Well, here I am at the finish line, but I haven't quite crossed it yet. I have not watched the two part series finale. I'm waiting to watch that this evening and then dive into the special features disc. However, eventhough I have not quite finished the series I wanted to come here and post my thoughts, observations and reactions to this show. Having seen only a few episodes on Me-TV (mostly from season three as it turned out), I pretty much knew what to expect from the entire series. Well, I'm happy to report that I was more than pleasantly surprised by this show. This series is probably the most exciting series that I've watched in a very, very long time. More often than not, the show did have me on the edge of my seat. I also, at times, found myself shouting to the screen for Kimble to stop meandering and get the #*&% out of where ever he happened to be at the time when the police or Gerard showed up. For me, that shows how much I was into the show. If I'm talking to the TV then I'm hooked.
The show was also pretty consistent with the writing. Most episodes were solid, well constructed plots. There were a few episodes where I didn't see certain aspects or revelations coming. Like the revelation in the episode, Middle of a Heat Wave. I really didn't see the ending coming.
Now some folks here claim that you don't have to watch the series in order. Well, there are a couple of instances where that stand could be challenged. While I will agreee that most of the time the internal continuity of the series is fairly small and you can certainly watch most episodes in any order, there are a few times that you should view certain episodes in order as they were broadcast.
The first part of season one, I feel should be viewed in order. I noticed that when Kimble first describes what happened the night Helen was murderd, he simply says that they had an argument and he left the house. When he returned he found her dead. A couple of episdes or so later Kimble then tells the story of Helen's mischarage and hysterectomy and the subsequent arguments they had over adopting children and Helen's drinking. Finally, it is revealed a few episodes later that this was in fact, the same argument they were having the night Helen was killed. I'm not sure that this was just the writers fleshing out the backstory more or if this was intentional to maintain some kind of story continuity. Either way, the story is layed out for the viewers in a particular way. Until finally, the whole thing is revealed to us in the episode The Girl From Little Egypt. It plays out like Kimble is revealing more about himself to us as we get to know him.
The other instance where you should view things in a particular order is in season 4 where the $10,000 reward is first presented. The reward is presented and from that moment on it hangs like a dark cloud over the entire action of season 4. The reward is either directly mentioned or is referenced when that newpaper clipping with Kimble's picture is shown. If you don't see the episode where the reward is first introduced, then you would wonder where the reward came from. Especially after seasons 1-3 have stated time and again that there is no reward for Kimble's capture.
As I stated earlier, the show was quite exciting viewing. Most of the time the episodes were quite solid. There were very few clunkers throughout seasons 1-3. I did notice that season 4 is slightly weaker than the previous seasons. While there are still top notch episodes in season 4, there were more clunkers than before. However, when the episodes focused on the main story, Kimble and the one armed man or Gerard, they were usually very, very good episodes. The Ivy Maze is among the best of the entire series. Also, I was not all that thrilled with the show going to color. I don't feel that the show benefited all that much from the color. I was so used to it in black and white that it was a bit jarring to suddenly have color. Also, like the first year of Dark Shadows, the show lost some of its atmosphere when it went to color. It's almost like it isn't the same show anymore. Typical of all 60's shows that went to color, set designers and costumers went out of their way to dress sets and actors in loud colors. Sometimes to the point of distraction. The Fugitive didn't do this often, but there are a few of the early color episodes where this trend does show up.
Another aspect of season 4 that didn't sit well with me was the number of episodes that had oportunists all too willing to try and use Kimble for their own rotten means. The whole, either you do this or I will turn you in mentality. Sure, these type of characters were peppered throughout the first 3 seasons, but they were few and far between. In season 4, however, they seemed to come out of the wood work all too frequently. It got to be rather annoying after a while. A clear indication that the writers were running out of ideas.
Some of my favorite episodes from the entire series are, Nightmare at Northoak, Escape into Black, Angles Travel on Lonley Roads, The Iron Maiden, Landscape with Running Figures, Trial by Fire, Wife Killer, Running Scared, Ill Wind, The 2130, A Clean and Quiet Town, The Ivy Maze, Second Sight, Nobody Loses All the Time, The Evil Men Do, The Breaking of the Habit, and Dossier on a Diplomat. I'm sure the series finale will rank among that list too, but I haven't watched it yet.
Speaking of The Judgement, eventhough I have not watched it yet, I do feel that the series needed to have closure. Ending the series without Kimble getting vindicated would have been totally unfair. Especially after the way that seasom 4 was clearly building upto that conclusion. Could the show have gone on to do another season? I doubt it. Season 4 was not the strongest season and a 5th season might have just seen the show decline drastically. I'm glad they ended it when they did.
Some have mentioned that they would have liked to see some sort of longer resolution or what happened after Kimble returned to a normal life. How many of the people Kimble helped along the way would have paid him a visit one he was totally free? I'm sure that there would have been a few, but a few of them probably didn't live to see Kimble vindicated. Sadly we know Kimble's father didn't live to see his son a free man. I seriously doubt Sister Vernoica lived to see Kimble free nor did Ambassador Unawa. Barbara Wells certainly would have shown up to take up where she and Kimble left off. I'm sure that reporter Barbara Webb would have stopped by for an interview. Margaret Ruskin undoubtedly would have paid him a visit. As for some of the others, in fact most, probably wouldn't have given Kimble a second thought after he left their lives. I'm also sure that Kimble might have tracked down a few people himself, but as there were so many and so many places he wouldn't have sought them all out. I'm sure that there were a few that he would just as soon forget he ever met.
All in all, this series is firmly on my list of all time great shows to ever grace TV. In about a year I'm sure I will pull this down off the shelf and rewatch it. This has been a really fun and exciting show to have experienced for the first time. I have been curious about the show since the Harrison Ford film, but I didn't know where on TV I could catch it. Then when the series was coming to DVD, I thought about getting it. However the whole sale slaughter of the music turned me off. I wrote the series off at that point. Then, after seeing a few episodes on Me-TV (even with the bastardization of the soundtrack) I really like the show. I'm really, really glad that I waited to get this set. I totally understand now what eveyone has been talking about all these years. What a thrilling show. Now one of my very favorites.