James Woods plays the perfect homely US Navy sailor in dress blues with a bad temper, along with his Navy buddies they are looking for a jeweler that closed his store a few days before they hit town....
Sam McCloud is a Marshal from Taos, New Mexico, who takes a temporary assignment in the New York City Police Department. His keen sense of detail and detecting subtle clues, learned from his experience, enable him to nab unsuspecting criminals despite his unbelieving boss.
A pair of plainclothes homicide detectives, Lieutenant Mike Stone and Inspector Steve Keller, cruise the streets of San Francisco, California solving a variety of crimes, usually involving murder. Stone is the street-smart twenty-year veteran cop, and Keller is the college-educated rookie. Much of the series' success was due to the friendly by-play and relationship between the two leads.Written by
Marty McKee <email@example.com>
When the series debuted, it was slotted as counter programming opposite CBS' popular Saturday night situation comedies, but failed to build an audience. The two-hour pilot movie ranked 58 out of 65 programs telecast that week, while the first regular episode of the series fared even lower at 62nd of 65 programs. In January 1973, ABC shook up its lineup by shuffling a number of its programs around. The Streets of San Francisco moved to Thursday night, and immediately increased its viewership with an 18 rating and 31% share of the audience. Over the next three years, the series flourished on Thursday, ranking #22 for its second and third seasons and #26 for its fourth. For the 1976-77 television season, ABC made the strategic error of moving The Streets of San Francisco up one hour, placing it in direct competition with Barnaby Jones (1973), another Quinn Martin Production. The two crime dramas virtually split their audience with Barnaby Jones ranking 49th and The Streets of San Francisco falling to 52nd of 104 shows for the season. The decline in viewership, coupled with steadily rising production costs and a new contract for star Karl Malden, prompted ABC to cancel the series. See more »
End credits (from seasons 2-5): Photographed Completely On Location in San Francisco. In season 1, the production was split with exteriors filmed in San Francisco and interior scenes filmed at the Burbank Studios in Burbank, California. See more »
Republic Pictures' five released VHS videos which represent eight different episodes are, I hope, the first of a complete series release. In recent years, "Streets" has been relegated to the pre-dawn graveyard of Indie and cable television stations, edited down to allow for more ghastly, no-budget local ads (trade schools, lawyers, and the like). Nowadays, low self-esteem broadcasters plaster their logos and moving promo messages along the bottom of the as if the program is an interruption of their commercials. So, what a treat to see these classic episodes without all of these distractions.
Although popular enough to run for five seasons, it never received the credit it deserved -- none of the hype of a "Charlie's Angels," for example. It's too bad that Michael Douglas didn't stick with the show. His performances in "Streets" and "The China Syndrome" are among his best. I'm crossing my fingers that he'll consider returning to a follow-up "Streets" later in his career, taking the senior detective's role that Malden held in the original.
"Streets" always had tight scripts, good plotting, and interesting characters -- even if they pandered to stereotypes a little. Way ahead of its time, gay themes are treated with surprising tact and good taste. In the episode "Harem," guest star Rick Nelson plays a gay pimp for female prostitutes (a novel idea in and of itself). The word "gay" is never used, but Steve (Douglas) simply tells Mike (Malden) that, "he's not exactly what you'd call a ladies man."
The two-hour special "Thrill Killers," is perhaps the most interesting release. Patty Duke Astin plays a not-too-thinly disguised Patty Hearst (a headline story at that time) who takes a whole jury hostage and begins killing them one by one. It's a relief not to have to wait a week to see part two.
The least interesting of these releases is "Dead Air," starring Larry Hagman as a radio talk show host (reminiscent of Bill Balance's Feminine Forum, an innovative show at the time). The studio scenes are completely unrealistic and the killer can be guessed before the end of Act 1.
Unfortunately, none of these eight releases includes an episode from "Streets" most famous director, Richard Donner ("The Omen" and "Lethal Weapon" series.) Maybe they'll release some of his episodes on DVD with a director's commentary? Also missing is what I consider to be the best episode of the series, "Mask of Death," which has an amazing performance by John Davidson as a female impersonator.
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