Movie Reviews

DVD Review: “Nash Bridges: The First Season”

(CBS/Paramount. 1996. 2 Discs. 6 hours, 15 minutes. 8 Episodes. Color. Not Rated. Various directors.) Don Johnson (Nash Bridges), Cheech Marin (Joe Dominguez), Jeff Perry (Harvey Leek), Jamie P. Gomez (Evan Cortez), Annette O’Toole (Lisa Bridges), Serena Scott Thomas (Kelly Wald), James Gannon (Nick Bridges), Angela Dohrmann (Stacy Bridges), Jodi Lyn O’Keefe (Cassidy Bridges).

Six years after his iconic Miami Vice series ended, Don Johnson relaunched himself on television with another show. At first it seemed like a West Coast Vice (he’s still a cop with a sidekick and a cool car), and expectations were low. To everyone’s surprise, Nash Bridges took off and enjoyed a six-year run. What made it work? It was a textbook example of a star vehicle: every episode centered on Nash, and Johnson played his considerable good looks and charm to the hilt. His chemistry with Joe really worked (Johnson and Cheech Marin clicked when both were working on Kevin Costner’s movie Tin Cup).

Nash and Joe had endless domestic problems which the audience could relate to (Nash is an ace at work, but at home he’s dealing with his two ex-wives Lisa and Kelly, teenage daughter Cassidy, and aging dad Nick; Joe, a Latino from East L.A., had a demanding Swedish wife). The San Francisco location couldn’t be beat. And of course there was the cool car: a rare yellow 1970 Plymouth Barracuda convertible in which Nash and Joe held most of their important character-revealing conversations. The production values were high and the show still looks mighty good on home video. Extras on the set include an illuminating writers’ roundtable with series creator Carlton Cuse and others who worked on the show. There are also brief on-set interviews with Johnson and Marin, and a clip with Johnson now (he just turned 60) talking about how the idea for the show came from his Aspen, Colorado neighbor Hunter S. Thompson. Season Two is also out on video, so you can keep feeding your Nash obsession, Bubba.