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Category:    Home > Reviews > Detective > Mystery > Comedy > TV > The Rockford Files - Season Two

The Rockford Files – Season Two


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



The Rockford Files – Season Two offers a show that continued to be strong enough to win over viewers and gained David Chase as one of its new writers.  The show found its identity and rhythm very quickly.  The show has appreciated better than expected and I think this season is even stronger than the first.  The second season produced the following episodes, including notable guest stars where applicable:


1)     The Aaron Ironwood School Of Success

2)     The Farnsworth Stratagem (Linda Evans, Gerald McRaney, Eric Server)

3)     Gearjammers (Two parts: Scott Brady, Reb Brown, Rosemary DeCamp)

4)     The Deep Blue Sleep (Michael Conrad, Robert Webber)

5)     The Great Blue Lake & Development Company (Dennis Patrick, Dana Elcar, Bob Hastings)

6)     The Real Easy Red Dog (Stephane Powers)

7)     Resurrection In Black & White (Joan Van Ark, William Prince)

8)     Chicken Little Is A Little Chicken (Frank Campanella)

9)     Two Into 5.56 Won’t Go

10)  Pastoria Prime Pick (Kathie Browne, William Lustig)

11)  The Reincarnation Of Angie

12)  The Girl In The Bay City Boys’ Club

13)  The Hammer Of C Block (Isaac Hayes)

14)  The No-Cut Contract (Dick Butkus, Rob Reiner)

15)  A Portrait Of Elizabeth (John Saxon, Katherine Woodville, Cynthia Sykes)

16)  Joey Blue Eyes (Suzanne Charney, Robert Yuro)

17)  In Hazard (Frank Campanella, Joseph Campanella, Linda Dano)

18)  The Italian Bird Fiasco (William Daniels, Eric Server)

19)  Where’s Houston? (Robert Mandan)

20)  Foul On The First Play (Louis Gossett Jr., Ji-Tu Cumbuka, Jayne Kennedy)

21)  A Bad Deal In The Valley (Veronica Hamel, Susan Strasberg)



Though the show was somewhat offbeat, it really seemed to get down to business in ways easier to see when you watch the shows uncut and in order.  The deconstructions of the detective genre were not as obvious as the show knew how to get on with it and tell its stories.  Garner also takes to the character and really runs with it, showing his truly diverse skills as an actor.  Though it usually makes sense to start with the first season of any show, I would actually recommend starting with this set if you have not sent he show because it leaves a better impression of it at its best.


The 1.33 x 1 image is not bad like the last set, though color and detail are still not quite distinctive, though I liked the detail and color more here.  Older series (like Universal’s Kolchak: The Night Stalker) may have better color often, but this show looks as good as it ever did in broadcast.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is also good enough, though the sound has noting distinctive to offer.  Dialogue is clear enough for the most part, while many will wish the music (especially the theme song) was in stereo.  Extras this time are a brief reflection on the season by Stephen J. Cannell and the original TV movie pilot from 1974, which featured Lindsay Wagner much more prominently than expected.  I consider that a plus!


Running about 72 minutes, the script is loaded with Cannell and co-creator Roy Huggins.  The solid journeyman director Richard T. Heffron (Futureworld) does an ace job here of defining the character and Sara Butler (Wagner) hires Rockford to find out who killed her father.  The tone of the film is more serious than the series that followed and I liked it even more than the show.  Bill Mumy is her brother and William Smith and Nita Talbot round out a strong cast.  No wonder the show sold, even if Wagner went on to The Bionic Woman.


Lamar Boren is a legendary cinematographer known for his ever-brilliant underwater cinematography on the James Bond films and films like Underwater!, The Neptune Factor and Day Of The Dolphin.  This looks as good as any later show and in a fine print here, the telefilm could have been part of a rotation of Universal/NBC mystery shows like Columbo, but it became an episodic hour-long show and continued for several more seasons.  We’ll see what Universal comes up with in the next DVD set.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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