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Thursday, June 29, 2006

2.15 --- Joy Ride

Directed by : Gil Bettman
Written by : Cal Willingham
Starring : Rob Knepper, Brooke McCarter
First aired : 21st of May, 1987.

Alonzo (Rob Knepper, Wild Thing, Prison Break), Greg (Brooke McCarter, Thrashin', Lost Boys), Adrienne and Deena are four youngsters looking for some fun on an ordinary night. Alonzo comes to an idea which is a surefire winner - they head to a garage from a recently deceased man, Pete Taylor, and take his classic 50's car for a little ride.

But once in a car, the streets look nothing like the streets they know, the cars out on the road are all cars from the 50's, and Alonzo is acting more and more erratic. His crazy behaviour climaxes when he shoots a patrol cop who pulls them over, using a gun which he found under his seat. The cop was looking for people who held up a store some time ago - and for some reason, Alonzo thinks he's the culprit.

A wild chase with the police force starts, and Adrienne and Deena soon bail by jumping (or being pushed) out of the car, but as they hit the ground, they see they are back to their normal time. Greg is the last one to leave, and he returns to a scene of fire brigade prying the car doors open so they can pull Alonzo out of it. The fireman just manages to save him, seconds before the police catches up with the car (in the alternate dimension, that is), and everybody's safe.

Stunned Alonzo tries to convince the firemen and policemen present that he shot a cop with a gun he is still clutching, but the policeman tells him the gun is long rusty and unusable. After hearing from the same officer that this car is sort of a urban legend, as it was reportedly used to rob a store 30 years ago, Greg opines that this was probably the old man Taylor's manner of posthumous confession.


Know what I miss most from season 1 ? Shorts. That season was nicely peppered with shorts, and for every "heavy" piece in one airing you'd get brightened up by, say, Lost and Found or something like that. Season 2 sadly is "short on shorts", and when they do come, they're not all that flash - as witnessed by Lost and Found and this one.

Loosely described as "Christine meets the time travellers", Joy Ride is an average piece, with actors well into their 20s portraying freewheelin' teenagers (or, as you might call it, the Beverly Hills 90210 syndrome). The story does make some sense, but feels awfully rushed and squeezed into the 11 minute slot, and could have done with some elaboration. Average at best, and the stock 80's music really grates.


As you can judge by the airing dates, season 2 really got inconsistent at this period, and the New Zone was basically living on the edge of the knife. It would be a couple of more episodes before CBS canned the show, only to resurrect it with a new season and a syndicated package in late '88., which was produced in Canada with majorly Canadian directors and cast.

The heyday of the new TZ was definitely season 1, but do stay with me till the job is done - there are many more worthy S2 and S3 entries ahead.

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