Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Series 5 (1993/Acorn Media Blu-ray Set)/Dynasty: Season Six, Volume One + Two
(1985 – 1986)/Mannix: The Seventh Season
(1973 – 1974)/The Streets Of San Francisco: Season 3,
Volume 1 & 2 (1974 - 1975/CBS DVD Sets)
(DVDs: C+) Sound: B- (DVDs: C+) Extras: D Episodes: B-/C+/C+/B
our latest look at classic hit TV shows on home video…
Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Series 5 (1993) is the latest of Acorn
Media Blu-ray upgrades to their very successful Poirot DVD rollout. This time, the new volume has far more
episodes than the last one and they include (in U.K., broadcast order):
The Adventure Of The Egyptian Tomb (1924 Christie short story)
The Underdog (1951 Christie short story)
Yellow Iris (1939 Christie short story)
The Case Of The Missing Will (1924 Christie short story)
The Adventure Of The Italian
Christie short story)
The Chocolate Box (1924 Christie short story)
Dead Man’s Mirror (1937 Christie short story)
Jewel Robbery At The Great
(1924 Christie short story)
Not a fan
of the show to begin with, I thought it was somewhat better when it began, but
even then was not my idea of the epitome of the character or how this world
worked, but it was still a hit and even here, the show is much easier to
appreciate when the Blu-ray reveals how much work went into the show and the
richer results that actually followed.
Though I am not converted to the show by the very improved quality in
any way, this is really the only way to watch it at this point.
actually a bigger fan of the supposedly “trash TV” nighttime soap opera Dynasty, in part because it was more
energetic, subversive, surprising, bold and hilarious. However, by the time they reached Season Six (issued here in separate Volume One & Two sets) covering the
1985 – 1986 season, the show had returned after their infamous (even pre-9/11)
terrorist attack cliffhanger that seemed desperate and unusually cynical for
the show. Though the money and cast (who
died? Find out for yourself.) were still
there, the show had lost its way and never recovered after this thoughtless
transition. From here on in, the show
started coasting and this has aged in much odder ways (from the terrorist angle
to how they continued) than I remembered or expected 27 years (already?!?)
point, the makers had trumped Dallas
as much as they could and had nothing else to prove, lasting far past its prime
like it main competitor. They really
needed to introduce a strong new protagonist and surprise storyline related or
unrelated to that person, but they did not and the show started to live up to
some of its critics comments.
getting long in the tooth was Mannix:
The Seventh Season (1973 – 1974) in which Mike Connors was starting to show
his age, though it was still relatively violent for its time, but somehow
(maybe because of Connors somehow) was not cancelled for its violence like Wild, Wild West, S.W.A.T. or some other action shows had oddly and unfortunately had
been. However, CBS and Paramount had a money machine on their hands
and were not about to let go, especially since at the time, the big money
audience was older and not younger like it turned into (until about the time we
are posting this review?) and Connors was more sponsor-friendly than younger
starts to be so we get 26 more hour-long shows over 6 DVDs.
unhappy with how they tampered with the theme song too.
we have the often as gritty The Streets
Of San Francisco: Season 3, Volume 1 & 2 (1974 – 1975) on a roll with
Karl Malden holding his own and Michael Douglas finally establishing his star
and commercial appeal outside of his father’s shadow with the undeniable hit
success of the detective show. The
writing, energy and pace of each show worked and fit right in with other
detective shows that are often unfairly more remembered simply because they had
a single lead.
choice names turning up this season include Leslie Nielsen, Ric Carrott, Susan
Strasberg, Jock Mahoney, Brenda Vacarro, Barry Sullivan, Johnny Weissmuller
Jr., Dennis Patrick, Larry Manetti, Bill Bixby, Andrew Duggan, Linda Marsh,
Bret Morrison, Herb Edelman, John Davidson, Bernie Kopell, Denny Miller, John
Fiedler, Don Stroud, Richard Bull, Joanne Linville, Pippa Scott, Edward
Mulhare, Herb Vigran, Woodrow Parfrey, Brock Peters, Dabney Coleman, Robert
Walden, Mitch Vogel, Carl Franklin, Mariette Hartley, Mike Evans, Belinda
Tolbert (both from The Jeffersons),
Herbert Jefferson Jr., Don Pedro Colley, Kaz Garas, Murray Hamilton, Anthony
Geary, John Ericson, Sam Jaffe, A. Martinez, Rafael Campos, Carmen Zapata,
Malachi Throne, Peter Strauss, William Windom, Arch Johnson, Virginia Gregg,
Paul Mantee, Dean Stockwell, Dee Wallace, William Smithers, Peter Haskell,
Michael Anderson Jr., Robert Yuro, Julie Adams, Shelley Novack, Michael Strong,
Don Gordon and Tony Lo Bianco.
case, we got to see the best for last.
1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on Poirot
was again shot on 16mm film, looks fine for its age, is far superior to the DVD
versions and is easily the best looking of the releases here as expected. The rest of the DVD sets have 1.33 X 1 480p
full color standard definition presentations from really good 35mm film print
sources throughout all five sets/three shows.
I could just image how these older shows would shine on Blu-ray.
The Poirot Blu-ray says it has PCM 2.0
Stereo on the case, but like the DVD sets here, all actually have lossy Dolby
Digital 2.0 sound. Poirot is in stereo with the most bits and the rest are monophonic
with decent, consistent, cleaned up sound for their age. I wish Poirot
had PCM, but all playback is as good as it is going to get in the format. Remarkably, none of these sets have any extras.
- Nicholas Sheffo