A quarter of a century ago, South Beach was a rundown crime pit populated by cocaine cowboys, pimps, junkies, and quite a few retirees on modest budgets. Then, on September 16, 1984, along came Crockett and Tubbs, two Metro-Dade Police vice squad detectives with their trademark pastel Versace suits, fast cars, and bad-ass attitudes on NBC's Miami Vice.
Being fictional and whatnot hampered them from actually cleaning up the Beach, but the cultural impact and influence of the '80s TV phenomenon can't be understated when it comes to SoBe's turnaround.
Unlike many shows set in South Florida, the series was actually shot here, and broadcasting the Beach's unique beauty into millions of homes each week proved to be the kind of free promo tourism boards dream of. The show also paved the way for the area becoming an international film and photography destination.
Department stores hustled to stock fashions inspired by the show, while the soundtrack sent numerous songs racing up the charts. The show itself revolutionized the look and feel of television.
Of course, 25 years later, South Beach, now a mega-wealthy, world-renowned leisure destination, is struggling to keep up as the local economy has crashed, and might just be in need of another cultural rebirth. Sometimes I'm not even sure if I can feel it coming in the air tonight anymore, oh Lord.
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Meanwhile, drama on network TV is pretty much devoid of style -- and original plot, for that matter. CSI: Miami is estimated to be the most popular show in the world, and it's a spinoff that doesn't even bother to film in Miami. Plus the style highlight is a pair of ugly polarized sunglasses. And then there are the trite montages of make-believe science.
But we can relive that glorious '80s heyday. Hulu has most of the series posted online.
And below, we've posted the 96-minute premiere episode that originally aired 25 years ago today.