The Streets of San Francisco: Season 3, Volume 2
Directed by Corey Allen et al
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Running Time: 560 minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 mono English
MSRP: $ 42.99
Release Date: July 3, 2012
Review Date: July 2, 2012
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
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.
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.
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.
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.