AIRWOLF TV SERIES EPISODE LIST, OVERVIEW AND EPISODE GUIDE
The 'Airwolf TV series' was a futuristic action adventure from the mid-1980s about an awesome, but sleek jet chopper that could 'kick butt' (via its awesome firepower of 14 weapons options, plus Mach 2+ supersonic speed) and its loner, cello-playing pilot, Stringfellow Hawke (played to perfection by ex-Hollywood hellraiser, Jan-Michael Vincent) who lived in a remote, lakeside, mountain cabin with his old BlueTick Hound called Tet (after the Tet Offensive in Vietnam). Airwolf was the uhelicopters.
When the Airwolf helicopter (a real wolf in sheep's clothing with the ultimate in high-tech, fictional capabilities at the time that have since come true to an extent with the Apache helicopter and other helicopter gunships, albeit without the supersonic speed) is stolen by its genius creator, Dr Charles Henry Moffet (a wonderfully slimy performance by the late British actor and director, David Hemmings) then flown to the late Colonel Kadaffi's Middle Eastern sand-pile in Libya to indulge in his favourite deviant pastime of raping and torturing young women.
The Deputy Director (played by actor, Alex Cord) of the field weapons' development within the US Government's CIA ('the Firm') that developed Airwolf asks for Hawke's assistance in recovering the helicopter, in return for them finding Hawke's brother, St John, still MIA from the Vietnam war. Hawke asks for help from his old friend and mentor, Dominic Santini (played by the late veteran, Oscar-winning actor, Ernest Borgnine) and together they try to recover Airwolf from Moffet and the Libyan military. Hawke vowed to return it only when the the Firm, the US Government agency within the CIA that developed the secret helicopter, finds his Vietnam veteran MIA brother, St John, alive or dead.
Airwolf the TV show, was part 'Blue Thunder', part 'Knight Rider' and far superior to both from the very start, featuring magnificent, movie production values within most of its 55 episodes and especially with its lovingly shot aerial hardware and aerial dogfights (the producers called these the "aerial ballets"). The subsequent three seasons (forgetting its awful final fourth Canadian-based Airwolf II season) resembled the intentions of the Blue Thunder and Firefox movies from two years earlier, but the TV show's macho solemnity ultimately gave it the edge and allowed it to still acknowledge and explore the muddier areas of international politics and officialdom's often questionable behaviour - as Hawke and Santini skimmed around the skies as a sort of blackbird of death amalgam of Lone Ranger, Mighty Mouse and God, dispensing instant justice in the name of fair play and apple pie. There were no wimpy sirens or formalities like arrests and trials (most of the time) where Airwolf was concerned; neither the CIA nor vigilantes require such minor details of inconvenience. A pretty much right-wing TV series so far ahead of its time and long before '24', 'Homeland', 'The Unit' and others).
HIGH-CONCEPT TV SHOW
With a high concept such as Airwolf, an element of tongue-in-cheek was almost mandatory to get such a provocative premise on the air (the initial outcry against the mercenary heroes of The A-Team had only been dissipated by the series' stubborn refusal to take itself seriously - as the critics had), but in Airwolf the self-parody was deliberately almost subliminal to enable the series to play both sides of the fence. It was a show that still stands the test of time today - much of the technology and look of the show hasn't aged at all - with its real world (mostly right-wing) politics, a reality that extends to its story locations, with stories set in real countries including: Libya, Laos, Nicaragua, Cuba, Mexico and Russia.
AIRWOLF THEME MUSIC
A highlight was the superb music within the TV series - created by Hungarian composer Sylvester Levay - is one of the most recognisable and superb pieces of television theme music ever created and adds even further to the show's movie production values during the aerial action sequences especially with the Airwolf Main Theme (of which this website is all about with the 'Airwolf Extended Themes' 2CD Soundtrack).
The Airwolf TV series has been called one of the finest action-adventure series ever created on American television, pandering to the darker instincts of the human psyche and making for extremely satisfying viewing.
AIRWOLF EPISODE LIST
The complete Airwolf Episode List above is intended to give the show's fans a quick, interactive, reference guide for CBS Seasons 1 to 3 during 1984-1986, plus the later (most fans feel inferior) spin-off Canadian 'Airwolf II' (aka 'Season 4') series during 1987-1988 that was syndicated on the USA Network. It comprehensively lists the individual seasons, airdate, Universal Studios' production number, production order of all 'Airwolf' episodes that aired, as well the Writer, Director and music Composer of each episode... all in one convenient place.
The majority of fans feel the initial, darker, grittier Season 1 of the show, with its espionage and Cold War-orientated feel against the 'Red Menace' was the definitive season of the show with which Don Bellisario's vision for his concept was fully realised. It was definitely aimed at an older viewing audience back in 1984, unlike all its peer "super vehicle" shows like 'Knight Rider', 'Blue Thunder', 'Street Hawk' and 'The Highwayman' which were all aimed at a family demographic.
With Seasons 2 + 3 watering down the hard-edged, international espionage, intrigue and Cold War menace (although it was still there in certain Season 2 episodes) from the inaugural season after CBS network interference demanding a gradual "domestication" of the show to include more Season 2 scripts within US borders and much less of the gritty scripts and off-beat characterisation (although there were some spectacular diamonds in there), especially with the introduction of Jean Bruce Scott's ex-Texas Highway Patrol character, 'Caitlin O'Shannessy' to water down the boys-own Action show from before.
By Season 3, with creator Don Bellisario leaving the series (along with his new wife, Deborah Pratt who played Archagel's assistant 'Marella') had progressed to be more action orientated, with mostly all the episodes in the Season 3 episode list being set within US borders. Whilst the quality of much of the action went up overall, with the aerial battles, when budget allowed being slicker and with a purely synthesised, warm but twangy version of Sylvester Levay's 'Airwolf Main Theme' playing as the underscore, it was more likely to see 2nd Unit Footage repeated, or rehashed from earlier episodes to save money. The disintegration of the soundstage-based "88k" mock-up (where the cast sat when flying 'The Lady') was obvious to see by the end of shooting in March 1986. By the final couple of episodes, it was obvious the TV show was treading water with prominent production crew leaving the series before the end. But Season 3 is the so-so season of highs and lows of television production, half a dozen episodes of which should really have left their scripts into the other production cabins at Universal that should have been filmed on Knight Rider, Street Hawk or The A-Team.
HOW MANY EPISODES OF AIRWOLF ARE THERE?
There are 55 episodes in total for the original three seasons of the Airwolf TV Series produced by NBC Universal and commissioned by the CBS network, which aired between January 1984 (the Pilot episode aired straight after the Super Bowl) and March 1986. Season 1 had 11 episodes, with Season 2 having 22 episodes, and Season 3 having had 22 episodes. The 'Pilot' episode, aka "SHADOW OF THE HAWKE" exists in three different forms... as the original single episode "TV version" which aired on CBS after the Superbowl on 22nd January 1984. The second version was a two-part syndicated edit which aired on the USA Network and split the single "TV Version" Pilot in half to lengthen out the run artificially to 56 episodes. The third version is sometimes called [confusingly mis-named] "Airwolf The Movie" and was a re-edited, shortened version of the 'Pilot' episode, with at least two added sequences from Season 1's 'MAD OVER MIAMI', added swearing and different dialogue, plus any indication of a continuity into a full TV Series was removed (e.g. hovering into the Lair for the first time in the Santini Air JetRanger; the final scene between Hawke and Archangel in the Cabin and Hawke serenading the eagle again at dusk).