DVD Review The Streets of San Francisco: Season 3, Volume 2 DVD Review

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Matt Hough, Jul 2, 2012.

  1. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Season three for The Streets of San Francisco, and the ratings and award recognition continued unabated. In fact, despite retaining its rank of 22nd in the national ratings, the numbers actually went up in season three, and the show’s Emmy nominees this season not only included stars Karl Malden and Michael Douglas but also the show as Best Drama and episode director Harry Falk. Though it didn’t win in any of those categories, the show really seemed to have found a welcome audience and was continuing to turn out very involving, highly watchable episodes. This set includes the eleven remaining episodes from season three.



    The Streets of San Francisco: Season 3, Volume 2
    Directed by Corey Allen et al

    Studio: CBS/Paramount
    Year: 1974-1975
    Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1  
    Running Time: 560 minutes
    Rating: NR
    Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 mono English
    Subtitles:  SDH

    MSRP: $ 42.99


    Release Date: July 3, 2012

    Review Date: July 2, 2012




    The Season

    3.5/5


    The series is actually a fairly standard crime drama. With the crimes almost always shown in the opening few minutes, there is rarely a real mystery as to the perpetrators’ identities, and sometimes the police detectives seem to get a handle on who the guilty parties might be very easily (perhaps too easily in some cases). There are only two real mysteries among the eleven episodes represented on this three disc set, one of them offering three suspects of equal possibility. As in previous seasons, the show’s writers have gone out of their way to introduce unusual subjects around which to build their crime stories. This half season set begins with a tried-and-true storyline: the winding travels of a gun from its innocent purchase for at-home protection through three different sets of hands, all of whom find it bringing them trouble. A murder hidden on Alcatraz Island, a phony doctor out to retrieve bank heist money, an out-of-control son of a cop on a killing spree, a lethal psychiatrist using hypnotism to mask his crimes: all prove worthy adversaries for the program’s two lead detectives: Lieutenant Mike Stone (Karl Malden) and college educated Steve Keller (Michael Douglas) as his eager-to-please partner. Among other cases the duo must solve in these final eleven episodes of season three: Steve goes undercover on a couple of missions to ferret out a killer, and he’s also injured seriously twice on the job in episodes in this set. A former cop now a hotel security guard gets a chance to redeem himself in one of the more suspenseful episodes in this set, and Mike finds himself with a new temporary partner in the season finale, one who doesn’t relish being a part of a team.


    Producer Quinn Martin always kept a steady stream of top notch Hollywood talent employed in guest roles in his shows. Among the guest stars in season three’s second half of episodes are Robert Webber, Tony Geary, Sam Jaffe, John Kerr, John Ericson, A Martinez, Peter Strauss, William Windom, Paul Stewart, Virginia Gregg, Tim O’Connor, Stephen Young, Paul Mantee, William Smithers, Sharon Acker, Dean Stockwell, Dee Wallace, Peter Haskell, James Olson, Belinda Montgomery, Michael Anderson, Jr., Robert Walker, Julie Adams, Don Gordon, Tony Lo Bianco, and Norman Alden.


    As usual with Quinn Martin productions, the episode layouts fall into a very traditional pattern: four acts and an epilog. Here is the rundown of the eleven episodes from this last half of season three:


    1 – The Forty-Five Caliber Plague

    2 – Mister Nobody

    3 – False Witness

    4 – Letters from the Grave

    5 – Endgame

    6 – Ten Dollar Murder

    7 – The Programming of Charlie Blake

    8 – River of Fear

    9 – Asylum

    10 – Labyrinth

    11 – Solitaire




    Video Quality

    3.5/5


    The episodes are framed at their original 1.33:1 television aspect ratio. The remastered episodes are generally strong in color control, and flesh tones are good if sometimes variable between too pink and too rosy. But the crew focus puller had the worst half season in memory with these episodes with blatant errors with focus through many of these episodes. (That’s not a problem with the transfer, of course, which is faithfully replicating what was shot, but the out-of-focus shots do stand out on modern HDTVs.) Blacks can be strong, but there are some problematic shots with moiré and aliasing on occasion. As usual, there are a some random dust specks, but they are never a serious problem. Each episode has been divided into 7 chapters.



    Audio Quality

    3.5/5


    The Dolby Digital 2.0 mono track is decoded by Dolby Prologic into the center channel. Though dialog is clear, occasionally high pitched voices and other sound effects do exhibit some distortion, and ADR is often glaringly obvious. However, despite a lack of bass in the music and sound effects, it’s an effective mono encode, In all, it’s a very typical audio track for its era.



    Special Features

    0/5


    Apart from previews of other Paramount TV releases such as Perry Mason - 50th Anniversary Edition, Mannix, Cannon, Barnaby Jones, The Streets of San Francisco, and The Untouchables, there are no bonuses with the set.



    In Conclusion

    3.5/5 (not an average)


    The second half of season three of Quinn Martin’s The Streets of San Francisco is every bit as entertaining as the previous set releases. It’s an above average police drama that fans will enjoy seeing again looking pretty nice for a show of its age.



    Matt Hough

    Charlotte, NC

     
  2. WaveCrest

    WaveCrest Producer

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    A well written review Mark, and some interesting sounding episodes in this second half of the third season.
     
  3. younger1968

    younger1968 Cinematographer

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    I am looking forward so both S3/S4 volumes in the next few months. I was a huge Streets of San Francisco fan and love that this show is on DVD. I hope that S5 comes out before the end of the year!
     
  4. WaveCrest

    WaveCrest Producer

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    Pity about the picture quality with some episodes, but this half season set should still be worth the wait (bearing in mind the long gap between the second and third seasons being released), and that's an impressive list of guest stars in the review.
     
  5. younger1968

    younger1968 Cinematographer

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    The episode with John Davidson is amazing! John does a great job as split personality!!
     
  6. HenryDuBrow

    HenryDuBrow Screenwriter

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    Maybe the most important reason I like the older or classic shows, is the flow of such fine and classy guest stars. I guess the 80s would be the last decade where so much talent would gather on TV, it really weaned off by the 90s. Anyway, from this season the episodes with Leslie Nielsen and Bill Bixby are terrific same with Paul Stewart's very effective turn as an intimidating mobster and the one where Keller goes undercover as draft dodger.
     
  7. younger1968

    younger1968 Cinematographer

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    Yes, it appears that the 1960s /1970s we seen an era of movie stars making guess appearance.The 1980s had it as well, but not to the same extent of previous decades. I watch the episode with Leslie Nielsen as the drunken cop and Bill Bixby as the hitman, which are great episodes. I like seeing the old actors, which many are dead or are up there in age now in their acting prime. It is too bad today's generation is not interested in the old tv series!!
     
  8. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    That's why I like including their names in my reviews of shows from this era. I grew up with these stars and seeing them again brings back my childhood in a big way.
     
  9. WaveCrest

    WaveCrest Producer

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    Shall be looking forward to that episode with Bill Bixby. He was an underrated actor. Yes I agree that by the 90's there weren't as many big names guest starring on TV shows (a good example is Murder, She Wrote. While it's later series were still entertaining, the number of big guest stars lessened).
     
  10. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    According to an interview I remember with Van Johnson, Angela paid her old MGM cohorts very well to guest star on the show. I'm wondering in the later years when there were fewer of them in the cast lists if that wasn't a money-saving venture since by then the show had become so expensive to produce.
     
  11. WaveCrest

    WaveCrest Producer

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    Matt, a question about the third season finale of The Streets of San Francisco:



    Is the storyline in the The Streets of San Francisco's third season finale a rehearsal for the fifth and final season (when Michael Douglas left the show and Richard Hatch joined the main cast)?
     
  12. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    I don't think so. Steve leaves the force to pursue teaching, doesn't he? Is he injured? I honestly don't remember. I'll have to watch season four's episodes next month to bring it back to my mind.
     
  13. younger1968

    younger1968 Cinematographer

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    S5 is when Richard Hatch joined the show and ratings plummeted. The show was cancel after S5. I believe the set up is Steve gets shot and then ends up taking a teaching position at a college. Richard Hatch was an amazing Apollo, but he had tough shoes to fill for Mike Douglas.It would be interesting to see what the top 10 crim drams of the late 1960s to end of the 1970s were in terms of rating/fans support. If i were to project based on my choices then they could be the following
    1. Hawaii Five-O
    2. Adam-12
    3. Streets of San Francisco
    4. Mannix
    5. Police Woman
    6. Kojak
    7. Cannon
    8. Harry O
    9. The Rookies
    10. Fugitive
    Honorable mention to Serpico, O'Hara Treasury Agent, SWAT, etc.
     
  14. HenryDuBrow

    HenryDuBrow Screenwriter

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    In my opinion, S5 is actually a good deal better than S4. I couldn't believe how the writing took a dive after S3, I was left with a rather flat feeling after most episodes but then S5 came along and just about saved the show from being remembered as a cliche' script disappointment at the end. Even Malden in later years would sum it up in less flattering terms. Hatch did fine I think, and was probably chosen because of his past guest slots on the other popular Quinn Martin crime show from Paramount at the time, Cannon.
     
  15. Jeff*H

    Jeff*H Supporting Actor

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    Richard Hatch also made memorable appearances on HAWAII FIVE-O on 3 separate occasions prior to joining STREETS in S5. He always played a pretty interesting heavy, with his best appearance being in 1972's "The Child Stealers" with Meg Foster as black market baby thieves.
    I also thought that S5 of STREETS was better than average, and that Hatch simply didn't always have great material to work with during the season. Definitely better than some of the S4 STREETS episodes.
     
  16. WaveCrest

    WaveCrest Producer

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    Was Richard Hatch's character mentioned at all in the 1992 TV film Back to the Streets of San Francisco?
     
  17. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    I'll be honest I can tell the writing quality has dipped already in S3 just going through these. There are more episodes that get into preachy syndrome about social issues, complete with character wasting a scene by rattling off some statistics. And the "follow the trail of a single gun" episode is a cliched device done by too many other shows in this era and since.
     
  18. HenryDuBrow

    HenryDuBrow Screenwriter

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    It's true it did start ever so slightly here and there by S3 unfortunately, but there's still some really fine ones among these. Interestingly enough, as mentioned in another Streets thread, I think one of the very best episodes of the whole series is featured in S5 which hopefully isn't too far away. No question about it, the two first seasons can't be beat and gems can still be found throughout, though right off the bat I don't remember any from S4 apart from "Merchants of Death " with Greg Morris. In any case, it's still worth seeing for the location shooting and all the great character actors they had back then.
     

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