May 01, 2007


The Streets of San Francisco
A Quinn Martin Production, 1972-1979

Well I've been slowly making my way through the discs of Streets of San Francisco TV show that they just brought out on DVD. Before I get started on talking about it, I first want to say that I really enjoy the whole concept of renting TV shows a few episodes at a time like this, and even owning a boxed set of a show that you really like. I don't watch that much television because I don't find much to my liking on most of the time, so getting discs of a show I know I enjoy every time can come in handy when I want to be audiovisually anaesthetized for a while. Sometimes I'm just in the mood for a certain kind of entertainment, and these DVD sets are a great way to get a quick fix. Yes I know I should want to read Paradise Lost, but sometimes I'd rather enjoy some Alias.

Anyhow, Streets is definitely one of those shows I can nearly always get into the mood for. I grew up on the reruns in the late 70s and early 80s, and being born and raised in the town of the title, it always had a special resonance. I love the cop-buddy stuff between the costars, the exploitation of counterculture, the outrageous 70s clothes and hair, the drool-worthy glam shots of the city itself, the pretentiousness of its division into acts and usually an epilog (no "epilogue" for this hard-hitting cop show, no sir! we ain't Shakespeare! We're, like, maybe Eugene O'Neill or something). Despite itself, perhaps due to the straightforwardly generous Karlmaldentastic acting, there's a genuinely positive "healing the wounds of the 60s" vibe that's pretty addictive at times.

And the theme song.... in a class by itself. So perfect it almost makes my teeth hurt.

One of the best games to play, if you know the layout of SF pretty well, is to watch the car chases, and see how they turn a corner and end up five miles away in the next shot. Always fun to wait for the moment when Michael Douglas has to jump too - I swear he jumps over something or onto someone in every episode. There's definitely a good drinking game in there.

And if the plot ever starts to flag, there's always listening to the incidental music, which is enjoyable all by itself. What an entertaining show - enjoy it some evening instead of "When Gray's Desperate Apprentices Attack" or whatever.

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