RIPTIDE was an action show co-created by Stephen J. Cannell that premiered on NBC in January 1984. Starring Perry King (CAPTAINS AND THE KINGS) and Joe Penny (JAKE AND THE FATMAN) as Cody Allen and Nick Ryder, respectively, handsome private detectives operating off a Los Angeles pier, and Thom Bray (DEEPSTAR SIX) as Boz, their nerdy computer-expert sidekick, RIPTIDE was a big hit its first two seasons.
Unfortunately, when RIPTIDE returned for Season 3 in the fall of 1985, it ran in the same Tuesday night timeslot as ABC's new juggernaut, MOONLIGHTING, which was not only a ratings sensation, but also the hippest water-cooler drama on television.
NBC finally moved RIPTIDE away from MOONLIGHTING to Friday nights, but it was too late. The Cannell show never picked up the viewers it lost, and RIPTIDE was cancelled after its third season.
However, thanks to writers Babs Greyhosky and Tom Blomquist, it went out with a bang. Its next-to-last episode, airing April 18, 1986, was "If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em." It guest-starred Richard Greene (not the ROBIN HOOD actor) and Annette McCarthy as the stars of a familiar-looking TV series who team up with the newly hired technical advisers Nick and Cody to solve a crime.
The good-natured parody was the subject of an article in the Los Angeles Times that focused on the episode's genesis and how the writers managed to appease ABC lawyers. What's really interesting, as you'll see in the clip below, is how spot-on Greene and McCarthy were with their impressions of Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd. Neither went on to great fame, though Greene still works steadily as a guest star in TV dramas (like BONES).
Here is the teaser and the opening titles to RIPTIDE's "If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em" with a cool surfer-dude theme composed by Mike Post and Pete Carpenter: