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Category:    Home > Reviews > Crime > Drama > Murder > Mystery > Police > Burgulary > TV > Reality TV > British > Dragnet 1969 (Shout! Factory DVD Set) + Hoarders – Season Two, Part One (A&E DVD) + Luther (BBC DVD)

Dragnet 1969 (Shout! Factory DVD Set) + Hoarders – Season Two, Part One (A&E DVD) + Luther (BBC DVD)


Picture: B-/C+/C+     Sound: B-/C+/C+     Extras: C+/D/C     Episodes: B-/D/B-



TV has had its ups and downs.  Some shows that might not have seemed as good a long time ago seem outright ambitious as compared to others, while some new shows occasionally try to take risks and sometimes work.  Three recent TV on DVD sets show how more channels do not mean more choice and the changing way in which TV tries to reproduce reality.


Dragnet 1969 continued the successful revival in color of the classic TV show that was originally a big hit radio show as Jack Webb’s Joe Friday and Harry Morgan’s Bill Gannon continue to enforce the law in Los Angeles as two of the best the LAPD have to offer.  This four-DVD set has 27 half-hour shows is as good as the last one and the ways the show deals with the counterculture and Civil Right Era is amusing.  Sometimes, it is very unintentionally funny, but one of the episodes actually deals with how they handle their work after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  This is a well-done show and the kind that helped to build Universal Television into a powerhouse. 


Hoarders – Season Two, Part One is a strange reality TV series dealing with people who must keep everything they get.  Seven hour-long shows feature seven people who have put themselves in terrible situations, but this show is more exploitive than I realized from passive viewing.  Not a great show, it is also a show that just invades the privacy of people who need real help and putting them on national TV and beyond does more harm than good, especially for those who need serious professional help.  Maybe if there was a different approach, it would not be as bad, but it shows everything that is wrong with TV today and especially “reality TV” which shows that nobody deserves private space or help.  It is just too much and despite the dire situations, never feels that real.


That leaves Luther, a BBC TV show with Idris Elba (The Wire, Oz) as the title character, a very talented, emotionally complex detective with issues, but this is what helps him track down the worst psychotic killers and predators.  However, a new killer named Alice (Ruth Wilson) has surfaced and they take each other on head on in a decent program.  However, this was the same premise as Thomas Harris’ novel Red Dragon, especially when Michael Mann made it as the 1986 film Manhunter.  This is a quality six-episode mini-series, but it just does not break much new ground, yet Elba is a great actor and he makes this more watchable than it otherwise would be.  The supporting cast is good too, so see it if you are curious.



The 1.33 X 1 image on Dragnet looks pretty good from show to show, originating in 35mm film and despite the age of the prints, tends to look better than the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Luther (styled down to be dark) and even more on Hoarders.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Dragnet sounds somehow cleaner and clearer than the audio-dropout plagued Hoarders and sometimes oddly mixed Luther, both presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo.  Luther sounds the newest, yet misses some of the clarity of the 41 year old show.


Extras are not available on Hoarders, but Luther has the featurette Luther – The World Of A True Maverick and Dragnet adds Vintage Promos and a classic black and white episode of the show from its original 1950s run called The Big Smoke.  Seem the original archive may not be complete on the original series, but it might be worth it for all involved to try and save it.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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