As a huge fan of CHiPs growing up, I was thrilled when Warner Brothers recently released the fourth season. As the eighties began, motorcycle cops Frank “Ponch” Poncherello (Erik Estrada) and Jon Baker (Larry Wilcox) were happily stuck in the previous decade. Not much changed; they rode the highways, and Sgt. Getraer (Robert Pine) kept them in line.
CHiPs never pretended to be high art, the fourth season is another 21 episodes of fun cheese filled with fascinating guest stars. “Go-Cart Terror” has the guys putting together a go-cart race only to have crime get in the way. Guest stars include Larry Storch (F Troop), future Congressman Sonny Bono and future Klingon Michael Dorn (Warf). “The Great 5K Star Race and Boulder Wrap Party” is a two-part episode built around a disaster at a charity fundraiser. Really, it’s just an excuse to get a bunch of famous faces of the day onscreen. Guest stars include Ken Berry, Don Galloway (Ironside), Tina Louise (Gilligan’s Islands), Alex Rocco, Conrad Bain, Todd Birdges, Gary Burghoff, Ruth Buzzi, Elinor Donahue, Nancy Kulp, Gil Gerard, George Peppard, Audrey Landers, Judy Landers, Peter Marshall, Vic Taybeck and Brett Somers. Whew! “Karate” finds Ponch attempting to teach a group of kids martial arts in an effort to get them to embrace a clean living lifestyle. Humorously, Danny Bonaduce is having none of it!
CHiPS was never too serious, and rarely pretended to be anything more than more than fluffy entertainment. Jon and Ponch don’t go into any of the dark places that cop shows like the soon to be legendary Hill Street Blues and Cagney & Lacey would be showered with awards for. However, CHiPs remains the kind of show you can put on, shut off your brain, and enjoy.
The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfers look better than the episodes currently airing on Me-TV in the afternoons. You’ll see the details of what Los Angeles looked like as the ’80s began.
The audio is Dolby Digital mono. Dialogue is clear, and plenty of motorcycles can be heard. English subtitles are included.
There are no extras.