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Fans: Quite often I go on-line to check for the much anticipated
release of this intelligent detective series. So far my face is
dragging the ground. I loved this show when it was on and could not for
the life of me understand why it was canceled. Let us not go there. So
shows the fans just loved seemed to generate no love with the network
Execs. I guess wit, intelligence, and great plots are not where we are
going. And by the way only the the late Robert Eurich could ever play
the character of Edmond Spenser, and Avery Brooks as Hawk. Never knew
if Hawk had another name, like Jason, or Daniel etc.
But if there is a petition we can sign to try to get Spenser: For Hire on DVD somebody please point the way, and I will be sure to add my name.
This was and is the best series about PI's ever, Robert Urich and Avery
Brooks where what made this series great also Richard Jaeckal and Ron
McLarty were great support, The episodes of the first season were the
best of the series, the 2nd season had standout episodes, but was not
as good as the first, the third season started to show the shows age
but I can't think of a bad episode, I love a show which surprises you
and causes the hair on the back of your neck to stand up!!, and this
show did, Hawk was such a great character and there is only one
Hawk!!(Avery Brooks), This show had the human touch which is lost on
shows today, this show is not dated it looks as though it was released
It is my desire to own all three seasons on DVD someday when they are released, Robert Urich was a TV god to me and he is truly missed, this is TV to be remembered, Oh yeah Barbara Stock was OK!(No Truly great acting there) and Carolyn McCormick had bite in **Eye For An Eye** but after that she was dull and un-interesting
Over all a truly great show!!
How to wrap up in summation thoughts and feelings for what started out as viewing a tremendously enjoyable series that has led to a desire to know the Spenser universe as well as creator Robert B. Parker? Two words: Intelligent, non-pandering. Every so often the rarity of a great ensemble cast manages to translate story-to-screen week-after-week in a way that induces the viewer to come back. Robert Urich as Spenser brought an intellect mind to the P.I. genre as no one had prior and his partnership-friendship with long-time associate Hawk (as played by Avery Brooks in the role he shall forever shine in [versus his "Deep Space Nine" stint] displayed, without ever coming right out and stating it, that men being close with other men is not only O.K.- it (friendship) is what life is all about (and that you don't discuss it- you live it AND accept it). The third ingredient, Spenser's paramour, shrink Susan Silverman (as played by the ravishing Barbara Stock) makes for a group of impenetrable smarts and savvy to tackle the most twisted of crimes and criminals. Spenser's police associates, Sergeant Belson (Ron McLarty) and Lt. Quirk (long-time renown actor Richard Jaeckel) complete the team- and... the complement. As portrayed in the novels, they each ultimately are part of a crime-fighting machine, only not in the TV-formulistic manner. One doesn't feel as though the producers of the show have a checklist being annotated during planning and blocking meetings. Stories feel real, with a human flair versus a TV production mill affair. Being set primarily in the Massachusetts-centered New England, and MUCH of the time on location also gives the series a freshness. Invariably "Spenser for Hire" will air in re-runs again. My recommendation: watch it, then go get the novels (there are now 20+). As for the "TV movies" that were on and produced by Lifetime- they are just O.K., each came directly from a Parker Novel (with screenplays authored or co-authored by the creator himself) but other than Urich and Brooks, the remaining principles are cast with different people and the "magic" never quite propagated. But even change can be surprising- which is what I am hoping the upcoming new A&E production of one of the more recent Parker novels, "Small Vices" will be.
Great, really great - in my opinion one of the best Crime-TV-Series ever made. Robert Urich plays - again - a private investigator who solves his cases with help of his friend "Hawk" (Avery Brooks, "Ben Sisko" from "Deep Space Nine"). I have not seen one episode of this TV-Series which was boring. Great stories, quite enough action, social aspects - and of course two really superb playing actors (Robert Urich, Avery Brooks). That's what makes this TV-Series from the 80's a classic one.
What can I say? This series captured the essence of the Spenser novels,
written by the one man selected by the Chandler estate to finish the
unfinished Philip Marlowe novel (Robert B. Parker). Robert Urich's
of Parker's updated version of "the last good man" is unmatched, and I
imagine any other actor in this role. Avery Brooks brings out the human
of Hawk, whose humanity developed in the Parker novels. Even Susan,
played by an actress far too young for the role, works.
All in all a fine tribute to Parker and his best known character.
Several weeks before posting this review, I visited Boston for the
first time. While riding the city's MBTA Red Line across the Longfellow
Bridge, I could not help but hum variations of the theme song from
"Spenser: For Hire," which aired over 25 years ago. I never read the
Spenser books written by Robert B. Parker so I have no idea if the show
ever captured the essence of the novels. The series never ranked in the
top 20 and was switched to several time slots during the show's three
seasons. The show's major strengths were Robert Urich as Spenser, Avery
Brooks as Hawk and the incredibly strong on location production values
that made the show better than some current and past detective shows,
depending on the episode.
Some episodes, especially within season 1, had strong, intriguing plot twists that kept my interest. Three of my personal favorites were "The Choice," (which starred Patricia Clarkson and Sam Robards as thrill killers), "When Silence Speaks" (with Phyllis Frelich as a newspaper columnist who hires Spenser to locate a letter writer) and "Discord in a Minor," in which the teenage daughter of the city's symphony director tries to run away with the son of a local crime boss.
The show was far from perfect. Both of Spenser's love interests, Susan Silverman (played by Barbara Stock, seasons 1 and 3) and Rita Fiori (played by Carolyn McCormick, season 2) were generally thankless, underdeveloped roles. Arguably, both actresses tried their best with the material given but, more often than not, the dynamic between Spenser and Hawk were more interesting. In addition, several episodes depended more on chase scenes and stunts instead of correcting plot deficiencies, great stunt work notwithstanding.
I watched "Spenser: For Hire" on SlashControl.com and, as of this post, over 50 of the show's 65 episodes are available for streaming. Overall, the show was a nice diversion and a better-than-average detective series.
Update (6/14/2012): Sadly, with AOL ending SlashControl.com, Spenser: For Hire is not being streamed as of this update. I hope Warner Brothers will reconsider and stream and/or release the program on DVD in the future.
Here's what can happen when intelligent people put together a show and keep up the quality thru its run. Spenser, though it only lasted three short seasons was a witty, intelligent, and suspensful show. The chemistry between Ulrich and Brooks (Spenser and Hawk) made the show...It was shown those two guys (while often dissagreeing about things) genuinly respected and cared about each other. The show was superbly shot in and around Boston, though a few locations (the abandoned Navy Yard especially) were used a bit to often, but at least it was Bosten, and not LA. The only weak link was Barbara Stock. Her continual "hampster in heat" acting mared the series, and Carolyn MacCormick (as Rita Fiori) was a far more interesting love interest for Spenser. Like "Harry-O" (w/ David Janssen) Spenser's adventures ended far to soon.
I think Spenser for Hire is the best shows I've ever watched. The books that Robert Parker wrote are excellent. Just recently been able to purchase all of his shows and watch them non-stop on weekends. Spenser and Hawk were great team partners, Robert Urich is surely missed and Avery Brooks, well he's great also. I have read all of books that Robert Parker wrote about Spenser for Hire. The movie Hawk is also excellent to watch as well. If you have not seen any of the movies and your a fan of both Robert Urich and Avery Brooks, then you should take the time to watch the shows. As for the movies that were released, okay, didn't particularly care for the actor that played Susan Silverman.
My brother and I LOVED watching this series, probably one of the only ones my father recommended that ended up being a truly great series. Robert Urich played Spenser magnificently - the understated, under appreciated, well-read, HUGE hottie of the time. Avery Brooks as Hawk was magnificent casting. Couldn't wait for him to show in each episode and say, '....Spen-SAH....' Killer detective-cop show. It was the predecessor to what you see now as Law & Order, L&O Criminal Intent, etc. Can't wait, and don't understand why it's not out on DVD yet to buy for my brother and me. You're missing out if you haven't seen any of this series yet.
Forget Sherlock Holmes. Forget Magnum. Robert Urich was Spenser (with a
"s" like the poet) and his legend lives on. Spenser shaped a generation
of viewers by his interpretations of character and integrity. Urich was
the best and so was the character.
Spenser for Hire played on the ABC Friday night line-up at 10pm (pst) following O'Hara and Starman. The show had a grass roots following that protested its initial cancellation during the mid 1980s.
On a scale of 1 - 10, this show is an 11. Spenser displayed the wisdom of a poet, the tenaciousness of a tiger, and culinary talents of a chef all wrapped up into the body of an ex- policeman turned private investigator. He even boxed as part of his exercise. What more of a tough, clever, fast-talking bulky investigator who will turn any thing or one over to solve a case?
If you ever had an interest in mysteries (Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew) as a youth, then this series is something you may start to view, teenager through adult.
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