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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Drama > Crime > Mystery > Courtroom > Legal > Ireland > The Fugitive – The Fourth & Final Season, Volume Two (1967) + The Guardian – Season Three/The Final Season (2003 – 2004/CBS DVDs) + Single-Handed – Set One (2007 – 2008/Acorn Media DVD Set)

The Fugitive – The Fourth & Final Season, Volume Two (1967) + The Guardian – Season Three/The Final Season (2003 – 2004/CBS DVDs) + Single-Handed – Set One (2007 – 2008/Acorn Media DVD Set)


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



With so many bad action and detective shows on today, it is a nice change of pace to look at three that work well enough.  This includes the conclusion of the original Fugitive, with David Janssen as Dr. Richard Kimble, finally catching up to the one-armed men who killed his wife and managed to frame Kimble.


If you are unfamiliar with the original series, here is a link to find our previous coverage:




The Fourth & Final Season, Volume Two has one of the best wrap-ups of any TV series of its kind, with the Quinn Martin people understanding they needed to go out on top and wrap up the show before people found it to be a spoof of itself.  As a result, it remains one of the most imitated TV shows ever and few of the imitators (including a direct revival that did not work) but holds up very well after all these years.


The final 15 hour-long shows including the two-episode The Judgment conclusion are all here and that final episode remains one of the most highly rated climax final episodes in TV history.  It is so popular, it was always issued in previous video formats (12” LaserDisc, videotape) that it stood alone as one of the few consistently issued TV shows of any kind until TV on DVD (and now Blu-ray) became commonplace.  It is all worth revisiting again with all of its suspense and twists, leaving the entire series finally now on DVD.



We looked at The Guardian with Simon Baker in its Season One DVD release, so those not familiar with the courtroom drama can see more about it at this link:





Baker is good and the show is not bad, just not great and in its Third & Final Season, the makers quit while they were ahead, wrapping up the show as much as could be expected and all 22 hour-long shows over six DVDs are at least intelligent.  Baker has some star quality and if you go back to the show and watch from the debut episode, it flows better than most such shows like it since the 1980s.  Plus, the 1500 hours of community service he owed the public was only going to last so long.


Finally is a nice, new, pleasant surprise set in Ireland called Single-Handed, never picked up on an U.S. network for reasons that make no sense.  Owen McDonnell is a police sergeant going back to the west coast area of the great country he grew up in, now to protect and serve, but must deal with his own feeling about the past while trying to preserve peace, order and the future.  What could have been just another tired, played out police procedural benefits from the location shooting and dealing with a culture that we do not see enough in any TV series or feature film.


This Set One DVD collection offers all three telefilm episodes over 3 DVDs and I was happy with the combination of mystery, suspense, character study and a sense of dealing with Ireland in a genre piece that goes beyond genre.  This is a quality series worth catching, especially if you like this kind of storytelling.



The 1.33 X 1 color image on Fugitive is as nice as it was on the previous Season Four volume that can be soft, but also offers some exceptional color often and from prints that are in incredibly good shape.  It reminded me of the high quality of the CBS DVD sets on The Invaders (reviewed elsewhere on this site) and makes me want to see both come out on Blu-ray.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is also good for its age, cleaner than you might expect and includes music by Dominic Frontiere, who is in the only extra on this set, a must-see featurette called The Color Of Music that you should see after watching the series.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on the newer shows are actually softer and not as either colorful, rich or as defined, but you get some nice shots here ands there on both, but these would likely benefit from Blu-ray releases as well.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on both are newer recordings that are good, solid and professional, but Handed actually has surprisingly good and healthy Pro Logic type surrounds that make it one of the best overseas TV productions sonically we have heard in a while.  Guardian has no extras, but Handed offers text production notes and a text interview with the show’s producer.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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