Review of "The Lieutenant The Complete Series" From The TV MegaSite

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The Lieutenant - The Complete Series Part 1 DVD The Lieutenant - The Complete Series, Part 2


  The Lieutenant - The Complete Series

 Review by Suzanne Lanoue 9/2/12

This is Gene Roddenberry's first series, before "Star Trek". It's a very good show that, for some reason, only lasted one season. It's too bad in a way, but then again... if it hadn't been canceled, perhaps we wouldn't have seen "Star Trek". For an old show, it is not too horribly slow, and it is a very well-written drama. Sure, it's a little dated...people smoke a lot, just like in "Mad Men", but this show actually was filmed back in.  I'm guessing that Don Draper would watch this show. It's a very solid show about a military lieutenant.

There was no war going on in 1963, though, so it mostly shows a peacetime military. Perhaps that is why the show didn't survive - not enough action. Like Star Trek, it is a thinking person's show. It has complex relationships and witty dialogue, and only occasionally will you see something blowing up or someone shooting a gun. For a show set in 1963, it doesn't feel very dated, unlike many shows back then. I think Roddenberry has always been very forward-thinking. 

"The Lieutenant" takes place at the marine base, Camp Pendleton, in Oceanside, California, just north of San Diego. I grew up in San Diego, and I went to high school in Carlsbad, which is a town next to Oceanside, so I am very familiar with the area. However, by the time I lived there in the 70's, attitudes towards the military were very different. People were not too fond of "jarheads" (the nickname for marines) in the suburban area, especially the younger people who still remembered Vietnam. It was a very different time. In San Diego, people were always a tad more respectful to all military because San Diego has lots of navy and air force as well as marines, and there are many retired military people living there. I'm not making any judgments here; I'm just telling it like it is.

Gary Lockwood in "Star Trek"The show stars Gary Lockwood as Lt. Rice. Lockwood was most famous for starring in the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey". He also was the major guest-star in the first Star Trek episode.  He is a real everyman. He's handsome, but not stunningly so. He's very mild but strong when he has to be. His character uses very concise language; he's not a big talker. He seems to be based on a lot of the best leading men movie actors, such as Henry Fonda, John Wayne, or Clint Eastwood. Lockwood grows on you, but I'm not sure he was the best choice for this show; he may have lacked the star quality necessary for the show to be a hit. Frankly, I liked him much better in "Star Trek" than here, at first. Maybe he is just too uptight, or maybe it's the character he's playing. He's likable, but I don't think you really love him the way you should a young hero. Let's put it this way. He's a much better actor than William Shatner, but he lacks that actor's charisma.

The fun of watching old TV shows is seeing the old guest-stars. This show is full of them. Robert Vaughn of "Man from U.N.C.L.E." fame appears frequently as Rice's captain. You will see many actors that you might recognize from other shows, including Star Trek.

I enjoyed the DVD quite a lot, and I hope that you do, too. I'm so glad they finally came out with this on DVD as I've always wanted to see it. There are two DVD's here; I don't know why they felt they had to split them up.  I just wish there were more features on either DVD. The final episode of the series, "To Kill a Man", was a feature film, so it is shown here. It's a shame that there aren't more features, since Lockwood is still around.

Gene Roddenberry’s The Lieutenant coming to DVD!

The LieutenantNext Tuesday, August 14th the long-awaited classic TV series The Lieutenant from Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry makes its DVD debut exclusively on the This was Roddenberry’s first TV series (as both creator and producer). What has become a huge fan base clamoring to get the 29 episodes filmed in 1963-64 will now get its wish. The new DVD has been restored and includes an unseen theatrical iteration.

Gary Lockwood (2001: A Space Odyssey) plays young and easy-going Marine Corps Lieutenant William Rice who commands a colorful crew of raw recruits. Rice soon finds his missions consist of dodging political grenades, searching to destroy dissent within the ranks and mounting reconnaissance missions to obtain young ladies' phone numbers. The series features guest star appearance from Star Trek legends Leonard Nimoy, Nichelle Nichols, and Majel Barrett and Six Million Dollar Man Richard Anderson.

Gary Lockwood Interview
Released Aug 29, 2012
Gary Lockwood discusses highlights from his days shooting The Lieutenant television series and working with producer Gene Roddenberry. THE LIEUTENANT is now available from 
 Podcast also available on iTunes.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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Page updated 9/2/12

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