Thursday, April 3, 2008

THE EQUALIZER: SEASON ONE

One of my favorite television shows back in the Eighties was THE EQUALIZER, and thanks to Universal's recent release of the first season(1985-86), I was able to revisit it and found, to my pleasant surprise, that it still holds up remarkably well.

Edward Woodward (THE WICKER MAN) brings considerable dramatic heft, humanity and intensity to his role as Robert McCall, a middle-aged ex-secret agent who takes out newspaper advertisements offering to help people in trouble in a menacing, pre-Guiliani New York City. Using espionage tradecraft and many of his old black ops cronies, McCall fights for the underdog against street gangs, blackmailers, assassins, white slavers, malicious businessmen, callous slumlords and industrial spies.

It’s great stuff, with twisty scripts by TV veterans like Mark Frost (TWIN PEAKS) and Michael Sloane (KNIGHT RIDER). Among it’s producers was 24’s Joel Surnow, who clearly learned something about gritty espionage stories while working on this series. Guest stars include Blaxploitation veterans Richard Roundtree and Fred Williamson, STAR TREK's Robin Curtis, and BABYLON 5's Michael O'Hare among others.

Universal’s box set includes all 22 first season episodes in solid full-frame transfers that show only minimal age-related wear. The mono sound is clear and sharp. The only extras are a commentary on the pilot episode by creator Michael Sloane and a bonus episode from the second season.

THE EQUALIZER was one of the best, and most unique, crime shows of the Eighties, and it still holds up. Recommended.

BUY: The Equalizer - Season One