By Gregory Kirschling
July 30, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT

Sledge Hammer!: Season One


This is the funniest show in TV history. At least, that’s what I thought when it premiered in 1986 and I was 8 years old. Looking at it anew today, as a short-lived but long-adored cult sitcom — okay, it might not be the acme of the art form after all. But Sledge Hammer!: Season One still feels simultaneously ahead of its time (lots of dead bodies!) and reassuringly rooted in the Reagan 1980s. And Rasche is walking silly genius as the gun-crazy Detective Hammer, the love child Inspector Clouseau and Dirty Harry might’ve begotten, a grimacing cop who takes out a rooftop sniper by blowing up the whole building with a bazooka. He’s still tops, even if some of the gags would definitely be funnier if you were 8.

EXTRAS Tons. Eye-rollingly obtrusive laugh tracks are stripped from those episodes. But best of all might be creator Alan Spencer’s commentary, apparently recorded during an earthquake, over the go-for-broke season finale (”You’re watching a TV show melt down, basically”), which ended cheerfully — with Sledge accidentally wreaking nuclear holocaust.

Sledge Hammer!: Season One

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