What’s On TV – Moonlighting

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Title: Moonlighting
Episodes Aired: 66
Year(s): 1985-1989
Country: USA

Moonlighting. This is a show I have been wanting to watch for years because of how highly regarded it is. Well, how highly regarded some of it is. Going into this, I knew there was a general decline in the final seasons – not that I really made it that far to notice that. I also went into this knowing that for a substantial portion of the show, Cybil Shephard and Bruce Willis just did not get on. So yes, really mixed stuff when I started my first watch.

Here’s the thing though, Moonlighting is impressive for its time. This is a show that really helped to pioneer the dramedy as a marketable show with audiences and critics alike. The writing can be quick and whip-smart like a 1940s comedy, they weren’t afraid to play with format and they went meta a lot. Like, so many shows we watch now and take for granted have Moonlighting to thank. Hell, one of the shows I am lining up for the next to watch is Ally McBeal and that would definitely not be around if not for Moonlighting.

However, for every flash of genius there are so many episodes which are fairly silly procedural. Like there was a really bad one with a woman who was certain she was a leprechaun. Then you get the brilliant ones like the incredibly famous ‘The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice’ and their take on The Taming of the Shrew in ‘Atomic Shakespeare’. In the end though, these episodes work so well because they are unusual in the span of the show – otherwise this just becomes way too gimmicky.

It’s a double-edged sword really. I think it also didn’t help that I really did not buy into the will-they-won’t-they of Maddie and David. As bickering private detectives that are just friends, I think I would have preferred this series. Like have them be platonic like in Elementary and it would be fine. However, for me, they just don’t work as a couple. The moments before they end up sleeping together is so toxic that it really helped with the decision to just ditch this show all together.

Moments of brilliance just aren’t worth watching the whole thing. Watching a selection after a bunch from Seasons 1 and 2 makes some sense as you get to see what this show was and how important it was. For now though, it’s a goodbye to Moonlighting.

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