`Starsky & Hutch': a ride-along down memory lane

New on DVD

Movies: on screen, DVD/ Video

March 11, 2004|By Kevin D. Thompson | Kevin D. Thompson,COX NEWS SERVICE

Television has seen its share of cop shows over the years - everything from "just the facts, ma'am" Dragnet to the gritty realism of NYPD Blue and Law & Order.

But one of television's most memorable police dramas was Starsky & Hutch, a cheeky, fast-paced shoot-'em-up in which two plainclothes cops cracked wise while pursuing ornery dope pushers, big-time hoodlums, jive-time snitches and crazed serial killers.

As high-strung Starsky and super-cool Hutch, Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul boasted an earnest chemistry that resonated immediately with audiences when the show debuted in 1975.

And so will the Starsky & Hutch - The Complete First Season DVD collection.

The five-disc, 23-episode set is a wonderful jaunt down memory lane to a time before cop shows became too bogged down with high-tech evidence, thorny office politics, questionable moral issues and quirky camera angles.

Starsky & Hutch never had those concerns. It was a simple show about two good-looking cops who carried big guns, drove a souped-up Ford Gran Torino and chased bad guys in what always seemed like a garbage-strewn alley.

The Complete First Season includes such memorable episodes as the one in which Hutch is hooked on heroin by a jealous mobster.

If you love the '70s, you'll howl at the psychedelic fashions (check out those airstrip-sized butterfly collars) and characters' use of outdated terms like "bread," "smack" and "cat."

The set also features the show's original TV promos, fresh interviews with Soul and Glaser, a short on the new movie and three featurettes, including "Behind the Badge," an informative behind-the-scenes look at the making of Starsky & Hutch.

In "Behind the Badge," Soul talks about how he really wanted to play Starsky because Hutch was described as "boring" and "white-bread." Series creator William Blinn also reveals he originally wanted Starsky to drive a green-and-white Camaro because it was the car he used to drive.

Unfortunately for Blinn, the studio's deal was with Ford, not Chevrolet.

This entertaining set is a must for all die-hard Starsky & Hutch fans, as well the countless new ones who will no doubt emerge after seeing Ben Stiller's and Owen Wilson's spoof.

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