The Good

This is just a terrific show with Jim Rockford being the anti-hero we all wish we could be ourselves.

The Bad

I wish James Garner and Stephen J. Cannell would have done some commentary tracks.

The Rockford Files is one of the best written shows I have ever watched. To look at Jim Rockford (James Garner) we would see him as this All-American male fighting the bad guys. When you get past that superficial view, what you have is a small time private investigator who is just trying to run a square business after having done some time in the joint.

With friends like Detective Dennis Becker (Joe Santos), Angel (Stuart Margolin) and his father Rocky (Noah Berry, Jr.) helping him along, Jim always seems like he's one step away from bankruptcy or getting slugged in the mouth. What makes his character so enjoyable to watch is the fact he is street smart and (unlike many of the people he works for) adhering to a strict code of personal (and moral) ethics.

The Rockford Files: Season Two is a terrific show that does the "investigation genre" proud. Bring on Simon & Simon: Season One!


Stephen J. Cannell Reflects on the Second Season

Cannell discusses how Roy Huggins brought him to this project. He explains that from the very beginning they were both on the same page. Cannell also breaks down the answering machine messages that begin every show, what it was like working with James Garner (it turns out he's not like Jim Rockford in real life) and how the executives really didn't understand the show at first. If you are interested in hearing some good stories or how a master craftsman works, you would be wise to watch Stephen J. Cannell here.

Original Series Pilot

This threw me because there is no phone message to begin this show. I am so used to the clever openings that start every episode that I was almost shocked it wasn't there. Aside from there being a different person playing Rocky (Robert Donley, who seemed to bring a more Al Lewis vibe to the role) all the other characters seem to be here. In fact, we even get to find out more about Rocky and Angel's relationship. What most struck me was how James Garner always had this character down.


Full Frame - 1.33:1. I wish that more TV shows and movies would take on the classically shot and muted look that the films from the 1970s have. I know that technology advances but there is something about these older shows and movies that seemed to put the story and characters first. I couldn't help being taken in by the procedural aspect of the show and how everything felt so real. Too much stylization would have hurt that.


English. Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono. Subtitled in English. You gotta love the theme song to this show which sounds big and simple both at the same time. Like a lot of sitcoms there isn't anything too special about the way the audio is put together, but there is a naturalness to the all of the performances. Nothing about the sound design seems to dominate too much which, like the picture, helps stay out of the stories way.


James Garner stands on this front cover kneeling with the sun setting on the beach and cliffs behind him. The cover titles for the show are embossed. The back shows some pictures of the characters from the show. It also offers a description of what Season 2 is about, gives us the Bonus Features as well as technical specs. All six discs unfold in one piece of packaging with has some more images from the show, as well as an index and description of each episode.

Final Word

This show plays on KDOC every day at 9am and I always have my TV tuned in. Even though I am often working when the show is on (which is why I am so happy to have it now on DVD), I can appreciate just listening to the dialogue and scenes that Stephen J. Cannell has helped create. Every episode feels like a little movie and they usually end up the same way with Rockford proving his or someone elses innocence, or getting to the bottom of a crime. It is the characterizations on this show, the interpersonal relationships that really make The Rockford Files stand out.

The Rockford Files was released .