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Category:    Home > Reviews > Crime > Drama > Murder > Mystery > Serial Killer > British TV > Mini-Series > Police Procedural > Terroris > Appropriate Adult (2011/Inception Media DVD)/Blue Bloods: The Second Season/Criminal Minds: The Seventh Season (both 2011 – 2012/CBS DVDs)/Homeland: The Complete First Season (2011/Fox Blu-rays)/The L

Appropriate Adult (2011/Inception Media DVD)/Blue Bloods: The Second Season/Criminal Minds: The Seventh Season (both 2011 – 2012/CBS DVDs)/Homeland: The Complete First Season (2011/Fox Blu-rays)/The Lieutenant – The Complete Series: Part 1 + Part 2 (1963 – 1964/Warner Archive DVDs)/The Streets Of San Francisco: Season 4, V. 1 + V. 2 (1975 – 1976/CBS DVDs)


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



PLEASE NOTE: The Lieutenant DVD sets are only available from Warner Bros. in their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.



And now for a look at some wide-ranging dramatic TV from the past and present.



First we have a British TV mini-series, Julian Jarrold’s Appropriate Adult (2011) with Emily Watson as a family woman asked to represent an illiterate man (Dominic West) in court on charges he may have killed a young lady, but as she spends more time representing him, he may have more murders and other dark secrets to hide.  This is based on an actual case of what turned out to be more than one murder and maybe much more.  This is presented in two parts and is not bad, but we have unfortunately seen some of this before, so it is stretched out a bit.


However, the acting is top rate and casting decent.  The teleplay is smart enough and it is more than just your usual police procedural.  Usually it is Acorn or the BBC that tends to pick up these programs, but this time, it is Inception Media and they have an interesting program here.  No, it is not perfect, but it is compelling enough to give it a look and is at least challenging TV programming for a change instead of the antiseptic policed dramas like some we are about to look at.  Unfortunately, there are no extras.



The antiseptic shows I am referring to here include Blue Bloods: The Second Season (a Tom Selleck/Bridget Moynahan/Donnie Wahlberg series about a family of police officers in New York City), Criminal Minds: The Seventh Season (both from the 2011 – 2012 season, this one shockingly continuing to be a moderate hit but more on the cast than anything else) and Homeland: The Complete First Season (2011, with Claire Danes in a surprisingly flat, unambituous role of a CIA agent fighting Islamic terrorism form the makers of 24).  They are all formulaic, predictable, too well manicured for their own good and everything we have seen before.


Another bad thing about Blue Bloods (which we join in after its debut season) is how bad it makes New York City look.  If this is gritty, they got it way wrong and Selleck is better as Jesse Stone, which ought to be a TV series by now versus this one.  22 hour-long and very similar shows are here across 6 DVDs and the only thing I could suggest is if you have not seen the show yet, start with the First Season and see if you like it better before moving on to this set.


We last looked at the Fourth Season of Criminal Minds and nothing has changed save the cast are more in tuned with each other.  Too bad that does not make for a netter show.  This set has 23 hour-long shows over 6 DVDs, but unless you really, really like the cast, skip it.


Homeland is shocking contrived and robotic, I never bought the show for a minute and though it has potential, it feels like a propaganda exercise and is no match for a similar better series in Strike Back (see the Blu-ray review elsewhere on this site) which is more energetic, realistic and even honest, plus is better written, cast and acted.  We’ll see how long this one stays in production, but this is not as good as the buzz would have you believe.


Extras on all three sets include audio commentary tracks on select episodes, Making Of featurettes and Deleted Scenes, while Bloods and Minds add Gag Reels that can be amusing.



Going back a few decades, we get to look at a long requested series originally made by MGM TV with Arena Productions (Dr. Kildare) and created by a then-unknown Gene Roddenberry.  The Lieutenant – The Complete Series: Part 1 + Part 1 (1963 – 1964) has been issued as an on-line exclusive by Warner Archive (who owns all MGM productions to 1985) and stars Gary Lockwood (later immortalized in Kubrick’s 2001: a Space Odyssey (1968)) as the title character Lt. William Tiberius Rice, a good guy in the Marines facing everyday challenges in one of the last series before Vietnam made such shows impossible to make.  The actual U.S. Marines (as they did on the underrated comedy Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.) were even advisers and this is a quality show worth revisiting.


Running 29 hour-long shows, Warner has placed it in these half-sets at 4 DVDs each and it is sad, odd and unfortunate that such a smart show (and even historic one) has been out of circulation for so long, but it is worth seeing and seeing again.  Lockwood is great in the role and regulars include Robert Vaughn (who would have more success with MGM/Arena in the hit The Man From U.N.C.L.E., reviewed elsewhere on this site) and semi-regulars include James Gregory, Henry Beckman, John Milford and Richard Anderson.


Famous and soon-to-be-famous guest stars include Paul Mantee, Bill Bixby, Norman Fell, Jack Albertson, Michael Strong, Rip Torn, Greg Morris, Linda Evans, Neville Brand, Stuart Margolin, Pat Priest, John Alderman, Barbara Babcock, Harold Gould, Barbara Bain, Paul Burke, Kenneth Tobey, Madge Blake, Jeremy Slate, Ed Asner, Katharine Ross, Andrew Prine, Karl Swenson, Ted Bessell, Sharon Farrell, Charles McGraw, George O’Hanlon, Alan Reed Jr., Marc Cavell, Madlyn Rhue, Eddie Albert, Ray Teal, Pat Crowley, Arch Johnson, Peter Hansen, Nita Talbot, Jan Merlin, Lew Gallo, William Cort, Dennis Hopper, Nichelle Nichols, Woody Strode, Don Marshall, Leonard Nimoy, Majel Barrett, Andrew Duggan, Ted Knight, Ricardo Montalban, Chad Everett, Joseph Campenella, Robert Duvall, Leora Dana, Leslie Parrish, Jennifer Billingsley, Walter Koenig, Paul Lambert, Neva Patterson, Lloyd Bochner, John Marley, Denver Pyle and James Shigeta.


So it is a well done show and even when the scripts have their down moments, the actors and performances are always interesting.  The only extra is a 1964 feature film version of what turned out to be the final episode of the series, To Kill A Man, on the Part 2 set.



Finally we have The Streets Of San Francisco: Season 4, Volume. 1 and Volume 2 (1975 – 1976) in their own separate sets the same way CBS issued the previous season on DVD before, still on top with Michael Douglas.  However, Douglas shocked the entertainment industry by leaving the show to become a feature film producer (which happened instantly with One Flew Over The Cookoo’s Nest) and fans were disappointed.  Still, the show was as smart, energetic and well-written as the previous seasons and so much so, I actually have more respect for this show now than when it was first out.

Each three-DVD set has 11 hour-long shows (V. 1 has a 12th show) making it 23 shows for the final Douglas season.  Again, the guest cast is fun and includes Mark Hamill, Clu Gulager, Anthony Geary, Patrick O’Neal, Joel Fabiani, Lou Frizzell, Stefanie Powers, Ji-Tu Cumbuka, Charles Napier, Vera Miles, Michael Parks, Maurice Evans, Geoffrey Lewis, Robert Heyges, Bernie Kopell, Bob Hastings, Gerald Hiken, Ruth McDevitt, Meredith Baxter, Regis Cordic, Gerald McRaney, Bradford Dillman, John Ritter, Sorrell Booke, James Woods, Kenneth Tobey, Greg Mullavey, Meg Foster, Philip Bruins, Pat Hingle, Lonny Chapman, Greg Morris, Diane Baker, Darleen Carr, Barbara Babcock, Fritz Weaver, Tom Selleck, Andrew Robinson, Charles Aidman, Eric Server, Kristoffer Tabori, Bill Bixby, Bert Freed, Christopher Stone, Linden Chiles, Virginia Gregg, Robert Reed, Shelley Novack, Joan Tompkins, Richard Basehart, Lou Krugman, Jason Evers, Claudia Jennings, Suzanne Charney, Ken Lynch, Robert Drivas, Michael Burns, Robert Hays, David Birney, Madlyn Rhue, Dick Van Patten, Michael Strong, Paul Sorvino, Don Gordon, Alfred Ryder, A Martinez, Henry Darrow, Bruce Glover and Pamelyn Ferdin.


Like The Lieutenant, this is a series with no shortage of fine acting and so many actors with so much of it.  It is also amazing how much more realistic and edgy this show is versus Blue Bloods, Criminal Minds and Homeland with more violence and blood.  It is in the writing, energy, chemistry and even dialogue.  Sure, some of these shows have not aged as well as others, yet there is something more honest and realistic from the final years of the last golden age of TV.  I was happy to see it again.  My only complaint, there are no extras.



The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Adults, Bloods and Minds are HD shoots and all are especially soft save Minds, which is not as bad, but still annoyingly enough so.  Maybe these would improve if they were issued on Blu-ray, but in some instances, it would only emphasize the poor quality of the shooting.  The 1080p 1.78 X 1 AVC @ 20 MBPS digital High Definition image transfers on Homeland is the visual champion here being the only Blu-ray, but it often has degraded images and noisy images which cut into overall picture fidelity.  The look of the show is flat and not as good as 24 either.


That leaves the 1.33 X 1 black and white image on Lieutenant and color image on Francisco looking a close second, all originating on 35mm film and holding up well as a result.  Lieutenant can have soft shots (especially in its stock footage) and show its age, but the prints have been well-stored (thanks again, Ted Turner) and it is pleasant viewing all the way.  There are a few less flaws on Francisco, but you can get a few shots that do not look as good as the shots usually do.  With some episodes in both sets, some prints look a little better than others, also as expected.


The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Adult, lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Lieutenant and Francisco and (surprisingly) lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes on Bloods and Minds are on par with each other though these newest shows should have nice soundfields and recordings that are no so much towards the front speakers.  All are professionally recorded, but I expected more of a fidelity range.  That leaves the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on Homeland surprisingly rich, well-mixed and full throughout with consistent soundfields and good editing.  At least it sounds good.



To order both of The Lieutenant DVD sets, go to this link and get them at:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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