REVIEWED BY MICHAEL SHONK:


The Good Witch of Laurel Canyon. Premiere episode (of 12) for the CBS TV series Tucker’s Witch, 6 October 1982. Cast: Rick Tucker: Tim Matheson; Amanda Tucker: Catherine Hicks; Ellen Hobbes: Barbara Barrie; Marcia: Alfre Woodard; Lt. Fisk: Bill Morey. Guest cast: Danny: Ted Danson; Babs: Alexa Hamilton. Created and written by William Bast and Paul Huston. Director: Peter H. Hunt.

   Husband and wife PI’s Rick and Amanda Tucker hunt for the person who is strangling married women in high-rise elevators. Want to guess how it ends?

   The gimmick for this series is an odd one. Amanda is a witch. However this is no PI Bewitched. Amanda is trying to learn to control her special powers, special powers that is public knowledge.

TUCKER'S WITCH

   The acting, especially Catherine Hicks, is the only thing going for this series, and some would claim the occasional cheesecake views of Hicks is the only reason to watch.

   Before the opening credits we watch the killer in action. What follows is not some Columbo-like mystery, but instead a cliche-filled, lazily written romantic comedy mystery that fails in nearly every way possible.

   Need to find a clue? Let the witch have a hunch about something and you have your clue or if she is wrong you have your comedy.

   Feature a Los Angeles police department that accepts hunches from an unreliable witch, as well as does not notice all the victims were members of the same video dating service. A video dating service that gives all its members a pointless charm for no reason other than the writers need a clue for their witch to find.

   Nearly every TV mystery cliche is in this one episode. Rick does not want to talk about the case because he wants to go on vacation (no signs they are packed to go anywhere). Seconds later they get a call that a client wants to hire them for this mystery. Rick tries to convince the paying client to drop case. Flighty sweet Amanda’s Mother who lives with them.

   Wacky neighbors. Understanding stupid cop friend. Woman overhears them discuss the murders in first person and misunderstands. PIs break the law stealing personal property to find out who did it. They are so obvious about it the killer finds out. Killer tries to kill Rick in a car by cutting the brake line. Spend screen time watching the “out of control” car run over things.

   Killer decides to make Amanda the next victim. Rick rushes to her rescue (though Amanda does hold her own vs the killer). Episode ends with cute bit where the loose ends are summed up during adorable characterization action.

   You know you are watching bad 80′s network TV when the smartest character is Dickens, Amanda’s cat who uses the phone answering machine to let Rick know Amanda is with the killer. Top that, Lassie!

   Reviewed from YouTube videos: Part One.