Saturday, February 13, 2010

Blog DVD Review: Hunter - The Complete First Season

Welcome to our weekly Saturday Blog DVD Review and it's our first one of 2010. Today we take a look at Mill Creek's Hunter - The Complete First Season. I know this series came out on DVD from Anchor Bay, but now Mill Creek is re-releasing the series. Hunter was a cop show starring Fred Dryer as "Sgt. Rick Hunter" and Stepfanie Kramer as "Sgt. Dee Dee McCall," which ran on NBC from 1984 to 1991. They were at the LAPD and the show comes from Stephen J. Cannell. See skees53's Blog DVD Review of Hunter - The Complete First Season:

Hunter - The Complete First Season (Mill Creek, $14.99) brings all 19 episodes of the hit action detective series from the 80s to DVD...again. The series stars Fred Dryer as LAPD detective Rick Hunter, a renegade cop who is always willing to break the rules and use unorthodox methods to bust the bad guys. He comes from a family connected to the mob, but that doesn't stop him from doing his job at all. His partner, Dee Dee McCall (Stepfanie Kramer) is somewhat more level headed, though she still makes the perfect match for Hunter both on the beat and (seemingly) romantically. The series premiered in 1984 on NBC and struggled to make it through just one season, but eventually became a hit for NBC and continued for a total of seven seasons. This is the second time that the first season has been released on DVD; it was previously released by Anchor Bay, and now, Mill Creek Entertainment is releasing it again as a value priced selection.

The first season of the series is perhaps one of the darker and grittier seasons of the series, with tons of violence and the characters never being afraid to kill a suspect if they felt a need to do so. The first season also used a lot of music, similar to the series Miami Vice (which it initially was paired with on the NBC lineup). Unfortunately, the music is missing in this set, and as far as I can tell, it seems that all of the original music within the episodes has been replaced. This is sadly a common practice among series produced by Stephen J. Cannell Productions released on DVD, and there isn't really anything that any fan can do about it, it seems. The news about the music replacements gets worse, though. The choices for the music replacement in the scenes are awful, including one episode where there is a song that sounds identical to a hit song by the musician Aaliyah and another episode where there is a song that sounds like something on a modern country music radio station. These songs (and others in the DVD set) are not really fitting for a series that takes place in the 80s.

The series begins with the double length "Pilot," where Joanna Kerns plays a psychiatrist who is evaluating another psychiatrist (played by Brian Dennehy), but the relationship may be on the verge of turning lethal unless Hunter and McCall prevent it. In "The Hot Grounder," the police commissioner's wife is killed and the chief is the prime suspect--but Hunter is determined to clear the chief by any means possible. Hunter and McCall have to deal with a corrupt small town sheriff in "A Long Way From L.A." Hunter spends some time behind bars and is a murder suspect when a suspect that he had contempt for ends up being shot with his gun in "Pen Pals." Hunter and McCall deal with a bounty hunter who is taking things way too far with his catches in "Dead or Alive."
Ed O'Neill plays a parole officer who really has gone crazy and may even be a murderer in "The Garbage Man." A cocaine dealer is being extradited from New York City in the two-part episode "The Snow Queen," but somehow escapes along the way. Sometimes the drug dealers are the victims, as seen in "The Beach Boy," where suppliers are retaliating against drug dealers refusing to deal with them. Hunter and McCall (as usual) violate their orders to investigate some muggings and investigate a homicide on their own in "Guilty." Hunter and McCall investigate a series of murders with a pattern in "The Last Kill." In "Fire Man," a TV news crew just keeps getting in the way of an investigation by Hunter and McCall.

The menus are very basic, but also nicely done, with the theme song playing on the main menu and options of Play All and Episode Select. The main menu has the same snapshot of Hunter as seen on the cover, but with a different background. When you go to Episode Select, it takes you to a menu that lists all of the episodes, where the theme song continues to play. There are no scene selection menus, but chapters are placed appropriately throughout each episode.

The set comes in the same type of packaging as many other series from Mill Creek, and that isn't a good thing. Basically, it has a double thick keep-case with four black paper sleeves inside. Paper sleeves have to be about the worst way ever to package a DVD set, and I have no clue why they insist upon doing this. The cover art has a shot of Hunter with the Los Angeles skyline in his background, and the back of the case has several snapshots from the episodes as well as basic series information. The disc artwork is the same on each disc, with a photo of Hunter and McCall. Each disc has the episode titles contained on the disc printed on the disc. There are no other episode lists contained within the set. Disc 1 contains four episodes (including the double length pilot), while each of the other discs contain five episodes.

Even though all of the music within the episodes has been replaced, it appears that other than that, the episodes are largely unedited, although one episode (part 1 of "Snow Queen") seems suspicious, running at 44:10. Runtimes are as follows:

Disc 1:
1. "Pilot" (95:46)
2. "Hard Contact" (48:32)
3. "The Hot Grounder" (48:03)
4. "A Long Way From L.A." (46:57)

Disc 2:
5. "Legacy" (45:42)
6. "Flight on a Dead Pigeon" (47:07)
7. "Pen Pals" (49:54)
8. "Dead or Alive" (47:42)
9. "High Bleacher Man" (46:10)

Disc 3:
10. "The Shooter" (46:44)
11. "The Garbage Man" (48:04)
12. "The Avenging Angel" (48:18)
13. "The Snow Queen, Part 1" (44:10)
14. "The Snow Queen, Part 2" (47:56)

Disc 4:
15. "The Beach Boy" (46:38)
16. "Guilty" (47:20)
17. "The Last Kill" (48:14)
18. "Fire Man" (48:50)
19. "Sniper" (48:24)

There are no special features on the set, and honestly, at $14.99, I wouldn't really expect to see any.

Despite the problems with this set, it isn't a bad deal at all for the entertainment that you get from the series. I wouldn't pay $40 or $50 for a set with as many problems as this one, but the price on this one is appropriate for what you are getting--mostly complete episodes with all of the music in the episodes replaced. It really would be nice to see something besides the paper sleeves used for the packaging next time, though. If you can't wait to see the second season, you don't even have to wait. As I recently discovered, Target is already selling the second season in a double pack with the first season at their stores nationwide, at the same price as one season. So there are definitely good deals to be found for this show on DVD, and the only thing that may stop some fans is the extensive music replacement. I honestly think that the series is enjoyable enough that many people can get past it, especially at the value of the set.

-- Reviewed by skees53
(3/5 stars)

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Related links: Full DVD Reviews Page
Hunter Page

Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, March 20

The Middle - "Hecks vs. Glossners: The Final Battle" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
It’s the Orson showdown of the century when the Hecks – along with the Donahues and Bill Norwood – wage a war against the Glossners after they steal Sue’s car.

Fresh Off the Boat - "King in the North" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Honey plans a relaxing vacation before the baby comes, but Jessica turns the trip into a crazy quest to get Stephen King’s endorsement for her novel. When Grandma Huang decides to move out, Louis panics and does everything he can to make sure she knows how welcome she is. Meanwhile, Eddie, Nicole and their friends plan to wear matching suits to the school dance until a dress code demands that the girls must wear dresses, leading Eddie and Nicole to rebel.

black-ish - "Things Were Different Then" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Dre reluctantly helps Junior plan Pops’ 65th birthday party and starts to see his dad’s past in a new light. Meanwhile, Bow decides to say “yes” to everything for a whole year and Jack & Diane take advantage of her.

Modern Family - "The Long Goodbye" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Phil and Claire realize that Alex may be more self-sufficient in college than they give her credit for when they drop in for a quick visit. Meanwhile, Manny is determined to avoid a long tearful goodbye after Gloria and Jay move him into his college dorm. Finally, Mitch may have accidentally accelerated a planned renovation, and Hayley gets an unexpected opportunity when she befriends a wealthy female member at the country club.

LA to Vegas - "Overbooked" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
The crew is forced to figure out how to get the passengers to give up their seats when the flight is overbooked; Nichole makes good money selling snacks while the flight is kept on hold; Artem has an argument with an surprise seatmate.

The Mick - "The Car" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Jimmy and Mickey mistakenly lock Ben inside an old car Jimmy purchased at a police auction; Alba discovers that Chip has been assuming the identity of Sabrina's online crush in secret, but Alba decides to actively encourage his actions.

Baskets - "Basque-ets" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Chip laments becoming a fake Christmas tree person.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of March 19)

Tuesday, March 20

  • Bob Saget (Fuller House/How I Met Your Mother/Surviving Suburbia/Full House) - Catch Bob on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley) - Thomas appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Laura Benanti (The Detour/Go On/Starved) - Laura is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth) - Will stops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Drew Barrymore (Santa Clarita Diet) - Drew visits Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah at 11pm. She also talks about Santa Clarita Diet on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am and in the 10am hour with Liv Hewson and Skyler Gisondo.
  • Bryton James (Family Matters) - Bryton and the cast of The Young and the Restless are guests on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Patti Labelle (Out All Night) - Patti drops by LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Jay Pharoah (White Famous) - Jay appears on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Carly Chaikin (Subrgatory) - Carly is a guest on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Tisha Campbell-Martin (Dr. Ken/Rita Rocks/My Wife and Kids/Martin) - Tisha visits The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine/Are We There Yet?/Everybody Hates Chris) - Terry stops by Steve, so check your local listings.
  • Sam Lerner (The Goldbergs) - Sam visits Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • John Corbett (Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll/United States of Tara/Sex and the City) - John talks about his movie God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Adam DeVine (Workaholics/Modern Family) - Adam talks about Game Over, Man on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Nia Long (Uncle Buck/The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) - Nia talks about Roxanne Roxanne on the BUILD Series at 10am.
  • The Cast of You Me Her - Greg Pohler, Rachel Blanchard and Priscilla Faia are guests on the BUILD Series at 12:30pm.