Retro television is the order of the day as our friends out at CBS Video sent over a copy of Perry Mason Season 8 Volume 1 for us to review, and if you want to see one of the great progenitors of courtroom drama out there, then you’ll get everything you could ask for right here.
Perry Mason Season 8 Volume 1 follows one of the greatest lawyers of all time, Perry Mason, as he defends a series of, well, defendants as they come through his courtroom. He’ll take on a wide array of cases, aided and abetted by his faithful crew: a private detective, a police lieutenant, and his trusted secretary. And while Perry Mason is commonly seen as the type for whom justice never escapes his grasp, there’s always a first time for everything, and Mason may well find himself on the losing end of things.
Before this, I had never seen the original “Perry Mason”, only the later-released television movies featuring a much older Raymond Burr, so while parts of it were recognizable, much of it simply was not. This was unexpected, and surprisingly welcome as the courtroom drama proved mostly taut and well-done. It’s not every day that a DVD–especially a collection of old television episodes–can surprise me, and managing to pull that off is the kind of thing that raises my eyebrows. CBS Video has offered a lot of interesting titles in the retro market lately, and the addition of the latest installment of Perry Mason is one more brick in a solid wall of quality releasing.
Of course, it’s not all impressive legal drama here. Some of it is so ridiculously overblown as to extend into the realm of the comic and takes melodrama to a level that I thought had been topped out by Tyler Perry plays. Sometimes this can just get preposterously bad. Moreover, there are some issues of pacing here; sometimes “Perry Mason” feels almost painfully slow and can get downright boring in a few parts. Thankfully, these issues are comparatively much smaller than the whole, and for the most part, Perry Mason Season 8 Volume 1 will watch very nicely and move forward at a reasonable pace.
Perry Mason Season 8 Volume 1 isn’t without its problems, but by and large these problems pale in comparison to good solid drama and a terrific dose of retro television. Those into crime dramas should be especially pleased, but for the most part, Perry Mason will get his man, woman, or any combination of the preceding nicely.