TITLE: STARSKY & HUTCH - SEASON 1 (MILL CREEK)
Release Date: March 4, 2014 (Mill Creek Entertainment)
Packaging: Amaray Case
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 23
Running Time: 1172 minutes
Running Time of Features: N/A
Audio: English Mono
Subtitles and Captioning: Closed-Captioned
Special Features: None
It comes as no surprise to fans of classic TV that Aaron Spelling was one of the biggest producers of the 70s (and for that matter, the 80s and 90s). In the 70s, though, some of his greatest fame came in the form of police action dramas. Virtually all of his police dramas had some level of success, including Starsky & Hutch. Starsky & Hutch starred Paul Michael Glaser as David Starsky and David Soul as Ken "Hutch" Hutchinson, two undercover detectives who cruised the streets in a (now famous) red and white Ford Gran Torino. They are out to solve crimes, getting help from anybody they can, particularly their jive-talking informant Huggy Bear (Antonio Fargas). It was (and still is) one of TV's coolest busy cop shows, inspiring a big screen movie in 2004 starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson. Now, Mill Creek brings together all of the episodes of the first season in a re-release of the first season of the classic series.
The series begins with the original pilot movie, where Starsky and Hutch are the target of expert hit men. Suzanne Somers guest stars in "Savage Sunday," where senior citizens plant a car bomb to blow up city hall, but that isn't even the real crime in the episode. In "Texas Longhorn," the wife of a used-car tycoon is murdered, but vigilante justice could be on the way. The duo has to transport the daughter of a crime czar in "Death Ride," but it won't be easy. A million dollars’ worth of cocaine disappears after a narcotics bust, and Starsky and Hutch are believed to be the ones responsible in "Snowstorm."
Robert Loggia guest stars in "The Fix," where Hutch's latest romance ends with him becoming a heroin addict after he is abducted. Roz Kelly guest stars in "Death Notice," where the guys latest case has them working in a strip club. Starsky is cleared of wrongdoing after killing a homicidal teen in "Pariah," but other police officers are being murdered as a result of his actions. Huggy Bear's life is at risk in "Kill Huggy Bear." In "The Bait," Starsky and Hutch pose as heroin dealers in order to catch the guy at the top. The duo investigates the death of Starsky's ex-girlfriend in "Lady Blue."
There's a contract on Captain Dobey and his family, and Starsky and Hutch need to intervene in "Captain Dobey...You're Dead." Hutch's "adopted kid sister" is set to marry a cop killer in "Terror on the Docks." A long-lost friend returns to town in "The Deadly Imposter," and needs help from the guys, except the help that he requests is to help him commit a murder. Norman Fell guest stars in "Shoot-Out," where Starsky and Hutch are attacked by gangland hit men. John Ritter and Kristy McNichol guest star in "The Hostages," where a young armored-car driver and his pregnant wife are close to being killed by a merciless gang. A counterfeiter’s scheme could result in murder in "Losing Streak."
A priest may be up to no good in "Silence." A triple murder leads Starsky and Hutch into the world of professional wrestling in "The Omaha Tiger." In "Jo-Jo," Starsky and Hutch mount a case against a rapist who was released early after becoming an informant. Jan Smithers guest stars in "Running," where an ex-model is the only survivor after an attack by a notorious killer, and she must stay alive to identify him. A lethal poison may kill Starsky in 24 hours if the antidote isn't found in "A Coffin for Starsky." The first season ends with "The Bounty Hunter," where Starsky and Hutch are in competition with a bail-bondsman and mercenary bounty hunter to find an escaped killer.
The episodes seem to be unedited, with runtimes as follows:
1. "Pilot" (1:11:45)
2. "Savage Sunday" (49:38)
3. "Texas Longhorn" (50:16)
4. "Death Ride" (49:47)
5. "Snowstorm" (50:19)
6. "The Fix" (50:11)
7. "Death Notice" (50:06)
8. "Pariah" (50:25)
9. "Kill Huggy Bear" (50:14)
10. "The Bait" (49:51)
11. "Lady Blue" (50:17)
12. "Captain Dobey...You're Dead" (50:11)
13. "Terror on the Docks" (50:22)
14. "The Deadly Imposter" (50:13)
15. "Shoot-Out" (50:15)
16. "The Hostages" (49:56)
17. "Losing Streak" (49:40)
18. "Silence" (50:13)
19. "The Omaha Tiger" (50:16)
20. "Jo-Jo" (50:19)
21. "Running" (50:20)
22. "A Coffin for Starsky" (50:12)
23. "The Bounty Hunter" (49:14)
When I looked at the cover art for this release, I thought it looked a little familiar. And it should have looked familiar. Mill Creek essentially used the same cover art that Sony used, but with a slightly different background. In fact, on the back of the case, you'll find a description of the series that is almost the same as Sony's description (though in all fairness, Mill Creek's description looks like it was more professionally designed and went through a better proofreading/editing process). Inside the case, you'll find a standard DVD case with all four discs stacked on one center hub.
Menu Design and Navigation:
Menus used to be something that Mill Creek did an extraordinary job with, but it seems that they've cut down expenses a bit lately as they're doing releases in greater volume. They still look fine, though. On the main menu of each disc, there is a photo (same one as on the cover art) and a list of episodes, as well as a Play All option. That is all there is to the menus. Each episode has chapters placed throughout the episode.
Video and Audio Quality:
There isn't much to complain about with the video and audio quality of this set. It honestly looks about the same as we've seen it on TV so many times over the past few decades, in other words it doesn't look as if there has been any real restoration of the episodes, but the episodes haven't really fallen into poor condition either. There is a little bit of grain and debris here and there, but it isn't a major problem. The audio is a bit low and dull, and is the typical unspectacular sound that we're used to from a series of the late 70s, but again, it isn't a major problem. It should be noted that the original Sony release had English and Spanish audio tracks, but this time, we've only got an English audio track. Each episode is closed-captioned.
There are no special features on the set. The original release of this season, however, had several special features, such as syndication promos for each episode, a lengthy cast/crew interview, a tour of the Gran Torino, and even a look at the "upcoming" film with interviews from Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, and Snoop Dogg. None of these features carried over into this set. It is very likely, though, that Mill Creek is releasing what Sony gave them the rights to, which may not have included these special features.
There isn't much (if anything) that can be added here that isn't true of the other re-releases of Sony series from Mill Creek. Essentially, Mill Creek has given us all of the same episodes with more or less the same quality at a much lower price. There isn't really much to complain about. If you have the previous releases, you would probably be better off sticking with those (especially since Sony had a lot of nice special features on their release), but if you don't own them, you'll definitely want to pick up this new release. And even if you've never seen the series, at the deep bargain prices Mill Creek puts on these releases, it is worth checking out. Hopefully, the remaining seasons will follow very quickly for fans who want a second chance at owning this series on DVD.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 3.5/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
-- Reviewed by skees53 on 03/24/14
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