Skip to content

2023 Viewing (Q1-2)

OK, let’s cover the first two quarters of 2023—that’s half a year! 2023 is half-over, already! It never stops. The previous viewings are here, as ever. This is the antique episodic TV we’ve watched so far this year…

The Fugitive seasons 2-3 (DVD)
Kojak seasons 1-4 (DVD)
The Munsters season 2 (DVD)
The Invaders season 2 (DVD)
Harry O season 1 (download)

It was watching the original Kojak TV movie, The Marcus Nelson Murders (1973), which is a terrific and very gritty film based on real events, which prompted a full rewatch of the ’70s classic…

Telly Savalas Kojak

Telly Savalas is, of course, always good value for money, and this is his signature role. Seeing as I have perhaps only seen three episodes since the original run of the show—and maybe not even complete episodes (excepting the revival shows circa 1985-90)—I was very interested by what I did and didn’t remember from watching it as a kid. A lot of the themes were somewhat adult and flew over my head back then—mostly it was Telly’s charisma and presence which sold it. And Stavros (played by Telly’s brother, George). Stavros was always a fave. Anyhow: what a great series, and a very consistent one, with the only real blips being maybe in the fifth and final season, 1977-78 (which we’re currently watching), not helped by a truly abysmal new theme tune which would be better suited for Charlie’s Angels.

Tearing through five years of a show in five months is always bittersweet… but the later movies are coming up soon, too.

Harry O was a revisit inspired obviously by watching The Fugitive. But unlike the latter, which was before my time—I think I finally saw some Fugitive eps in the 1990s, around the time of the Harrison Ford movie—I do recall watching Harry when it was first shown over here. My mother, a big David Janssen fan, always used to talk about the earlier show, which she loved, and which remained a mystery to me for quite a long time.

David Janssen Harry O

Janssen is great in this show, but equally good are the lead cops, played by Henry Darrow and Anthony Zerbe (rhymes with Herbie, apparently) respectively. The only question is—which cop is the best? I might go with Zerbe’s Trench, as he’s the one I can actually remember from back around 1976.

Not so many actual movies watched recently, I’m afraid. After the two seasons of The Munsters, the followup film Munsters Go Home got a spin—and the 1981 TV movie Munsters Revenge is gonna get played eventually. (I know this one isn’t very well regarded, but it is a farewell to the original main cast.)

A while back, we watched another of Paul Newman’s “H” movies, following 2022 viewings of Hombre and The Hustler. This time it was 1963’s Hud—a very dramatic and grim affair I hadn’t seen in a long time. So, now, where’s Harper?

More recently, 1992’s Doctor Mordrid got a spin (my second viewing of it), this time on Blu-ray. This reasonably well-made movie, with a strong central performance from Jeffrey Combs, has the distinction of being one of two films producer Charles Band made under his new imprint, Full Moon, which were originally Jack Kirby concepts circa 1986 (Doctor Mortalis and Mind Master), due to be produced by Band under the Empire imprint. Empire went bust in 1988. The other film was 1993’s Mandroid.

Kirby was planning legal action on this, apparently, due to the complete absence of credit and compensation, but after he died in February 1994, his widow, Roz, was talked into dropping the action.

For comparison, Kirby’s 1986 Doctor Mortalis poster (inked rather horribly by the ever-undependable Mike Thibodeaux, but never mind) versus the 1992 poster image for Doctor Mordrid. That old reprobate Band didn’t go out of his way to make the connection a bit less obvious, did he?

Doctor Mortalis Jack Kirby 1986

Doctor Mordrid 1992 advert

5 thoughts on “2023 Viewing (Q1-2)”

  1. Chrissie,

    I’ve been watching Kojak lately and liking it much more than I did when it originally aired, although I didn’t watch consistently. I’ve always liked David Janssen and did watch the Fugitive when it originally aired (I recall asking my parents if I could stay up to watch the two-part conclusion of the series and they agreed). I’ve only seen a few Harry O’s lately but hope to watch more.

    1. I’m inclined to concur with Chrissie that perhaps the fourth and final season of The Fugitive would have worked better in b&w. The sudden switch to colour stock (other than the titles, which were merely tinted) is curiously jarring, especially when you move straight into it from season three.

  2. I must have watched Kojak when it first aired in the UK, but have no memories of what day that would have been or of specific episodes. I do remember watching Harry-O with my mother, which I think must have been Friday nights while my father was out. I only remember Anthony Zerbe, though, so probably didn’t see them all

    1. The first regular episode I can find listed in the BBC archives, ‘Coinage of the Realm’, aired on 17 January 1975, which was indeed a Friday. According to IMDb, it had played only three months earlier in the US, a surprisingly swift hop across the Atlantic for that period (by the time Star Trek reached the BBC, it had already been cancelled).

  3. There’s an undeniable wobble as Kojak entered its fifth season, but (that dreadful theme music aside), the cast and production team ensured the episodes were rarely less than entertaining. Savales certainly never gives less than 100%, even when presented with a confused set-up and lack-lustre narrative (such as the instalment in which Theo somehow moonlights as a private eye).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *