Starsky and Hutch - Season 4
Review by Lizzie Guilfoyle
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: None stated.
THE dynamic duo is back but sadly for the last time and minus an element of the old panache that made Starsky and Hutch such compelling viewing.
In fact, in many ways, the series became a victim of its own success, with hard-hitting storylines toned down in response to unremitting criticism by the anti-violence lobby.
As a result, Season 3 saw more “socially relevant” and light-hearted stories; while Season 4 resorted to a tongue-in-cheek approach that, at times, bordered on the downright silly. For example, an episode entitled Dandruff which saw the pair masquerading as effeminate hair-dressers, was nothing short of embarrassing.
Here too, Hutch’s appearance seems to have changed somewhat, for not only is he seen sporting a moustache but also a slightly fuller figure (“tubby” was the word one critic used!) and accordingly, his clothes became more casual, looser even. Truth is, David Soul had suffered a back injury while skiing and was forced to wear a back-brace.
Season 4 also saw the introduction of a new character – Starsky’s brother Nick. This came as a direct result of Paul Michael Glaser’s continuing dissatisfaction with a contract that bound him to the series.
The idea was that Starsky would die from gun-shot wounds in the final episode Sweet Revenge and be replaced the following season by Nick. In the event, Starsky recovered but the series was axed due to falling ratings.
All that said, Season 4 still has much to commend it. I particularly enjoyed an episode entitled The Game in which a mistake leads to a bet – that Hutch can successfully elude Starsky for an entire weekend. Trouble is, Hutch has unknowingly eaten contaminated soup and could, if not found in time, die from botulism poisoning…..
This was, in fact, the re-working of an episode entitled Bet Me a Dollar from Season 1 of the popular 1960’s spy series, I Spy.
And as always, there’s a smattering of familiar faces – before, that is, they were famous. So, watch out for Adrian Zmed (remember TJ Hooker?), Kim Cattrall (need I say more) and model Maud Adams who, in 1983, went on to star as the eponymous Octopussy opposite Roger Moore’s James Bond.
Season 4 is then, a must for die-hard fans. For the rest, it’s probably not for you, although it is just possible you might be pleasantly surprised….
Footnote: It’s been reported that both Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul have expressed interest in updating the series. According to Soul “It would be 30 years on and they’re not cops any more – just a pair of gumshoes who have gone their separate ways”. Indeed, only time will tell….