Season two of Baywatch Nights leaves a wave (ahem) of confusion in its wake (ahem ahem). But this is the kind of confusion I am deeply in love with. Baywatch, in its initial run, was a show about lifeguards and breasts. It was fine at being that. It also had David Hasselhoff. Knight Rider himself. Needless to say, Baywatch was pretty damn awesome. A few years before the crew moved from L.A. to Hawaii there was a spinoff. Baywatch Nights had a police character from the original show quitting the force to become a private detective. He convinces The Hoff to join him as well as Angie fuckin Harmon. They solved various cases a little too gritty for the standard Baywatch viewer. The simplicity ends at this point. Season two of Baywatch Nights is cocaine fueled brilliance. The kind of brilliance only found in the mind of a psychopath.
It was 1997 and I was up late reading comic books. I had the television on for background noise. I remember seeing David Hasselhoff on the screen and thinking it was another episode of Baywatch. Not feeling the need to see bouncing breasts in slow motion, I went back to reading my comics. Then things got weird. There were vampires. This was Baywatch and The Hoff was going up against vampires. It wasn’t till recently that I found out this wasn’t a dream. After the first season of Baywatch Nights, the showrunners got an idea. A (I’m assuming) cocaine fueled idea about where they needed to take their show. Cop dramas were out, X-Files was in. Let’s put the Baywatch universe up against the paranormal. Out of context, this season makes no sense. In context it makes even less sense. How beautiful is that?
Baywatch Nights is a little more Kolchak than X-Files. That’s not a bad thing. Anything that conjures up memories of Darren McGavin will never make my shit list.
On top of the benefits of its ridiculous premise, Baywatch Nights is graced with one of television’s greatest opening credits sequences. The shadow covered form of David Hasselhoff slowly struts through a fog bank as a spotlight shines down on him. A saxophone scores this journey, sounding like a chorus of drunk cats in heat. The smooth jazz score is infused with the power of three hundred pelvic thrusts. It’s how I imagine the Sax Man from The Lost Boys sounds whilst making sweet sweet studded love.
Now that I have stopped watching the credits and playing air saxophone, I can get on with the meat of this cocaine fueled Hasselhoff stew (it tastes better than it sounds).
Episode One: TERROR OF THE DEEP
Right off the bat, The Hoff is shirtless and jumping from a boat to rescue a drowning woman. The man knows his audience. She slips into shock (and not just because she has had full on contact with The Hoff’s slightly flabbening body) after screaming something about an ajogun. The Hoff, unfamiliar with the language of Malaysia, thinks nothing of it and goes on with his heroic speed boat patrol.
We join The Hoff enjoying some off time, reading a paper. It is at this moment we are introduced to Diamont Teague. Teague is our gateway to the supernatural. He’s the believer that sends The Hoff out on these crazy missions. Recognizing the word ajogun, he explains to The Hoff what an ajogun is. I’ll use his words to fill you in: “Every culture has one. A legendary creature which is the embodiment of all that is evil. The ajogun is from New Guinea. The fiercest creature from the fiercest culture on the planet.” Sure. Whatever. He is the expert. He believes the woman is from a Malaysian freighter ship that sank three weeks ago. A freighter ship which had its last stop in New Guinea before sinking to the ocean floor. The Hoff scoffs at this idea but Teague makes mention of people surviving in air bubbles or something and The Hoff asks his buddy, Griff, if he would be interested in going for a little dive. Teague begins to add on a warning about the ajogun but is cut off by the Hoff. “I don’t believe in the tooth fairy or the easter bunny. I’m not buying some New Guinea boogeyman off Catalina.” Everybody knows the only good thing to come from Catalina is its fucking wine mixers. Being the hero he is, The Hoff is concerned there may be more survivors. Suck it, Teague.
The rest of the episode pretty much takes place within the sunken freighter. Angie Harmon is safe above water on earpiece comm with our boys. They, of course, get trapped when the ajogun attacks. It turns out “the fiercest creature” resembles a homeless man covered in seaweed…so look out for that. Griff gets bitten and the coast guard gets called in for help. The coast guard (represented by stock footage) takes their sweet ass time coming to the rescue. This leaves The Hoff and Griff trying to figure out how to kill the damn thing. Fire doesn’t work, poorly telegraphed hook impalement is a no go, and the usual cigarette and a couple bucks holds no sway.
Will our heroes make it out? Will we ever see Angie Harmon in a bikini? Is the ajogun, in fact, a PCP empowered homeless Malaysian man? Will Diamont Teague get his own spin off series where he uses street smarts to foil the nefarious plots carried out by The Hoff’s evil, goateed doppleganger? The answer to all but one of these questions is a depressing: “no.”
The promise of “Baywatch vs Monsters” is almost too good to not fail. The first episode does not reach its full potential. In its defense, it had to repilot the whole damn thing. Gone is the private detective character and the crime solving. The mysteries are now supernaturally influenced. New characters are introduced and madness is assured. There are twenty one more episodes in this second and final season. It has a chance to grow. And there is still a chance Angie Harmon will put on a bikini. See you all real soon.