he sought vengeance in the pilot episode in 1984. Fortunately, Rico bumped into the former college football star and Vietnam vet James "Sonny" Crockett (Don Johnson) who works for the Miami Vice, a covert part of the Miami Police Department that battles organized crime with strong drug affiliations. Together they take on the American drug cartel and other hoodlums causing disturbing violence by pushing drugs in the southern Florida.
The second season opens with Tubbs and Sonny trying to stop Colombian drug dealers, as they are killing FBI agents in the episode The Prodigal Son. It brings them to New York, which kicks off the second season with an intense hunt for the ruthless criminals. Many of the 22 episodes are of the same caliber as The Prodigal Son, and maybe even better, but there are a few episodes that fall below the average on the measuring stick. Luckily, there are episodes such as Bushido, which is one of the better parts where Sonny and Tubbs are up against both the CIA and the KGB, while trying to help a CIA operative. Back in the World is also a great episode where Sonny faces his tormenting past from Vietnam War. Ultimately, the second season wraps up with an exceptional part where Tubbs learns that his nemesis, the leader of the Calderon family, has a deep desire to see him dead.
The second season shows a strong progress in the making of the show, as the characters, the stories, and the overall feel displays significant maturation from the first season. On example is the focus in the first season that was almost only on Sonny and Tubbs, however, in the second season the audience gets to know the other members of the Miami Vice on a more personal level. This helps the audience to relate with the heroic duo in the TV series. The visuals are also becoming more alive and not as rigid, as the show now feels more comfortable with its identity.
The first thing most people remember from viewing Miami Vice is the theme score by Jan Hammer, which accentuates the 1980s atmosphere with its highly digitalized music. Another great thing with Miami Vice is its use of quality music from musicians such as The Doors, U2, Billy Ocean, Phil Collins, Chaka Khan, and Madonna. Naturally, several visual facets also play a significant part to the police drama's success such as the loosely hanging Armani suits with a T-shirt underneath and the luxurious sports cars in subtropical Miami. The combination between the music and the visual generated a similar tone that one could experience from many of the music videos of the 1980s, as the show pleaded the viewers emotional side through highly thrilling action and the cool characters.
Personally, I watched this show several times during the 1980s, and I thought their outfits were the coolest thing on earth. Believe it, or not, but I wore a white suit jacket with pastel colored T-shirts, I even had the pastel colored socks. So I guess, I must say that I thought the show was great back in the 1980s and I still think the show has great viewing value, even though I no longer wear white suit jackets with pastel shirts. "
The underappreciated heart of "Miami Vice"
L. Chin | 08/01/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The release of the series DVDs comes at the perfect time to answer the critics with poor memories who are now stupidly hailing the new "Vice" film as "darkier and grittier" than the TV series. They forget how dark and gritty---and how timely, potent and groundbreaking---the original series was. The art direction, music, colors, the "cool", were innovative, but mere superficialities. It was the political narrative that was the heart of this series. "Miami Vice" carved open the hypocrisy of America's "war on drugs" like nothing before, or since.
It was this hypocrisy, and series' meditations on the duplicity and corruption of the intelligence world, the multinational narco-economy, that made every double and triple cross so explosive and shocking, and this context that let us feel the angst of Crockett, Tubbs and the other characters. These were among the finest, boldest, most TIMELESS moments in TV history.
Season 2 found the series at its popular zenith, with the initial hip gradually giving way to even more powerful, even darker moments. The season was full of highlights.
"Prodigal Son" was a stunning standalone two-episode movie with Crockett and Tubbs pursuing Colombian drug lords all the way to New York, and the center of world finance, and to America's own involvement in the drug economy. This unprecedented epic was possibly the series' zenith, and one of many episodes that puts the Colin Farrell-Jamie Foxx film to shame. "Out Where Buses Don't Run" was a poem on obession, bitterly poignant. "Back in the World" brought back the ghosts of the Vietnam War, and US covert operations. (The Ira Stone arc would return again in Season 3, in the most timely manner.)
I sincerely hope that the entire series, the final seasons (3-5), are made available on DVD. These underappreciated episodes were full of gems, such as "Shadow in the Dark" (a perfect serial killer procedural, the precursor to "Manhunter"), a couple of fine examples of quirky Florida crime humor, a very scary episode with Crockett pursuing a maker of snuff films, and the powerful two-hour series finale "Freefall".
The Best Police Drama... Ever
J. Lum | Bealeton, VA United States | 10/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"More than 15 years after it's original airing, these episodes of Miami Vice comprise some of the best TV has to offer. Season 1 and Season 2 of this police drama are both excellent. Standout episodes of this season include: "Out Where the Buses Don't Run" - Sonny and Rico cross paths with a potentially schizophrenic ex-cop with an obsession for the activities of drug lord that was thought long-dead; "Bushido" - Castillo and his crew find themselves tracking the activities of one of Castillo's former associates from the intelligence community. We get to see some emoting from the emotionless Lieutenant; "Yankee Dollar" - Sonny investigates the death of a close friend; "One Way Ticket" - A lawyer that Sonny has crossed paths with has a crisis of conscience when his employer takes action against his friends; and "Payback" - Sonny and Rico, having trouble gaining the confidence of a drug lord, enlist the aid of a DEA agent with a secret. All these episodes are punctuated with the spot-on perfect music for each scene and have some great guest stars and performances. Don't miss this season of Vice!"