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Mystery TV - Kojak - Season One

Buy Kojak
Season One
Telly Savalas, Dan Frazer, Kevin Dobson
3 double-sided DVDs
22 one-hour shows
Universal Home Video

"Who loves ya, baby?” was one of the great tag lines of the seventies and belongs to Lieutenant Theo (Theophilos) Kojak of the NYPD. Kojak was a CBS Sunday night ratings killer for about five years before moving on to become the odd movie of the week. This detective series probably did more for the Tootsie Roll Pop franchise than any other show on television as Kojak switched from smoking cigarettes to his eternal lollipop. You can see the switch operate in season one of this great TV mystery show.

Kojak featured great writing crammed in a one-hour (well, fifty minutes) whodunit show with guest stars who became a who’s who of the stage and silver screen. Appearing in season one are Marc Alaimo (of Deep Space Nine fame), Yvonne Craig (Batman), Nicholas Colasanto (Cheers), James Woods, and Isabel Sandford.

The season one box set features all 22 episodes of the first season but not the pilot episode, The Marcus Nelson Murders. There is no indication why Universal decided to cheap the viewer out of this one. The packaging itself is banal with your standard DVD case containing a double-sided disc with 4 shows each. There are no extras, no inserts, nothing. I guess this is a case of something is better than nothing.

Of course, viewers who have not been raised on seventies television will need some time to adapt not only to the fashions and so on but to the relatively lower per dollar production values of the time. Still, Kojak was one of the best crime shows of its time and its cast of supporting characters, including Telly Savalas’ brother George (originally billed as Demosthenes), and, of course, “Saperstein!”

All in all, a solid, reasonably priced box set of the first season of a TV classic.

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