Airwolf is one of those 80's shows that simply wouldn't work today. It has nothing to do with the quality, and everything to do with the way it was filmed. There's no model work, no CG, and everything was done the way it should be: live. That's not to say corners were not cut to save on the budget (said to be around $1 million per episode), it's just refreshing to go back 20 years and see stunts like this pulled off without the assistance of computers.
The show is based around Jan Michael Vincent who plays Stringfellow Hawk, a loner pilot recruited by The Firm to fly various missions that threaten national security. He of course flies Airwolf, which he took from them and is holding until they can bring his brother back from Vietnam. He is close to only one person, Dominic Santini, played by Ernest Borginine, who couldn't have been cast better.
Season 1, much like the rest of the series during it's four season run, is hit or miss. The pilot, repackaged as Airwolf: The Movie later, is a necessary disaster that sets up each character, provides their backstory, and gives little of the action the series is known for. It's dull and monotonous, and nearly misses the two-hour mark.
Things pick up with the third episode, which is more in line with the rest of series. It stays on par, picking up a few times, especially with Mind of the Machine with special guest star David Carridine. It features two Airwolf's (Airwolves?) going one-on-one, and even though it's a "simulation," it's well edited and put together.
The shows biggest problem is stock footage, culled from a variety of sources, whether it's military video or feature films (the movie version of Michael Crichton's Andromeda Strain is ripped for one episode). They even use footage from other episodes. At times, it's handled well; other times, whether it is the lower quality video or quick editing, it's painful.
Almost saving it completely, even with the occasional reliance on stock footage, is the show's theme song. Not only should it go down as one of the best every created for a TV show, it always manages to hit at the right moments to draw you into the action regardless of how you feel about the episode. That's more than enough to recommend the show, though if you're part of the die-hard fan base, you already know that. (*** out of *****)