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Featured TV on DVD Review: Father Dowling Mysteries: Season Three

March 11th, 2013

Father Dowling Mysteries: Season Three - Buy from Amazon

Father Dowling Mysteries ends its home market run this week. It only ran three seasons during its original run, and only one of them, season three, was a full season. It was also the last season. I previously reviewed the first two seasons and thought it was good, but not great. Did it get canceled just as it was reaching its peak? Or did it fade away?

The Show

The answer to that question is somewhere in the middle. First a brief introduction to the show for those who haven't seen it before. In the Father Dowling Mysteries, Tom Bosley stars as Father Frank Dowling, a Catholic priest who is obsessed with murder mystery books and has trained his sense of observation by reading them all, which is fantastic news, as he tends to stumble upon murders, blackmail schemes, etc. in real life. When not fighting crime, he works in a small parish with Sister Stephanie "Steve" Oskowski (Tracy Nelson), although she spends more time helping him fight crime than the normal nunly duties. Father Philip Prestwick (James Stephens) who is more concerned with appearances and getting a promotion within the church than any of his duties. Finally there's Marie Murkin (Mary Wickes) who is the housekeeper.

There are not a lot of highlight episodes this season, either good or bad. It starts with The Royal Mystery where we find out Sister Steve is the spitting image of a member of the British Royalty. It's a goofy subject, but it isn't that bad of an episode overall. I like seeing David McCallum in a guest role. The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea Mystery has Father Dowling battling Satan for Sister Steve's soul. It's a good premise and a bad episode. John Vernon and Colm Meaney shows up in The Undercover Nun Mystery, which is one of the better episodes of the season, but still mostly average. The Reasonable Doubt Mystery is a better episode and has Father Dowling doing jury duty. Tony Todd shows up in The Fugitive Priest Mystery. Good guest star, bad episode. (It involves Father Dowling's evil twin.) There's a trio of good episodes in the latter third of the season: The Moving Target Mystery, The Priest Killer Mystery, and The Mummy's Curse Mystery. Unfortunately, the series ends on a soft note with The Joyful Noise Mystery.

The final season of Father Dowling Mysteries was consistent, but unfortunately it was consistently average. There were very few episodes that were terrible, but also very few that were great. As I've stated before, I do like the chemistry between the two leads, but it isn't enough to be one of the best in a very crowded genre.

The Extras

There are no real extras, not unless you call the episode promos extras, which I don't.

The Verdict

Father Dowling Mysteries ends its run with Season Three, which is best described as average. Since there are no real extras on the five-disc set, a rental is enough, unless you are a hardcore fan of the show.

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Filed under: Video Review, Tom Bosley, Colm Meaney, Tony Todd, John Vernon