The first episode, "Pilot", premiered as a two-hour movie as NBC's "Sunday Night Movie" on January 2, 1994.
The other episodes were broadcast from January 7 to April 1, 1994 on NBC, at 8 p.m. on Fridays.
In Germany, the season was shown on ProSieben from February 2 to April 23, 1995, with episodes airing out of order.
Season 1 was released on DVD in Germany by Kinowelt Home Entertainment on May 5, 2011. In North America, the whole series was released on DVD by Visual Entertainment on December 8, 2017.
The season was filmed in Los Angeles area, the special effects were done by Metrolight Studios. Sources have indicated it cost $50,000 to do each transformation scene.
As a tie-in, from August to November 1994, a Viper comic book series was published by DC Comics.
The intro soundtrack was done by Eddie Jobsen.
The pilot movie was filmed in early 1993. Originally, the season was slated to debut on CBS in the Fall 1993 season, but was stalled first when Stephen J. Cannell had picked "Viper" as a name for his new TV show. Chrysler Corporation sued Cannell for trademark infringement, and Cannell agreed to change his show's name to "Cobra". However, before the show could premiere, CBS deemed the show to be too violent and was about to bury it, but thanks to Chrysler Corporation's support, the show prevailed and the pilot eventually premiered on NBC as "Sunday Night Movie" on January 2, 1994. The series itself premiered on January 7, 1994, as a mid-season replacement for Against the Grain drama series in its Friday night 8PM slot.
Introduction narration Edit
"The day after tomorrow: a time when criminals rule the city. The only weapon that can stop them needs a driver. The most wanted man on wheels is about to change sides. Now, against a corrupt system... a lone fight for justice. Viper is taking back the streets."
The Viper Team Edit
- Joe Astor (James McCaffrey) - driver
- Julian Wilkes (Dorian Harewood) - mechanic
- Frankie Waters (Joe Nipote) - MetroPol inside man
Metro City is run over by a crime wave from a crime syndicate named The Outfit, led by Mr. Townsend (and later Lane Cassidy). Local police force - MetroPol - is helpless against them. Julian Wilkes has designed a weapon for this - a 1994 Dodge Viper RT/10 Roadster that can morph into a Defender attack mode at the touch of a button. However, there is no driver capable of handing the vehicle. However, one night after a satellite heist at Vectrocom, Michael Payton, leader of the "Highwaymen", a team of skilled getaway drivers working under contract for the Outfit, gets into an accident and crashes.
He is taken to hospital, where on orders from Councilman Strand, his appearance is changed and a memory loss is induced, and he is reborn as Joseph Payne "Joe" Astor and becomes the driver of the Viper. He is later kidnapped by the Highwaymen, who then "deprogram" him and order him to bring them the Viper. However, Julian convinces him not to, but in retaliation, the Highwaymen murders his girlfriend, Elizabeth Houston. This only motivates Joe to fight back against them even harder.
However, when they were unable to steal the Viper, the Outfit then instead bribes Strand to shut down the project and destroy the car. With the help of Frankie Waters, the Motorpool records officer and a car nut, Joe steals the Viper and hides it in Julian's garage. After taking down the Highwaymen, Joe, using the money from Payton's account Elizabeth directed him to earlier, buys an abandoned power station on the outskirts of town and sets it up as the Viper Lair. He, Julian and Frankie then begin running their vigilante operations from the power station, fighting both the Outfit, and the corrupt system. Over the course of the season, Joe would come across a lot of people from his past as Michael Payton.
The season had a "comic book" feel, with Joe being Batman, Viper the Batmobile, the Power Station the Batcave and Metro City doubling for Gotham City. The season had a distinct "20 Minutes into The Future" feel, and supposedly was set in early 21st century. Through the season, many concept cars by Chrysler were featured.
- Pilot (1/2/1994)
- Once a Thief (1/7/1994)
- Ghosts (1/14/1994)
- Safe as Houses (1/21/1994)
- Firehawk (1/28/1994)
- Mind Games (2/11/1994)
- The Face (2/18/1994)
- Wheels of Fire (2/25/1994)
- Past Tense (3/4/1994)
- Scoop (3/11/1994)
- Thief of Hearts (3/18/1994)
- Crown of Thorns (4/1/1994)
First German airing Edit
When Season 1 first aired in Germany on ProSieben in 1995, the episodes aired in the following order:
- Pilot (2/2/1995)
- Once a Thief (2/5/1995)
- Mind Games (2/12/1995)
- Ghosts (2/19/1995)
- Firehawk (2/26/1995)
- Crown of Thorns (3/5/1995)
- Past Tense (3/12/1995)
- Wheels of Fire (3/19/1995)
- Scoop (3/26/1995)
- Safe as Houses (4/2/1995)
- The Face (4/9/1995)
- Thief of Hearts (4/23/1995)