Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Car Keys and clutch

Starsky And Hutch - First Season (5 discs) on DVD (1976)

Starring: David Soul, Paul Michael Glaser, Antonio Fargas
I have not been disappointed by this box set, but I'll get the negative out of the way first. some of the sets look a bit cardboardy, and with a single fixed camera you think you're watching a (bad) play being performed on stage. Even the on location shots have cheap looking cutaways filmed in the studio, and this viewer at least becomes very distracted every time this happens. The characters often dip into stereotype territory proving all too easy to lampoon these days. The stories all too often involve someone personal to Starsky and Hutch - a girlfriend murdered, Dobie threatened, S&H the targets on more than one occasion. You get the feeling that if S&H were to retire, crime in LA would drop dramatically.

But on the positive side - the stories are grittier than I expected - especially the episode that was never shown on British TV. The central characters are engaging, well-rounded, funny, intelligent, good-looking, sophisticated, cool, lovable, yet tough. A bit too tough at times - when they take on three mobsters using only their fists - or when at the end of every show they run around dodging every bullet only to take out the crims with a single well-aimed shot.

S&H all too often act as judge and jury based on their own prejudices - the aged couple who fill their car with dynamite and are let off scott free for what amounts to planning a major act of terrorism - the drug mule who gets an easy ride from S&H just becasue she's sexy and middle class - and then there are the bad guys - usually with a moustache - sleazy looking, ill fitting suit, Italian, sweaty, fat. Some crop up regularly but are never booked because of their useflness to S&H.

And how does Huggy Bear get away with it? somehow he has no problem running a bar in downtown LA full of criminal degenerates, with a sideline of relaying the word on the street to S&H, sometimes even acting as their caterer, or PA. And yet despite the openness of his friendship with the two extremely well-known cops - he stays in business. Seems unlikely to me.

Still, it's enjoyable escapist nonsense, and I still wish S&H were my buddles.