'Crime Time TV: Hot Streets & Cool Cops' DVD: 'Miami Vice,' Knight Rider,' and Greatest Crime Stoppers' Oh My
Mill Creek Entertainment fully embraces the spirit of summer reruns with the June 5, 2018 DVD collection "Crime Time TV: Hot Streets & Cool Cops." This set includes the full first seasons of the iconic '80s series "Knight Rider" and "Miami Vice" and a DVD set titled "TV's Greatest Crime Stoppers." The latter consists of episodes of vintage series that range from "treasures from the vault" such as "Man With a Camera" and "Mr. and Mrs. North" to more heavily syndicated fare that includes "Mannix" and "Burke's Law."
The popularity of the scruff look and the proliferation of linen suits with pastel t-shirts alone attest to the phenomenal pop culture impact of "Vice." Further, the copious montages set to the greatest hits of the '80s arguably make this series about two young Turks out to collar pushers and porn kings the first "Cop Rock" series.
An amusing aspect of the feature-length "Vice" pilot is the extent to which the pilot of the "fast and furious" action-adventure series "Fastlane" mirrors it 15 years later. We meet undercover cop Sonny Crockett (Don Johnson) and his then partner actively working to take down a cocaine godfather when an incident occurs that indicates that the partner is due to retire that day.
New Yorker Ricardo Tubbs (Philip Michael Thomas) soon arrives and convinces Crockett and his superiors to let him in on the fun; of course, the extent to which the case is personal to Tubbs and to which he and Crockett are kindred spirits soon comes out. This leads to the unlikely partnership between a tough black survivor of the mean streets of New York and a good ole Southern boy who is a former football star.
The first regular season adventure pits our boys against a porn kingpin who preys on teen girls. Seeing "Modern Family" star Ed O'Neill play this video pioneer in his "Married With Children" era is fun. The "Fastlane" element is the team working with an undercover fed who may be on Team Darkside.
IMDb perfectly captures the spirit of the next episode with the following description. "Crockett and Tubbs must enlist the help of an unreliable petty thief to bust a drug operation run by a trio of bloodthirsty Jamaicans." The comic mayhem regarding the sting operation that leads to all that is an episode highlight.
"Vice" then moves onto a special two-parter that ties back to the pilot; it is business as usual from there.
"Knight Rider" is best known for making "The Hoff" a household name. The pilot finds undercover cop Michael Long (David Hasselhoff) investigating the '80slicioous crime of microchip theft. His case ending with very high prejudice leads to one-percenter Wilton Knight (Richard Basehart) giving Long the titular identity to go along with his new face and new crusade.
This new career involves Knight teaming up with K.I.T.T., which is a car that makes the Batmobile look like a Vega, to fight all of manner of injustice. Sadly, we do not get the evil twins this season.
Cliched early fun has Knight introducing K.I.T.T, to the concept of a vacation only to have the pair face off against a motorcycle gang that is terrorizing a small town; knowing how things will unfold doe not diminish the joy in watching the events.
The awesome nostalgia of "Crime Stoppers" fulfills the DVD purpose of getting to see classic series with limited syndication runs. The strong retro goodness of this collection makes it particular strong.
The first bit of fun of "Code 3" is that it reflects the successful formula of "Dragnet," which also makes the "Stoppers" cut, in that episodes are based on actual crimes. This one has a resentful redneck as the prime suspect regarding the murder of his wealthy father-in-law. The solving of the case provides equal amusement. More fun comes via seeing that the real-life sheriff of Los Angeles County of the day looks and acts like Floyd the barber from "The Andy Griffith Show."
The 1950-52 "Dick Tracy" TV series is notable for reflecting a media trend. This character and his universe begin life as a comic strip and evolve into a radio show before hitting the small screen. That series reflecting radio roots through extensive (but not annoying) exposition reflects a similar pattern regarding films. Early silents have the exaggerated gesturing as live-stage productions, and early "talkies" retain that technique.
"Mr. and Mrs. North" about amateur crime-solvers millionaire publisher Gerald and socialite wife Pam is the child of "The Thin Man" film series and the parent of the '80s "Hart to Hart" television series.
Other "lost" gems include "Sherlock Holmes," "Sea Hunt," and "I'm the Law."
Anyone with any questions about this sampler pack is encouraged either to email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.