The Eighties Club
The Politics and Pop Culture of the 1980s
Featured Series (T, U, V)
21 Jump Street 
(Fox, 1987-1990)

(L-R, front: Dustin Nguyen, Holly Robinson, Johnny Depp; rear: Steven Williams, Peter DeLuise)

Off. Tom Hanson
Johnny Depp (1987-1990)
Off. Doug Penhall
Peter DeLuise (1987-1990)
Off. Judy Hoffs
Holly Robinson
Officer Harry Ioki
Dustin Nguyen (1987-1990)
Capt. Richard Jenko
Frederic Forest (1987)
Capt. Adam Fuller
Steven Williams
Off. Dennis Booker
Richard Grieco (1988-1989)
Off. Joey Penhall
Michael DeLuise (1990-1991)
Off. Anthony McCann
Michael Bendetti (1990-1991)
Gina Nemo (1988-1989)
Jackie Garrett
Yvette Nipar (1988-1989)
Sal "Blowfish" Banducci
Sal Jenco (1988-1990)
Tony Dakota (1990)

One of the big events in television in the 1980s was the advent of a fourth major network, Fox. Launched in 1987, Fox aired such forgettable programming as Werewolf and Women in Prison. But it had some winners, too: the raunchy sitcom Married...With Children, a variety show hosted by the British actress/singer/ comedienne Tracey Ullman -- and a cop show with attitude called 21 Jump Street.

Loosely based on a real undercover unit in Los Angeles, 21 Jump Street featured a group of young police officers -- Off. Tom Hanson (Johnny Depp), Off. Doug Penhall (Peter DeLuise), Off. Judy Hoffs (Holly Robinson), and Off Harry Ioki (Dustin Nguyen) -- who focused their efforts on stopping youth crime. The four were often found masquerading as high school or college students in order to investigate drug trafficking, murder, prostitution and gang violence. (At the conclusion of many episodes, one of the cast members would do a public service announcement related to teen problems.) Operating out of an abandoned chapel, they answered first to Capt. Jenko (Frederic Forest), and then Capt. Fuller (Steven Williams) after Jenko was slain by a hit-and-run driver. In the second season, the squad was joined by Off. Dennis Booker, played by teen hearththrob Richard Grieco -- a character so popular that Fox thought he deserved his own series. (Booker, however, lasted only a single season. For you trivia buffs, Billy Joel performed the theme song, "Hot In The City.")

Filmed in Vancouver, and reminiscent of the '60s hit series The Mod Squad, 21 Jump Street was Fox Network's first big hit. Cancelled in 1990, the series continued in syndication for another year. A couple of new faces, including Peter DeLuise's brother Michael as Off. Joey Penhall, were introduced to fill the gaps left by the departure of Depp and Nguyen. The DeLuise brothers would team up yet again in 1994 for the sci-fi television series Seaquest DSV, while Holly Robinson would star in the long-running '90s sitcom Hangin' With Mr. Cooper.

Johnny Depp initially turned down the role of Tom Hanson, and actor Jeff Yagher played the part in the series pilot. But when Yagher didn't work out, Depp reconsidered and signed on. After his stint on 21 Jump Street, Depp graduated to the big screen, and his successful film career includes such features as Edward Scissorhands, Don Juan de Marco, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Chocolat.

Series Highlights
(from the first two seasons)
Pilot Episode (4.12.87): Officer Tom Hanson joins the Jump Street program and tangles with a villainous drug dealer named Wexler.
America, What a Town (4.19.87): Hoffs looks after a foreign exchange student while Hanson and Penhall bust a gang of high schoolers stealing cars.
My Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades (5.3.87): When a girl turns up dead, Hanson and Penhall think a group of rich kids were involved.
The Worst Night of Your Life (5.10.87): Hoffs attends a girls' Catholic school to nab an arsonist while Penhall is mugged -- by his date.
Gotta Finish the Riff (5.17.87): Capt.Jenko is killed, and the Jump Street team take on students who are holding a principal hostage.
Blindsided (5.31.87): Unaware that Hanson is a police officer, a girl asks him to kill her father -- who happens to be a cop.
In the Custody of A Clown (9.20.87): When the Jump Street squad investigates the kidnapping of a boy, they discover the kid planned his own abduction to get away from his parents.
Higher Education (10.25.87): A pregnant high school girl claims Officer Ioki is the father of her child.
Honor Bound (11.8.87): Hanson and Penhall find themselves in a military school where some students are suspected of beating up gay men.
Christmas in Saigon (12.18.87): Officer Ioki reveals that he is actually a Vietnamese refugee.
A Big Disease With A Little Name (2.7.88): Hanson is given the task of protecting a high school student with AIDS.
Chapel of Love (2.14.88): On Valentine's Day, the Jump Street team reminisce about their worst dates.
Orpheus 3.3 (2.28.88): Hanson is 3.3 seconds too late to save his girlfriend's life -- and becomes obsessed with finding her murderer.
Cory and Dean Got Married (5.8.88): Hoffs and Penhall try to protect a girl pursued by her insane boyfriend.

 V: The Series
(NBC, 1984-1985)

Mike Donovan.....Marc Singer
Dr. Juliet Parrish.....Faye Grant
Diana.....Jane Badler
Nathan Bates.....Lane Smith
Robin Maxwell.....Blair Tefkin
Elizabeth.....Jennifer Cooke
Ham Tyler.....Michael Ironside
Elias.....Michael Wright
Kyle Bates.....Jeff Yagher
Lydia.....June Chadwick
Howard K. Smith.....Himself
Sean Donovan.....Nicky Katt
Mr. Chiang.....Aki Aleong
Charles.....Duncan Regehr
Lt. James.....Judson Scott (1985)
Martin/Philip.....Frank Ashmore (1985)

The saga of The Visitors began with two very popular miniseries in May 1983 and May 1984, (V and V: The Final Battle), in which the aliens arrive on Earth with an offer to assist humans in solving their problems. The gullible population of Earth, however, soon discovers that they're being manipulated by the Visitors, who seek to gain total control of the planet for the purpose of harvesting humans for food. The only thing that stands in their way is a Resistance movement which manages to drive the aliens away with a red dust bacteria in the second miniseries.
As the series opens, a captured Visitor leader named Diana, faced with trial, escapes and regains control of earth with the assistance of human collaborators, chief among them the industrialist Nathan Bates. Leading the Resistance is TV newsman Mike Donovan, weapons specialist Ham Tyler, and scientist Juliet (Julie) Parrish). One of their allies is Robin, who has given birth to a half-human, half-alien child named Elizabeth, who has undergone a rapid metamorphosis and possesses extraordinary powers that may be the key to the destruction of the Visitors. The Resistance is also aided by Kyle, the rebellious son of Nathan Bates. In the final episode, a peace is negotiated and the Visitors return to their home planet with Elizabeth, the Star Child. Interestingly, newsman Howard K. Smith appeared as himself, opening each episode with a "Freedom Network" news update on the war between the Visitors and the Resistance.
The series failed to achieve the ratings enjoyed by the two miniseries, and was cancelled after only nineteen episodes. Its chief drawback was a low budget that required extensive use of stock footage, and changes in both storyline and cast midway through the season. However, the V concept spawned a series of paperback novels -- V: East Coast Crisis (1984), V: The Pursuit of Diana (1984), V: The Chicago Conversion (1985), V: The Florida Project (1985), V: Prisoners and Pawns (1985), V: The Alien Swordmaster (1985), V: The Crivit Experiment (1985), V: The New England Resistance (1985), V: Death Tide (1985), V: The Texas Run (1985), V: The Path to Conquest (1987), V: To Conquer the Throne (1987), V: The Oregon Invasion (1987), V: Below the Threshold (1988) -- published by Warner Bros. and (in a few cases), TOR Books. In addition, 18 V comics were published by DC Comics (1985-86); trading cards, stickers, action figures and a lunchbox were also produced.

Series Highlights
Liberation Day (10.26.84): A year after the Visitors have been driven from Earth, Diana escapes custody and attempts to instigate their return.
Dreadnought (11.2.84): While Diana leads a second Visitor invasion, Nathan tries to cut a deal with her to make Los Angeles an "open city".
Breakout (5.24.85): Mike and Ham are captured by the Visitors and plot an escape; Diana uses Nathan's son in her quest for the Starchild. (This episode was not aired in sequence due to network concern over its violent content.)
The Deception (11.9.84): Kyle intercepts a message from a downed resistance fighter revealing the location of a rendezvous to transport Elizabeth to New York.
The Sanction (11.16.84): Mike rescues Sean from the Visitors' Youth Corps and is tracked by the ruthless Exterminator.
Visitor's Choice (11.23.84): The Resistance learns of a prototype that will enable the Visitors to speed up the harvesting of humans for food.
The Overlord (11.30.84): A citizen from Rawlinsville asks the Resistance to liberate her town.
The Dissident (12.14.84): When Diana and Kyle collaborate to set up a force field around Los Angeles, the Resistance plans to capture the field's creator.
Reflections in Terror (12.21.84): Diana uses a stolen blood sample of Elizabeth's to create another Starchild.
The Conversion (1.4.85): The Leader's special envoy uses a conversion process to brainwash Ham into killing Mike.
The Hero (1.11.85): The Visitors threaten to execute Resistance sympathizers unless Mike, Ham and Juliet give themselves up.
The Betrayal (1.18.85): Willie fights to survive a Visitor laser blast, and John attempts to impregnate Robin and create another Starchild.
The Rescue (2.1.85): With the death of Nathan Bates, the Visitors launch an all-out effort to take Los Angeles.
The Champion (1.8.85): Mike tries to help a community organize a resistance against the Visitors and their human collaborators.
The Wildcats (2.15.85): Juliet and Kyle enlist The Wildcats to help them secure medicine and halt a diptheria epidemic.
The Littlest Dragon (2.22.85): Philip heads to Earth in pursuit of the thief who stole the Mothership's laser power source.
War of Illusions (3.8.85): The Resistance relies on a computer hacker to break into the Visitors' computer system and disrupt their battle plans.
Secret Underground (3.15.85): Mike and Juliet go undercover aboard the Mothership to retrieve a list of Resistance leaders.
The Return (3.22.85): When The Leader declares an armistice, Diana plots to overthrow him and continue the war on Earth.

The 1986 V Annual