One of the greatest detective shows ever has finally made it's way to DVD.
Not enough extras. Some of the episodes looked a tad too grainy in parts.
Ironside: The Complete 1st Season features 8 discs worth of crack detective work from Robert T. Ironside . Burr had made his name known long before this as one of TVs greatest legal minds, Perry Mason. In this show, his character was put in a wheelchair via a sniper's bullet and this does nothing to make him any more warm and fuzzy. Assembling a solid team around him which consisted of Sgt. Ed Brown (Don Galloway), Mark Sanger (Don Mitchell) and policewoman Barbara Anderson (Eve Whitfield) we see this crew go up against some of the most shady and evil characters that have ever been on television. However, the glue that holds all of this together is clearly Burr's Ironside, who employs the word "flaming" in place an explicative that begins with an "f" as if it's going out of style.
This set features all the 28 of the Season One episodes. In addition to that it opens with the feature length pilot that gives us a great deal of backstory regarding the Ironside character. Presented in multi-colored packaging with very artfully done, inspired images this release looms almost as large as the irreverent and unforgettable man who inhabited the title role of this show.
Ironside World Premiere
Normally, I wouldn't review this episode as a separate entity. However, it is presented on here in it's feature length form and it also continues elements of information that are never really brought up in the other shows. Granted, I haven't seen all the shows in the series 8 year run but rarely do I recall them explaining how Ironside got into the wheelchair. In fact, I had watched this show when it aired on KDOC in Orange County (they sadly cut it from their retro lineup awhile ago), and I simply thought the character was in that chair because he was born that way. Or, maybe something happened to Raymond Burr after Perry Mason. Beyond that, it also opens up the relationships of the characters on this show and we come to understand why Ironside needs his team even if he begrudges this fact.
Full Screen. My biggest problem with this show was how good some of the interior shots looked against some of the exterior ones. At times, they are almost night and day in quality. The interior shots were usually very clear with few dust particles to be seen. The Outside shots were often grainy (especially the ones that showed expansive shots of San Francisco). The show didn't always look like this but I noticed this disparity enough for it to be annoying. On the plus side, there was a lot of innovative editing used (I still find it innovative) which created tension by having scenes play very quickly against each other.
Unfortunately, they don't list out what kind of audio has been employed throughout this 8 disc set. I didn't have any problems hearing anything that was said and best of all, the sound played about the same over all the discs. Raymond Burr speaks with such a non-nasally, business-like tone that it makes it quite easy to follow what he is saying as these stories progress. The music that accompanies each episode also has a solid hand in giving things a very in the moment sort of feel.
The slipcase covers that holds all 8 discs is burgundy and black. There is an image of Raymond Burr looking as irascible as ever. He is clad in a suit jacket, white shirt and tie. The back features a contemplative image of Burr, a very well written description of what this show is about and some minor technical specs. As I mentioned above, the covers holding all the discs are multi-colored but they feature the same front cover image as the slipcase. On the back they list out each episode, their airdates, and a tiny description. This packaging is solid and really feels like it's connected to this release.
Now this is how it's done...
Shout! Factory should be given major kudos for how this show has been released. None of that volume stuff in order to get more money out of consumers. Ironside: The Complete 1st Season gives you all you could want as far as the show is concerned. My only complaint is that they didn't go deeper and give us more extras. In a set that looks this good and is this comprehensive, it really seems like they would want to have had some featurettes or even some commentary tracks reflecting on why this show was as popular as it was.
Featuring such cases like "The Taker," in which a dead cop is the only person who can prove his innocence, or "The Challenge," which shows how sometimes even an offhand remark isn't so offhand, this show was always amazing at the logic of how it wrapped up Ironside's cases. There was no convoluted storytelling or plot points that didn't pay off. This show was so well written it's incredible. In Hollywood they are always looking for that one script that has all the requisite twists and turns. The folks who worked on Ironside did that every week!
In addition to all this, the acting on the part of the main players was always good. There is a very by the book flavor to this show. It has an old school appeal, mixed in with the modern world that makes Ironside: The Complete 1st Season one to own and cherish.