MSRP: $29.99
Not rated
RUNNING TIME: 664 minutes

The Pitch

The Love Boat.  Soon we’ll be making another run.  The Love Boat promises something for everyone. 

The Humans

– Gavin MacLeod – Captain Merrill Stubing
- Bernie Kopell – Dr. Adam “Doc” Bricker
- Fred Grandy – Purser Burl “Gopher” Smith
- Ted Lange – Bartender Isaac Washington
- Lauren Tewes – Cruise Director Julie McCoy

The Nutshell

Aaron Spelling’s powerhouse show that dominated Saturday nights on ABC for nearly a decade along with Fantasy Island.  It featured the eager and helpful crew of a cruise ship assisting guest stars such as Don Adams, Catherine Bach, Loni Anderson, Chuck Connors and hundreds of other Hollywood notables find love while at sea.  Led by Capt. Merrill Stubing, Doc, Gopher, Julie the cruise director and Isaac the bartender didn’t rest until hook-ups were made and everyone left the ship happy.  Boffo ratings ensued.

The Lowdown

It’s always a sobering thing to realize that nostalgia will only take you so far on certain things.  I can remember watching the weekly double threat of Love Boat and Fantasy Island on Saturday nights with my mother and sister as a wee lad and being heartily entertained.  Now as a wee adult, and sitting through this show for the first time in decades, I’m excising the Love Boat part of my fond memories from that period of yesteryear.  Few shows have aged as badly as this one.  Not only a product of its period, it was simply a badly written show that rehashed plotlines in a formula that wore thin by the second episode of viewing.  About the only thing this is good for now is to see stars back in the day either making their (relatively speaking) triumphant guest return to TV or cling desperately to the small bit of fame they previously had.

The formula is simple: there were usually three stories on any given episode, some that directly involved the various crew members or had them in peripheral roles.  Couples from all walks of life would show up on the ship with their relationships in various states of disarray.  Banter and situational comedy are thrown around during the voyage, and in the end, the couples would relaize they were meant for each other, or not in some cases, and wedding plans would be made upon episode’s end.  Marriage proposals on this show were thrown around like the confetti at the cruise beginning.  A plethora of 1970s and 1980s Hollywood notables guest starred each week as the passengers.  A couple of episodes that come to mind in this offering featured Ray Bolger, Ron Palillo, Tina Louise, Lyle Waggoner, Martha Ray and Abe Vigoda. Occasionally, one of the crew members would fall in love, only to not seal the deal for whatever reason. 

Captain Stubing was gruff, yet wise and lovable, Gopher was a buffoon, Isaac the cool cat, Doc was a lothario and Julie the oh-so-cute and helpful cruise director.  And there you have it.  Mix in various bad ’70s fashions and fads of the day, and a shitload of stock footage and maritime process shooting and you have your show.  For those of us old enough to have watched this on TV, the thought that would immediately come to mind would be, “Oh my God, I actually watched this?”  And for the younger set, the
thought that would immediately come to mind would be, “Oh my God, they actually watched this?”

The Package

Not only has the show aged badly, it looks it.  The transfers show their age and that general ’70s bad film stock look in full frame with mono audio.  This is also only half of the season, so to get the whole thing would run you roughly 60 bucks.  No special features.  Feel free to pass.

3.4 out of 10