Thunder in Paradise is unique in that it somehow blended together aspects of Knight Rider (futuristic hi-tech boat), Miami Vice (headquarters in Florida), A-Team (ex-military mercenaries out to deliver justice) and Baywatch (hot beach babes) into one rather lackluster, yet highly addictive TV series. Though short-lived, Thunder in Paradise did manage to salvage my interest in Hulk Hogan befor being utterly dashed by the abhorrently sterile Santa with Muscles.
Created by the same trip responsible for the ever-popular Baywatch (Michael Berk, Douglas Schwartz, and Gregory J. Bonann), Thunder in Paradise was a vain attempt at taking the ‘hot chick factor’ of their former series, tossing in some action sequences (explosions et al) and releasing it as an hour-long straight-to-video popcorn flick (see trailer above). Somehow, though, they parlayed this initial release into an entire season (22 episodes) of hour-long action block of stupid cheesy fun.
To the naked eye, the adventures of Randolph “Hurricane” Spencer (Hogan) and Martin “Bru” Brubaker (Chris Lemmon) may seem mind-numbingly dull, but in truth the series cheap thrills were more than enough entertainment to keep me interested over a long summer break. In fact, the series greatest strength is that its kinda funny in spite of lame acting, campy humor and blatantly obvious guest appearances by (then) Ted Turner’s roster of wrestling giants among which were Jimmy “Mouth Of The South” Hart, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart and Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake.
There’s not much to say in regard to the plot as each episode generally exploited the same formula of someone getting kidnapped, Spencer and Brubaker kicking ass and thus saving the day, and cueing the collective ‘feel good’ freeze frame as the credits roll. The only exception that stands out in my mind would perhaps be Episode 6 (Endangered Species) in which a ‘wild boy’ from animal poachers and proceeds to protect him from a bunch of evil scientists.
BUT WAIT- there’s more! Apparently there was also a CD-Rom video game based on the TV series, more specifically the final two episodes (see above). Although I’ve never actually played the game itself, Wikipedia remarks it as being “only time in TV history that an actual aired episode was written and structured to serve as the basis for a video game.” That’s pretty cool I guess, but oh what I would have given to play Hogan in all his an ass-kicking 16-bit glory had they made the series into a Super Nintendo game!