One of the earliest premium-cable TV series (airing on HBO) and one which took advantage of the relaxed broadcast standards in allowing adult language and nudity, this was a raucous comedy (and quasi-soap opera) focusing on the fictional football team The California Bulls. The show referred to the league as the NAFL and incorporated grainy football footage (in the early episodes) and, later, videotaped footage mixed in with new shots of the actors going through the paces, though, especially as the series wore on, the actual games and plays tended to have little to do with the plots. In the premiere episode, wealthy Burke walks in on her husband, the Bulls owner, naked and in a homosexual tryst with one of the players! (Played respectively by former real-life player Rick Moser and former film actor Ben Cooper, this was one of the first instances of such activity to be insinuated on a TV show, though many years later "Providence" would start off similarly.) Burke wins the team in a divorce settlement and faces sexism from some of the players, but mostly from the other owners who use good old boy tactics to keep her out of their plans. The first season, she also dealt with some mobsters (led by Michael V. Gazzo) and a slimy assistant controlled by them. Her allies were Lee as the Bullettes manager and Shelton, the Head Coach. The second year saw Simpson joining the cast as the new Bulls manager and he remained with the series until it was cancelled, his character going through a divorce and experiencing other romantic issues throughout. Later, Burke departed (to devote herself to "Designing Women") and Shanna Reed became the Bulls owner through her position at Dodds Corporation which had purchased the team. She was only with the show for less than a full season when she was replaced by Tweed, who stayed through till the end. Most episodes featured bits of brazen T&A and (in the early seasons) drug use, violence, casual sex and/or crude humor. The clothes (some of them laughably skimpy and tacky) are a hysterical time capsule of the 80's. Several later episodes were either fantasy ones (such as one parodying "Rambo" movies) or concept ones, with the cast all on a plane. These usually ranked among the worst shows of the series. The show was marked by many, many cast changes, re-tooling and inconsistencies throughout its run, but some actors were on board for a lengthy tenure. Frazier and Hughes were fixtures, offering up many zany and rowdy antics, most of which were lowbrow in the extreme. Gibb, playing a character called Dr. Death, and Longo, as Mad Dog, were also on for the bulk of the series run and tended to have a mix of loony story lines mixed with somewhat poignant ones. Shelton was with the series for all but one season during which his character was fired and replaced with a similar type of actor. Kassir was a major presence as a slick, former-Communist immigrant, always looking for a way to make a buck or turn a con. However, the quarterbacks and many other players were rotated in and out rather swiftly. Along the way, several actors appeared who would later make a name for themselves, none more so than Meloni, who played an ex-con quarterback years before he would cause a stir on "Oz". Noted guest/temporary stars included Roy Thinnes, Vince Edwards, Ron O'Neal, Michael Michele, Lela Rochon, Tobey McGuire, Boomer Esiason and Joe Namath among others. An interesting case is Moser's character - Ty Taylor - who, after having slept with the original (male!) owner, stayed on the team when Burke took over and usually had one ragingly homosexual scene per episode. Then, when the AIDS crisis broke, he was suddenly deemphasized and ultimately de-gayed before disappearing entirely in season six. PLEASE NOTE: The IMDb page for this show is WOEFULLY inaccurate and incomplete. Most of the regular cast of the show were on for far more episodes than what is listed for them here and many cast members, regular and guest cast, are left out entirely. In the case of the latter, this user comment has first and last names listed within. ALSO: The current boxed set containing all six seasons does NOT contain completely unedited episodes. Some of them (maybe 20%) are unedited, but the majority are chopped up and feature an annoying and intrusive laugh track.
3 out of 5 found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.