Out now are the complete sets of two shows which combine a series-long love letter to their respective cities with crime fighting protagonists who navigate them:
In The Streets of San Francisco, two cops search for perpetrators of homicides in the City by the Bay in deliciously seventies style. The show kicked off a week before its September 1972 series premiere with a pilot movie (same title) based on Carolyn Weston’s detective novel, Poor, Poor Ophelia, and then ran for a straight five years to 1977. The series starred Oscar winners Karl Malden (as veteran cop Michael Stone) and a very young Michael Douglas (as rookie Steve Keller) along with a heck of a lot of Ford cars (Ford Motor Company being the main sponsor for the show). Filmed entirely on location, the story revolved around the duo investigating murders in San Francisco and Stone mentoring Keller as he learns about police work. Guest stars were frequent and impressive, including Dean Stockwell, Pernell Roberts, Tom Selleck, Leslie Nielsen, James Woods, Nick Nolte, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Martin Sheen, Dabney Coleman, Desi Arnaz, Jr., John Ritter, Robert Wagner, Dick Van Patten, Mark Hamill, Tom Bosley, and Bill Bixby, among others (even Diana Douglas, Michael Douglas’s mother, appeared on the show). The fifth season saw a change in the main partnership when Keller went off to be a teacher (due to Michael Douglas leaving to pursue a career in films after successfully producing Academy-Award winning film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) and was replaced by Inspector Dan Robbins (played by Richard Hatch). Audiences did not like the change, and ratings dipped, making the fifth season the show’s last. Across its five year run the show earned multiple Primetime Emmy and Golden Globe award nominations and the love of a fan base which continues to this day.
If you are a member of said group, you’ll be happy to know that The Streets of San Francisco: The Complete Series is now out in a DVD box set, which includes all 120 episodes across 32 discs along with a couple of bonus features (“Pilot Presentation” and a short interview with Malden and Douglas conducted by Hollywood Variety columnist and famed movie premiere emcee Army Archerd). This doesn’t add any new extras on top of those already featured in the season-specific sets released between 2007-2012, but the pricing of this set (like the packaging) is much more compact, currently set at $51.18 to get the complete series box set on Amazon.
Vega$ is the audaciously glam-tastic detective series produced by Aaron Spelling which centers around ultra-cool private eye Dan Tanna (played by Robert Urich), who solves mysteries as he cruises around Las Vegas in his red 1957 Ford Thunderbird (which he parks in the living room of his converted props warehouse living space). Complementing Urich is an ensemble cast including Phyllis Davis as Beatrice Travis (Tanna’s former-showgirl-turned-single-mom assistant), Greg Morris as Lt. David Nelson (a cop who often secretly assisted Tanna in cases the police couldn’t officially be involved in), Naomi Stevens as Bella Archer (a police sergeant who also assisted Tanna), and Bart Braverman as “Binzer” (Tanna’s leg work guy who also brought comic relief to the show).
Like The Streets of San Francisco, Vega$ was filmed on location, with the exception of a couple of special episodes done in California and Hawaii. It also boasted numerous guest stars, such as Tony Curtis, Muhammad Ali, Shelley Winters, Joan Van Ark, Abe Vigoda, Wayne Newton, Leslie Nielsen, Maureen McCormick, Garry Marshall, Dean Martin, George Takei, and Heather Menzies (Robert Urich’s real-life wife), among many others. The show ran for three seasons (1978-1981), earning Robert Urich two Golden Globe nominations as Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series and a Primetime Emmy Award nomination to industry mega hitter Phil Norman for Outstanding Achievement in Graphic Design. Even with its limited run, the series was popular enough to merit its place as one of the first shows to air in off-network syndication on FX when it began in 1994.
Now out in DVD box set is the entire series, featuring all 67 episodes across 18 discs. As far as bonus content, it’s limited to episode promos, but considering you can get the set on Amazon for only $34.16 (about 51 cents per episode), it’s not too shabby considering the previously released “half season” sets go for around $12 each.
Neither of the titles above are on Netflix, Amazon Prime, or iTunes (if you see Vegas listed there, it’s the 2012-13 Michael Chiklis one), so if you want to grab one or both, these are currently your best bet.