Review: Lizzie Guilfoyle
EPISODE GUIDE: Episode titles: Starsky & Hutch on Playboy
Island Part One, Starsky & Hutch on Playboy Island Part Two,
Fatal Charm, I Love You Rosey Malone, Murder Ward, Death in a
Different Place, The Crying Child, The Heroes, The Plague Part
One, The Plague Part Two, The Collector, Manchild on the Streets,
The Action, The Heavyweight, A Body Worth Guarding, The Trap,
Satan's Witches, Class in Crime, Hutchinson: Murder One, Foxy
Lady, Partners, Quadromania, Deckwatch.
FOLLOWING the success of Seasons One and Two, Starsky
and Hutch makes a welcome return to DVD and this time,
it's the real McCoy, not some well-meaning imitation.
I'm referring, of course, to the original and hugely popular
TV series that starred Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul; not
last year's big screen version that saw Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson
in the key roles.
Here, we have a series of hard-hitting storylines that tackle
emotive subjects such as drugs dealing (Fatal Charm),
homosexuality (Death in a Different Place), child abuse
and domestic violence (The Crying Child), Loan Sharks
(The Collector) and illegal gambling (The
Action) - subjects that, in the 1970's when Starsky and Hutch
first aired, were largely taboo. Sadly, they are as pertinent
today, as they were three decades ago.
There are, of course, lighter moments too, as in Partners,
when an accident - the result of Starsky's reckless driving -
lands the pair in hospital. To teach Starsky a lesson, Hutch feigns
amnesia, leaving the unsuspecting Starsky to revive his memory
with tales of past exploits.
Consequently, it's an episode of flashbacks that some might argue,
is an easy option in terms of storyline and filming and as a result,
might well feel cheated. However, quite apart from offering light
relief, it reaffirms the camaraderie that exists between the pair,
as well as highlighting Glaser and Soul's amazing on-screen chemistry.
It puts them on a par with those
other celluloid heroes, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid which,
and I mean no disrespect, is more than can be said for Stiller
And both have their share of romance, thereby laying to rest
the niggling question of their sexuality. For Starsky, it comes
in I Love You, Rosey Malone, while for Hutch, it's
A Body Worth Guarding - the body in question, being that
of a beautiful Russian ballerina.
Yet in true 70's style and, no doubt, to appease the show's legions
of adoring female fans, the outcomes aren't happy ones. Even the
appearance of Hutch's wife (played incidentally by Veronica Hamel
of Hill Street Blues fame) is short-lived.
Helping matters along, are the show's two other stalwarts - the
literally, larger-than-life Captain Dobey (actor Bernie Hamilton)
and the irrepressible Huggy Bear (Antonio Fargas who recently
appeared in I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here). Their
inclusion is a bonus in an age of political correctness and will
do much to silence critics of racial discrimination.
Starsky and Hutch also served as a vehicle for struggling actors
and Season Three is no exception. Watch out for Danny De Vito,
Melanie Griffith, Joan Collins and Philip Michael Thomas (Miami
Vice's Tubbs) who appeared in an episode (Quadromania)
that was banned from daytime TV by Channel Five.
As well as appearing in front of the camera, Glaser built on
his directorial debut of Season Two, with two of this season's
episodes - Class in Crime, an episode also noted for
the absence of Huggy Bear, and Deckwatch. Consequently,
Hutch has the more prominent role in both.
On the negative side, however, you might justifiably argue that
Starsky and Hutch is dated - the flares and big hair, for example,
although thankfully, by Season Three, that cardigan had
Nevertheless, it would do well to remember that today's fashion
statement is tomorrow's fashion disaster; that in three decades
time, CSI and ER might well suffer the same
fate. Yet would that make them any less enjoyable? I don't think
So, for die-hard fans of the original, this DVD is a must. For
the rest, it will certainly entertain though not necessarily,
for the right reasons.