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Dragnet 1967 - Season 1



DVD Release Date: June 7, 2005 (Universal Studios Home Entertainment)
MSRP: $39.98
Number of Discs: 2 DVDs, 1 CD
Number of Episodes: 17
Running Time: 432 Minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: 30 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English, Spanish, and French subtitles
Special Features: "The Big Cut" episode of Dragnet radio program


Dragnet was one of the earliest police dramas in television that was spawn from a radio series of the same name that began in 1949 on NBC radio. Just three years later, the series began airing on the NBC television network in addition to the radio shows, where it remained until 1959. Several reincarnations of the program were made after that cancellation, including a recent one on ABC, but perhaps the most well-known reincarnation of Dragnet is the series that ran on NBC between 1967 and 1970. And now, the first season of the 1967 version of the series, Dragnet 1967, is available on a two-disc set that additionally includes a bonus CD. Dragnet 1967 follows Sergeant Joe Friday (Jack Webb and his partner Bill Gannon (Harry Morgan) as they try to track down the murderers, thieves, robbers, and other criminals that do their crime in Los Angeles, California. Every single case is based upon a true story, and at the end of each episode, the viewer finds out what happened to each of the suspected criminals in the episode. As always, the names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Season One contains 17 episodes, and begins with "The Big LSD"—a rather well-known episode that deals with a "new" drug at the time, LSD, and Friday and Gannon's struggle to take down the LSD dealer before it is too late. A neo-Nazi brings his hatred—and maybe terrorism plans—to Los Angeles in "The Big Explosion." Before going on to star in the series Adam-12, Kent McCord plays a police officer that may be in trouble with the law himself in "The Big Interrogation." Friday and Gannon try to take down a habitual drunk driver that may have murdered two pedestrians in "The Big Accident." Friday and Gannon try to solve a suicide—or maybe a murder—when the evidence just doesn't add up in "The Big Bullet."


The packaging in this set is very well-done, with three slim cases in the box. The picture of Friday that is included on the box cover is the same picture that is displayed on each of the slim cases. On the back of each slim case on the two DVDs, there is a listing of the episodes that are contained on that disc. The DVDs are two-sided, so there are no pictures on them, but the bonus CD has a picture of Jack Webb as he appeared on Dragnet in the 1950s. The breakdown of the discs on this packaging is very odd, with episodes 1-7 on Side A of Disc 1, episodes 8-14 on Side B of Disc 1, and episodes 15-17 on Disc 2. In other words, 14 episodes are contained on Disc 1 and only three episodes on Disc 2. What is even more unusual is the fact that Disc 2 appears to be a two-sided disc, but there is nothing on the other side of that disc. The episode breakdown could have been done much better than it actually was on this set.

Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus in this set are sufficient, but very plain. When the disc is inserted, the options that are displayed include Play All, Episode Index, and Languages. Play All will play every episode on the disc, obviously. Episode Index takes you to a menu where you can choose the episode that you wish to play. Once you have selected an episode from that menu, you are taken to another menu that describes the episode and gives you the options of Play, Scenes, Episode Index, Languages, and Menu. The Scenes option takes you to the Scene selection menu, which allows you to start the episode at any place where a commercial break would be inserted (chapters are placed at the same positions in the episodes). The Languages option that is available from the Main Menu allows you to turn on subtitles, which are available in English, Spanish, and French. Side A of Disc 1 also contains previews for other Universal DVD releases, which play immediately upon inserting the disc. The menu button, however, will help you skip past these previews.

Video and Audio Quality:

There is quite a bit of grain on the picture in the episodes, particularly in the earlier episodes on the set. As a matter of fact, I've never seen a set with as much grain as is contained on the picture of these episodes. There are a few episodes that are very clean, but some of them have somewhat major grain problems. The series is an older one, of course, but I would have expected a cleaner picture than what I saw on this set. Other than that, there are no other major flaws with the video quality. The audio on this set is provided in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, which is good enough for a series as old as this one. There are no major problems with the audio other than the typical problem that many sets have—low volume. The set is not closed-captioned, but English subtitles are available. The episodes appear to be unedited, with each episode running around 25 minutes.

Special Features:

This set could have been a little bit better in regards to special features, but the set isn't a complete disappointment either. The only special feature included is a bonus CD that contains a 30 minute episode of the Dragnet radio series from 9/14/54 titled "The Big Cut." This disc is NOT a DVD, although it will play in a DVD player as a CD. Or, you could just play this CD in a stereo, including a car stereo if you want to. The audio quality of the radio program is surprisingly good. The episode sounds as if it was taken directly from an NBC radio broadcast from the time period. Even the original advertisements (the program was sponsored by a cigarette company) are included in the program, as well as a voiceover advertising other NBC Radio programs running over the closing music. Anybody that remembers the era where radio programs were common will probably love this. It would be nice to see more special features on future releases.

Final Comments:

This set could have been a little better organized and could have included some more special features. Regardless, though, this set is still a very good set that any fan of Dragnet or police drama in general should seriously look in to. Even though I enjoy very few dramas from this time period, Dragnet is one of those series that I can actually watch and enjoy, perhaps because the show takes real cases and dramatizes them to a point where they don't even seem real anymore. The show can take cases that would seemingly be extremely boring, such as con artists that are selling fake magazine subscriptions, and turn it into a very interesting story. And of course, at a list price of $39.98, this set is definitely a great value.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 1.5/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 06/01/05

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