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Genre: TV series, Drama
Country: United States
Starring: Robert Urich, Phyllis Davis, Tony Curtis, Bart Braverman, Naomi Stevens, Judy Landers, Greg Morris, Will Sampson
Eye candy: All kinds. Strippers, showgirls, hookers, everyone is apparently hot in Vegas. Also Cristina Ferrare, Lauren Tewes, Dorothy Malone, Ronee Blakley and Kim Basinger
Guest stars: Morey Amsterdam, Abe Vigoda, Don Porter, Antonio Fargas, Sid Caesar, Slim Pickens, Strother Martin, Pernell Roberts, Cesar Romero, Doc Severinsen
Creator: Michael Mann
Run time: 9 hours 27 minutes
DVD distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment
DVD extras: Episodic promos on selected episodes. That’s it.
If ever a TV series cried out for some nudity, it’s Vega$. In the late 70s, Robert Urich starred in this series as a private investigator in Las Vegas. Call girl murders, Miss Casino pageants, strippers and showgirls and hot women everywhere else. Most of them need to be naked to ply their chosen trades, but of course it was 1978. And television. So there were no nipples. But lots of eye candy. Heck, even Dan Tanna’s (Urich) receptionists were ex-showgirls (one efficient and competent, one a stupid airhead – it was like Three’s Company but in Vegas).
Of course, Vegas has a pretty seedy underbelly, and that makes it the perfect venue for shows that get off on a large amount of titillation. Like this one, and CSI. Not just titillation of a no-clothes sexy women nature, but also the voyeuristic thrills of pimps and gambling and mob bosses and casino politics. The supporting cast is remarkable as well – Greg Morris (Mission: Impossible), Will Sampson (One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest), and even Tony Curtis, who shows up on occasion. Curtis is billed as one of the stars of the show, but he’s in only a few of the episodes on Season One Volume One of Vega$, out October 20th from Paramount Home Entertainment.
This show really was no better than the sum of its parts. Those parts are entertaining though. Hookers and gamblers and babes and tough-guy private investigators and his massive sidekick who beats up anyone who looks at him sideways. Robert Urich is a lot of fun, and although he’s smarter and tougher than everyone else, he doesn’t always get it right. In the two-hours series pilot, he gets taken in by a slot machine scam artist who is being pretty obvious about his attempt to take him in. Then again, that’s a very small part of the pilot, which also involves a runaway girl with suspect parents, a murdered pimp and a murdered call girl, a Vegas entertainer who hires Tanna to be his bodyguard, and some women for Tanna to sleep with. It’s a lot to take in, but it all comes together…somehow.
Thankfully, further episodes focus on one issue at a time, most of which bring more hotties in to parade about in feathers or lingerie. It’s all positive. And it’s all fairly entertaining. It just isn’t great. At times, it isn’t even good. But overall it’s worth it.