Callan – Set One (1970 – 1971/British Spy TV/Acorn Media DVD)
C+ Sound: C+ Extras: C- Episodes: B
Woodward was a strong character actor for years and in 1967, landed a big hit
TV spy series called Callan, which
has not been seen in the U.S. for decades and in was only seen in a limited way
back in the day. The show has been
available in other markets befitting its larger success there (like England)
but Acorn Media has landed the series.
However, Callan – Set One
actually stars in the middle of the series, the point where the show changed
from black and white to color.
they’ll go back and do the early shows later, Callan has survived almost being
killed via gunshot wounds in his side.
We meet him at the hospital where he is recuperating and finds out how
things have changed while he was out of commission. The best agent S.I.S. has, it will not be
long before he is back in action.
for this set, all the hour-long shows from the third season, include:
Where Else Could I Go?
Summoned To Appear
The Same Trick Twice
A Village Called ‘G’
Suddenly – At Home
Act Of Kindness
God Help Your Friends
Amos Green Must Live
one of the smartest Spy shows ever made with exceptionally rich, clever writing
by the team that makes this possible, it holds up extremely well with only the
format, time period and Cold War aspects (when they surface) aging it
much. It is more in the bureaucratic Ipcress File mode and while not as
fantastic as The Avengers or sporting
as most of the ITC spy shows, it is only rivaled by Patrick McGoohan in the
John Drake shows Danger Man and Secret Agent for overall realism.
is very strong here, building up at least once an episode to his signature
moment of truth where he’ll tell off anyone and the more money and power they
have, the louder he gets. If you have
seen The Equalizer, a show in the
mode of Callan (he plays McCall in
that series, a highly likely hybrid of Callan and McGill, the gritty in the
cold spy character in Man In A Suitcase,
reviewed elsewhere on this site) then you know what you are in for. As much as I like The Equalizer, Callan is even richer and has more consistency in
its episodes. However, the difference in
quality is narrow to me and here’s hoping Acorn issues the whole series.
X 1 image is one of those many classic British series where the interiors are
shot on PAL videotape and locations (plus most outdoor shots) are shot on 16mm
film, though you are seeing film-to-tape transfers of the time. The film may sadly be lost, so so much for a
semi-HD version, but the quality here is pretty good despite some aliasing and
flaws here and there. The Dolby Digital
2.0 Mono is consistent and at a healthy volume throughout. Extras include text trivia on the show and
text bio on Woodward.
You can read more about The Equalizer at this link to our coverage of the first season of
that show on DVD:
- Nicholas Sheffo