Stingray (TV Series 1985–1987) Poster

(1985–1987)

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This show was well ahead of its time.
darth_borehd29 March 2006
This series illustrates the point that making a better product does not always guarantee success as the adage about the mousetrap goes. At least not in the world of 80's network TV. This show had excellent directing, acting, cinematography, writing, sets, and the coolest car on the airways. Sadly, due to fumbled advertising and a roving time slot, it just didn't make it. Or maybe audiences at the time just weren't ready for Stingray's intelligent and edgy direction and so passed it up for more down-to-Earth offerings. Whatever the reason for it's downfall, there were a lot of people hooked on the show. Many of my classmates liked it and each week's episode was the buzz of the school. Perhaps the Nielsen ratings messed up the numbers or maybe it just didn't sit well with the disposable income demographic.

I personally think this is a candidate for a DVD release and possible re-discovery. It was my favorite show when it was on the air
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Surprisingly Mature
MitchHellman15 February 2005
One of the things I admired about the show was the quality of the scripts. Not only did the plots vary considerably as to genre (mystery, science fiction, crime drama, psychological drama) but there appeared to be a concerted effort to explore different writing styles and devices.

For example: I recall one episode that was a 'Mission Impossible'-style caper with a unique twist-- the first half of the show was how the caper was SUPPOSED to come off, while the second half was how disastrously wrong it (nearly) turned out. Another show featured a mystery writer who appeared to write what was happening to Ray as it was happening-- that Ray's actions and the plot were under the writer's control, not Ray's.
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Back when TV was (sometimes) very cool
moogyboy11 February 2003
For a few years in the late '80s, when I was just starting high school, "Stingray" was a regular fixture of my Friday nights. I used to stay home to tape it and "Crime Story" every week, so I got to see many episodes, and I think they still exist on ancient videocassettes somewhere in my brother's house. What can I say? This was easily one of the most stylish of the prime time dramas of the day, kind of Film Noir meets MTV, complete with quasi-music-video segments (all Post/Carpenter compositions, of course), disorientating quick-cuts in time with dramatic bursts of electronic drums, lots of shadows and glistening wet nighttime streets. Very moody and atmospheric at times, especially the episodes directed by David Hemmings (the same one who starred in Blow-Up and other movies). Being a sci-fi geek at the time, probably my favorite episode of all was the implausibly silly but neat-looking "Playback" (the "Desert Dome episode" as I call it, directed by Hemmings and co-starring Eugene Roche). Great series. Bring it back. Not that they ever will. Did I mention the '65 Vette?
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One of the heroes of my youth
Benvolio8 September 1999
"Stingray" was one of my favourite TV shows when I was a teenager. Ray was a cool guy, never taking money for his services, only asking favours. And of course he drove that fabulous Corvette Stingray, which still ranks as one of my favourite cars.
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Good show
joe-fetters11 October 2004
As a previous commenter stated I'd agree with the following:

  • Better than other shows of that era: A-team, Knight Rider, etc. Deeper plots and better characters. - The original pretender. The main character, Ray, took on the 'role' of a character and would try to fix wrongs. One particular show (if memory recalls correctly) he became a surgeon...pretty good stuff.


Was disappointed when it was canceled, would have like to see a few more seasons but we know how the 80's were.....shallow characters (somewhat kidding here....don't let the flame-wars begin).

Good day all.
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Nick Mancuso....a handsome, sexy, mysterious character......
saturngoddess123028 July 2005
i remember being mesmerized by this show and of course the vintage 1965 Stingray driven by Nick Mancuso. He played his character quite well...he was very handsome, mysterious, yet there was also a vulnerability to him that i found extremely sexy -- not to mention those hypnotic dark eyes and the stealth in the way he carried himself. like i said...sexy...elusive and yet very masculine, with a chameleon-like existence...much like "The Pretender". unlike the other private eye characters, where they are paid for hire, "Ray" only provided favors for those he helped, and when the time came, for the favor to be given back. sounded fair enough for me. it's a shame this series was so short lived. i lived for those Friday nights before "Miami Vice" when "Stingray" came on...with its sexy, yet edgy musical score.

to be quite honest...they could've kept "MV" and continued with "Stingray"...perhaps one day the good folks of TV Land will show the short reruns of it...we can only hope.
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Artistic but accessible
Silver Cade31 May 2002
This show had a sleek, polished feel to it and was very artistic in its camera techniques, yet at the same time was accessible and fun. Ray was a very heroic figure and at the same time endearingly vulnerable. You knew if he were real you could trust him, and if you were female you hoped he might spend a little intimate time with you before disappearing again into his nameless existence. I hope desperately that someone will rerun the meager few shows that got made, but until then I cherish my few episodes on tape.
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Good stuff
Mac Styran22 January 2001
I always liked the show and it was far better than all the other hits of that decade, like Knight Rider, A-Team or ... Simon&Simon. Correct me if I`m wrong, but ... isn`t Stingray somekind of ... the original PRETENDER? Think about it.
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fascinating
rockinghorse27 July 2003
This was one of my favorite shows. I guess I like stories in which the good guy always makes the "clever" bad guys look like idiots and still make it believable. But then, I'm very easily fooled and was more so when I was 25 and this show was new. Nick Mancuso was convincing and the co-stars were always experienced actors such as Robert Vaughn.
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Wonderful show that was woefully short-lived.
kalisa20015 August 2001
I got hooked on the late night reruns of the show during the late 80s. The show had interesting storylines, an intriguing main character, and some beautiful songs. My favorite songs being "I'll Fly Away", "Ether", and the song from the episode featuring the construction project over the sacred Indian burial ground. I just love rewatching those episodes and I never get sick of those songs.
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10/10
Some music replaced!
daniel-kyle8 April 2008
Like the recent "WKRP in Cincinnati" Season One DVD release, they've replaced some of the music, probably because of an expired licensing agreement. For example, Pete Townsend's "Give Blood" has been removed from the episode 'Less Than The Eye Can See', and substituted with a generic song by an unknown artist, which really diminishes the impact of the storyline. Too bad! Other than that, a great show finally comes to DVD in one complete series package from VEI Canada, and the quality of the video and audio is excellent. VEI has kept the packaging to a minimum (one plastic case), and that has kept the retail price affordable enough that everyone can buy it, unlike some single season releases that were just too pricey for the casual fan.
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7/10
Should have lasted longer.
jimmyjoe47 November 2006
I remember liking this show quite a bit. Lets face it if I still think of it occasionally 20 years later then it must have made some kind of impression. Too bad it didn't run longer. Im a bit of a gear-head so I watched it for the Vette, you cant go wrong with an old Stingray as your costar. I remember it having a dark mysterious feel to it. I cant remember any of the particular episodes. I guess I kind of wonder if who the star was, Nick Mancuso or the Car. I suspect the car. Perhaps they will offer it on DVD someday then I can decide if I liked it for the car or the content. Oh well, it gave me a way to burn an hour back in the days of no responsibilities.
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10/10
Stephen Cannell at his best....
jamesplea2 October 2006
This was one of the truly original TV series from the 80's- and I would LOVE to find it on DVD. I remember it used to follow Miami Vice on Friday nights and as much as I was a fan of Miami Vice my roommate and I actually started to enjoy this show more as the scripts were really unpredictable. That and the premise of the lead character actually doing favors for other people and only asking that they do him a favor in return was very unique. If you have read and enjoy the Repairman Jack series by F. Paul Wilson then you would enjoy this series as the basis of the series is somewhat similar. Also if my memory serves me correctly there really was not a lot of violence in this series as a lot of the plots were more cerebral than your average detective show-(which is probably what doomed it to a short existence. If this is availalbe on DVD I would love to know where.
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10/10
Excellent Show
faithless47348 July 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I must confess I have always been a fan of the type of show, the hero comes in saves the day and moves on. So my point of view may be a bit bias, however for an 80s TV show this is surprisingly character driven. Typical 80s shows were big bangs and car chases with a love interest or two in each episode. Lots of flash with little substance. While there are love interests in this show they are not in every episode and they are surprisingly mature in there nature I.e. both know they are not going to last and he will leave. Of course with any TV show one must suspend reality and be willing to accept fantasy over reality.
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10/10
High quality but short lived
vranger16 January 2009
for my wife and I, this is one of our favorite TV series of all time. Stingray managed comedy, action, spy motifs, sci-fi, social relevance, romance, and just plain fun all at the same time. Nick Mancuso brought it off with a remarkable charm that sold the show.

I have read recently that the series stopped because Mancuso could not see himself being tied down to a series any longer. Having read many times of Mancuso's quirky and independent slant regarding life and career, I had no trouble believing that to be true. However, its too bad. This was the role of a lifetime for any versatile actor, and looking back, I'll bet he realized that he could have stood a few more years of a quality role such as Ray, compared to some of the weak supporting roles he was stuck with in years thereafter. Like many actors, he probably eschewed the TV bird in the hand feeling that a long string of strong leading roles was within his grasp. And like many actors, he found that future to be ultimately elusive.

The show's concepts of mercenary help for barter, and a supremely mysterious main character, were very different and highly enjoyable. Mancuso's ability to mold himself into many personas ... just as enjoyable. His southern accent? Not so good, but forgivable in view of the hours of entertainment he brought otherwise. LOL

I managed to buy a serviceable set of DVDs of this series from the recent release, but unfortunately the DVD production is not as good as one might hope.
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Another Classic
Gislef12 August 1998
A first: a U.S. TV show that I like that lasts more than a year! One of the coolest theme songs in existence (written by Warren Murphy), and Nick Mancuso as the only continuing character, this show is probably the last of the Stephen Cannell "classic" shows. A unique concept (the favor trading), a near-superhuman protagonist (he could go into death-like comas and had a photographic memory - he often seemed more like Batman without the costume) , and lots of continuity. You wonder why Mancuso doesn't do more series TV (check out Matrix, an equally good show).
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10/10
A 10 even though probably not worth it
MiketheWhistle15 August 2019
I vaguely recall watching a few of these when it first aired and then finding it via some dvd/streaming service years later. The plots and direction were solid although there are spats of weakness. Nick M was an excellent actor and there were always good supporting actors. The music is one of the things that truly made this outstanding. The songs I believe were originals and always fit the story very well. In some respects this reminds me of Person of Interest without the side-kick and the dog, Bear, only had one visit being a cat called Orange Blossom. For a show from the 80s it was really good.
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8/10
Much underrated
Eightiesseeker7 August 2018
When the series first aired I missed it. I thought it's another show with a super-car packed with electronics which can talk or do amazing things. I was thinking about "yet another" Knight Rider or Street Hawk and dismissed it.

Only as I recently saw someone on Youtube showing lots of intros to 1980s shows loved by us kids, Stingray was mentioned too. I was first hooked by the music. That could have been straight out of Miami Vice with Jan Hammer playing the keyboard. But it were the legendary Mike Post, Pete Carpenter, and Walter Murphy.

I got the DVDs and could enjoy the short lived Stingray series. "Ray" as most people called him was untouchable and almost always under full control of any situation. Even when it seemed like he fell for a scam or was betrayed he always comes out on top every time. He vanishes like he appeared. Silently and without a trace.

Although when in my opinion the quality went down a little when shooting moved to Canada for the second season it should had deserved a third.

I miss shows like that today.
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10/10
I was in the 2nd season
vittorio-1311 May 2018
I had the pleasure to play an extra in about 6 different episode when I was 18 years of age got to meet some amazing people and learned a lot. I still enjoy the show and was able to get the 2nd season on DVD. It may be date now but I would think thinshould he remade it was a very good show
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9/10
Something unique and worthy of repeating
kenkirkham27 March 2010
One of the "Wandering Hero" shows, "Stingray" had elements that made it truly unique and special. True the hero had the traditional skill set (combat expert, demolitions, etc.) and he traveled the country helping people, but the details of this show gave it a very unique "flavor". There was no (obvious) "fugitive-factor" (ie the A-team, the Pretender, etc), in fact, it seemed as if the main character (known simply as Ray) had semi-legitimate government connections. He traveled the country in a classic car helping people. His price: a favor. This was where the show really differed, because there would be people that he had helped before doing their favors in payment, which provided his resources.

Unlike most of the action shows of the '80s, Stingray did not feature constant "big battles", although there were some, it was the character and his way of solving problems that made it really special. Kind of a cross between John Wayne, James bond, and a little of MacGyver. It's a show that would do well if redone.
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8/10
Possible credit omission.
cbrstrks20101 May 2009
I really enjoyed the premise of the show and the main character was cool, too cool for TV for sure. I have a question about the cast and crew credits? Perhaps someone out there in TV land can answer it. I have been a fan of Bruce Lee's work for a very long time and know that he coordinated fight scenes in movies occasionally, to make ends meet, in the lean times. Matt Helm is a good example. He doubled Dean Martin's character in the fight sequences. If you look at those movies, knowing it's him you will see what I mean. Anyway, I swear that when Stingray gets into a fight, in the pilot or first episode of the show, it is Bruce Lee doing the scene. Note the angles of the filming and cutting. Just as in Matt Helm. Over the shoulder, from behind and at a far enough distance to not reveal his face. Yet no credit can be found for his donation to the mystique of the main character. So, if anyone out there in TV land can research this and amend the credits, if valid, that would be very cool. Bill
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