High Mountain Rangers and Jesse Hawkes


High Mountain Rangers (1988)
Jesse Hawkes (1989)
Type: Series Revamp

   Oh good Lord why can't people just let a flop show die. Nope. Gotta try everything you can to keep the sucker alive. I know I know - the crew needs to keep their jobs and all. So because Bob the camera guy needs a job I have to pay?

   Sorry, most of that venom is not specifically aimed at either of these specific shows but at the general trend to try to make a flop fly.

   Okay, High Mountain Rangers starred Robert Conrad as Jesse Hawkes a former, you got it, High Mountain Ranger. The Rangers were a search and rescue squad in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Robert was actually retired and living in the mountains with one son while a second son now ran the squad. Both sons were played by Robert Conrad's real sons. In addition, many other members of the Conrad clan worked and acted on the show. Maybe that's why the show had to go on. It's not like you put various people out of work, cancellation here meant sinking the income of a whole family! I hate to say it but I think the first mistake they made was with that title. High Mountain Rangers doesn't make me think "Late Eighties Adventure Show', it makes me think, "Cheesy 1950's Kids Adventure Show". It sounds like it would've been on right after Sea Hunt.

   Also I don't think saving lost hikers and the like is enough to attract many viewers. Even if the folks are horribly trapped and endangered viewers are still going to go, "Well they wouldn't be in such trouble if they hadn't went doing dangerous crap in the mountains in the first place. They deserve what they get."

   Well after a short run the show disappeared and was then reborn as Jesse Hawkes. In it, son Matt is rushed to a hospital in San Francisco after being injured by some serious bad guys. His brother and his dad track these villains down in old San Fran (Lucky that Matt was hospitalized in the same city that the baddies fled to huh?). Once they caught the bad guys they decided to all stay on in San Francisco as investigators. Oh yeah, that sort of career change is very common, Mountain Ranger to P.I. Sure. No problem. I had an uncle who was a pediatrician. Then one day he was called to a different town to examine a kid and he immediately chose to abandoned the entire life he had built, take his knowledge of the human body and use it to turn himself into a crime fighting ninja. Sure. Makes perfect sense. The idea obviously was that crime fighting was more of a ratings grabber but the switch of locations and premises just seems awkward. And the title, Jesse Hawkes? Still sounds for some reason like it should have been on in the 50's with Sky King. Sorry. I mean I really like Robert Conrad but... sorry.


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