I thought it would be fun to look at some of the TV shows our favourite action icons have starred in, making the transition from the big screen to a weekly slot on our small screens. Let’s take a look at some of this TV shows…..
The Crow: Stairway To Heaven (1998)
Exactly one year after being brutally murdered, rock musician Eric Draven (Mark Dacascos) returns to Earth, searching for a way to right what was wronged and to reunite with his missing soulmate Shelly Webster. Guided by a mystical Spirit Crow, he is neither living nor dead, possessing strange new powers to aid him in his search for revenge which, ultimately, must become a quest for redemption. It originally aired from September 25, 1998 to May 22, 1999, consisting of 22 episodes.
Street Justice (1991)
When moody cop Adam Beaudreaux (Carl Weathers) isn’t serving the good citizens of his Pacific Northwest community, he relaxes at Malloy’s, a bar he owns jointly with the daughter of his former partner. Also working at Malloy’s is Grady Jameson (Bryan Genesse), who had saved Adam’s life many years ago in Vietnam after his Canadian missionary parents were killed when he was 8. Grady also is skilled in martial arts, a talent he puts to good use helping Adam fight bad guys. Miguel, a former gang member whom Adam and Grady befriended, also lends a hand from time to time. At the office, Adam’s boss is Lt. Charles Pine. The series began airing in syndication in 1991, and was canceled in 1993 after 2 seasons.
Martial Law ( 1998)
The basic storyline is that Sammo Law (Sammo Hung), a well-respected Chinese cop, is transferred to America. As he works for the police department, fighting crime in Los Angeles, he is met with a clash in culture. He is also the mentor of Grace “Pei Pei” Chen, an undercover officer. When American techniques do not work, Sammo employs some Chinese cop work to get the job done. The show lasted two seasons, before being cancelled due to high production costs and Hung being unhappy with the writing of season 2.
The Magnificent Seven (1998)
Seven men from the western United States band together and form the law in a town that, for better or for worse, needs their protection from the lawlessness of the west. They consist of an infamous gunslinger, an ex-bounty hunter, a smooth-talking con artist, a young eastern amateur, a womanising gunman, a freed slave turned healer, and a former preacher seeking penance. While they originally band together to protect a dusty Seminole village from renegade former Confederate soldiers (whereas the movie was about protecting a Mexican village from bandits), they later come together to protect a budding town from the constant riffraff that threatens to destroy it. Each character gets shot at least once, with varying degrees of severity, and five — Chris, Ezra, Buck, Josiah, and Vin — are jailed during the course of the series. The cast of The Magnificent Seven included Michael Biehn, Eric Close, and Ron Perlman and Dale Midkiff. Robert Vaughn, who played one of the seven gunmen in the original 1960 movie, had a recurring role as a crusading judge on the series. The Magnificent Seven ran for 2 seasons before being cancelled.
The Beast (2009)
Veteran FBI agent Charles Barker (Patrick Swayze), who isn’t afraid to break rules to get the job done, trains new rookie parter Ellis Dove in his pushing-the-envelope style of agenting. But if Dove is having trouble learning the ropes, it could be because he’s a little distracted: An FBI Internal Affairs team that suspects Barker may have gone rogue is pressuring Dove to work as a double agent and keep them posted on his mentor. The series, which only ran for one season, debuted on A&E Network. It was Swayze’s final acting performance before his death in 2009.
Set in the 1860s, Rawhide portrays the challenges faced by the drovers of a cattle drive. Most episodes are introduced with a monologue by Gil Favor (portrayed by Eric Fleming), trail boss. In a typical Rawhide story, the drovers come upon people on the trail and are drawn into solving whatever problem they present or confront. Sometimes, one or more of the crew venture into a nearby town and encounter some trouble from which they need to be rescued. Rowdy Yates (Clint Eastwood) was young and at times impetuous in the earliest episodes, and Favor had to keep a tight rein on him.
Favor is a savvy and strong leader who always plays “square” with his fellow men – a tough customer who can handle the challenges and get the job done.Although Favor had the respect and loyalty of the men who worked for him, the people, including Yates, are insubordinate to him a few times, after working too hard or after receiving a tongue lashing. Favor has to fight at times and usually wins. The show aired for eight seasons on the CBS network on Friday nights, from January 9, 1959, to September 3, 1965, before moving to Tuesday nights from September 14, 1965, until January 4, 1966, with a total of 217 black-and-white episodes.
The Green Hornet (1966)
Newspaper editor Britt Reid (Van Williams) has a secret that only a couple of close confidantes know — when crime strikes, he becomes Green Hornet, a crime-fighting superhero. “Green Hornet,” based on comic books of the same name, lasted for only one season on ABC, but it had a significant impact on American entertainment. The show introduced martial artist Bruce Lee to American audiences. Lee, who starred in the series as Green Hornet’s sidekick, Kato, would go on to become arguably the most-famous actor in martial arts films in America. The show only lasted one season consisting of 26 episodes.
The series revolved around cases investigated by the Blue Moon Detective Agency and its two partners, Madelyn “Maddie” Hayes (Cybill Shepherd) and David Addison Jr. (Bruce Willis). The show, with a mix of mystery, sharp dialogue, and sexual tension between its two leads, introduced Bruce Willis to the world and brought Cybill Shepherd back into the spotlight after a nearly decade-long absence. The characters were introduced in a two-hour pilot episode that preceded the series proper.
The show’s storyline begins with the reversal of fortune of Maddie Hayes, a former model who finds herself bankrupt after her accountant embezzles all of her liquid assets. She is left saddled with several failing businesses formerly maintained as tax write-offs, one of which is the City of Angels Detective Agency, helmed by the carefree David Addison played by Willis. Between the pilot and the first one-hour episode, David persuades Maddie to keep the business and run it as a partnership. The agency is renamed Blue Moon Investigations because Maddie was most famous for being the spokesmodel for the (fictitious) Blue Moon Shampoo Company. In many episodes, she was recognized as “the Blue Moon shampoo girl,” if not by name. The show ran for 66 episodes and 5 seasons.
Robert “Scandal” Jackson, Jr. (Michael Dudikoff), is an ex–Navy SEAL who went A.W.O.L. after refusing to blow up an enemy command center housing civilians. He disappeared to the wilderness of Alaska, changing his name and appearance, and became a teacher in a small Inuit community. But a part of his past caught up to him and he was shot in the face, his comatose body left for dead. He awoke in the hospital three weeks later and found himself with a new face and a new chance at life, thanks to a woman named Danielle LaPoint.
Danielle offered him a job with “Cobra”, an undercover anti-crime agency that provides justice for victims who haven’t benefited from the system. Scandal is reluctant to leave his Alaskan life behind, but then Danielle’s boss, Dallas Cassel, makes him an offer he can’t refuse: the chance to catch the man who murdered his father five years earlier. From behind the wheel of his classic AC Cobra, Scandal dispenses justice in the fictional Bay City. Cobra ran for one season in syndication from 1993 to 1994.
The series stars Lorenzo Lamas as Reno Raines, a police officer who is framed for a murder he did not commit. Raines goes on the run and joins forces with Native American bounty hunter Bobby Sixkiller, played by Branscombe Richmond. Stephen J. Cannell also had a recurring role as the main villain, crooked police officer Donald ‘Dutch’ Dixon. Using the alias “Vince Black”, Reno travels the country to look for bounties, whom Bobby turns in for a percentage of the reward money (knowing that Reno would be arrested if he attempted to turn in the criminals himself). He also helps people at the same time and proves the innocence of those he believes to be innocent. On many occasions, law-enforcement officers (and other people) learn who Reno really is, but never turn him in once they trust and believe him. Eventually, Dixon becomes a US federal marshal, giving him the ability to chase Reno with federal assistance. The series ran for 110 episodes spanning five seasons, first broadcast between September 19, 1992, and April 4, 1997.
Air America (1998)
Rio Arnett (Lorenzo Lamas) is the tough, heroic leader of the Air America team of undercover State Department agents stationed on Costa Perdida in South America’s Buenaventura. Communications specialist and electronic wizard Wiley Ferrell serves as Rio’s devoted sidekick. The series only last one season consisting of 26 episodes.
“SAF3,” from the co-creator of “Baywatch,” follows Rescue 3, a multiagency task force that is an elite unit of the Malibu Fire Department. The group includes specialists in rescue operations involving sea, air or fire, answering challenging calls to save people in trouble. Lifeguard John Eriksson (Dolph Lundgren) steps in after the death of his mentor, who started the agency, to continue Rescue 3’s goal of providing efficient service. The action-adventure series features veteran actor Dolph Lundgren’s first starring role in a weekly drama series. The series lasted for one season consisting of 20 episodes.
Jean Claude Van Johnson (2016)
Jean-Claude Van Damme is a name that is synonymous with action movies, but what if he was actually a secret agent and his entire film career was intended to be a front for his black ops missions? That’s the premise of this series, a tongue-in-cheek look at his life in the spotlight. Working under the (not-so-secretive) alias Jean-Claude Van Johnson, the unhappily retired action star is lured back into the spy game by a chance encounter. When he gets involved as an undercover operative, Johnson is forced to confront the greatest enemy he’s ever faced. The pilot debuted in August 2016, it was picked up for additional episodes by Amazon which aired December 15th 2017. In January the series was cancelled. In all there was 6 episodes aired.
True Justice (2012)
Elijah Kane (Steven Seagal) is the head of a group of undercover cops that works the beat in Seattle, tasked with carrying out a unique, and at times brutal, style of law enforcement. The officers investigate crimes that range from drug offenses to murders and gang activity that occur in the seedy underbelly of the Emerald City. Although Kane is admirable and worthy of praise for his moral principles, he has a past that is shrouded in mystery. Kane’s second in command on the team is Andre Mason, who is always there to deal with the chaos that is an undercover officer’s daily life. True Justice ran for two seasons and had 26 episodes.
The Player (2015)
The life of Alex Kane (Phillip Winchester), a security expert in Las Vegas, is turned upside down during an evening with his ex-wife Ginny, as she is killed by unknown assailants. Eager to track down Ginny’s murderers, Kane runs into a high-stakes gambling operation run by Isaiah Johnson (Wesley Snipes), the “Pit Boss” and Cassandra King (Charity Wakefield), the “Dealer”. Johnson and King organise betting on crimes, pitting a “Player” against criminals. King helps the Player with almost unlimited resources as the punters bet on who will gain the upper hand over a limited timeframe. Kane is recruited as the organisation’s latest Player. The Player only lasted 1 season and ran for 9 episodes.
Walker Texas Ranger (1993)
The show is centered on Sergeant Cordell Walker (Chuck Norris), a Dallas–Fort Worth–based member of the Texas Rangers, a state-level bureau of investigation. Walker was raised by his paternal uncle, a Native American named Ray Firewalker. Cordell, prior to joining the Rangers, served in the Marines’ elite recon unit during the Vietnam War. Both Cordell and Uncle Ray share the values characteristic of Wild West sheriffs. Walkers partner and best friend is James “Jimmy” Trivette (Clarence Gilyard), a former Dallas Cowboys player, “Go Long Trivette”, who takes a more modern approach. Walker’s young partner grew up in Baltimore and used football as his ticket to college education. He was dropped from the team after he tore up his shoulder in a major game, which led to his career in the Rangers. Trivette also works inside the office using computers and cellular phones to collate information of the people who have been taken into custody. Walker also works closely (and shares a mutual attraction) with Alexandra “Alex” Cahill (Sheree J. Wilson), a Tarrant County Assistant District Attorney, who on occasion puts up a frown if Walker does not obtain results in time. Walker also gets advice on cases from C.D. Parker (Noble Willingham) a veteran Ranger who worked with Walker until retiring to operate a small restaurant and bar called “CD’s Bar and Grill”, a restaurant widely known in the series for its chili. In Season 7, two rookie Texas Rangers, Sydney Cooke (Nia Peeples), and Francis Gage (Judson Mills), are assigned under Walker and Trivette’s command. Walker Texas Ranger was inspired by the film Lone Wolf McQuade, with both this series and that film starring Chuck Norris as a member of the Texas Ranger Division. The show aired on CBS in the spring of 1993, with the first season consisting of three pilot episodes. Eight full seasons followed with new episodes airing from September 25, 1993, to May 19, 2001. After the eighth season, CBS wanted to extend the show’s contract for two more years. However, with Chuck Norris’ wife being pregnant at the time, the show was removed from the line-up. In 2005 there was a follow-up made-for-television movie entitled Trial By Fire. The movie ended on a cliffhanger, which was never resolved.
Walker Texas Ranger: Trial By Fire (2005)
Ranger Captain Cordell Walker and Rangers Francis Gage and Rhett Harper are involved in a shooting at a bank where a group of robbers take the tellers hostage. Ranger Harper kills two of the robbers while the leader is able to escape. A guidance missile accidentally ends up in the hands of a thirteen-year-old who does not know that three Koreans, who are very skilled in combat, are looking for it. The criminals go to the child’s house where they kill his father. The boy manages to escape, but the Koreans are not far by behind. It’s up to Walker to get to the boy before the Koreans find him. Chuck Norris may have not comeback for another season, but he did say he would make some Walker Texas Ranger TV movies and CBS had plans for movie sequels, but those got scrapped after Trail By Fire received poor ratings.
*TV Movies That Were Potential Pilots*
Black Jack (1998)
Federal agent Jack Devlin (Dolph Lundgren) must confront a phobia in order to save a supermodel from a skilled assassin. The film was intended as a pilot of a television series focusing on Lundgren’s character Jack Devlin, but it was not successful financially. The pilot was directed by Jon Woo.
Logan’s War Bound By Honor ( 1998)
When Logan Fallon was ten years old, he witnessed the murders of his parents, younger sister and five police officers by Mafia thugs. Logan was raised by his Uncle Jake (Chuck Norris), a Texas rancher and former Army Ranger. Under the guidance of Jake and his good friend and ranch hand Ben, Logan grew from a boy into a man. He also discovered that he had been blessed with “proximity sense”, the ability to perceive danger before it happens. With Jake at his side, Logan hones this gift and turns himself into a lethal fighting machine with the survival and martial arts skills to take on the toughest in the world. Now in the perfect position to avenge the murder of his family, he must choose whether to play by the rules of the law or to live by his own. It seems that if this was picked up it would focus around Logan with Norris’s character making cameos.
The President’s Man (2000)
Joshua McCord (Chuck Norris) is ready to think about retiring from his grueling job as a Secret Service agent who’s assigned to protect the president. After saving the First Lady, kidnapped by a mysterious band of terrorists, McCord prepares to train his replacement. A sequel movie followed which had Norris’s Walker Texas Ranger co-star Judson Mills.
The President’s Man 2: A Line In The Sand (2002)
Secret agent Joshua McCord (Chuck Norris) is assigned by President Adam Mayfield (Robert Urich) to prevent a band of terrorists from setting off a nuclear device in a U.S. city. McCord has to infiltrate the terrorists’ headquarters and disarm the bomb. Deke Slater (Judson Mills), McCord’s younger assistant, develops a relationship with McCord’s daughter Que (Jennifer Tung).