VIPER: The Television Show Frequently Asked Questions ------------------------------------------------------- Compiled By Brian Gajewski Contributions Made By Paul DeMeo, Danny Bilson, Ken Au-Yeung, Jean Paul Gibeau & Steven Lawrence Updated: 5/13/98 -------------------------------------------------------- Latest Additions: VIPER Soundtrack Available On Compact Disc? NEW!!!!!!!! New Character Analysis in FAQ!!!!!! Plus............ Information on 1998-1999 Season Joe Astor & Julian Wilkes Return! The RT/10 VIPER Roadster Gets Retired!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ------------------------------------------------------- This page is not endorsed by Paramount Pictures. It has just been assembled by fans of the show. The producers of the show have been very supportive and appreciate the following the show has received. While this FAQ is an unofficial document, Pet Fly Productions has been very supportive of our activities. If you would like to make any additions to the FAQ, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org For the latest version, please visit the Unofficial VIPER home page at http://pegasus.cc.ucf.edu/~bmg95960 VIPER Page, VIPER CENTRAL..... Always #1, Averaging Over 1200 Hits A Month! Table Of Contents: ----------------- 1.0 General Information 1.1 What Is The VIPER TV Show? 1.2 What Network Is It On? 1.3 Who Is In The Show? 1.4 Is There An Episode Guide On The Internet? 2.0 The Main Cars On The Show 2.1 What Is A Viper RT/10 Roadster? 2.2 What Is A Viper GTS Coupe? 2.3 What Is The Silver Car Called? 2.4 What Happened To Frankie's 'Cuda340? 3.0 The Creative Minds Behind VIPER 3.1 Who Are Paul DeMeo And Danny Bilson? 3.2 Which Studio Produces VIPER? 3.3 Who Is Responsible For The Computer Effects Used On VIPER? 3.4 What Did Chrysler Corporation Do For VIPER? 4.0 The VIPER TV Show Merchandise 4.1 What VIPER Toys Have Been Made? 4.2 What Other VIPER merchandise has been made? 5.0 VIPER On The Internet 5.1 Is There A Viper Newsgroup? 5.2 What VIPER Internet Pages Are There? 6.0 VIPER Promotions 6.1 What was the VIPER MADD Dash Across America? 7.0 VIPER's Turbulent Beginnings 7.1 Why was VIPER created? 7.2 What was the VIPER Lawsuit of 1993? 8.0 The SEASONS 8.1 Season One: 1994 8.2 Season Two: 1996-1997 8.3 Season Three: 1997-1998 8.4 Season Four: 1998-1999 9.0 The VHS "Classics" 9.1 What Is The VIPER VHS "Classics?" 9.2 The VIPER Soundtrack On Compact Disc? 1.0 General Information ======================= 1.1 What Is The VIPER TV Show? The VIPER show takes place in the near future. The show is a mix between Science Fiction and Action/Adventure. It follows the adventures of a sophisticated vehicle that was designed to fight crime. 1.2 What Network Is It on? VIPER premiered on NBC back in 1994. It was launched as a mid-season replacement, on Sunday, January 2, 1994. The Pilot Movie aired as NBC's Movie Of The Week. VIPER started in its normal timeslot Friday, January 7, 1994 at 8PM. It original episodes aired from January through April. None of the first season episodes were ever repeated. NBC cancelled the show in 1994. In 1995, Paramount re-cast the show and moved production from Los Angeles to Canada, The show's second season started airing the week of September 23, 1996 in syndication. Paramount now refers to the NBC season of Viper (1994) as the 'classic' series. This is the 'Premiere' season of Viper (syndicated:1996). 1.3 Who Is On The Show? The Cast Of Viper For Season 1: =============================== James McCaffrey As Joe Astor Dorian Harewood As Julian Wilkes Joe Nipote As Franklin 'Frankie' Xavier Waters The Cast Of Viper For Season 2: =============================== Jeff Kaake As Special Investigator Thomas Cole Heather Medway As Detective Cameron Westlake Joe Nipote As Franklin 'Frankie' Xavier Waters Dawn Stern As Doctor Allie Farrow The Cast Of Viper Season 3: ============+============== Jeff Kaake As Special Investigator Thomas Cole Heather Medway As Detective Cameron Westlake Joe Nipote As Franklin 'Frankie' Xavier Waters J. Downing As FBI Agent Sherman Catlett The Cast Of Viper Season 4: =========================== James McCaffrey As Joe Astor Heather Medway As Detective Cameron Westlake Joe Nipote As Franklin 'Frankie" Xavier Waters J. Downing As FBI Agent Sherman Catlett 1.4 Is There An Episode Guide On The Internet? There are several episode guides on the internet. The most complete episode guide of Viper, is the one that I maintain. It is located at http://pegasus.cc.ucf.edu/~bmg95960/viper/main.html (currently being updated -- will be back online 8/98) Also, Paramount's official site at http://www.vipertv.com offers a complete listing of every syndicated (Non-NBC) Viper Episode 2.0 The Main Cars Of The Show ============================= 2.1 What Is A Viper RT/10 Roadster? The Viper is Chrysler's Corporation's answer to the high powered exotic car. The Viper is the fastest street legal car ever built in the United States. The Viper is a two passenger roadster equipped with a 488 cubic inch (8.0 Liter) V-10. A Red Viper, is the star of the show, hence the name. The 1992-1995 Viper Roadsters featured a 400 horsepower V-10. In 1996, New color schemes and wheels were available with an upgraded 415 horsepower engine. 2.2 What Is A Viper GTS Coupe? The Viper GTS coupe was originally a show car that toured the United States in 1994. The GTS Coupe went into production in 1996 with a new interior (featuring dual air bags) and exterior door handles (original roadster did not have them!). The car featured a second generation 8.0 Liter V-10 engine with 450 horsepower and 490 ft/lbs. of torque. The car features a new sheetmetal and a fastback roof. The GTS coupe had improved aerodynamics (.35 drag coeficient versus the Roadster's brick-like .50) and was now capable of 185+ mph (Hennessey MotorSports can upgrade a Viper GTS coupe to 605 horsepower to make it capable of 203 mph). The Viper GTS was only available in Brilliant Blue with two white stripes running down the middle of the car in its first year of production. In its second year oif production, 1997, the Viper GTS was also available in red. For 1998, The Viper GTS is available in Silver and Red (Blue not available). 2.3 What Is The Silver Car Called? The Silver Car that the Red Viper Roadster morphes into is called the 'Defender.' It was designed by Chrysler with creative advice for Paramount Studios. Several stunt Defenders were constructed: a) A 4X4 version on a Dodge Dakota Drivetrain With Enlarged Tires b) Several 'Mules' to abuse. 2.3 What Happened To Frankie's 'Cuda340? The Purple '1971 Cuda that was driven by Frankie in Season 1 is now owned by the Vehicle Coordinator of the show. The show moved from California to Canada in 1995. In Season 2, Frankie drove a Purple '72 Dodge Challenger. Frankie's 'Cuda340 returned in Season 3. 3.0 The Creative Minds Behind VIPER =================================== 3.1 Who Are Paul DeMeo and Danny Bilson? Paul DeMeo and Danny Bilson are reknowned for their creative style. They are the creators of VIPER. They also produce The Sentinel, which airs on the UPN network. Their previous efforts were The Flash (TV Series), Human Target (TV Series), and the Rocketeer (Movie). The talented duo are famous for their creative abilities and ingenious stunts throughout the industry. 3.2 Which Studio Produces VIPER? Viper is produced by Paramount Studios. VIPER has one of the highest budgets of all the shows on TV. Each episode costs an average of 1.5 million to produce. Most of the money goes towards special effects, such as CGI 'morphs' and spectacular stunts. 3.3 Who Is Responsible For The Vivid Computer Effects Used On VIPER? MetroLight Studio of California produce all the computer effects used on the VIPER TV Show during the first season. They produced the incredible 'hex' morph scenes that turn the Red Viper RT/10 Roadster into the Defender. When the show moved from NBC to first-run syndication, BB&J Visual Effects took over the responsibility of the morph sequences and other CGI effects displayed on the show. 3.4 What Did Chrysler Corporation Do For VIPER? Chrysler donated about a dozen Red Viper RT/10 Roadsters for the show (The Vipers Were Test Mules and Press Cars). The Defender (silver pursuit vehicle) was designed by Chrysler. It is built off a modified Viper Chassis. The Stunt Defenders are propelled by 360 cubic inch magnum V8's with automatic transmissions! Stunt Drivers prefer automatic transmissions. The Defender vehicle was designed Chrysler stylist Steve Ferrerio at a cost of 1.5 million dollars. The Defender is based on a Viper Roadster chassis that was stretched by 15 inches. The show is set in the near future, so concept cars are constantly roaming around in the background of the show. In the pilot movie, the Plymouth Slingshot, Chrysler Portofino, Chrysler Epic Minivan, and Caravan III were shown. The Concept Cars were displayed throughout the first season. 4.0 The VIPER TV Show Merchandise ================================= 4.1 What VIPER Toys Have Been Made? Tyco and Matchbox manufactured toys for the Viper TV Show. Tyco produced a U-Turn Slot Car Set that featured a 1994 Dodge Stealth Versus The Viper Defender. Tyco also produce a Viper Defender Remote Control Car. Matchbox produced a Viper RT/10 Roadster. If you notice, on the box of the Matchbox Viper the words, "As seen on the VIPER TV Show." Matchbox developed a Defender and a Stealth, but never released them. Supposedly, Dodge was unhappy with the quality of the Stealth car and stopped them from going into production. AMT/Ertl released a VIPER TV Show Plastic Model of the red Viper RT/10 Roadster. The box had the VIPER (Tv Show) Logo and overall was a great model kit. 4.2 What Other VIPER Merchandise Has Been Made? A Viper RT/10 Roadster Telephone was made. DC Comics made a 4-part miniseries that was released in late 1994. It is rumored that VIPER Action Figures are in the works. In 1994, a VIPER Video Game was developed for IBM CD-ROM. It was about 70% complete when it was cancelled. Danny Bilson, co-creator of Viper, told me he didn't really like the game. When NBC cancelled the show, the game was shelved. From what I heard, the game was based on the episodes from season 1. Video clips from the show would introduce each mission, and it was up to Joe, Julian and Frankie to save the day. It sounds like a pretty good idea. Now, that the syndicated show is a success, the dust could be brushed off the game and it could be completed. 5.0 VIPER On The Internet ========================= 5.1 Is There A VIPER Newsgroup? The answer: not yet. Many of the fans who wrote this FAQ are also working on starting an internet newsgroup dedicated to VIPER. We expect that a VIPER Newsgroup will be up this summer. 5.2 What VIPER Internet Pages Are There? Most Complete List Of VIPER TV Show Internet Pages: 1. Paramount's Official VIPER Page: http://www.paramount.com/action/tvviper.html 2. The VIPER Complex (Official) http://www.vipertv.com 3. The Ultimate VIPER Page - Viper Central (1st Unofficial Page On The Internet) http://pegasus.cc.ucf.edu/~bmg95960 4. The VIPER Complex (Unofficial) http://www.geocities.com/TelevisionCity/6299/ 5. The VIPER Unofficial Page http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/9634/ 6. The VIPER Interface http://lahs.losalamos.k12.nm.us/~medendob/viper/ 7. VIPER: The Day After Tommorrow http://www.pe.net/~gordon/corel97/viper.html 8. The UnOfficial VIPER WebPage http://www.geocities.com/TelevisionCity/5768/ 9. The VIPERHub http://www.geocities.com/TelevisionCity/Set/3130/access.htm 6.0 VIPER Promotions ==================== 6.1 What Was The VIPER MADD Dash Across America? The VIPER MADD Dash Across America was a promotion that took place earlier this year. It kicked off February 2, 1997 in Daytona Beach, Florida. It was a twelve day tour of 10 big cities across the USA. The tour benefitted Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The MADD Dash gave fans the chance to meet Heather Medway and Jeff Kaake, plus the abilities to see the VIPER Roadster and Defender in person. A short demonstration of the Defender's weapons also took place. 7.0 VIPER's Turbulent Beginnings ================================ 7.1 Why Was VIPER Created? The Viper Story began in 1992. Chrysler Corporation was close to bankruptcy. The Company that recovered from its early 1980's financial problems was once again in trouble. Chrysler, while known for building highly reliable vehicles was troubled because their vehicles were bland. Looking to install a 'cool' image into the automaker, the Dodge Viper Concept Car (that was toured around the country at Auto Shows in 1989) was put into production. This vehicle gave the company an image booster and a much needed enthusiasm throughout management. Late in 1992, Chrysler brought in Paramount Studios to help promote their new sports car. Paramount agreed to develop a television series around the Dodge Viper Sports Car for prime time television. Chrysler saw this opportunity to promote their cars as fun vehicles and eliminate their reputation for stodgy cars and trucks. The first season of VIPER was filmed in early 1993, but then stalled because of several complications. The show was originally developed for the CBS network. When CBS viewed the show, they deemed it too violent for their network and tried to bury the show. Because of Chrysler's involvement, the show proceeded on. NBC picked up VIPER and ordered 10 episodes along with the Pilot Movie. The pilot movie premiered on January 2, 1994 and scored a 17 share for the network. 7.2 What Was The VIPER Lawsuit of 1993? While the first season was being filmeds, Stephen J. Cannell heard of the show's premise and liked it. While all this confusion was taking place at Paramount Studios (regarding CBS), he tried to create a TV series called 'VIPER' starring a loner and a VIPER sports car. Cannell's VIPER Show had 4 episodes already filmed when Paramount found out about it. Cannell was then sued by Chrysler/Paramount for a trademark violation. Paramount won, and Cannell refurbished the syndicated show (starring Michael Dudikoff) and named the show 'Cobra.' 'Cobra' only lasted one season, it was plagued by bad acting and lousy direction (thanks to Cannell's 'skilled' direction). It was one of the lowest rated syndicated shows of the 1990s. By contrast, Paramount's VIPER, was among the Top 5 highest rated syndicated shows when it debuted in 1996. 8.0 The Seasons =============== 8.1 Season One: 1994 The first season was very expensive to produce. Metrolight Studios, who was responsible for the Computer Generated Special Effects, was talented but costly. The show had one of the highest budgets of all primetime shows, and much of that money went to special effects. Season 1 episodes featured an assortment of Chrysler Concept Cars since the show took place 'in the near future.' This season was filmed on location at Burbank, California. The 'Power Station' and Frankie's Motor Pool office were located on Sound Stage #18 at the Paramount Studios of California (unconfirmed). Character Overview ------------------ This is where it all started.... Ace getaway driver Michael Payton (James McCaffrey) is 'rehabilitated' and becomes the driver of the new anti-crime vehicle -- The Defender. He takes on a new identity as Joe Astor (unwillingly at first). After the project is cancelled by the city, Joe steals the VIPER and uses it as a Vigilante... The Viper's designer, Julian Wilkes (Dorian Harewood) agrees to help Joe in his vigilante activities. They hope to one day take down 'The Outfit' a crime syndicate running the Metro city. The last addition to the team, was Frankin 'Frankie' Xavier Waters. He is a major car-nut and is itching to get under the Viper's hood -- and also take it out on weekends..... 8.2 Season Two: 1996-97 The Computer Generated Special Effects were supplied by BB&J Effects Of California. The special effects had a different look and were much less costly. Noticeably absent are the Concept Cars that appeared in season 1 episodes. This was the first season in syndication; It was filmed on location in Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto, Canada. Character Overview ------------------ The show got a new cast for its move to syndication. The new driver of the VIPER is Special Investigator Thomas Cole (Jeff Kaake). He is a maverick CIA operative with a short fuse (Bad Temper). He is a very smart and handsome individual; He uses both these traits to his full advantage. Also new to the team is Detective Cameron Westlake (Heather Medway). She is a tough cop who is untouchable and incorruptible. Frankie Waters returned to become the mechanic on the latest Defender prototype. He also loosened up; he got a haircut and became a little more laid back/cool. Dr. Allie Farrow (Dawn Stern) also joined the Viper team to handle the computer/weapons systems of the Defender. FBI Agent Sherman Catlett was introduced in Season Two (Episode: Mig-89) and had a recurring role on the show as the pompous brown noser on a mission -- to get promoted. 8.3 Season Three: 1997-98 Filmed again in Vancouver (6/97 - 10/97), the show explored and probed Westlake and Cole's background. Westlake's mother and Cole's father were introduced in Season 3. Catlett caused more trouble and became an important character in the show. The Viper RT/10 Roadster is destroyed in the Season Finale. Character Overview ------------------ Dr. Allie Farrow (Dawn Stern) left the Viper Team to work for a government think-tank organization in Portugal. FBI Agent Sherman Catlett (J. Downing) became liason to the Viper Team. 8.4 Season Four: 1998-1999 For season 4, A new Viper Prototype is introduced. The new Viper is a GTS Coupe capable of morphing into the Defender. Julian Wilkes (Dorian Harewood) is expected to appear in the season premiere to help the Viper Team get the new Defender operational. The new season of episodes are set to begin filming over the summer in Canada. Another 22 action packed episodes of VIPER are on their way! Character Overview ------------------ Thomas Cole (Jeff Kaake) left the Viper Project to pursue other career opportunities. Joe Astor (James McCaffrey) returns as Driver of the VIPER. 9.0 The VHS "Classics" ====================== 9.1 What Is The VIPER VHS "Classics"? It is rumored that Paramount is planning to release all episodes of the "classic" series on VHS in 1998. This Collector's Series will have Footage, Behind The Scenes, and Bloopers. This could be a Great Collection... It is just going to take a while to be released. However, the latest information now states Paramount may stall the collection and instead put together a package to syndicate the 1994 episodes with 1996-98 within the next two years. These rumors are unconfirmed. 9.2 VIPER: The Soundtrack On Compact Disc? It is still possible that this VHS collections could be released. Recently, The Sentinel's (Viper & The Sentinel are both produced by Pet Fly Productions) Television Soundtrack was released on Compact Disc. Now rumors are flying that a VIPER Soundtrack CD is in the works along with a VHS Video Collection.