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Paramount Home Video presents
The Streets of San Francisco: Season 1 Volume 2 (1973)

"Guy's just about cremated. It's gonna take a while to make an ID."
- Inspector Steve Keller (Michael Douglas)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: January 11, 2008

Stars: Karl Malden, Michael Douglas
Director: various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (adult situations, violence)
Run Time: 11h:15m:00s
Release Date: September 25, 2007
UPC: 097361227641
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B- B-D+C- F

DVD Review

Revisiting extremely old TV series is a task that is usually filled with many happy returns. In the case of The Streets of San Francisco, the joy is mainly in watching a very young Michael Douglas establish himself as an up-and-coming actor who would soon be a force to reckon with. Acting legend Karl Malden plays the elder detective, being the wiser of a duo that won't stop until criminals are behind bars where they belong. Many of today's hour-long crime dramas owe a ton to shows like this, but if you're looking for similar depth when it comes to story writing, you're in the wrong place. Instead, it's fairly simple to predict almost every storyline, and there's a sense of redundancy during each hour, but there will still be legions of old-school fans who will rush to pick up The Streets of San Francisco: Season 1 Volume 2.

Fighting crime on the San Francisco streets is never easy for Lieutenant Mike Stone (Malden) and Inspector Steve Keller (Douglas). The former is a hardened veteran law enforcer, whose style often clashes with that of the younger, more brash Keller. At first, this unlikely pair seemed destined for failure, but this is a couple who proves that good detective work can overcome any and all personality conflicts, especially when there are always criminals to be stopped.

It's a shame when studios decide to split up 20+ episode seasons and release them in "Volumes" but having an old show on DVD in some form is better than it not showing up at all. Fans now get to add the final 13 shows of Season 1 to their collection, as they are spread out over four discs. The first begins with Deathwatch, during which a pair of fishermen come across some illegal alien smugglers, who kill one of them and get the other one to carry out some of their dirty work. In Act of Duty, Keller is dealing with the death of his female police officer girlfriend, whose roommate takes matters of revenge into her own hands. The Set-Up involves a retired hit man who is unknowingly the target of a hit, himself, and A Collection of Eagles has a scheming coin dealer conning a young student into stealing an elderly man's rare gold coin collection.

The first episode on Disc 2 is A Room with a View, which involves another unfortunate woman who gets close to someone who turns out to be an assassin using her for her well-placed apartment. Stone and Keller try to track a famous newspaper writer, whom they suspect of killing his mistress in Deadline, and Trail of the Serpent shows Stone being captured by a street gang called the Cobras, whose leader is behind bars for killing a cop. The last show on this disc is The House on Hyde Street, where our dynamic duo uncovers more than they bargained for while investigating the death of a boy in a messy old house.

Disc 3 gives us Beyond Vengeance, with features the return of an insane man whom Stone captured 12 years ago, and is now after his daughter. The other two episodes on this disc are The Albatross, with a father going after his son's killer, who was freed on a technicality, and Shattered Image, where Stone catches up with a lady from his old neighborhood who is dealing with the recent murder of her husband, a senatorial candidate. The fourth and final disc only has a pair of episodes, with the first being The Unicorn. In this show, a dockworker seeks the help of a priest, after he is caught up in the theft of what was thought to be snake venom, but turned out to be heroin. The season finale, Legion of the Lost, shows us Stone undercover in a poor neighborhood, hoping to find the truth behind the murders of three homeless men.

Again, these shows won't find the rabid fan bases of Lost and The Shield gravitating towards them, but each separate episode is very addicting, once you press play. Plus, it's difficult to top the professional, dedicated performances given by both Malden and Douglas in every installment. So, here's hoping that the uninitiated give this old show a chance, you won't be sorry.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: B-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: All 13 episodes are presented in their original full frame format, but I'm sorry to report that they look their age. Nearly everything about the transfers is drab, from the muted color palette, to the inconsistent shadow and black levels. Unfortunately, we also get a ton of dirt and grain, the presence of which, given the age of the show, isn't exactly a huge surprise.

Image Transfer Grade: D+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglish, Spanishyes

Audio Transfer Review: We also get the original mono audio tracks, which also wear their old age on their sleeve. This is lifeless sound, with everything sounding far too cramped in the few speakers broadcasting the mix, but it's tough to fault things since this is how the show was originally broadcast. Fortunately, the dialogue is always clear and easy to decipher, never becoming overwhelmed by the music cues or other audio elements.

Audio Transfer Grade: C-


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 91 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Other Trailer(s) featuring Mission: Impossible: Season 2
Packaging: Nexpak
Picture Disc
4 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Sadly, there aren't any extra features on any of the four discs.

Extras Grade: F


Final Comments

Fans of the more dynamic, daring screenwriting that's featured on modern TV dramas might not find themselves wrapped up in the by-the-book show The Streets of San Francisco. Still, this series has a huge following, and such fans will be more than happy to enjoy another batch of 13 episodes of their beloved show. Unfortunately, Paramount's four-disc-set offers only decent audio and video presentations, and a total of zero extra features.


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