The Hitchhiker (TV Series 1983-1991) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)

The Hitchhiker: DVD Volumes 1, 2 and 3


The Hitchhiker was one of HBO's earlier attempts at original series programming. It began in late 1983 with a mere trickle of three episodes, but the producers started taking it seriously a year later, in the 1984-85 season. The frequency of new episodes varied throughout the show's run. Sometimes there was a fresh episode every two weeks, and at one other point they were experimenting with a new one every week, followed by a dark period of reruns and production time.  Sometimes production was dark for a long period. The longest hiatus was almost two years, from May 1987 until April 1989, so there were no new episodes aired at all in calendar 1988, but the show experienced a strong revival in 1989, when a full slate of 26 new episodes was aired. They were still producing a small number of episodes as late as 1991. Here is the episode count by season. The seasons do not correlate perfectly to calendar years, although in three of the six (1983, 1987, 1989) cases they do happen to match up

Season Dates # Episodes
1 Late 1983 3
2 November 1984- April 1985 10
3 October 1985 - April 1986 13
4 February 1987 - May 1987 13
5 April 1989 - December 1989 26
6 September 1990 - February 1991 20

In concept the show was similar to the old Alfred Hitchcock TV series, except that it was in color and R-rated. Hitchcock was replaced by some young hunky guy, but the general narrative concept remained the same - the host would make a few pithy, omniscient remarks at the beginning and end of each episode, and the stories usually involved murder and/or the macabre. Even the name was an homage to "Hitch." The HITCHhiker. Get it?

There have been three volumes issued on DVD and there are ten episodes on each volume. The existing anthologies therefore present 30 of the 85 total episodes. I don't know what logic was used to determine which episodes were chosen for which anthology, but they don't really seem to be in any kind of order, as you can see from the tables below. The following summarize the episodes on each volume, and are listed in the same order in which they appear on the disks. The episode numbers and air dates are taken from

Volume 1

Episode Name # Air Date Nudity
Last Scene 24 3/35/86 Breasts from LeGena Hart
Nightshift 14 10/15/85  
The Miracle of Alice Ames 46 7/15/89  
Ghostwriter 19 1/7/86 The full monty from Dayle Haddon
Man's Best Friend 18 12/10/85 Breasts from Jennifer Cooke
W.G.O.D 17 11/26/85  
The Legendary Billy B 33 3/31/87  
Homebodies 31 3/17/87  
Why Are You Here? 30 3/10/87  
In the Name of Love 34 4/7/87 Breasts from Lucy Gutteridge, nude photos of an unknown

Volume 2

Episode Name # Air Date Nudity
O.D. Feelin' 20 1/28/86  
True Believer 23 3/11/86  
Perfect Order 27 2/17/87 Breasts and brief buns from Virginia Madsen. Even a very brief flash of her crotch. Beautiful images.

Also mud-covered topless nudity from two unknowns.

Cabin Fever 39 5/12/87  
A Whole New You 82 2/1/91  
Dead Heat 29 3/3/87 Breasts from Denise Galik
The Curse 22 2/25/86  
Out of the Night 15 10/29/85 Breasts from Desiree Becker
Secret Ingredient 38 5/5/87  
Man of Her Dreams 25 4/8/86  

Volume 3

Episode Name # Air Date Nudity
Man at the Window 11 3/12/85 Penelope Milford (breasts) and Michael Madsen (bum). This episode contains the only really good nudity on this disk
Dead Man's Curve 21 2/11/86 Susan Anspach (bum)
Made for Each Other 35 4/14/87  
Joker 36 4/21/87  
Videodate 9 2/16/85 Linda Smith (one nipple), and Shannon Tweed (breasts)
Best Shot 37 4/28/87 Michelle Moffatt - breast in grainy vidcam footage.
My Enemy 63 11/25/89  
Tough Guys Don't Whine 67 9/28/90  
Riding the Nightmare 68 10/5/90  
The Cruelest Cut 61 11/18/89  


Michael Madsen's nudity was the only male flesh on display in any episode among these volumes, thereby assuring that Michael and Virginia would provide the only brother/sister nudity. Among the thirty episodes on DVD, there is absolutely no nudity at all from any episode numbered higher than 37, even though the series consisted of 85 episodes! The later episodes, like the ones numbered in the sixties just above this paragraph, have lots of irritating teases - strategic cutaways, fully clothed sex scenes, etc. It seems that there was a deliberate move away from nudity. 

For what it's worth, my favorite episode is Ghostwriter, #19. It not only features rare full-frontal and rear nudity, but it has a clever, twist-filled plot, a typically offbeat performance by Willem Dafoe, and some good direction. Another good one is Last Scene, which was directed by Paul Verhoeven.

The volumes get progressively weaker. Not only does Volume #1 have the best nudity and the best stories, but it has full-length commentaries for three of the episodes, including Verhoeven's. Volume #2 still has some nice nudity, especially the episode with Virginia Madsen, but not as much, and has only two commentaries. Volume 3 has very little nudity and no special features at all.

Volume 1 also has the biggest stars. In addition to Dafoe, some of the guest stars in Volume 1 include Joey Pants, Margot Kidder, Gary Busey, Helen Hunt, James Remar, and Kirstie Alley.




see the main commentary

The Critics Vote ...


The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 6.8/10. Don't compare that to movie scores. The TV scores are generally much higher. Pete and Pete rates about as high as The Godfather!
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Our own guideline:

  • A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre.
  • B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. In order to rate at least a B-, a film should be both a critical and commercial success. Exceptions: (1) We will occasionally rate a film B- with good popular acceptance and bad reviews, if we believe the critics have severely underrated a film. (2) We may also assign a B- or better to a well-reviewed film which did not do well at the box office if we feel that the fault lay in the marketing of the film, and that the film might have been a hit if people had known about it. (Like, for example, The Waterdance.)
  • C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by people who enjoy this kind of movie. If this is your kind of movie, a C+ and an A are indistinguishable to you.
  • C means it is competent, but uninspired genre fare. People who like this kind of movie will think it satisfactory. Others probably will not.
  • C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie, but genre addicts find it watchable. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film, but films with this rating should be approached with caution by mainstream audiences, who may find them incompetent or repulsive or both. If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable to you.
  • D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-. Films rated below C- generally have both bad reviews and poor popular acceptance.
  • E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre.
  • F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.


Based on this description, the series is a C, competent but generally uninspired. Some of the episodes are better than that. If you are interested, Volume 1 is the one to try. It has the best stories, the biggest names, the best nudity, and the best features.

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