Today, people remember "Remington Steele" more as Pierce Brosnan's break-out role and that it cost him his first shot at the role of 007. But it's more than that (not much more, however). It's a light-hearted romantic comedy/mystery that stood out in the 1980s field of tough guy, shoot 'em up action shows.
On the one hand, "Remington Steele" is pure 1980s TV fluff. Like so many other shows, the acting is hammy, the scripts are predictable and nothing about the episodes stays with you long. But on the other hand, hidden within this are two great performances, strong chemistry and a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor that occasionally elevates the material.
What set "Steele" apart from the pack? It's the stars - Brosnan and Stephanie Zimbalist. Sure, they were gorgeous people on dangerous assignments in exotic locales, but they were damn fun to watch, particularly in their flirtatious banter and frustrated arguments. The show itself was sometimes a bit smarter than the competition as well. For one thing, a woman was the star (not just eye candy) and actually more capable than her male counterpart. Secondly, the stories were (at first) a bit more farcical and light hearted. The notion of making Brosnan's character a film buff also allowed for a lot of allusions to classic films and actors. As the show went on, the action was amped up a little more and Brosnan's Mr. Steele became more of a man of action. But at first, he was essentially a dandy who needed Stephanie Zimbalist to bail him out at the sign of trouble.
If you're a fan of mysteries, or if you want to see how Pierce Brosnan showed the world he could be James Bond, "Remington Steele" is worth a spin on your rental queue. It's great viewing - it's light, entertaining and when it's over there's nothing left hanging.