Some television ages well, some doesn't. For every Mary Tyler Moore Show that still rocks, there's a Family Ties that's painfully mired in its era. One would think this would be the case for Moonlighting, the detective ser... more »ies of the mid-1980s starring Cybill Shepherd (on a career rebound) and Bruce Willis (then unknown). The ingredients are all there: '80s fashion, hourlong TV mystery plots, Wayfarer sunglasses... Fortunately--and gloriously--this is not the case. As fresh as it was when it first aired, Moonlighting is a prime example of groundbreaking television at its peak and a timeless lesson in the science of star chemistry. Shepherd, as the ice-queen model Maddie Hayes, and Willis, as the "do bears bear, do bees be?" hipster-doofus David Addison, were the quintessential match made in hell, thrown together under dubious circumstances. In this pilot episode, Shepherd, having discovered that her accountant has left her broke, proceeds to liquidate her assets, including the City of Angels Detective Agency, headed up by Willis. However, thanks to a dead body that pops out of an elevator, the two pair up to solve a case involving a broken watch and some pilfered Nazi loot, hoping to get some publicity (and cash) for their newly rechristened Blue Moon Investigations. The plot is negligible, involving a dead jogger, a mohawked hit man, and a sadistic henchman, but the mystery was never Moonlighting's selling point--it was the sparring, the swearing, the sparks that Willis and Shepherd created together. Watching these two at their best (before the series slid downhill when they finally slept together), you'll realize that neither has ever been paired with a better costar; they bring out something in each other that's undiluted antagonism mixed with irresistible attraction. Discounting some of Shepherd's fashion choices and hairstyles, and Willis's, well, hair (he had some), this is timeless farce and screwball comedy in the tradition of His Girl Friday, snappily penned by Glenn Gordon Carron. Also featuring Allyce Beasley as rhyming secretary Agnes DiPesto, the only supporting character in the series who could intrude upon the Shepherd-Willis repartee without upsetting their rhythm. --Mark Englehart« less
"I was hoping for better, I love Moonlighting, but as usual a third party has handled the transfer. DVD is great if the encoding is done correctly, but once again on this DVD it has not. It is not good enough that any non moving part of the picture "freezes" very noticibly constantly throughout the DVD, I would rather watch the VHS copy. And I know this is not only happening on TV Shows, some of the movies are just as bad. If we the public, just accept this, nothing will be done and DVD`s will carry on coming out at this poor level. I have shown this disc to many friends, some of which couldn`t watch it all the way through because the constant background moving/frozen/moving/frozen made them feel ill. 10/10 for Bruce & Cybill, 1/10 for the transfer :("
No flies on Dave and Maddie in the "Moonlighting" pilot
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 06/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With the first two season of "Moonlighting" now out on DVD, the demand for just the pilot episode will be considerably less than before. But there is still something special about our introduction to Dave and Maddie, especially since it is more fun to remember the beginning of the series than to recall how it all ended. Written by Glen Gordon Caron and directed by Robert Butler, the "Moonlighting" pilot aired as a two-hour television movie on March 3, 1985 (in retrospect the "in like a lion, out like a lamb" idea certainly fits this show). The chief charms here were both the amount of dialogue that Caron was cramming into the script and the sparks that were flying between the two stars. Little did we know there would be much more of both in the future. At this point we were simply excited by the idea that not having flies on you is a good thing and that if you are being questioned by the police bringing a pair of sunglasses or ordering pizza with your one phone call would be good things.
Maddie Hayes (Cybil Shepherd) is a famous ex-model known as the "Blue Moon Girl," because of the ads she did for a shampoo. When her accountant embezzles her fortune, Maddie has to sell off the few failing businesses she owned as tax write offs. One of those is the City of Angels Detective Agency, run by David Addison (Bruce Willis), who wants to keep his job, his staff and his company car(s) (not necessarily in that order). So he tries to talk Maddie into forming a partnership. The only problem is that, at least at first, they cannot stand each other. He thinks she is a "blonde piece of fluff" and she considers him a "sissy fighter." So the question is can they make it through the pilot without falling in love with each other. The catalyst becomes the case they stumbled on when a dying man produces a broken watch from his mouth and slips it onto Maddie's wrist before he drops dead, courtesy of a knife in the back. Whether she wants to or not, Maddie Hayes is going to find out what it means to be a detective.
When I watched the pilot again for the first time in about a decade I kept thinking that there was something a little strange about it, but I simply dismissed such thoughts because like any pilot the actors are just starting to find their characters. Then it suddenly dawned on me why the episode sounded strange but still looked great after twenty years: Dave and Maddie are talking to slow in this pilot. At the time we were all marveling at how fast they talked on "Moonlight," but they are not yet up to warp speed in this first effort. This was also before the show become an example of postmodernism, primarily through its self-reflexivity, but even from the start you can see that this series is a dramedy. Remember, this was a show that was being nominated for Emmys as a dramatic series while being considered a comedy by the Golden Globes. Both, of course, were right. Today the idea that "Designing Women" or "Gilmore Girls" are situation comedies even though they are hour-long programs is not a radical idea, but it sure was twenty years ago.
In terms of the supporting cast in the pilot, Allyce Beasley as Agnes DiPesto is only on the cusp of becoming endearing because besides answering the phone in rhyme and having a bucket fall on her head she is really just background in this one. Among the guest stars the two who stand out are Dennis Lipscomb as Simon, whose slow and measured cadences stand out quite well in marked contrast to the speedy delivery of the two stars. Plus he appreciates the finesse of the word "duress." Then there is Jim McKrell as Dr. Spellner, Maddie's dinner date, who is wonderfully oblivious that his smooth condescension is not going over well with anybody, let alone Maddie. For familiar faces the guy with the blond Mohawk, whose name is apparently Klaus Gunter, is Dennis Stewart from "Grease," while Allistair, Simon's Man, is Brian Thompson, who goes on to be Luke and then the Judge on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (the television series, not the movie). Die hard fans of the series are going to want the entire show on DVD, but for those who just want to remember how "Moonlighting" was such a breath of fresh air, this pilot episode certainly suffices."
The best tv show ever
Lawrance M. Bernabo | 01/11/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I grew up in the 80s watching Moonlighting when i was in my 20s. I fell i love with that show and the incredible chemistry between Bruce Willis and Cybil Sheppard. There will never be a chemistry like that ever again with any other tv characters. Cybil is gorgeous, and Bruce is handsome, and to watch them together is pure magic. I think Moonlighting was the greatest show in tv history. It was original, imaginative, innovative and ground-breaking. I've yet to see a tv show that can match it. Everyone loved to watch David and Maddie fight and banter back and forth with the funny dialogue. That was the main reason we all tuned in was to see the sparks fly. Moonlighting introduced the world to Bruce Willis, one of Hollywood's most underrated actors ever. He's one my all time favorite actors, and once Moonlighting ended, his career really took off, but no one will ever forget his stint on Moonlighting. I'm obsessed with that show and am glad to see that the pilot episode is finally on dvd. I had that episode on vhs for over a decade. The theme song is also one of my top ten favorite songs ever. I recommend this disc as a shining example of a timeless show. Yes, if you can look past the fashions and haircuts, this show is timeless. My only wish is that they decide to release the ENTIRE series on dvd, not just the pilot. I'm sure it will sell out. Many of the people reviewing the dvd are wondering why Cybil Shepard wasn't in the audio commentary. Well i hate to break it to the fans, but in real life Cybil doesn't really like Bruce Willis, especially during the last season of the show. She has publicly stated back then that she couldn't stand him at all. I'm sure her feelings mellowed a bit over the years, but i really doubt she'd want to sit in the same room with him to do an audio commentary."
Cincy Kid | North America | 04/26/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"At about an hour and a half in length, this is the pilot episode, the one that set the standard for the show. It is fast paced, witty, charming, and romantic. All the best qualities that the show retained until near the end of it's run. If you ever enjoyed Moonlighting, you'll love this."
Javier Moreno | San Francisco Bay Area, California | 02/07/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Now, where are the DVD's with the complete seasons? Come on! Cybill and Bruce deserve a digital treatment! I remember watching the show when I was thirteen, and I loved it. It's good to see the pilot episode again."