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Excellent Series - Poor DVD Release
on 1 May 2010
UPDATE: I notice Amazon has attributed this (and the reviews of many others) to the Region 1 'Shout Factory' release of Kojak Season 2 - please note, my comments aren't in relation to their set. My comments are in relation to the European release via 'Mediumrare Entertainment'. I paid the extra for the Shout Factory release and can confirm that their set is remastered to a very high standard and deserves a 5 outta 5 rating.
The disclaimer at the start of each DVD did, I must admit, give me cause for concern - "Please note that whilst every care has been taken to ensure the quality of the programme, due to the age of the original materials the technical quality of the programme may be slightly impaired in places" Translation, "Due to us being lazy and wanting to maximise profits, we simply couldn't be bothered to spend any money on remastering any of the episodes of this classic series" - sorry, call me cynical but "the age of the original materials" - erm... this season is only 36 years old..! I'd expect to see such a disclaimer on material from the 1930s but not on a show from 1974! Sorry, as a fan of classic television, i.e. Perry Mason; Hawaii Five-0; Mannix and the like, I expect to see better!
Given the history of Kojak on DVD (a 5 year hiatus between the release of series 1 on disc and this season); I'd have expected them to be spending that time on cleaning up the episode prints for this release.
So, a word on the `quality', the episodes are simply washed out - they have the appearance of something you would have taped on VHS back in the days when the show was being re-run. Print wise, the episodes are watchable, but they lack any vibrancy and, in the main, appear washed out. Colours are dull and the images lack any crispness. I mentioned `Perry Mason' earlier and I should point out that season 2 of that particular show was from 1958 and the print transfers of those episodes are superb - as are the other shows I mention and all of which began before Kojak!
I'm not sure if there have been any edits of the episodes themselves, but at an average of 48:30 per show, these episodes are a couple of minutes shorter in length than any of the other programmes from that era for which I'm familiar i.e. 5-0; Perry Mason and Mannix
I believe a review on here should be a balance between the show itself and the actual product. This season of Kojak, i.e. the show itself, merits 5 stars; the DVD release merits only 1.
Not sure why such an excellent series is given such a poor run when it comes to being released on DVD, but I must say, this release has made me appreciate remastering on other classic shows even more.