The third season of Starsky and Hutch offered some changes from the first two seasons. Two-parters were a little more prevalent, the tone was often more serious, and the light banter remained as did Huggy Bear’s schemes and dreams. Still, the actors were looking to stretch their thespian muscles in the third year.
The writers took more chances and the stories were far more intense. One of my favorite episodes begins the third season. The two-parter Murder On Voodoo Island featured prominent guest star Joan Collins. The body count on this one is likely one of the series’ largest, albeit without as much gunplay. In the 70’s this one was a bit spooky for the young crowd. Another intense two-parter was The Plague. Today the deadly disease plot is used by almost every series around long enough to run out of original ideas. In the 70’s this kind of epidemic scare was usually reserved to medical programs.
A simple Dolby Digital mono track is all you get here. The dialogue is quite present and easy to understand. There are times the music distorts, mostly in the higher ends. The episodes are not consistent. There are a few instances where even the dialogue is almost too muddy to make out. This is an old show; don’t expect modern standards and you won’t be disappointed.
Each episode of Starsky and Hutch is presented in its original 1.33:1 full frame format. When you consider the source material, these episodes have been transferred with a great amount of care. The only real flaw is the digital compression artifacts, because they saw fit to squeeze the season onto 5 discs instead of 6. Colors accurately represent the subdued palate of 1970’s film stock.
Season three brings the list of extras down to none, unless you consider trailers for other DVD’s an extra. I don’t.
Most critics consider the show to have lost its momentum by the third season. Many episodes appear to bear this out. I think credit should be given, however, for the show’s attempt to be innovative. Unfortunately when you mess with the formula too much it doesn’t sit well with the die-hard fans. You’ll find this set to contain an uneven mix of quality. Some of the show’s best and worst appear on this collection. If you’re a fan, you already know if you want this set. If you’re not sure, check out seasons 1 and 2 first. I just hope the folks at Columbia decide to release the remaining episodes and “finish what they started”.