A popular occult series that ran for from 1974-5, and had quite a following.

Was it the progenitor of The X-Files?

All 20 episodes, with enough extras to fans busy for week.

Darren McGavin returns for the series after his two TV movies, The Night Stalker and The Night Strangler (available on Blu from Kino), with nary a boring night on his calendar.

It’s nice to see the shows again, but one thing comes to the fore, especially in projection. Budgets were low, and the production did what they could with them.

In projection, and I’m guessing, I’d say that these come from timed IPs. Neither fully original looking, nor void of occasional plugged up dark tones. But for these purposes, just fine.

Current pre-release pricing has the set from Kino at $4/episode.

Still great fun almost half a century later, and fit for Halloween.

Image – 3.75

Audio – 5

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from DVD – Was this ever released domestically?

Recommended

RAH
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Robert Harris

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compson

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Was it the progenitor of The X-Files?
Yes. “[T]here was a show on when I was a kid called ‘Kolchak: The Night Stalker’ and I just loved it. Kolchak was a newspaper reporter who would go out and find vampires and come back and tell everybody, ‘Hey, I found vampires!’ and nobody would believe him. So 25 years go past, and all of a sudden I'm in the business 10 years and somebody finally asks me what I want to do . . . and I say: ‘I want to do something as scary as ‘The Night Stalker’.’”
 

Robert Saccone

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I know this thread is about the series on video but if you like the movies and the show you might want to give the original novel by Jeff Rice originally called The Kolchak Papers and then the novelization he did of The Night Strangler from Richard Matheson’s screenplay a read. Kolchak in the former is a bit gruffer and the story is a bit grittier than the movie. The second novel adds details that weren’t in the movie. I loved both.
 

Denham

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[ ]

It's nice to see the shows again, but one thing comes to the fore, especially in projection. Budgets were low, and the production did what they could with them.

In projection, and I'm guessing, I'd say that these come from timed IPs. Neither fully original looking, nor void of occasional plugged up dark tones. But for these purposes, just fine.


...

Image – 3.75

Audio – 5

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from DVD - Was this ever released domestically?

Recommended

RAH

The prior domestic DVD sets seemed to be repurposing the masters originally created for/used by Columbia House when they issued the series in a set of ten, two episodes-per-tape VHS tapes.
Plugged up shadows are common.

Kino released a newly transferred "next on..." tag a couple months back and the quality was mouth watering to this long time fan. I won't have my set for a couple weeks, but I fully expect this new Bd set to show just how inadequate that DVD set was.
 

JoeDoakes

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It actually only ran for a single season and McGavin was so tired of it that he wanted out of the show before the end of the first season. They never even filmed the final two episodes they had planned.
McGavin was an artist and was frustrated by the network. Even with its limitations, it’s a great series as demonstrated by the love it still inspires. To the extent McGavin was down on the show, he was wrong
 

Robert Saccone

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To get an inside look at the what went on behind the scenes of the movies and the series there’s a great book by Mark Dawidziak called The Night Stalker Companion. He goes into what the original conception of the series was supposed to be and what it actually became and he covers the frustrations McGavin had while doing the series. I do think McGavin had great affection for the character because in the mid to late nineties I read a quote from him where he said he was interested in doing Kolchak movies again. Unfortunately that never happened.
 

Robert Saccone

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I have the original DVD release and they have looked very grainy to me, especially now when viewing on a large screen. For that matter when MeTV shows them on Saturday nights they also seem to have excessive grain. Looking forward to seeing what the Blu-ray’s look like.
 

Capt Cheese Pro

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Robert:

Universal Home Entertainment previously released the complete series of Kolchak: The Night Stalker on DVD twice: on three double-sided discs in 2006 and on five single-sided discs in 2016.
Yep, I have this earlier relese, but I would love to see an upraded version od the series. Because many of the scenes are so dark, much of the detail is easilly lost. I preordered it from Kino...we'll see?!
 

Capt Cheese Pro

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If anything, it's a live-action version of "Jonny Quest," minus the private jet, sidekicks and dog, with the hero battling the monster of the week.
Well their are several connected characters, like the grumpy editor played by the great Simon Oakland, and others that drift in anf out the scenes with the hapless Carl K!!
 

Denham

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It much more like an hour long Mike Hammer. Only this time in color, with monsters, and a hairpiece for McGavin.

A smattering of location footage establishing shots mixed with a lot of Universal backlot and soundstage shooting.
McGavin's similar sardonic voice overs.
Parallel structure to a detective show.
etc.

I was genuinely startled when I finally saw the earlier show just how similar it was to his later Kolchak.
In fact, the way it plays feels far more like Kolchak than Mickey Spillane.
 

Wayne Klein

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A popular occult series that ran for from 1974-5, and had quite a following.

Was it the progenitor of The X-Files?

All 20 episodes, with enough extras to fans busy for week.

Darren McGavin returns for the series after his two TV movies, The Night Stalker and The Night Strangler (available on Blu from Kino), with nary a boring night on his calendar.

It's nice to see the shows again, but one thing comes to the fore, especially in projection. Budgets were low, and the production did what they could with them.

In projection, and I'm guessing, I'd say that these come from timed IPs. Neither fully original looking, nor void of occasional plugged up dark tones. But for these purposes, just fine.

Current pre-release pricing has the set from Kino at $4/episode.

Still great fun almost half a century later, and fit for Halloween.

Image – 3.75

Audio – 5

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from DVD - Was this ever released domestically?

Recommended

RAH
Robert, reportedly they created new 2K masters. The DVDs looked very poor to me at the time. This will definitely be an upgrade.
Robert:

Universal Home Entertainment previously released the complete series of Kolchak: The Night Stalker on DVD twice: on three double-sided discs in 2006 and on five single-sided discs in 2016.
…and they looked pretty awful On the DVDs. Happy that they created new 2K’s for this.
 

Wayne Klein

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It actually only ran for a single season and McGavin was so tired of it that he wanted out of the show before the end of the first season. They never even filmed the final two episodes they had planned.
Yeah he also was ticked off because Universal did not live up to their verbal agreement to make him a producer on the show. He put a lot of behind-the-scenes work into the show including rewriting some episodes himself as I recall. By the end, between that and his fights with Cy Chermak on trying to create quality work, he was exhausted. Add in the death slot of Friday evening and Darren had had it.
 

Robert Saccone

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Having watched a couple of episodes off the new Blu-ray’s the episodes look so much better than the DVD version. Delightful. The commentary Dawidziak did for The Ripper covered the backstory of how the series came to be. He played an audio tape of an interview he did with McGavin when compiling research for his Night Stalker book that was a nice surprise.