Remington Steele Season Three

If the first two seasons of this show were throwbacks to the mixed gender detective teams of the ’30s and ’40s, the show had definitely jumped the shark by the time the third season began airing in 1984. Founding producer Glen Caron had already left to launch the similar but much snappier Moonlighting, while the screenwriters struggled to mine the sexual tension between primary detective Laura Holt (Stephanie Zimbalist) and her fictitious sidekick Remington Steele, mysteriously manifested as a dashing Brit played by Pierce Brosnan. The plots lurch between the labyrinthine and the painfully obvious, with flat one-liners and impossibly campy overacting that can only appeal to 12-year-olds, stoners hooked on retro TV or masochists with an ’80s fashion fetish. And the less said about Doris Roberts (Everybody Loves Raymond) as meddling assistant Mildred, the better. Because its L.A. setting was sidetracked by the summer Olympics that year, the show packed up for exotic European locales like Malta and Ireland but unfortunately, the scenery stands in for solid scripts. There’s no better proof that the show had bottomed out than the episode "Steele In the Chips,” co-written by Zimbalist herself, where a recipe for a no-calorie chocolate chip cookie launches a ridiculous murder mystery and goose chase with possibly the worst dialogue ever written for network television. Even a young Geena Davis as a ditzy tennis pro can’t stop the corny cringe-fest. (Fox)