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Category:    Home > Reviews > Mystery > Detective > Murder > Drama > Action > Crime > TV > Father Dowling Mysteries: The First Season (1987, 1989)/Hawaii Five-O: The Twelfth & Final Season (1979 - 1980)/Mannix: The Sixth Season (1972 - 1973/CBS DVD Sets)/Police Woman: Season Two (1975 - 197

Father Dowling Mysteries: The First Season (1987, 1989)/Hawaii Five-O: The Twelfth & Final Season (1979 - 1980)/Mannix: The Sixth Season (1972 - 1973/CBS DVD Sets)/Police Woman: Season Two (1975 - 1976/Shout! Factory DVD Set)


Picture: C+ (Dowling: C)     Sound: C+     Extras: D/C-/D/D     Episodes: C/C+/B-/B



The march of classic detective TV series on DVD continues and we have four more to look at.


The Father Dowling Mysteries: The First Season (1987, 1989) was Dean Hargrove and Fred Silverman’s attempt to capitalize on the Murder, She Wrote audience, but the moderate hit landed up being “fuddy duddy TV” safe for an older audience.  To its advantage, it had the always likable Tom Bosley as the title character and along with Tracy Nelson make up the unexpected crime solving team.  This double DVD set includes the pilot and seven hour-long episodes as it became a mid-season replacement show.  The mysteries are not memorable, but it was at least mature TV, even when it was weak (more than I remembered) and Mary Wickes was a big plus for the show.  Familiar faces over these initial shows include Susan Blakely, Leslie Nielsen, Kiel Martin, Robert Walden, David L. Lander, William R. Moses and Diane Ladd.  Extras include some original episode promos, but they are weak.


Hawaii Five-O: The Twelfth & Final Season (1979 - 1980) of the original series with Jack Lord finally allowed Steve McGarrett to nab Wo Fat in what was a big event for fans and the show, but they had stretched out the show so long since it was so popular and successful that they may have waited too long.  That makes this last original season a mixed bag.  Dan-O was gone, so William Smith was brought in to play his replacement, James ‘Kimo’ Carew.  It is amusing at times, but seems weaker and not as climactic if you had not watched (or lived through) all the previous seasons as it seemed like the makers might not let the arch villain ever be caught.  Enough was enough and they ended before the bottom fell out.  An odd music video and series promos are the extras.


Also losing its edge was Mannix: The Sixth Season (1972 – 1973) as the show tried to stay fresh, but was just becoming too formulaic despite the efforts and appeal of Mike Connors.  Familiar faces this time include Rip Torn, Geoffrey Lewis, Anthony Zerbe, Joseph Campenella, Burgess Meredith, Jon Cypher, Robert Mandan, Nancy Kovack, Martin Sheen, Pamela Susan Shoop, John Vernon, Ford Rainey, Harold Gould, Alan Caillou, Linda Marsh, Jeanette Nolan, Henry Beckman, Carol Wayne, Adam West, Nehemiah Persoff, Norman Alden, Christine Belford, Murray Matheson, Tina Sinatra, Meg Foster, Natalie Shafer, Marta Kristen, Clu Gulager, Dana Eclar, Ruth McDevitt, Elsa Lanchester, Abe Vigoda, Stanley Adams, Joyce Van Patten, Leonard Stone, Joanna Miles, Tina Louise, Woodrow Parfrey, Susan Strasberg, William Shatner, Alice Backes, Noam Pitlik, Eddie Firestone, Yvonne Craig, David Wayne, Barbara Babcock, Joe E. Tata, Fritz Weaver, Marion Ross, John Randolph, Anne Archer, Milt Kamen, Jessica Walter, John Gavin and semi-regular Robert Reed.


The show was so strong and popular that every actor around wanted to be on the show and they often made the show more fun than most would be at this point in the run of any show.  All 24 hour-long shows are here over 6 DVDs and though there are no extras, it is a fun set.


Last and not least is Police Woman: Season Two, the then groundbreaking TV hit with Angie Dickinson as the first female police lead character in what was considered a more serious show.  Yes, there had been female detective (Honey West), female spies (The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.) and independent women (That Girl, The Mary Tyler Moore Show), but this was a hit in the middle of a huge male-dominated hit TV cycle and was not as easy to write off as the likes of Charlie’s Angels.  We get 24 hour-long shows over 6 DVDs and I was surprised how well they all held up.  The cast (including co-star Earl Holliman) had chemistry and were believable, this spin-off of the anthology Police Story (reviewed elsewhere on this site) was a worthy sister show.  We get some familiar faces here too, but not as many as Mannix.  There are no extras, but this show deserves some and maybe they should come up with some next time.

Fortunately, the 1.33 X 1 image is very impressive on all these sets, save Dowling finished on analog videotape and looking harsh throughout.  All were shot on 35mm film, but Mannix and Woman especially look great with what looks like mostly new prints impressing.  Hawaii is also pretty good, but all three have their color variances and some minor print issues.  I wonder if some of these are HD transfers.  Color is good and when the detail gets really good, you get demo shots in those cases that will surprise you, especially for this format.  The Dolby Digital lossy 2.0 sound on all the sets are fine, usually monophonic, but Dowling has simple Stereo. 



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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