Should ''Magnum P.I.'' and other '80s shows return? The reprise of ''Hunter'' drew decent ratings for NBC, so Ken Tucker offers his wish list of cop shows that could bolster the sagging networks
Tom Selleck
Credit: Magnum PI: Globe Photos

Should ”Magnum P.I.” and other ’80s shows return?

News that the recent “Hunter” TV-movie starring a surprisingly not-creaky Fred Dryer and the series’ original costar, Stepfanie Kramer, did well in the ratings on an otherwise-typically viewer-anemic Saturday night was enough for NBC to announce that there’ll be more “Hunter”s in the future — even, perhaps, a regular series.

The L.A. cop show, which first aired from 1984-91, may have drawn 2002 eyeballs for any number of reasons: nostalgia, a neo-Bush yearning for law and order, nostalgia, a neo-trend in Dryer-worship, or nostalgia (Saturday-night prime time audiences tend to skew a tad older; to them, Fred Dryer remains as hunky as Vin Diesel — plus Fred’s got some hair!).

In any case, “Hunter”‘s success could be the solution to the Big 3 networks’ perrennial problem in drawing a Saturday evening audience: Revive more ’80s cop/adventure shows. Here are a few we’d recommend:

“Magnum, P.I.” C’mon, Tom Selleck — you may have done yourself proud guesting on “Friends,” but that gig is pretty much up, at least until Courteney Cox Arquette decides she wants to do a solo sitcom. And you’ve proven you’re still a popular guy with the Westerns you’ve done for TNT (the latest, a remake of “Monte Walsh,” will air Jan. 17). But you and your moustache are mostly just gathering dust; you’d still look good in a Hawaiian shirt. So get on a plane to a tropical climate and demand the big CBS bucks!

“MacGyver” Hey, Richard Dean Anderson, your character gets name-checked on hiphop albums and your show’s premise — the hero who gets himself out of scrapes with no weapon but cunning — has been ripped off or parodied in everything from “Saturday Night Live” to “Spy Kids.” Why don’t you bail out of “Stargate” on cable and start dangling from cliffs again as MacGyver on ABC? I know, these days, it’s hard to tell cable-sized ratings from ABC’s, but still….

“Cagney & Lacey” Yo, Tyne Daly — you gotta be sick of teaching life-lessons to Amy Breneman on “Judging Amy” by now, right? How ’bout you go find Sharon Gless and start solving crimes again, in the tradition that made you a role-model for millions of women? What’s that, you say? You’re too, um, advanced in age to start running around chasing perps? No prob. Update “C&L” into a feminist “Charlie’s Angels.” Here’s how: Cagney and Lacey, retired from the force, run a detective agency; they’re like a two-woman Charlie, giving orders to a passel of young, sexy crime-solvers. Call it “Cagney & Lacey: V.I.P.”

What ’80s cop shows would YOU like to see revived?