In the near future, an organized crime group known as the "Outfit" has become a major force in America. Engineer Julian Wilkes develops a high-tech crime-fighting vehicle called the Viper, ... See full summary »
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Cast

Complete series cast summary:
Joe Nipote ...  Frankie Waters / ... 78 episodes, 1994-1999
Heather Medway ...  Det. Cameron Westlake / ... 66 episodes, 1996-1999
Jeff Kaake ...  Agent Thomas Cole / ... 44 episodes, 1996-1998
J. Downing ...  Sherman Catlett / ... 43 episodes, 1996-1999
James McCaffrey ...  Joe Astor / ... 35 episodes, 1994-1999
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Storyline

In the near future, an organized crime group known as the "Outfit" has become a major force in America. Engineer Julian Wilkes develops a high-tech crime-fighting vehicle called the Viper, which is intended to be a "flagship" in a new crackdown on crime. The Viper needs a driver, so when Outfit driver Michael Payton is injured and captured, his memory is erased, and he is given a new identity as Joe Astor, MetroPol employee. The Outfit discredits the Viper project, but when it is canceled, Joe and Julian steal the Viper and strike out on their own private war against crime. Written by Marg Baskin <marg@asd.raytheon.ca>

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Details

Country:

USA | Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 January 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Viper 96 See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The red Viper used in the show was not a production model, they actually used 4 prototypes provided by Dodge. See more »

Connections

Followed by Viper (1994) See more »

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User Reviews

Like any revival, falls short of the original
29 December 2000 | by Jack_YanSee all my reviews

The original Viper (1994) adapted the Bilson–De Meo formula of mixing comic-book adventure with live action, something that the pair had successfully done with The Flash and Rocketeer. With the big-screen Batman and other films of the era re-creating the comic-book feel, Viper, with its part-science-fiction, part-crime storylines brought the style to the small screen. The villains in futuristic concept cars or Richard Burgi playing golf on a life-size simulator; the haunting lair of the Viper team and the excellent special effects – there was courage by a crew that tried to paint a picture of a time just after now. The same philosophy helped the success of series across the Atlantic such as The Avengers or UFO.

When Viper was revived in 1996, the ingredients that had made the original so charming and distinctive had disappeared. Relocated to another city, Viper was set firmly in the present, rather than the near future. Replacing the science-fiction style was the tried-and-trusted American cop-show formula. Whereas the original team had been outside the law, the new one would be a legally sanctioned police team. Motor pool suit Franklin X. Waters (Joe Nipote) got a larger role but as the Viper mechanic and HQ-based geek, but his promotion meant the disappearance of his beloved Plymouth Barracuda.

Now, the only difference between the police detectives here and those on any other American police show was the use of a morphing Dodge Viper, updated to the relevant model year.

This allowed for more unimaginative storylines and plot holes, just as any everyday American police series had. One could easily transfer a story from any other cop show into the new Viper: this series now smells of metooism and cheapness. It had lost any of the originality that the first writers and current executive producers, Danny Bilson and Paul De Meo, injected. Less logical and less distinctive, it was relegated to late-night slots in New Zealand, while its 1994 predecessor had enjoyed prime time. The programmers made the right decision.

Despite the return of James McCaffrey in the lead in 1998 and a guest appearance by original cast member Dorian Harewood, little improved. The new formula is just that: a formula. About the only distinction remaining is one's ability to observe Chrysler product placements. Like so many American shows, Viper became far weaker on its revival and was probably another victim of US network tinkering.


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