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Featured TV on DVD Review: The Fugitive: Season Four, Volume One

November 11th, 2010

The Fugitive: Season Four, Volume One - Buy from Amazon

The penultimate release for The Fugitive, which in some ways is the first TV show made for the home market release, as it has an overall storyline that makes it important to watch certain episodes in the proper order. It is also said to be the first show with a true finale, and it was a record-breaker in terms of ratings. But we are getting ahead of ourselves, as we have the first fifteen episodes of season two to deal with this time around.

The Show

The first thing people will notice with season four is that it's in color. This is a pretty major change in terms of technical specs, but fortunately a pretty minor one as far as the quality of the show is concerned and the hit to miss ratio is still excellent. This includes the season premiere, kind of. In the first episode, Dr. Richard Kimble is pursued by a deputy sheriff, despite everyone else thinking he's already skipped town. It's a good episode, but one of the weaker ones on this four-disc set, as it doesn't bring a whole lot new to the show, but that just emphasizes how good this show is. In Death Is the Door Prize, Kimble sees a one-armed man, but he doesn't know if it is the one-armed man. In his attempt to find out, he gets involved in an accidental shooting and he's the only witness that can exonerate the guard. (Ossie Davis has a guest shot, which is another plus.) A Clean and Quiet Town has Kimble running into the one-armed man, but he does so in a town run by the mob, so he's got nowhere to turn. In The Sharp Edge of Chivalry Kimble is suspected of murdering one of his neighbors. It's deja vu for him.

Ten Thousand Pieces of Silver has Kimble working on a farm and befriending the farmer's daughter, Cathy, who is autistic. His stay has to be cut short when a newspaper puts up a $10,000 reward, but his escape is complicated when Cathy is kidnapped by another escaped murderer. In Joshua's Kingdom Kimble gets work with a veterinarian, but instead uses his medical knowledge to help a unwed teenage mother, Ruth, whose infant is sick. This causes a problem because her father believes medicine is the devil's tool, while a young Tom Skerritt is interested in Ruth in another, less wholesome way. In the next episode, Second Sight, the one-armed man is back, and Kimble's back on the chase. Fortunately, he gets close. Unfortunately, the chase ends in an explosion and Kimble is badly hurt. (Ted Knight is his doctor, while his nurse looks damn familiar as well.) Three solid episodes in a row, sadly, there are four episodes on this disc and Wine Is a Traitor is kind of a disappointment. (At this point, anything that takes us away from the one-armed man is weak.

This is the same complaint with Approach with Care, which leads off disc three. In Nobody Loses All the Time, Kimble spots the one-armed man on the news at a fire and immediately gives chase; however, before he can get there, he sees a woman in an accident and stops to help. This woman is the one-armed man's girlfriend. Right in the Middle of the Season is about organized labor, while The Devil's Disciples is about a gang looking for revenge. They are good episodes, but at this point I think we are too close to the end to wander off topic.

The Blessings of Liberty has a story about abortion, which is a topic that most shows today won't touch. The Evil Men Do Kimble saves the life of his boss... a former hitman. To repay him, the hitman decides to kill Lt. Gerard, which is obviously not what Kimble wants. The DVD ends with Run the Man Down, which is to say it just ends. That's a major problem with splitting a season of an old show into two releases. The creative team behind the show didn't anticipate this issue (How could they?) so the halfway point doesn't really setup a good cliffhanger and the four-disc set kind of ends on a soft note.

Also, have I mentioned how much I hate teasers? Why spoil important scenes of the episode you are just about to watch?

The Extras

There's an extra on the four-disc set! Wow. I'm actually shocked. First time for the series. Composer Dominic Frontiere: Season of Change is an 11-minute interview with Dominic Frontiere, who worked with Quinn Martin on a number of series, including this one.

The Verdict

By this time in its run, The Fugitive is spending a great deal of time on the overall story and the one-armed man is seen as much as Lt. Gerard. The one-off stories are mostly compelling, and there are several such highlights in Season Four, Volume One, but I can't wait till the next release and the series finale.

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