This is one of those really well done procedural shows that many of today could learn from.
Paltry special features.
Diagnosis Murder is yet another show from the 1990s that I missed out on, and it turns out I missed out on a lot. The venerable Dick Van Dyke plays Dr. Mark Sloan. Like Matlock or Perry Mason, Sloan is one of those people that can create puzzles even when the situations seem impossible to put together. In Diagnosis Murder: The Complete First Season he is also aided by other doctors, one who just happens to be Scott Baio (Dr. Jack Stewart), as well as Detective Steve Sloan (Barry Van Dyke) and Amanda Bentley-Livingston (Victoria Rowell).
This five disc set contains 19 episodes. Sure, there is a formula to Sloan's process, but it is a lot of fun seeing this man put these cases together. Whether we are given the information up front, or only shown a murder in such a way without seeing who did it, Sloan seems to be an amalgamation of all the great detectives. Dick Van Dyke is perfectly cast here and the players who support him all do credible work by just getting out of his way.
Bonus Episode - It Never Entered My Mind
I usually don't review bonus episodes as I think that they are copouts. I feel if you are going to go to the trouble to put together a 5 disc set of DVDs, why not go all out and include commentary tracks and everything else? In fact, this episode isn't even from Diagnosis Murder, it's from Jake & The Fatman! However, this episode introduced the Mark Sloan character. He's a suspect in a murder and he's trying to prove that he's innocent (what a surprise). I think this is really neat that they put this on here, but I would have liked a featurette on it a lot better.
Full Screen Format. Sadly, it doesn't seem like TV from the 1990s looks any better than when it aired initially. I am not saying that these shows look bad (I didn't watch this show when it was on TV), but there just seemed to be something off about the way this show looked. I would have thought that the episodes would have been crisper in their visual quality. Truthfully, it seems like the compression might have "overcooked" some of these episodes in places.
Dolby Digital - English. The audio on these shows was fine. I didn't hear anything that caught my attention in a good or bad way really. There weren't any audio drop outs and considering that these discs have almost 15 hours of footage, I think that that is a quite an accomplishment that the audio is as good as it is.
Dick Van Dyke takes up the majority of this cover with Baio, Barry Van Dyke and Rowell smiling behind him. The images that surround all these characters are the kind that we would imagine seeing in a hospital. The back cover serves up two more shots of the cast (one of which features more characters), a tiny description of the show, Special Features listing and technical specs. The packaging is of the digipack variety with all 5 discs being housed in three, slim cases. We get more pictures of the cast (a priceless one with Baio) on there front covers, and the back cover indexes out all the episodes by their names, and even gives a description as well.
As I wasn't familiar with this show, I was very excited when BB at MovieWeb gave it to me to review. I am someone who loves TV. I didn't always feel this way, but certain things happened in my life that just made this happen. One of the biggest was discussions I used to have with an older gentlemen about classic TV. As I was just starting to watch TV Land, I found myself asking him questions about various shows. I grew to respect this man very much, and I have sadly lost contact with him.
How does this relate to Diagnosis Murder?
I guess I saw the bond that TV created between us, as well as the way these older shows made me feel, as something that I think is important in my life and the lives of others. Don't get me wrong, I am not a shut in. I leave my house a lot and I don't spend nearly as much time watching TV on DVD (or TV LAND and KDOC) as I'd like, but shows like Diagnosis Murder serve two functions for me. The first one is that I missed it when it was on and now I have a chance to revisit it. The second is that these shows symbolize something. They are a past that I was alive for, but I wasn't paying attention to. In a way I feel that TV on DVD allows me to get some of that time back.
I could hype up Diagnosis Murder: The Complete First Season a lot more, but trust me, this is good TV that you will certainly want in your collection.
Diagnosis Murder was released .