18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Interesting In Places, If Also A Little Stale In Places, Too,
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This review is from: Columbo, Season 10, Volume 1 [DVD]  (DVD)
I don't actually believe Columbo was being filmed as a series by this point in time, more as an odd tv special from time to time, and this DVD covers the three year period 1990-93. However, unfortunately generally the results are rather mixed much of the time.
Maybe the format by this period was beginning to feel really tired, i'm not sure, because a number of these stories, despite being mildly entertaining, are simply not very inspiring, even despite there being on occasions a departure from the familiar Columbo formula. Possibly the best of the batch is 'Caution: Murder Can Be Hazardous To Your Health' starring George Hamilton, which does carry many of the familiar plot devices most effectively, and where the sparring between the murderer and Columbo does display a degree of flair and intensity - Falk and Hamilton do manage to engage the audience fairly well. 'Butterfly In Shades Of Grey' is also an entertaining episode, even if the motive for the murder doesn't seem especially substantial. William Shatner isn't amongst the finest actors when it comes to portraying subtelty, but he does manage to be entertaining and fun in his role as a murderer.
However, there is one episode that really doesn't work well at all, and coincidentally it's the story that possesses the biggest plot departures. 'No Time To Die', predominantly a story about a kidnapping, pretty much falls flat on its face. 'It's All In The Game' seems rather quirky, especially in the way that Columbo is portrayed romancing his suspect (Faye Dunaway) - but ultimately this story is extremely hard to swallow, especially bearing in mind Falk's previous portrayal of Columbo - the notion of romancing your main suspect seems pretty far fetched, even if the purpose ultimately is to entrap them. However, this story proved popular enough to win an emmy, and there is an undoubted chemistry between Peter Falk and Faye Dunaway. Peter Falk also wrote this story and it does contain a certain ingenuity, but it also suffers from appearing rather self indulgent.
This volume of Columbo is undoubtedly fairly entertaining especially on a first viewing, but ultimately many of these shows aren't of the calibre of the show in its prime during the seventies - they ultimately lack the sharpness of the old series, in addition to a meticulous attention to detail - my rating therefore reflects this.