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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Drama > Police > Detective > The Mod Squad – Season One, Volume One (CBS DVD)

The Mod Squad – Season One, Volume One (CBS DVD)


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



In one of the most interesting production pairings, Danny Thomas (known for his comedy work) and Aaron Spelling (an actor just turning producer, whose earliest success was Honey West in the early 1960s) teamed up to make a serious police drama, one that was meant to deal with what Spelling rightly saw ahead of just about everyone else in the business as a new, burgeoning, growing, permanent youth market launched The Mod Squad.


Taking advantage of changing times, the counterculture atmosphere and bridging the generation gap in the process, Pete (Michael Cole,) Julie (Peggy Lipton) and Linc (Clarence Williams III, in a role being rediscovered and celebrated all over again) are criminal kids turned undercover cops (take that Le Femme Nikita) who have to train to take on the new dangers in the streets new freedoms and new radical politics can create.


The show was a hit for five seasons and CBS DVD has issued the first half of the debut season in this first of what we suspect will be up to 10 volumes of DVDs.  For those of you who have never seen the show, have not seen it for years or are used to the awful, dreadful, lame 1999 theatrical feature film, many surprises await as this first-class series has not aged like The Partridge Family or will make you think of Austin Powers right off the bat.


Instead, this is a show like The Rookies (another Spelling hit, reviewed elsewhere on this site) or Room 222 (nowhere in sight on DVD) that treat young adults like mature adults and the scripts are forced to follow.  Fortunately, the writing is top notch for a police drama of the time and in some ways has only appreciated in its first-rate production ambitions.  They knew the show had to be good and th3ese shows from the 1968 – 9 season (including a pilot credited as 1967) instantly reminds one of how good TV used to be.


Also helping is the great chemistry between the three leads, who oddly and quickly landed on President Richard Nixon’s famous enemies list.  That alone is a new reason to rediscover the show, but it remains as smart and entertaining as it ever was and this is a fun set.  For classic TV, one of the best of a good DVD year, 2007.



The 1.33 X 1 image looks really good across all the episodes as shooting in 35mm for TV pays off yet again with good depth, vibrant (not oversaturated) colors and solid picture performance throughout that puts more than a few feature films today to shame.  Even more impressive is the first episode, not listed here as the telefilm-length pilot show it is.  The detail is even better, color demonstrating further range and obvious point that the producers put more money into it than many may have realized at the time.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is about the same on all episodes, though it may seem a tad more compressed on the pilot, but all sound good.


Extras include a nice featurette in three parts: Forming The Squad, Inside “The Teeth Of The Barracuda” pilot and Friends of The Mod Squad featuring some of the fine guest stars from the series, a few whom are interviewed.  Let’s hope CBS DVD does not stop here on the extras.  Some shows may have been edited, but nothing glaringly bad has been noticed or reported yet.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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