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HTF DVD REVIEW: The Streets of San Francisco, Season 2, Volume 2

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#1 of 24 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted October 29 2008 - 03:16 PM


The Streets of San Francisco: Season 2, Volume 2
Directed by Seymour Robbie et al

Studio: Paramount
Year: 1973-1974
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Running Time: 621 minutes
Rating: NR
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 mono English, Spanish
Subtitles: English, Spanish
MSRP: $ 42.99

Release Date: November 11, 2008
Review Date: October 29, 2008


The Series

3.5/5

The second season of Quinn Martin’s The Streets of San Francisco was the watershed year for the series. Not only did the ratings leap appreciably, but the series was recognized by three primary Emmy nominations: Best Dramatic Series, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actor. Though it didn’t win in any of those categories, the show really seemed to have found its audience during this second season and was turning out very involving, highly watchable episodes.

The series is actually a fairly standard crime drama. There are only two real mysteries among the twelve episodes represented on this three disc set with shows from the second half of season two, both of them fairly routine and easily solved. However, all of the plots feature solid police work by thorough professionals who are less flashy than some other prime time police detectives but who get the job done and often with some welcome joviality. The team is led by twenty year veteran of the force Lieutenant Mike Stone (Karl Malden) with college educated Steve Keller (Michael Douglas) as his eager-to-please partner. Together the two men investigate cases ranging from runaways from an abusive uncle involved in a homicide to Stone‘s being framed for murdering an undercover cop.

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 2’s second half of episodes are Jeanette Nolan, Barry Livingstone, Larry Wilcox, Kent Smith, Ruth McDevitt, Denver Pyle, Burt Mustin, William Smith, Denny Miller, Tyne Daly, Ida Lupino, Jock Mahoney, Don Stroud, Charles Martin Smith, Celeste Holm, Nick Nolte, Claude Akins, Lola Falana, Barry Sullivan, Glenn Corbett, Sam Elliott, Jim Davis, Noah Beery, Robert Hooks, Harold Gould, Greg Mullavey, and Rosemary Murphy.

As usual with Quinn Martin productions, the episodes fall into a very traditional pattern: four acts and an epilog. Here is the rundown of the twelve episodes from this second half of season two:

1 - The Runaways
2 - Winterkill
3 - Most Feared in the Jungle
4 - Commitment
5 - Chapel of the Damned
6 - Blockade
7 - Crossfire
8 - A String of Puppets
9 - Inferno
10 - The Hard Breed
11 - Rampage
12 - Death and the Favored Few


Video Quality

4/5

The show’s original 1.33:1 aspect ratio is faithfully delivered in these DVD transfers. Though there are random white specks and an occasional bit of debris, most of the episodes feature a warm color palette with excellent flesh tones and very good sharpness. The lack of anamorphic enhancement results in some mild aliasing in a couple of episodes, but it’s never intrusive. Each episode has been divided into 7 chapters.

Audio Quality

3/5

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. There were a couple of instances of flutter in the track, too. In all, a fairly 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, and Jake & the Fat Man, there are no bonuses with the set.


In Conclusion

3.5/5 (not an average)

The second half of Season 2 of Quinn Martin’s The Streets of San Francisco is every bit as entertaining as the first half. It’s an above average police drama that fans will enjoy seeing again looking very nice indeed for a show of its age.


Matt Hough
Charlotte, NC

#2 of 24 OFFLINE   Corey3rd

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Posted October 29 2008 - 03:46 PM

do wish they'd run some of Karl's American Express ads.
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#3 of 24 OFFLINE   Rex Bachmann

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Posted October 30 2008 - 04:54 AM

MattH. wrote (post #1):

Quote:
The series is actually a fairly standard crime drama. There are only two real mysteries among the twelve episodes represented on this three disc set with shows from the second half of season two, both of them fairly routine and easily solved.

As I remember it, the show departed from "standard crime drama" which had preceded it in that the focus of many of the stories was on the perpetrator of given crime, rather than on the investigators thereof. Naturally enough, this let the audience partake of the omniscient-narrator's viewpoint; hence, no "mystery". (Did Quinn Martin's The FBI (as well as other QM detective series) work the same way? Was too young and don't remember what little of it I saw.) In any event, I think that was an innovation in its time.

Quote:
However, all of the plots feature solid police work by thorough professionals who are less flashy than some other prime time police detectives but who get the job done and often with some welcome joviality.


Again, no accident. They are "less flashy", because the producers deliberately placed the narrative emphasis and focus in this series on the social and personal relations of the "perps" and their loved ones, rather than on "detection" (70s-style social consciousness).


Corey3rd wrote (post #2):

Quote:
do wish they'd run some of Karl's American Express ads.

"Run them" where? Isn't it curious that American tv-viewers will normally complain to high heaven about the ever creeping advance of commercialism in their contemporary tv-programming environment and go to great and sometimes expensive technological lengths to circumvent it, yet "pine" to see commercials from long dead programs in their homevideo viewing? A stymying contradiction. Oy vey! (Okay, I know the AE commercials postdated the show, but still . . .)

"Delenda est . . . . "

 


#4 of 24 OFFLINE   Corey3rd

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Posted October 30 2008 - 06:05 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Bachmann
"Run them" where? Isn't it curious that American tv-viewers will normally complain to high heaven about the ever creeping advance of commercialism in their contemporary tv-programming environment and go to great and sometimes expensive technological lengths to circumvent it, yet "pine" to see commercials from long dead programs in their homevideo viewing? A stymying contradiction. Oy vey! (Okay, I know the AE commercials postdated the show, but still . . .)[/size][/font]

I dare you to find a moment in all my columns that I have whined about commercials. My reviews always make note if they have the vintage ads featuring cast or characters. That's the reason to grab the Beverly Hillbillies sets.

The AE commercials played on Malden's character from Streets.

And without commercials, we wouldn't have TV. They pay for the programming so you can't complain. Why not pine to see the ads that were made for the show? Was there an episode of Hogan's Heroes more freakish than Carol Channing sneaking in the camp to sell Dream Whip to the boys?
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#5 of 24 OFFLINE   Rex Bachmann

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Posted October 30 2008 - 08:17 AM

Corey3rd wrote (post #4):

Quote:
I dare you to find a moment in all my columns that I have whined about commercials.

I don't need to find any such thing; "whine" is your wording choice, not mine.

Quote:
My reviews always make note if they have the vintage ads featuring cast or characters. That's the reason to grab the Beverly Hillbillies sets.

I'm unclear what you are claiming here. By "the reason to grab the Beverly Hillbillies sets", do you mean specifically for the---[ahem!]---"vintage" commercials? (Oy!)

Quote:
The AE commercials played on Malden's character from Streets.

Okay, so what? Did you want the commercials included in the Paramount disc set?

Quote:
And without commercials, we wouldn't have TV.

Nonsense. Prove it.

Quote:
. . . commercials . . . . pay for the programming so you can't complain.

Non sequitur.

(a) Obviously, I can complain, just as can and do many, many others, both privately and in the public forums and media.

(b) Actually, consumers and taxpayers pay for programming, when they purchase the goods or services advertised in the media (electronic and print) and/or when they pay higher individual income taxes to offset what business "writes off" as---[ahem!]---"promotional expenses".

(Funny. Napoleon was right. People don't mind being taxed, it seems, as long as it's hidden.)



Quote:
Why not pine to see the ads that were made for the show? Was there an episode of Hogan's Heroes more freakish than Carol Channing sneaking in the camp to sell Dream Whip to the boys?

Here you've lost me again. I don't know the first thing about the trivia of Hogan's Heroes. When I became old enough to have the choice to see it in syndication, I looked at it once or twice, and found it to be dumb, dumb, dumb, unfunny, and offputting, the Gilligan's Island/McHale's Navy of WW II Nazi concentration-camp humor. So, your references are going over my head (and into the wild blue yonder, where they belong).

"Delenda est . . . . "

 


#6 of 24 OFFLINE   Corey3rd

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Posted October 30 2008 - 09:05 AM

[quote=Rex Bachmann][font="Times New Roman"][size="4"]Corey3rd wrote (post #4):

I'm unclear what you are claiming here. By "the reason to grab the Beverly Hillbillies sets", do you mean specifically for the---[ahem!]---"vintage" commercials? (Oy!)

Seeing how he Hillbillies are on TVLand and WGN, the average viewer has zero reason to spring for the second season set. However the advantage of the DVD set is the original sponsor ads and the sponsor codas that featured references to the episode. It's what makes them special vs. just duping them off TV.

So you have zero sense of how a network pays for a show using advertising revenue? That in the early days a single sponsor paid to produce the show and get it on the network? They would have their name in the credits and have the stars produce spots? How Groucho Marx had the sponsor's name on the set? Of course years later when it appeared in syndication, all references to the original sponsor were scrubbed? But if Kelloggs hadn't sponsored the Andy Griffith show, they wouldn't be whistling down to the fishing hole.

Hogan's Heroes is not about a Concentration camp.
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#7 of 24 OFFLINE   Rick Thompson

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Posted October 30 2008 - 09:28 AM

The new set of "Streets" sounds good. I'll put it on my list of Paramount shows to buy after they fix the botch they made of "The Fugitive" season two.

Until then, I'm boycotting CBS/Paramount.

#8 of 24 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted October 30 2008 - 11:34 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Thompson
The new set of "Streets" sounds good. I'll put it on my list of Paramount shows to buy after they fix the botch they made of "The Fugitive" season two.

Until then, I'm boycotting CBS/Paramount.
That makes no sense to me. I can understand boycotting The Fugitive set but boycotting their other classic TV offerings just helps them sell worse and makes the studio think there's an even smaller market for classic TV.

#9 of 24 OFFLINE   Stephen Bowie

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Posted October 30 2008 - 12:16 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by TravisR
That makes no sense to me. I can understand boycotting The Fugitive set but boycotting their other classic TV offerings just helps them sell worse and makes the studio think there's an even smaller market for classic TV.

Or, you can look at it as taking money out of your wallet to pay for more replacement scores. It's truly a glass half full / half empty situation -- there's no right answer.

Regarding Rex's question: Yes, "The FBI" followed the formula of emphasizing the (sometimes sympathetic) villain's point of view, even more rigidly than "Streets." One of the "FBI" writers described the QM crime show formula to me as a "V pattern": alternating scenes between the criminals and the police, who converge only in the final act.

#10 of 24 OFFLINE   Rex Bachmann

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Posted October 30 2008 - 12:30 PM

Corey3rd wrote (post #6):

Quote:
Seeing how he Hillbillies are on TVLand and WGN, the average viewer has zero reason to spring for the second season set. However the advantage of the DVD set is the original sponsor ads and the sponsor codas that featured references to the episode. It's what makes them special vs. just duping them off TV.

Well, I'd speak for myself, if I were you. I don't accept that. If I were a real devotee of The Beverly Hillibillies or any other series, I'd certainly find an advantage in having at hand an uninterrupted, uncut, quality-mastered set of the episodes that I could watch any time I wanted to, as much as I wanted to, and without the cable network beïng able to monitor my tv-activity and report on it to third parties, out of commercial or even more sinister motives. That's the advantage of owning physical copies of tv or movie programming. Period. The rest is, as they say, "gravy".

Quote:
So you have zero sense of how a network pays for a show using advertising revenue? That in the early days a single sponsor paid to produce the show and get it on the network? They would have their name in the credits and have the stars produce spots? How Groucho Marx had the sponsor's name on the set? Of course years later when it appeared in syndication, all references to the original sponsor were scrubbed? But if Kelloggs hadn't sponsored [T]he Andy Griffith [S]how, they wouldn't be whistling down to the fishing hole.

I was, and am, well aware of all of those facts and it invalidates nothing that I've said, as far as I can see. All things being equal---that is, given the invention of the technology and the popular demand for the same or comparable programming---, some other business model (so-called) would most certainly have arisen to fill the void. There still would have been tv; the public would just have been paying for it in a different manner (perhaps, one would hope, more openly and directly). I find your claim that, had the former exclusive-sponsor format not existed and/or if the present multi-sponsor-formatted "business model" did not exist, American "tv" itself would not exist simply and utterly bogus. Period.

Quote:
Hogan's Heroes is not about a Concentration camp.

Alright, then, a "prisoner-of-war camp", though, by almost all accounts, with a few showcase exceptions, there was no practical difference under the Nazi regime. Laugh that one off.

"Delenda est . . . . "

 


#11 of 24 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted October 30 2008 - 02:47 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Bowie
Or, you can look at it as taking money out of your wallet to pay for more replacement scores. It's truly a glass half full / half empty situation -- there's no right answer.
If there's no controversy (like a replaced musical score) and a release doesn't sell, the only conclusion that Paramount will come to is that no one is interested in the title. I don't care what people do or don't do with their money but if they boycott a release that they want over another title, they'll eventually end up cutting off their nose to spite their face.

#12 of 24 OFFLINE   Corey3rd

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Posted October 30 2008 - 02:58 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Bachmann
Alright, then, a "prisoner-of-war camp", though, by almost all accounts, with a few showcase exceptions, there was no practical difference under the Nazi regime. Laugh that one off.[/size][/font]

Billy Wilder found humor in the subject matter of Allied troops in a POW camp.

Unless they were positioned in the show like the Hillbillies sponsor moments any ads featuring the stars should be in the bonus feature section.
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#13 of 24 OFFLINE   Rex Bachmann

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Posted October 30 2008 - 04:36 PM

Corey3rd wrote (post #12):

Quote:

Billy Wilder found humor in the subject matter of Allied troops in a POW camp.

Stalag 17 was not an adle-pated, silly sitcom. Humor within drama is one thing; inanity is another. One confronts the evil with irony in the face of helplessness, while the other utterly trivializes it.

"Delenda est . . . . "

 


#14 of 24 OFFLINE   Aryn Leroux

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Posted October 31 2008 - 08:43 AM

Thanks for the review...
I will be picking this up in a couple of weeks along with Hawaii Five-0: S5.

#15 of 24 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted October 31 2008 - 08:46 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aryn Leroux
Thanks for the review...
I will be picking this up in a couple of weeks along with Hawaii Five-0: S5.

That review copy came in today. I likely won't be getting to it until next weekend, but that review is upcoming.

#16 of 24 OFFLINE   Aryn Leroux

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Posted October 31 2008 - 08:53 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by MattH.
That review copy came in today. I likely won't be getting to it until next weekend, but that review is upcoming.

Sounds Good, I look forward to giving it a read. Posted Image

#17 of 24 OFFLINE   Corey3rd

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Posted October 31 2008 - 09:32 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Bachmann
Corey3rd wrote (post #12):



Stalag 17 was not an adle-pated, silly sitcom. Humor within drama is one thing; inanity is another. One confronts the evil with irony in the face of helplessness, while the other utterly trivializes it.

Jakob the Liar and Life Is Beautiful plus The Day the Clown Cried

Quit hating on Hogan.

But back to the goodness of tossing in an American Express ad with Karl. The guy was able to get plenty of extra days out of that hat and trenchcoat. It belongs on the set as much as the Flintstones Fruity Peebles ads.

I'm more up to watching this boxset since Paramount shows are no longer on RTN.
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#18 of 24 OFFLINE   jdee28

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Posted October 31 2008 - 01:03 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Thompson
The new set of "Streets" sounds good. I'll put it on my list of Paramount shows to buy after they fix the botch they made of "The Fugitive" season two.

Until then, I'm boycotting CBS/Paramount.


Unfortunately, I think you're going to have a very long wait before they ever fix what they did to The Fugitive Season Two...

#19 of 24 OFFLINE   Rex Bachmann

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Posted October 31 2008 - 02:36 PM

Corey3rd wrote (post #17):



Quote:
Quit hating on Hogan.

Not "hate"; merely an evaluation.



Quote:
. . . the . . . American Express ad with Karl . . . . belongs on the set as much as the Flintstones Fruity Peebles ads.

I'll be sure to keep you in mind the next time I sit down to watch an SoSF-episode along with a bowl of milk and my "Flinstones Fruity Peebles". Posted Image

"Delenda est . . . . "

 


#20 of 24 OFFLINE   Corey3rd

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Posted October 31 2008 - 03:05 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Bachmann
Corey3rd wrote (post #17):
Not "hate"; merely an evaluation.

You're hating on Hogan.

and disrespecting Karl since you have no desire to see his AmEx ads.

Best part of this collection so far is seeing Charles Martin Smith as a roadside rapist/murderer. He could have been a menace to Candy Clark.
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