Written by Hombre Divertido
In Season One of the series the show had yet to really find it’s footing. The roles were still being defined and the writing was awkward. In Season Two, the show really begins to hit its stride. Not that is always a good stride. No matter what, this is Dukes of Hazard in Southern California and will always be ‘70s schmaltz at its best. Yes, it’s big teeth, big hair, big cars chases and crashes, and some disco thrown in for good measure, but it can be fun in doses.
The chemistry between our heroes, California Highway Patrol Officers Jon Baker (Larry Wilcox) and Frank “Ponch” Poncherello (Erik Estrada) is better in Season Two than in Season One as Jon becomes more of the straight man for the antics of Ponch, but this will become even more obvious in future seasons as Erik Estrada becomes the breakout star.
The show also becomes more of an ensemble this season as more opportunities are given to Robert Pine as Sgt. Joseph Getraer and Paul Linke as Officer Arthur Grossman. Lou Wagner joined the cast chief mechanic Harlan Arliss. Wagner brought a subtle humor to the show that would be appreciated for the remainder of the series.
This season is filled with fun episodes and lots of great guest stars from the era and some future stars. It’s great fun to see whom you can spot between the crashing cars that manage to fly through the air.
For the true ChiPs fans; look for Randi Oakes to make an appearance in Episode 35 “Down Time” as Kim the car thief. She would later mend her ways and become a cast member as officer Bonnie Clark.
Not a lot of extras here, but the featurette “The Real ChiPs” with Erik Estrada is fun. Whereas you may have always thought that the real ChiPs were rolling their eyes at the show, it would appear that they appreciated the publicity and the recruiting assistance. The last episode of the season, which is a feature-length retrospective of some of the highlights from the first two seasons, is also listed as a special feature but that is a little generous.
Recommendation: This is simple cheesy fun for the whole family. Be careful not to watch too many episodes in a row. Not only will you tire of the formula, but you may also find yourself with a desire to wear silk shirts and bell-bottoms.