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Category:    Home > Reviews > Thriller > TV > Silk Stalkings - The Complete First Season

Silk Stalkings – Season One


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



From the late 1970s into the later 1980s, CBS had done surprisingly well with The CBS Late Movie, which as future CBS talk show host David Letterman always noted, was not a movie and did not show movies often.  Instead, the time slot was for reruns of hit TV shows that could be stretched out to show more commercials because they would be cut if played into the timeslots of the day, which had been narrowed by more (too many) TV commercials.  For instance, besides running Alice and The Jeffersons, reruns of Kolchak: The Night Stalker was beating brand new Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson shows.  The Avengers, Columbo, McCloud, and The Saint were among the shows also played very well and the showcase even introduced Return Of The Saint.  They even gave The New Avengers a second shot.  CBS decided to see what new programming would do at that hour.


So, having played out all the good reruns they could option, the new slate arrived and most of it was not so good.  The two I can remember are Forever Knight (a sort of cult favorite) and the one we could consider a hit, Silk Stalkings.  When the show arrived, many thought it was a joke and just CBS cashing in on light exploitation.  Though no masterpiece of TV, the show was part Dynasty (the rich snob part), part Miami Vice (without the pretension of the undercover cops being so loaded with money, and they complain about how unrealistic James Bond is), and part aftermath of the 1980s.  Taking place in Palm Beach, Florida, homicide detectives Rita Lance (Mitzi Kapture) and Chris Lorenzo (Rob Estes, in a role that helped establish him) investigate murders between rich and sexy people, all before the advent of Baywatch.  Quicker than you can say sexcrime, they are on the case and the cases are dubbed with the name of the show.  Though they are good looking actors, it is never explained why they have this specialty.


Lance is the narrator at times, but this is far from serious Detective TV, or the best such TV we have seen.  With that said, it is never silly, jokey, or idiotic, and that is one of the reason why this low-budget series actually holds up better than even I remembered.  Sad to say, there are hardly any series on U.S. TV now this mature, though it does drift into the trash TV territory, but that also was the idea to some extent.  The first 22 shows of Season One are all here and are as follows:


1)     Silk Stalkings Pilot (guest star Ann Turkel)

2)     Going To Babylon (guest star R.G. Armstrong)

3)     S.O.B.

4)     In The Name Of Love

5)     Dirty Laundry

6)     Men Seeking Women

7)     Hard Copy

8)     Curtain Call

9)     The Brotherhood

10)  Blo-Dri

11)  Intensive Care (guest star Alan Oppenheimer (Six Million Dollar Man))

12)  Squeeze Play

13)  Shock Jock

14)  Witness (guest star Morgan Brittany)

15)  Domestic Agenda

16)  Lady Luck

17)  The Sock Drawer

18)  Working Girl (guest star Joseph Sirola)

19)  Powder Burn (guest star Vanity)

20)  Internal Affairs (guest star Bibi Besch and Denise Miller)

21)  Baser Instincts

22)  Good Time Charlie (with Patrick Muldoon (Starship Troopers) as the bad guy!)



Summarizing the shows makes them sound too similar, so we will skip that.  The one thing the show has going for it is an attempt to have the heterosexual opposite sex leads never get romantically involved, and the writing is not bad, but even with the actors cast right and having some chemistry this never seems to go as far as it should have.  The detective situations are too often incidental to the drama, so suspense is not built as much as it should be, which holds back the character development to a noticeable extent.  The show was low budget, but looks good, especially since producer/creator Stephen J. Cannell going for vivid colors.  That lands up not dating the show as much as you might think.  Cannell had written for hits like Columbo and Adam 12 before making his mark as a producer with The Rockford Files, with The Sopranos’ creator David Chase as story editor.  This is still his longest-running hit show, going on to the USA Network after the two CBS seasons were over and that line-up was cancelled.


The full frame 1.33 X 1 image has some detail limits, but looks good and color rich for its age.  Like Sledge Hammer!, Anchor Bay has given an anamorphic enhancement to the block style frame that adds richness if not definition.  This works even better on this set than that one, but it is better than without this enhancement in both cases.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is not credited as having any surrounds, but this decodes nicely in Pro Logic surround and you should considering experimenting with this aspect of the set if you have a surround system.  You can enjoy Mike Post’s bizarre theme song often on this set, because it is all over the place.  Extras include interviews with Cannell, Estes, Kapture and co-star Ben Vereen, who also reminisces with Cannell about the series in a fifth segment.  Be warned that there are spoilers for the next season in this section.  It should also be said that the six DVDs come in three slendercases and the idea of being able to put in two per case works very nicely.


If you liked the original shows or have never seen it before, Silk Stalkings – Season One is worth checking out and has oddly appreciated in age.  I can’t wait to see what others have to say about this one.  How will people remember and rethink a show made especially for late night TV?  We’re about to find out.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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