In 2004, UK industry magazine Broadcast called Baywatch the worst ever US TV import. Haters gonna hate, but even they can’t deny that, at the peak of its popularity, Baywatch was one of the most popular TV shows on the planet. It premiered on NBC in 1989, got canceled, and then resumed in syndication where it aired for ten seasons until 2001. Take that, NBC!
There have been rumors about Baywatch movie for more than a decade now. Well, it isn’t a rumor anymore! Baywatch will be an R-rated comedy starring, among others, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Alexandra Daddario and Zac Efron. The movie will be directed by Seth Gordon (Horrible Bosses, The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters) and is scheduled for a release sometime in 2017. While we wait, let us ponder 15 Things We’d Like To See In Baywatch: The Movie,
15. The Beach
First things first: you can’t have Baywatch: The Movie without a bay. It’s right there in the title. Baywatch is a travel ad featuring plenty of sun, sand and sea. The show was mostly filmed in locations such as Santa Monica, Venice Beach and Malibu. Even when the show changed its setting in the last two seasons, it simply moved from the beaches of California to the beautiful Hawaii, while the two-part episode Baywatch: Down Under was filmed on the coastline near Sydney, Australia.
Baywatch is currently being filmed in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Filming will also take place in Miami and Savannah, Georgia. It is currently unknown if these locations simply stand-in for California or if the movie actually takes place in Florida, but it’s sure to be have plenty of sand and sun.
Nobody ever watched Baywatch for its nuanced characterization or intricate plotting. People tuned in to enjoy its spectacle of tanned, toned and well-tuned bodies. These bodies would then move, talk and occasionally even act, but nobody really cared. Baywatch was never-ending eye candy.
The Baywatch movie is seemingly fully aware of that. That’s why its villainess is played by the former Miss World champion Priyanka Chopra. Model and actress Kelly Rohrbach will take on the role of C. J. Parker. Instagram star Charlotte McKinney was cast in a currently unknown role. Meanwhile, Zac Efron and Dwayne Johnson are here to ensure there’s a little something for the ladies as well. However, the biggest breakout star of Baywatch may turn out to be Alexandra Daddario (San Andreas, Texas Chainsaw 3D) whose amazing pair of… eyes mesmerized the viewers during the first season of the True Detective.
13. The ’90s
Remember the ’90s? It was the decade of Independence Day, Jurassic Park, The X-Files, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, RoboCop 3 and… actually, it was exactly the same as this decade, except with neon colors instead of smartphones.
The Baywatch movie is obviously surfing on the same wave of the 1990s nostalgia as all the other remakes and reboots over the past couple of years. It would be a stroke of genius for the movie’s screenwriters, Damian Shannon and Mark Swift, to directly address this by setting their movie in the ’90s and have fun with the time period. After all, The Wedding Singer and Hot Tub Time Machine already did the same thing with the 1980s. So bring on your cell phones, Discmans and your totally radical cowabangas! Let “Macarena” and “Barbie Girl” blare from the soundtrack! Since you’re already remaking a corny relic of the ’90s pop culture, you should embrace the cheese!
12. the Theme Song
We can’t discuss the 1990s nostalgia angle without mentioning what is quite possibly the most ’90s thing of the entire Baywatch series: it’s opening theme. The song is called “I’m Always Here” and it was sung and co-written by Jimi Jamison, former frontman of the platinum-selling rock band Survivor.
Playing over the scenes of pretty people playing lifeguards, “I’m Always Here” is a perfect fit for Baywatch: it’s cheesy, upbeat, dramatic and yet, somehow, bland and forgettable. Could the Baywatch movie have a better opening theme? Easily! Should it have a better opening theme? Absolutely not! As it is, our guess is that we’ll most probably get to hear the song play over the movie’s closing credits. But no matter how”I’m Always Here” gets used in the movie, it will be a tribute to the TV show.
11. a Musical Montage
Not many people remember that the first appearance by Pamela Anderson’s character C. J. Parker on Baywatch isn’t some kind of steamy beach scene, but a sight of her standing on the river bank while playing a saxophone. Badly.
Baywatch loves its musical montages. Episodes are filled with scenes of the show’s cast doing stuff like exercising in the gym, exercising on the beach or exercising in any other place where good-looking people can often be found. Man, these lifeguards have some pretty boring hobbies! These montages are always accompanied by some kind of soft rock power ballad thingies featuring crooning vocals and plenty of saxophones, synthesizers and other unholy instruments from the past century. All in all, Baywatch‘s soundtrack sounds like a muzak from a sporting goods store. The true magic of these musical montages comes from their use of the…
For Baywatch, slow motion may just be the greatest invention in the history of cinema. During its heyday, hundreds of millions of viewers would tune in every week to be mesmerized by the divine sight of the show’s gorgeous specimens of humanity running down the beach in slo mo, while the camera lovingly captured every square inch of their bodies. These scenes were one narration away from turning into a National Geographic documentary about the inhabitants of Californian beaches in their natural habitat.
We expect that the Baywatch movie will continue this glorious tradition of filming beach blondes and surfer dudes in slow motion. And if the movie doesn’t last at least 20% longer than necessary, simply because of all the scenes of its characters moving in slow-mo for no reason whatsoever, we’ll be sorely disappointed.
9. An Over-the-Top Plotline
Remember that Baywatch episode in which our brave lifeguards have to deactivate a bomb? Actually, there were several of those. Or what about the episode in which a rare salt-water alligator starts attacking the swimmers? Or was that a man-eating octopus? It’s so easy to confuse these two. Or how about that episode with Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair and “Macho Man” Randy Savage?
Baywatch never shied away from the over-the-top stories and the movie promises to have equally silly plotline. Quantico‘s star Priyanka Chopra will play a villainous, yet sexy oil tycoon Victoria Leeds, who plans to spoil the fun times on the beach with her stupid oil drilling and ecological devastation. Some kind of toxic waste may or may not be involved. This will probably tie into a ham-fisted lesson about environmental devastation, which is great, because every Baywatch episode has…
8. A Very Special Message
Like any decent Saturday morning cartoon, Baywatch feels a need to teach its audience some important life lessons. In its own knuckleheaded way, the show talks about street crime (bad), gambling addiction (bad), sex (good, if done responsibly and with respect), etc. This is also why, throughout the seasons, Baywatch spends way too much time on the stories concerning Mitch Buchannon (David Hasselhoff) who, as a single father, tries to balance his job with taking care of his son Hobie (Jeremy Jackson).
It’s all very silly and sometimes downright hypocritical, like in the 2nd season episode Thin or Die, in which buff surfer dudes and tanned blondes teach a girl how the true beauty shines from the inside. It’s something that will either make you laugh out loud or throw up a little in your mouth (avoid doing both simultaneously). For our money, the movie won’t be complete without at least one trite life lesson for its viewers.
7. the Supernatural
This is as good time as any to talk about Baywatch Nights. In this 1996 spinoff, Mitch Buchannon works as a lifeguard by day and a private investigator by night, making one wonder when he ever finds time for sleep. In its second season, Baywatch Nights turns from a cheesy noir crime show into a insane combo of The X-Files and, well, Baywatch. Partnered with a detective Ryan McBride (Angie Harmon), Mitch battles vampires, mummies, ghosts, Dungeons & Dragons game and a Yugoslavian werewolf.
Now, unless Mitch hallucinates the whole second season due to his lack of sleep, all of these things are canon. Human-fish hybrids, voodoo death cults, space spores: all of them are an official part of a Baywatch universe. We can only dream of getting a full-on Baywatch Nights film in which the good-looking life guards battle some kind of silly sci-fi monstrosity, while in the B-plot they discuss the dangers of littering.
People working on Baywatch TV show were fully aware of how silly it all was. Hence all the over-the-top stories in it. However, Baywatch is so corny that its attempts at humor are far less funny than its attempts at being serious. Every bad story – a drama, a thriller, a horror – can make for a good, if unintentional, comedy. But bad comedy is just boring.
The creators of the Baywatch movie don’t really need to spoof the original TV show in order to make it ridiculous: they just need to present it exactly as it was and it will be funny enough. That’s probably the best route for the movie whose cast seems to be chosen mainly for their looks and fame instead of their comedic chops. A shame really, because there’s plenty of funny, sexy people in Hollywood. All is not lost though, since both Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron have proven themselves in comedic roles. Which brings us to…
5. make it a Buddy Movie
Both Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron have already showed their comedic talents. Johnson appeared in a number of Hollywood comedies and was, by far, the best thing in movies such as Be Cool and Pain & Gain. Efron got his start in High School Musical films, but proved himself in comedies playing opposite Seth Rogen in Neighbors and Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising.
In the Baywatch movie, Johnson and Efron may prove to be a winning combination. In a time-honored tradition of Hollywood buddy movies, Johnson will play Mitch Buchannon as a more serious, by-the-numbers chief lifeguard, while Efron’s Matt Brody will be a younger, hot-headed lifeguard who regularly flaunts the rules. These two will then probably have to learn how to put their differences aside when the greater threat emerges. Will there be a bromance as well? Well, we’ll just have to wait and see.
4. Dwayne Johnson
All the top scientists agree: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is awesome. He’s cool, funny, charming and actually seems to be a decent guy in everyday life. In the Baywatch movie, he’ll play Mitch Buchannon, which is a casting choice so great, it’s almost impossible to put in words.
As portrayed by David Hasselhoff in the TV show, Mitch Buchannon is a loving father, a great boss, a wise mentor, a paragon of decency and an all-around gentleman. Mitch is a veritable Buddha of bay-watching. It takes a special kind of man to play such a ridiculously competent character. Dwayne Johnson is that man. Actually, he might easily top the Hoff’s performance. Not that David Hasselhoff was ever anyone’s idea of a great actor, but The Rock is simply so much more charismatic than him.
During its eleven seasons and 242 episodes, Baywatch featured a large ensemble cast. It would make for a fitting nod to the TV show if the movie features at least some of the show’s actors in cameo roles.
Actresses like Donna D’Errico and Erika Eleniak were, at the time, almost as popular as Pamela Anderson. Carmen Electra was loudly touted as her successor after Anderson left the show in 1997. Alexandra Paul was a regular who balanced her acting and modeling careers with outspoken political activism. Jeremy Jackson practically grew up in front of the cameras while playing Mitch’s son Hobie. Then there’s Michael Newman, a real-life professional lifeguard and a firefighter who got hired by the show as an expert consultant, only to become a Baywatch regular for the most of the show’s run.
2. David Hasselhoff
The man. The myth. The Hoff.
David Hasselhoff has seemingly dedicated his career to production of guilty pleasures. He appeared in the 1978 Italian Star Wars rip-off Starcrash. He became famous by playing Michael Knight on the 1980s TV show Knight Rider. Then he started singing. Throughout the 1990s, Hasselhoff appeared on Baywatch in the lead role of lifeguard extraordinaire Mitch Buchannon.
What is less known is that, at one point, Hasselhoff helped save Baywatch. After the show got canceled by the NBC in 1990 due to low ratings, Hasselhoff invested his own money together with the show’s creators and producers Michael Berk, Douglas Schwartz and Greg Bonann in order to have it revived for the first-run syndication market. The rest is, as they say, history. It therefore makes complete sense to have Hasselhoff appear in the movie, even if only in a cameo role.
1. Pamela Anderson
How could we possibly compile this list without mentioning Pamela Anderson? Throughout the five seasons of the show, Anderson played lifeguard C. J. Parker. During that time, she rose to stardom, turning into one of the decade’s sex symbols. An actress, a model and a show girl, Anderson appeared on Playboy covers 15 times in 22 years – more than any other model. In 2015, she posed for the magazine’s final nude photo spread.
All of these accomplishments may sound trite, but it can’t be denied that, in a show filled with beautiful people of all genders, it was Pamela Anderson who managed to stand out, so much so that her name still gets recognized all around the world. More than any other actress on the show, Anderson literally embodies Baywatch. It’s therefore great news that, according to Dwayne Johnson himself, Anderson will appear in the movie.
What are your expectations from Baywatch: The Movie? Share them in the comments below!