Miami Vice: Season Two

They were the coolest dudes on TV in the '80s, dressed to the nines in Armani suits and pastel beach wear, cruising around in a kick-ass Ferrari Daytona Spyder to the coolest tunes of the day. And that theme song from Jan Hammer, which became a hit single, not to mention that skimming water iconic intro? Man, Miami Vice had style. No wonder executive producer Michael Mann is remaking it for the big screen. But in season two of the slick buddy cop series, you get the feeling that Mann and his crew were either lost for ideas or simply getting away with style over substance. The show's second season is underwhelming. Yeah, it's great to hear Glenn Frey's "You Belong to the City" and Roxy Music's "Slave to Love," and watch the consistent celebrity guest appearances (Frank Zappa, Suicidal Tendencies, Gene Simmons and Leonard Cohen, and Lee Iacocca) and impressive eye for future talent (Nathan Lane, Kyra Sedgwick, John Leguizamo, Luis Guzman and Bob Balaban). But, unfortunately, compared to today's crime shows, Miami Vice was unable to clue in to serial episodes to keep audiences gripped. Instead, nearly every episode was a new case that ranged from insignificant drug deals to mediocre drug deals gone awry. (Example: someone needs to be saved from the clutches of a control-freak drug dealer, most often a sad sack, or a beautiful woman, who one of the cops lays.) Half the time Sonny and Ricardo (those are their first names, you know) come across as unbelievable and overtly silly, reacting so passionately to such paltry drama. That's not to say Crockett and Tubbs don't have their time in the sun. There are some excellent moments, such as Miles Davis playing a pimp, Phil Collins as a con artist (with Emo Phillips, of all people, as his lackey), the Fat Boys as amateur pot dealers, and Ted Nugent as an, erm, abusive, gun-toting madman? — okay, maybe that one's not a stretch. It's not until the end though, when it counts, that the show pulls out all the stops and saves the season. In order to do so, the writers revert back to season one's best storyline — the Calderone war — and give Tubbs a baby son from his old flame, whom he has to fight to save with every ounce of overacting in his body. As awesome as it may be to remember, Miami Vice is nothing but a stylish and attractive crime show trapped in tedious routine after routine. Style over substance for sure, but man oh man, is that style ever good! (Universal)