Weekend Viewing: HONEY WEST

The ancestor (ress?) of all the ass-kicking TV heroines ever after was the beautiful and talented Anne Francis (Forbidden Planet) as Honey West, a half-hour mystery/adventure show that lasted only one season but played quite a bit in syndicated reruns. It was an Aaron Spelling production, as you can see from the mix of wealthy high-class living, mild titillation and refusal to wink at the audience no matter how silly it gets. (The essence of a Spelling show is that it always, always acts as if this stuff makes sense, whereas other producers try to inject a little self-awareness into the mix. Which is never as popular as Spelling’s insane sincerity.)

The idea of having a woman as the main character of a mystery show was unusual at the time; Mad Magazine’s parody of the show noted that every episode felt a need to explain how Honey got to be a detective (she inherited the business from her father) because the producers were afraid that nobody would find it credible if it wasn’t explained every week.

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