Crime StoryThe idea of a weekly TV action-drama that told a single continuing story over multiple seasons isn’t anything revolutionary now. But when Crime Story debuted in 1986, it was a different story. The show starred Dennis Farina and Anthony Denison as a Chicago cop and the mobster he’s hunting down, and was set in the mid-60s. The first season boasted one of the most shocking cliffhangers TV had seen at the time, as Denison’s character was presumably disintegrated at a nuclear test site. The second season revealed that the Mafia man had cut a deal with the government and the pursuit got way more complicated. It was a remarkably ambitious and expensive show for the time, and was way ahead of its time. Sledge Hammer!Technically not a full-on action show, Sledge Hammer! was nevertheless one of the best cult hits of the decade. David Rasche is an absurdly brutal San Francisco police detective who sleeps and showers with his gun and has a bumper sticker on his car that reads “I ♥ VIOLENCE.” This over-the-top black comedy had plenty of action in it, and despite Sledge’s propensity for gunplay he somehow managed to never shoot a single person over the course of 40+ episodes. The best modern comparison would probably be Chris Elliot’s marvelous Eagleheart, but Sledge Hammer was something truly special and deserves to be resurrected.For more 80s nostalgia check out our review of comic AmeriKarate. You should definitely watch all of GLOW. Add some killer tees to your retro wardrobe. For all 80s reboots click here. ManimalOkay, let’s just be clear: Manimal was not a very good TV show. The adventures of Dr. Jonathan Chase, who could shapeshift into any animal form, were hokey at best, and the effects (by master Stan Winston) just didn’t translate to the small screen. But there’s just something so gleefully weird and silly about a buttoned-up British dude turning into a panther to help solve crimes, and a modern ironic take on the franchise could be fun as hell. Manimal never really had a chance back in the 80s – NBC put it up against ratings juggernaut Dallas, and it was swiftly and mercilessly crushed. There was talk of a cinematic version with Will Ferrell and Adam McKay producing, but we’re not sure if it’s still in development. The New Adventures Of Beans BaxterCreated by “Savage” Steve Holland, the director of 80s cult classic Better Off Dead, this short-lived early FOX action comedy chronicled the adventures of an ordinary Kansas teen who discovers that his father was actually a top secret agent and carries on in his footsteps to try and rescue him from an international terrorist organization. The show was an oddball mixture of quirky comedy and high intrigue that we’d love to see some modern director tackle. One amusing bit of trivia is that the Beans Baxter role was originally offered to David Spade, who turned it down. KnightwatchThis is one that, frankly, flopped when it first premiered in 1989, but the premise is so solid that a 2018 reboot could really sing. Knightwatch followed the “Knights of the City,” a vigilante group modeled after the real-life Guardian Angels who patrolled NYC on foot and faked a number of rescues from subway muggings for publicity. Unfortunately for the series, it was up against ratings juggernaut The Cosby Show and only lasted a few months. The idea of a group of civilian crimefighters working in public without any superhuman abilities is a fascinating one, and a remake of the show could tackle some of the issues the 80s version wasn’t ready to. The Fall GuyLee Majors starred as stuntman Colt Seavers in this 1981 guilty pleasure. Seavers moonlights from his day job jumping and crashing cars as a bounty hunter, tracking down bail jumpers and other scumbags to make ends meet. There was nothing artful or experimental about The Fall Guy – it just scratched the same Fast & Furious itches of cars doing insane stunts mixed with human drama. The Rock was in talks to star in a film reboot of the franchise back in 2013, but it doesn’t seem to be moving forward and, to be honest, TV is the Fall Guy’s home. Imagine a modern Seavers struggling to find his place in a world where everything can be done with CGI and we’re halfway there. Max HeadroomAlthough he’s probably best known for Coke commercials, the pseudo-computer-generated Max Headroom character was the anchor for one of the decade’s most missed cult sci-fi shows. Matt Frewer starred as Max, the glitched-out digitized personality of reporter Edison Carter after he suffers a head injury. The 1987 series was remarkably prescient, depicting a dystopian future where a handful of megacorporations control our lives. Frewer has revisited the role of Headroom a few times since, but we’d love to see a Black Mirror-inspired remake of the original where everything is way worse than we could have ever imagined. This week sees the debut of Magnum P.I, a modern reboot of the 1980 Tom Selleck action show about a private detective living in Hawaii. The show was a massive hit when it first aired, so it’s not surprising that nostalgia is bringing it back – but it seems like we’re in a hot spot with 80s television dramas right now. Magnum joins the reboot of MacGyver, now entering its third season, as well as movies like The Equalizer and The A-Team, both of which had their origins in the Reagan era.What was it about the 80s and action shows? The decade marked a transitional time for television, as budgets grew and cable channels started to dip their toes in production.AirwolfRunning from 1984 to 1987, Airwolf followed the operations of a top-secret high-tech helicopter with stealth capabilities and supersonic top speed. Stolen by its psychopathic engineer, the copter is recovered by pilot Stringfellow Hawke, who uses it to battle back the forces of Communism in locales around the globe. Obviously, the political climate has changed since the end of the Cold War, but there’s something compelling about the basic premise, and in a world of information warfare, drone strikes and other high-tech ways of killing people, the concept of Airwolf could have new resonance. But who will be the Jan-Michael Vincent of the 21st century? A Man Called HawkComing in at the end of the decade, A Man Called Hawk was a remarkably ahead of its time crime thriller. Avery Brooks starred as the titular Hawk, a private dick and problem solver who packed a massive Colt Python .357 Magnum and wore sunglasses all the time. After returning to his hometown of Washington D.C, Hawk helped out the downtrodden and the unlucky with a variety of problems. Hawk was a remarkably interesting and nuanced character – he was an absolute badass on the streets but indulged his softer side by collecting African art and playing the vibraphone. It’s fair to say that with the success of Luke Cage there’s room for more badass Black action heroes on TV. StingrayI have fond memories of this 1985 NBC series that starred Nick Mancuso as the titular Ray, who did the classic “helping people with their problems” each week but in a slightly tweaked way. Ray – named after the sweet as hell black ’65 Chevy Stingray he drove – didn’t accept cash for his services. Instead, if he did something for you he’d take a marker for a favor to be performed later. The people who owed him came from all parts of society, from the elite to the man in the street. Lots of undercover adventures and a very stylish title sequence couldn’t help the show last more than two seasons, unfortunately. 11 ’80s Horror Franchises Due for a ComebackNike x ‘Stranger Things’ Collection Goes Back to the Summer … Misfits Of ScienceSuperhero shows are pretty much inescapable these days, but the vast majority of them are set in either the Marvel or DC universes. Nothing against either of those, but variety is the spice of life. What better time to bring back a cult TV classic that only lasted a single season in 1985? Misfits Of Science followed the young charges of the Humanidyne Institute. This included electrocuted rock and roll musician Johnny Bukowski and telekinetic teen delinquent Gloria Dinallo as they drove around in a customized ice cream truck contending with seriously bizarre mysteries involving talking dolphins, time-displaced cavemen and a CIA agent who manages to lose the “nuclear football” that could kick off World War III. Stay on target Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.