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3/5/08 | |

(1989) Once the world's most-watched TV programme, Baywatch has become a significant part of television history. This long-running series follows the adventures of a team of lifeguards on a crowded resort beach. Veteran lifeguard Mitch Buchannon watches over the younger lifeguards that come and go with each passing season as they keep the beaches safe for vacationers. Frequently he must take action to save them from the raging seas and from the raging tempers that sometimes flare up between the young guards in this stressful job.

Baywatch, television's most-famous "jiggle series" and by some counts the most-watched show around the world, did more for slow-motion beach joggers than anything since Chariots of Fire--just replace the British Olympic athletes with young women in high-cut red swimsuits who look like Playboy models. The premise of Baywatch is straightforward: a Los Angeles-based team of lifeguards saves swimmers and occasionally fights crime, led by beefcake Mitch Buchannon (David Hasselhoff). And those Playboy models? This season marked the debut of the quintessential Baywatch babe Pamela Anderson as C.J. Parker. Also debuting were Nicole Eggert as Roberta "Summer" Quinn, and Alexandra Paul as Mitch's old flame, Lt. Stephanie Holden. Future Showgirls star Elizabeth Berkley and surf champion Kelly Slater appear in a short-lived love triangle with Summer, Gregory Alan Williams continues to make appearances as Sergeant Garner Ellerbee, and David Charvet plays newcomer lifeguard Matt Brody. Throughout the season, Mitch and Stephanie dance around rekindling their relationship (but the attempt to use Mitch to evoke Bogie in Casablanca is just silly). Other events and encounters of the season include pirates ("Masquerade"), a basketball slaying ("Lifeguards Can't Jump"), a diamond smuggler ("Strangers Among Us"), a cruise hijacking ("Vacation"), an escaped convict ("The Tower"), a devastating injury to a key crew member ("Shattered"), and an Australian crew member (Trevor Goddard) in the season finale ("Fatal Exchange").