I watched all or most of the cop and private eye shows in the 70's, including
this one. However, it was not my favorite. That's because I was a young teen, so
I preferred the shows with cute guys like Mod Squad, Starsky & Hutch, Streets of
San Francisco, Mannix et al. I never really liked bald guys, so Telly did
not turn me on. Also, it is a very gritty and realistic cop show, so that would
not have appealed to me back then.
Now, however, I can enjoy it and see that it's a very good show. With a lot of
TV from back then, I have trouble watching it because either it's very slow or
it's just so dated that it's laughable. Kojak still holds up very well, and the
shows move along at a nice pace. The stories are actually quite complex, which
was not that common in TV dramas until fairly recently.
This particular set is not the Kojak series, however. It starts with the
original pilot, but then the other movies are all from the 80's and 90's, long
after the Kojak show went off the air, so they are more modern, for the most
part. The original pilot, based on a true story, takes place in 1973, but
it has a very 60's feel to it. All of the cops are white and male. When two
young women are stabbed to death, it is seen as very shocking. They get a lot of
cops from all over the city to investigate (as they did in the real story), and
they arrest the first black guy they can find (and of course he's innocent).
It's up to Kojak to figure out that they have the wrong guy, since they beat a
confession out of him, among other things. The thing is, this is not a
feel-good show, so the ending is not always so happy and nice like many shows
then and now. You may not like how things turn out.
There are many other things I found fun about watching this set. For one
thing, the technology changes drastically over time, so you see it first, in the
70's with virtually no technology (not to mention, no ACLU or CSI), to early
computers, and then beepers, and eventually more modern computers. One of the
episodes has a woman and her father communicating with a "bulletin board" but it
really looks more like something out of the movie "Wargames". Even the
later movies, though, take place before cell phones. The movies look more
modern, but the last one is from 1990, which is over 20 years ago (I know, it
feels like yesterday to some of us...).
Another fun thing about watching the show is seeing all of the great actors from
past and present. You get to see Ned Beatty and Jose Ferrer in the original
pilot (and probably other faces you'll recognize). Of course, Kevin Dobson
was in the actual show, but he only appears in the last movie for some reason
(too busy doing Knots Landing, maybe?). Instead, Kojak gets Andre Braugher
as a sidekick for a while. It's great to see him and others looking so young and
skinny. Suzanne Pleschette is in one of the episodes, along with Max Von
Syndow. We also see a Angie Dickenson, Rip Torn, Amanda Plummer, Darren
McGavin, Jerry Orbach, and a very young James Remar as a killer in one movie,
and a very young Steven Weber as a cop in another. I loved spotting actors in
these. The last movie has three different soap opera actors I recognize.
There are 8 movies all together, so that means there are about 16 hours of Kojak
fun! Also, there is one feature, where some of the actors who are still
around chat about the show. They have a lot of nice things to say about
star Telly Savalas, as do his children. It is a nice addition to the set.
We learn some great behind-the-scenes stuff, and it's fun to see what the actors
look like now.
Any fan of 70's TV, or of realistic TV, or of police drama should love this set!
More Information:Kojak: The Complete Movie Collection
Release Date: 1/24/2012
on DVD Feature
$29.98 + S&H *
Telly Savalas stars as the tough, lollipop-toting
Detective Theo Kojak in eight gritty and unforgettable
mystery movies from 1973–1990.
Created by Emmy®– and Academy Award®–winning writer Abby
Mann, Kojak ran for five seasons on CBS from 1973–1978 and
was later revisited as a series of TV movies. Along with
these special broadcasts, this DVD set also features the
previously unavailable pilot movie, The Marcus-Nelson
Murders (aired in 1973), which started it all and
earned Abby Mann an Emmy for Outstanding Writing.
This 4-disc set includes all 8 original full-length
- The Marcus-Nelson Murders (1973)
- The Belarus File (1985)
- The Prince of Justice (1987)
- Ariana (1989)
- Fatal Flaw (1989)
- Flowers For Matty (1990)
- It’s Always Something (1990)
- None So Blind (1990)
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