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Category:    Home > Reviews > Police Drama > TV > Commish - First Season

The Commish – The Complete First Season


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



Michael Chiklis is one of the luckiest actors around.  An unlikely star in the first place, he kept sticking in the mind of producers from Steven J. Cannell’s company, and he eventually wound up the star of the The Commish in 1991.  At first, when original network signatory CBS dropped the project, it looked dead, but hit strapped ABC (still known as Absolute Budget Control at the time) picked it up and the show went into production.  It helped turn the network’s fortunes around.


Chiklis is Tony Scali, a rising star on the police force who has great intensions and a great personality, but that does not stop the murders and other ugly crimes form happening.  It does not stop the discrimination and social questions from happening.  Then he has a family to raise, but besides using his personality and social skills to best advantage, he has the support of a great wife (Theresa Saldana) who helps him long after he has tried to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders.  The characters are great together, one of the unique appeals of the show, and this is because the actors click.  The episodes for this debut season are as follows:


1)     Self-titled pilot episode

2)     In The Best Of Families

3)     Do You See What I See?

4)     The Poisoned Tree

5)     Nothing To Fear But…

6)     Behind The Screen Door

7)     The Hatchet

8)     Two Confessions

9)     Commissioner’s Ball

10)  No Greater Gift

11)  The Fourth Man

12)  Charlie Don’t Surf

13)  Skeletons

14)  The Wicked Flee

15)  True Believers

16)  Officer April

17)  Sex, Lies & Kerosene

18)  Judgement Day

19)  Shoot The Breeze

20)  Video Vigilante

21)  The Puck Stops Here




One thing it is obvious that fans like is how the show never becomes sappy or melodramatic when dealing with the Scali Family or Tony’s authentic ability to reach out to people in trouble.  The early shows had the added benefit of David Paymer as Arnie, their eccentric relative staying over at the house for a while.  He was a huge asset for the show’s launch and helped to build the audience on top of everything the series had going for it.  Maybe the idea of a more sensitive cop is hokey to many viewers, and this may have gone too far to consider this as much of a detective show as it is a family one, but the series has appreciated in value since its original broadcasts as bad reality TV has taken over and the shows have more substance than many critics first caught.  This set will prove that to viewers.


The full frame 1.33 X 1 image looks good, sometimes really good, for its age.  The brighter scenes often look a bit better, so the DVD was likely mastered from late NTSC analog masters.  The show has a good clean look that is a stop brighter than you would usually get for a TV series even today, which is to its advantage, but form is limited.  The stereo sound is here in Dolby Digital 2.0 but has no Pro Logic surrounds.  Surrounds of any kind were still very uncommon at the time on TV, but this combination plays better than it ever looked on TV before, so fans and new viewers will like that.  The only extra is a great block of interviews with Cannell, Chiklis, Saldana, and Stephen Kronish, co-creator of the show.


A few years ago, Chiklis and Fox took advantage of the freedom basic cable offers and scored an even bigger hit with The Shield, but Chiklis will reach a new high point that will permanently cement him in Pop Culture.  That comes from his casting in the new big-budget version of the marvel Comic classic Fantastic Four, where he will play Benjamin Grimm, better known as The Thing.  His new series also continues and Anchor Bay will continue to issue The Commish to ever increasing audiences.  Now, you can judge for yourself or relive an old favorite.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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