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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 March, 2004, 09:12 GMT
DVD review: Starsky and Hutch
By William Gallagher
BBC News Online

The first season of the 1970s US TV cop series Starsky and Hutch is released on DVD as a 2004 movie version enjoys box office success.

Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul star in Starsky and Hutch
Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul were the original Starsky and Hutch

Starsky and Hutch: Season 1 is not so much a TV series, more a way to buy five discs of your past: the title sequences alone will take you back years to when this was a huge hit.

David Soul and Paul Michael Glaser are back on the streets in that red Gran Torino and the big surprise is that the series is not half bad.

It is dated and the plots are simple but you get into it and quickly even forget the Ben Stiller/Owen Wilson film version.

The DVD has 23 episodes plus mixed extras including a good Making Of and a very bad one about mistakes in the show and the many "famous" stars in it.

You will struggle to recognise any of them and when you can even see what the mistakes are, you will not care.

The Singing Detective

Along with Edge of Darkness and Boys from the Blackstuff, The Singing Detective was one of the most famous and influential TV dramas of the 1980s - and it was about time it was on DVD.

The Singing Detective
The Singing Detective has become a BBC drama classic

Michael Gambon stars in Dennis Potter's tale of a hospitalised writer conjuring his own tale of a detective case. The two blur into one very moving series.

It is replete with Potter's pet themes of sex, death and music but arguably this is the time when he made it work.

The DVD extras are very good with a ten-minute interview with Potter from the BBC arts show Arena, plus a quite critical Close Up documentary.

But you cannot beat the excerpts from Points of View - the BBC audience feedback programme - with bemused 1980s viewers complaining about the drama.

Cabin Fever

Does it count as a review when you watch it with your eyes closed and fingers in your ears? You can infer that horror film Cabin Fever is scary.

Cabin Fever
Cerina Vincent and Joey Kern feature in Cabin Fever

But it also means to be clever and does not quite pull it off: its story of five friends facing danger in a wood sometimes feels just a bit ordinary.

You get your money's worth in extras, though, with five commentaries.

Each has a different group of cast or crew but director Eli Roth is in all of them.

Then, for the UK only, there is a separate director interview. He goes on a bit. He is also in a quite good Beneath the Skin feature.

Director's Commentary

The ITV comedy series Director's Commentary features Rob Brydon as the washed-up TV director Peter Lane commentating over old TV shows, just as in a DVD director's commentary.

Rob Brydon
Rob Brydon is "both funny and sad"

Now, Brydon has added a further layer to his original idea by releasing a DVD Director's Commentary of his commentary series.

Brydon does not talk all the way through the DVD. He does two ten-minute commentaries and it is surprising how him talking over him talking over footage is not confusing.

The TV series itself is one you have to watch in short bursts; the gags wear thin after too many episodes.

But it was a clever idea and Brydon is excellent at being both funny and sad.

DVD review: The Italian Job
11 Mar 04  |  Entertainment
Review: Starsky and Hutch
15 Mar 04  |  Entertainment
Actor Soul angry over documentary
16 Mar 04  |  Entertainment
Feeling the fear with Brydon
05 Aug 03  |  Wales
Potter film panned by TV producer
12 Nov 03  |  Entertainment


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