It’s amazing that it has taken this long for Police Story to make it onto DVD.  Vintage cop shows are amongst the popular titles in the world of television-on-disc and Police Story is renowned amongst genre aficionados for being one of the all-time greatest examples of the form.  Whatever the reasons for the delay, fans can take comfort in the fact that the show’s first season has finally made it debut on the format thanks to Shout! Factory and the results do well by this beloved show.

Police Story: Season One is a six-disc set that includes the pilot film “Slow Boy” and all the official episodes of the debut season, including the Movie Of The Week episode “Big John Morrison.”  The full-frame transfers are generally crisp and colorful.  “Big John Morrison” is the only episode that looks noticeably different from the rest, being slightly darker than the other episodes, but it remains watchable and is much better than the recorded-from-t.v. dupes of this show that have made the rounds in collectors’ circles.  The original mono sound mixes are used and they sound consistently good.

In terms of extras, there is only one but it is well worth the time: “Cop Talk” is a twenty-minute featurette built around an interview with show creator Joseph Wambaugh.  He lays out the story behind the show in broad strokes, describes the sometimes amusing interaction between cops and filmmakers during its production and tells a fascinating tale about how the “Wyatt Earp Syndrome” episode originally had a different title.  Placed on the final disc, it makes an excellent capper to the set.

To sum up, Shout! Factory has rewarded the patience of Police Story fans with a solid debut set.  The episodes look good, the bonus featurette is worthwhile and 19 and a half hours of television for a retail price of $40 is a good deal.  Whether you’re a fan or a neophyte, this is a worthwhile investment.  Overall, this maiden digital foray into Police Story makes Your Humble Reviewer hope that Shout! Factory will continue to roll this series out on DVD – and that they’ll also maintain these standards of quality and value-for-money.

For Schlockmania’s feature review of Police Story, Season 1click here.

For Schlockmania’s look at 7 Great Episodes of Police Story, Season 1click here.

Police Story: Season 1

Police Story: Season 1

Created by ex-cop-turned-author Joseph Wambaugh (The Onion Field), Police Story is an anthology series detailing the lives of LAPD officers in a collection of realistic and gritty accounts of what it meant to be a cop in 1970s Los Angeles. The series became the archetype for many critically acclaimed shows that followed, including Hill Street Blues, NYPD Blue and Homicide: Life On The Street. The series distinguished itself from its predecessors by a multidimensional portrayal of its protagonists — these cops were flawed, not cartoonlike heroes. From week to week, gripping episodes addressed difficult issues such as police corruption and the stresses and hell that can come with leading a cop’s life. With no regular cast, the show featured different stars each week, as well as a rotating acting ensemble including James Farentino (Jesus Of Nazareth), Tony Lo Bianco (The French Connection), Don Meredith (NFL Monday Night Football), Laraine Stephens (Matt Helm) and Vic Morrow (Combat!). Season One stars included Ed Asner, Lloyd Bridges, Angie Dickinson, Dean Stockwell and Kurt Russell.