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Starsky and Hutch DVD Reviews

Starsky and Hutch Season 3 DVD Boxed Set. US release date: March 15, 2005

Starsky & Hutch: The Complete Third Season

From Yahoo Movies February 23, 2005 - Mike Restaino,

What Starsky & Hutch does well in its third season is establish the notion that men can be "more than friends." Yes, jump to the homosexual side of the fence if you want to - Lord knows there are endless scenes of Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul dancing together and walking around wearing only towels that would corroborate that kind of analysis - but the season three installments of this ground- breaking buddy cop show prove that the bonds between straight men can be more than what conservative society allows.

Devoid of any kind of sexual connotation, these guys are married in what they do. Sure, they'll make out with sexy models or gymnastic teams if the opportunity presents itself, but at the end of the day, their devotion is to each other and to each other's mutual benefit.

It's fascinating, considering that the me-decade was just around the corner and the "love your brother" sentiments of the late 60s were fading away. In many ways, Starsky & Hutch was the last bastion of proactive male-love that existed on television before the 1980s reared its status quo head.

With storylines and perils that rival the best of them - remember, grisly violence-monger Michael Mann penned some scripts for this show - our two protagonists use their wits and their wiles both to solve crimes and to address more serious issues. Unlike the Duke boys who just talked about tomfoolery, girls, and cars, or the Angels who basically just talked business, Starsky and his partner talk about stuff. There are episodes here that deal with child abuse, murder, and high-stakes treason, but the common banter between the boys grounds everything in a very relatable, empathetic center.

Starsky & Hutch, for lack of a better description, showcases a lovingly positive male interaction.

And the reason this third season is more imperative and consistently entertaining than its two DVD box set predecessors is that by this point in its run, it knew what it was doing and was able to address all the plot points, car chases, and sassy dialogue it needed to in order to succeed with an audience while maintaining its surprisingly loving relationship at its core.

It's all about love.

The Video: How Does The Disc Look? Presented in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio, these episodes of Starsky & Hutch look pretty aged, but it's not too bad of a presentation. Color contrast is treated nicely, with excellent attention to hue and saturation, and black levels are at the very least consistent. But line quality is muddy and more than a little blurred, and there's quite a bit of strobing and inconsistency in the transfer here. Not great, but passable.

The Audio: How Does The Disc Sound? The monaural track showcases the limitations of the show's dynamic range, even if it preserves the show as it originally sounded. Dialogue and effects are, of course, quite tinny and truncated, and while the frequent explosions and loud car chases are fun, their sonic representation on this mix is crackles with age. A stereo or 5.1 upgrade would have been nice - it would have offered the show some much-needed room - but this is what we get. Again, standard at best. Also included are English closed captions.

Supplements: What Goodies Are There? All we get here are some previews for: Seinfeld, "TV Comedy Favorites", "TV Action", Boogeyman, Lightning in a Bottle, Spanglish, Hitch, and a Godzilla Compilation.

Exclusive DVD-ROM Features: What happens when you pop the disc into your PC? There are no DVD-ROM features on this DVD.

Final Thoughts

A solidly-made show, this Starsky & Hutch season is one of the best of the series' run, but this DVD box set leaves a bit to be desired. The copious extra features that accompanied the show's first-season edition aren't available here, and audio and video here are simply not up to snuff. For $50, it's a bit steep, but if you have both previous seasons already, this one's going to have to be on your shelf, as well.

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