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Mystery TV - The Rookies The Complete First Season DVD Box Set

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The Rookies The Complete First Season
Originally aired 1972-73
Georg Stanford Brown, Kate Jackson
Gerald S. O’Loughlin, Sam Melville
5 DVDs, 23 episodes
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

The Rookies DVD box set of The Complete First Season features the first 23 episodes of this Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg TV cop show on 5 DVDs. This is a long awaited seventies classic that the series' many fans will appreciate. The Rookies was a pretty good show that blended cop stories, character development, and a bit of humor, especially from Lieutenant Ryker (O'Loughlin). The shows look really good on DVD and are complete and uncut. Extra features would have been nice but I guess those who waited all this time for this DVD box set will be happy just to get their hands on it. For those who are very particular about picture quality; although the night time scenes show the show's tape origins the rest of this series looks very good.

This TV cop show follows the adventures of three rookie members of the Southern California Police Department (an obvious stand-in for the LAPD) and their hard-nosed but fair lieutenant. The focus of The Rookies The Complete First Season is rookie officer Terry Webster (Georg Stanford Brown). Brown is very good as a street smart kid turned cop partnered with fresh off the farm rookie Willie Gillis (Ontkean).

There is not a bad show in this 23 episode 5 DVD set. A few have some rather weak endings (such as the episode where Danko's wife is threatened) but the story getting there is strong and interesting. You do wonder from time to time how come the rookies get to play such important roles in some of the cases but since they are the stars of this seventies TV cop show it makes sense.

Fans of Aaron Spelling shows like Charlie's Angels will immediately recognize the style and presentation, especially the opening credits, that made the Angels show. They will also recognize Kate Jackson who plays the wife of one of the rookies and a nurse who is always conveniently on duty where there is a hospital scene. They will also recognize the heavy use of music to support the drama.

Watching the 23 shows if The Rookies The Complete First Season you can't but notice how much the cop show and society have changed, especially in the way both cops and society are portrayed in this series. In the opening episode officers Webster and Willis (Georg Stanford Brown and Michael Ontkean) decide to do something about the gang situation in L.A. We are not talking Crips and Bloods and not even Jets and Sharks but more like a nice association of local hoodlums out to protect the community from the neglect of "the man". Nonetheless this particular episode, as all others on this DVD box set, is interesting, well-made, and fun to watch.

I especially liked Dead, Like a Lost Dream where an academy washout impersonates Webster to get some pocket money and impress his ex-cop father. This show features some really good writing, solid acting, especially by Mark Slade the disturbed cop impersonator. It is amazing how much story fits in a one-hour show. Got to admit though the way the good guy disarms the bomb is a bit much. Also very good is Dirge For Sunday where Danko is held hostage by Roddy McDowall, who is having a lot of fun with the part.

The Rookies being a seventies TV cop show the clothes are avocado green appliance garish. Some outfits are so loud you want to turn the volume down or adjust the color settings on your TV. In some ways this is now part of the fun in watching this seventies TV show on DVD, like when a bad guy is named Jimmy Carter. The cars sure look cool in retrospect.

It is also fun to see some well-known TV faces playing small roles in the episodes. Look for a rather athletic Vic Tayback of Alice fame, Mike Farrell of MASH, Louis Gossett Jr. as a preacher, Roddy McDowell as a bad guy after witness Vincent Gardenia, Cheryl Ladd aka Cheryl Stoppelmoor as a "girl" in episode 9 and Cheryl Jean Stoppelmoor in episode 13 of The Rookies The Complete First Season, and Martin Sheen. Fate would later team up Kate Jackson and Cheryl Ladd. Look for Andrew Robinson, he played Harak on Deep Space Nine and the really bad guy in the first Dirty Harry movie.

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