Once again, our friends out at CBS Video have dropped a slice of retro television on us with The Streets of San Francisco Season 4 Volume 1, a series that brings familiar faces into a whole new environment, like you’ve likely never seen them before.
The Streets of San Francisco is both where the series takes place and what the series itself is about. The series follows a street cop in San Francisco who, recently, got something of a promotion to a detective’s rank in the homicide division of San Francisco’s police department. The older, hard-bitten detective finds himself saddled with a partner he’d rather not have: a sharp young up-and-comer who’s out to make a name for himself. The two mismatched partners find themselves neck deep in the crime scene in San Francisco, chasing drug kingpins, random maniacs, and even problems within the department itself.
Now, if all this sounds a little bit familiar to you, even a little on the cliched side, it’s because it is. This is the kind of thing that crime dramas have been doing for decades. Mismatched partners get together to solve crimes. It’s been done to death, it’s been parodied to death, and even pointing out how cliche it all is has been done to death. But what needs to be front of mind on this particular point is that “The Streets of San Francisco”, which comes our way from the depths of 1975–that means it got started back in 1971–was one of the first such series to use this now-familiar formula. That’s right, folks, you’re looking at cutting edge television in 1975. Amazing, isn’t it?
Yes, that’s a very young Michael Douglass, and a not so young Karl Malden in there, and the two actually play very well together. And yes, that is a very young Mark Hamill involved in this, making things even more of a mind trip than they were walking in. They won’t be alone, either; there are plenty of special guest stars to be had here. Still, the overall setup is a pretty exciting one, especially for a show that was shot very nearly 40 years ago. Once again, the video and audio has been stepped up to make it look extra sharp on DVD.
The end result is a wide and varied piece of prime crime drama that has a surprising impact, even nearly half a century after it was shot. The Streets of San Francisco Season 4 Volume 1 is a great entry into the series, and should be well received by anyone who likes a good mystery.