This week I’m joined by Glenn Gordon Caron, the creator and showrunner of Moonlighting, to talk about that series’s long-awaited arrival on streaming. We discussed the show’s creation, the discovery of Bruce Willis, how he and costar Cybil Shepherd kept up with the show’s trademark rapid-fire patter, the difficulty in clearing music rights (and how Moonlighting was one of the first shows to heavily incorporate pop music into the show), working with legends like Orson Welles and Stanley Donen, and so much more.
If you’ve never watched the show, I highly recommend checking it out on Hulu; the folks at Disney have done an amazing job restoring the episodes. A handful of highlights, if you’re trying to figure out where to start:
Season 1, Episode 1: The Pilot. Tonally this is a bit different from what would follow, but it’s genuinely kind of wild to see Willis show up onscreen fully formed as Bruce Willis, Star in what was almost literally his first role.
Season 1, Episode 2: Gunfight at the So-So Corral. Again, the show is still finding its footing, but it’s a pretty good representation of the combination of smart dialogue, great casting, and clever resolutions to the onscreen mysteries.
Season 2, Episode 4: The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice. Orson Welles introduced this episode—which is structured with a mysterious intro and then two dream sequences (one dreamt by Shepherd’s Maddie Hayes as a sort of MGM musical; the other by Willis’s David Addison as a sort of 1940s noir)—in part because the network was terrified no one would want to watch a black-and-white episode of TV.
Season 2, Episode 18: Camille. Whoopi Goldberg and Judd Nelson co-starred, and their mystery is all well and good, but it’s the closing sequence in which the (fourth) walls of reality come crashing in on the cast that makes this second season finale a must-watch.
Season 3, Episode 6: Big Man on Mulberry Street. The mid-show dance sequence was done by Stanley Donen, and, again, I just can’t imagine what it was like to have this sequence pop up in the middle of network TV in the 1980s. Wild stuff.
Season 3, Episode 10: Poltergeist III — Dipesto Nothing. One of the show’s episodes focusing on the adventures of Ms. Dipesto (Allyce Beasley) and Mr. Viola (Curtis Armstrong), who make for a delightful pairing.
Season 4, Episode 2: Come Back Little Shiksa. Shepherd had to leave the show for a while due to her pregnancy, which led to a series of episodes that separated her and Willis. But the creators used some clever ways to get them in the same room. Plus: John Goodman’s in this one!