Sunday, 26 June 2016
First viewed : Winter/Spring 1980
This was shown in different time slots by the ITV regions so it's impossible to track when I first caught it. I always associate it with Friday nights at my gran's, its end titles a cue to go to the chip shop for my supper. Just hearing the theme music again makes me salivate so it's associated with happy times.
Vega$ was a detective series, its hero a PI and Vietnam vet Dan Tanna played by Robert Urich, one of the vigilante cops in Magnum Force. He drove a distinctive red Thunderbird down the strip or through the desert and was assisted by a couple of showgirls and a young guy called Binzer who usually provided comic relief. Greg Morris played irascible cop Lt Nelson, the obligatory friend on the force.
Vega$'s USP was the setting . The pilot episode , the only one written by its creator Michael Mann , and first series featured Tony Curtis as night club owner Roth but he was gradually edged out of the picture and some real-life entertainers were worked into the storylines including singer Wayne Newton, one of those stars whose name appeared in the opening titles.
Otherwise Vega$ was pretty formulaic and a little vacuous which is why I'm struggling to recall specific episodes. I remember a toecurling guest appearance by naff seventies duo The Captain and Tennille and that an episode where Dan was on the trail of a rapist was darker in tone than usual but that's about it.
The series ended in 1981 partly because Urich wanted to move on and felt the scripts had deteriorated. He later took a similar role in another successful series, Spenser : for Hire which basically typecast him for the rest of his career. He died of cancer in 2002.