We’re less than four hours from the start of TV Land’s “Miami Vice” marathon, and the Newark Star Ledger’s Matt Zoller Seitz and Allan Sepinwall can barely contain themselves.
The first act of “Calderon’s Demise” (8 a.m. Saturday) ends with an unbroken, hypnotically powerful helicopter shot of Tubbs and Crocket (above) driving a motorboat to Bimini on a revenge mission against a drug dealer, scored to about two minutes’ worth of Russ Ballard’s 1984 hit “Voices.” The centerpiece of the Don Johnson-directed episode “By Hooker by Crook” (10 p.m.) intercuts Crockett’s red-hot tryst with a madam (Johnson’s sometime wife Melanie Griffith) and the crosstown murder of a prostitute-turned-murder-witness (Vanity) by an assassin (wrestler Capt. Lou Albano, of all people). The two incidents are visually united by close-ups of strangling gestures (one sensual and playful, the other murderous) and scored to Steve Winwood’s “Split Decision.”
“Smuggler’s Blues” (10 a.m.) built an entire episode around the title song, an original track by Glenn Frey, who also guest- starred as an electric-guitar- strumming drug-runner. In retrospect, the episode is more interesting to think about than it is to watch (it’s slow and convoluted, and the song gets tedious after a while). Nevertheless, it’s worth pointing out that 20 years after “Smuggler’s Blues,” network dramas depart from their chosen format maybe a couple of times a year. “Vice” was all departures, and for that it deserves respect.