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HTF REVIEW: 21 Jump Street: The Complete First Season

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#1 of 12 OFFLINE   Michael Osadciw

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Posted October 26 2004 - 06:09 PM

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Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Air Date: 1987

U.S. Rating: NR
Canadian Rating: NR

Total Disc Length: 585 minutes
Genre: Crime Drama

Aspect Ratio:[*] 1.33:1 full screen
Colour/B&W: Colour

Audio:[*] English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Closed Captioned: Yes
SLP: US $39.98

Release Date: October 26, 2004

Show Rating: Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image / Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

Starring: Johnny Depp (Off. Tom Hanson), Holly Robinson Peete (Off. Judy Hoffs), Peter DeLuise (Off. Doug Penhall), Dustin Nguyen (Off. Harry Truman Ioki), Frederic Forrest (Capt. Richard Jenko), Steven Williams (Capt. Adam Fuller).

Guest Stars: Jason Priestly, Josh Brolin, Sherilyn Fenn, Blair Underwood.

Created by: Stephen J. Cannell & Patrick Hasburgh

As part of the program line-up of the then-new FOX network, 21 Jump Street became the hot new teenage drama coming out of the ‘80s. The show is about youth crime in high schools and colleges and the group of young undercover cops trying to put an end to each case. These cops are plucked right out of graduation from the police force and because of their youthful appearance, they are prime candidates to be sent back into school to bust kids involved with crime. At 21 Jump Street, these officers gather in an abandoned chapel where they plot to penetrate gangs and befriend students. The series was inspired by a similar program the L.A.P.D. adopted, thus FOX approved the series to be geared at the 11-18 year old audience. As opposed to being a light-hearted series as the many sitcoms already flooding the airwaves, 21 Jump Street dealt with serious issues such as rape, AIDS, suicide and racism, and featured a cast of many who have since progressed successfully in their careers.

There are four officers in this youth crime group: Officer Tom Hanson (Depp) is the most youthful and good-looking of the group. While he may have been a liability on the squad before joining 21 Jump Street, his young rebellious appearance contributed to his success in high schools. His partner is Officer Doug Penhall (DeLuise) – the wise crack of the bunch who believes in muscle over mind but is always reliable to Hanson. Officer Judy Hoffs (Peete) is the only female of the group. She has street smarts and is very educated on student crime. She has experienced the harsh and dark realities of teenage crime during her time on the force giving her a definite edge over the boys. To complete the squad, Officer Harry Truman Ioki (Nguyen) is the quiet one always working “by the book”, but he’s sharply dressed and he can infiltrate the student groups very easily to gain information.

The foursome is led by Captain Adam Fuller. He is a man who is both tough and compassionate, and despite being mistrusted by the unit, he has taken on the duty to lead these officers after their first Captain, Richard Jenko, was suddenly killed by a drunk driver. He leads the group as a father-like figure and cares for his officers in the same manner.

Anchor Bay has brought this emotionally charged undercover cop teenage drama to DVD in a four disc set. Each approximately forty-seven minute episode is presented in its entirety and the set includes the rarely seen two-part premier episode along with other special features. The series was created by Stephen J. Cannell and Patrick Hasburgh. Cannel has produced other hit shows based on drama and action adventure and shaped the television world in the production of these programs. Other works of his include Silk Stockings and The Commish.

The four discs are packaged and divided into two slim line snapper cases tucked into a cardboard cover. The eight page booklet can also be found tucked in there as well.

I am worried that there could be a problem with this set. My screener copy (which resembles the final sealed packaged product) contained two copies of discs 3 & 4 only, each in its respective case. Identical instead of having discs 1 & 2 in one snapper and 3 & 4 in the other, my set included two copies of discs three and four. I hope this is a fluke and is not erroneously packaged like this on retail shelves or I suspect Anchor Bay will have to start setting up a hotline for mail-in trades.

VIDEO QUALITY Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image / Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

Anchor Bay always amazes me with their high-quality results on DVD. I’m surprised how good the image is on this first season. Aside from the ‘80’s look of a muted colour palette despite the colourful fashion of the day, the resolution of the television show is respectable. The image does have a very digital appearance to it, looking gritty because of compression artefacts or some digital noise from the source. Even though film was used to shoot the series, this disc appears to have come from a composite master. There is evidence of dot crawl in some scenes, but in others where I’d expect it there wasn’t any. Regardless of the source, it does look better than I expected it to and much better than what it’s looked like prior to this DVD set. Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1, the image has nice contrast in most scenes. Many scenes are at night and black level is very good without sacrificing shadow detail. Overall, the quality is good, but not quite top-notch as I think it could have been.

AUDIO QUALITY Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image / Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

The Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio will surprise you when watching this show. The sound is clear and free from distortion, it has a deep soundstage that is fairly narrow but always has a sense of ‘space’ around the dialogue. The ‘80’s music soundtrack is open sounding and may be just a little too hot in the high frequencies, but surprisingly the bass is not weak at all. The soundtrack can pack a good punch every so often. Thankfully, the soundtrack isn’t too tinny and it won’t leave you disappointed.

SPECIAL FEATURES Posted Image Posted Image / Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

Special features in this DVD set include brand-new interviews with show co-creator and stars Stephen J. Cannell, Holly Robinson Peete, Dustin Nguyen and Steven Williams. Each interview is approximately fourteen to seventeen minutes in length as they talk a little bit about themselves, their characters in the show, or in Cannell’s case how the series came to be. They seem very excited to be on this disc to speak and I give them credit for participating in this release. It’s too bad Depp wasn’t available (or maybe he didn’t want to) for an interview. Actors should remember to never forget their roots.

An audio commentary with star Peter DeLuise is also included with the set and appears on disc three. Oddly enough, he doesn't appear in the interview section on disc number four. Still, it's nice to hear from him on this collection.

Don’t forget about the 8 page booklet with liner notes and Colour photos either as you pull the discs out. It’s hiding in there and it may fall out without you knowing.


21 Jump Street is a nice blast from the past of teen high school crime and drama. I’m happy to see Anchor Bay has chosen to release this series and hopefully they will continue on with future seasons. Future releases of this series could coincide with the movie of 21 Jump Street that is in the works for a 2005 release. The series looks really good aside from that mildly digital appearance that can be corrected for future seasons. I’m hoping that the rest of the world is enjoying all discs of 21 Jump Street instead of just discs 3 & 4 like me. For those of you who are enjoying it I can say you must be impressed to revisit an old friend. It kind of feels like being in high school again, doesn’t it?

Michael Osadciw

Michael Osadciw

THX/ISF Professional Video Calibrator

Video Contributor

CANADA HiFi Magazine

#2 of 12 OFFLINE   TheBat



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Posted October 27 2004 - 01:17 AM

I got the season set.. they have pictures of the characters for each of the disc. depp on is on disc 1, holly is on disc 2, peter is on disc 3, and dustin is on disc 4. Peter's commentary is on disc 3. JACOB

#3 of 12 OFFLINE   Pete Battista

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Posted October 27 2004 - 02:07 AM

Thanks for the review...
My set is in the mail and should be here any day now. It will be great to see these... I haven't seen this show since it first aired so will be like seeing it again for the first time. Posted Image

#4 of 12 OFFLINE   Linda Thompson

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Posted October 27 2004 - 11:38 AM

Got mine from DDD on Monday, and I'm halfway through it already...I was totally psyched for this one, and it has NOT disappointed! Same for Silk Stalkings...I was more excited about that one than just about any other recent release (excluding 21JS), and I have thoroughly enjoyed getting re-acquainted with such sorely-missed characters. Here's hoping for subsequent seasons from both shows...

#5 of 12 OFFLINE   Nkosi


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Posted October 27 2004 - 02:59 PM

Thanks for the review Michael.

I remember as a kid, my babysitter always watched this show. I would be able to catch glimpses here and there and I thought it was so coool. Posted Image

I can't wait to pick this set up!

#6 of 12 OFFLINE   Steven_Kale



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Posted October 28 2004 - 12:17 PM

Big problem with this set- All of the original 80s songs have been replaced, and the pilot episode is the edited, syndicated version. Posted Image

#7 of 12 OFFLINE   Michael Osadciw

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Posted October 29 2004 - 03:32 AM

Thanks for the information Steven. Since I can't remember details of the show, I would have never known about the song replacements and the edits. Song replacements are pretty common on television shows these days. Mike

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#8 of 12 OFFLINE   JonZ


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Posted October 29 2004 - 05:51 AM

"All of the original 80s songs have been replaced" More details please

#9 of 12 OFFLINE   MaraKM


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Posted October 30 2004 - 12:11 AM

My set arrived yesterday, I watched the 'part 1' pilot episode last night, and I agree with Steven, these are clearly the butchered episodes.Posted Image Posted Image

I don't know what the original songs were, but they could not have been the lame, muzak-y, stuff on the discs.

I'm extremely annoyed and disappointed by this set. I think it looks and sounds awful to me--more like what I'd expect to see from a bootlegger, or torrent files some fan seeded from tv-rips. I would think that a real studio could have produced something better-looking than this.

Cannell clearly does not care about preserving his shows, and is just in it for the short-term profits. I think I'll be returning my set; watching that first episode left me so pissed off, I can't imagine I'll get any pleasure out of the rest of the episodes.

#10 of 12 OFFLINE   LanieParker


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Posted October 30 2004 - 08:10 AM

Just picked ths up today at the bargain price of $20.99. I wasn't planning on getting it, but I just couldn't p[ass up the price and a chance to revisit a show I remember enjoying a great deal as a teen.

#11 of 12 OFFLINE   LanieParker


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Posted October 31 2004 - 05:12 AM

eh... I was so bored watching this. It will definitely get returned this week. I remember loving this show back in the day, but it doesn't hold up to a second viewing as an adult. Oh well..

#12 of 12 OFFLINE   Steven_Kale



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Posted November 07 2004 - 08:12 PM

Well I finally got the set, and after viewing the first episode, I'm extremely disappointed. I just can't believe a solid company like Anchor Bay would release such a shoddy piece of work. The pilot's editing is painfully obvious, especially at the end of part 2. See, instead of just freezing and cutting off, it originally showed Hanson playing with Jenko's band in his garage. But they didn't get the rights to the song, so they cut it out, on top of all the stuff edited for syndication. It's like no effort as put into the release at all. Even the sound quality on my set sounded muffled. Edited episodes, no original songs.....I don't recommend this set unless you're a die-hard fan of the show (like me). To simply say "It's better than nothing" just doesn't cut it with me. We shouldn't have to settle. Either put some effort into it or don't do it at all.

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