Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Brilliant But Cancelled: Crime Dramas

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
4 out of 10
Extras Rating:
N/A out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

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Rating: Not Rated

Starring:
Johnny Staccato - "Tempted" (1959)

John Cassavetes as Johnny Staccato
Eduardo Ciannelli as Waldo
Bert Freed as Sergeant Joe Gillen
Frank London as Shad

Delvecchio - "Licensed to Kill" (1976)

Judd Hirsch as Sergeant Dominick Delvecchio
Charles Haid as Sergeant Paul Shonski
Michael Conrad as Lieutenant Macavan
Mario Gallo as Tomaso Delvecchio
Jay Varela as Sergeant Rivera
George Wyner as Assistant District Attorney Dorfman

Gideon Oliver - "Sleep Well, Professor Oliver" (1989)

Louis Gossett Jr. as Gideon Oliver
Shari Headley as Zina

Touching Evil - "K" (2004)

Jeffrey Donovan as Detective Inspector Dave Creegan
Vera Farmiga as Detective Susan Branca
Zach Grenier as Commander Hank Enright
Brian Markinson as Agent Bernal
Kevin Durand as Agent Jay Swopes

Special Features:
None

Other Info:
Full Frame (1.33:1)
Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
Picture: Running Time: 3 Hours 29 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the DVD cover:

"See the shows that were cancelled before their time with four gripping crime drama episodes in the Brilliant But Cancelled collection. From the producers who would go on to make the television sensations Hill Street Blues, Columbo and Law & Order come these intelligent series that span over forty years of television.

Johnny Staccato ' 'Tempted'
Independent film pioneer John Cassavetes starred from 1959 to 1960 in this hip drama about a jazz pianist who moonlights as a private detective. Set in New York's ultra-cool Greenwich Village, this detective series was filmed in black and white and features smooth musical numbers to accentuate its smoky, sultry narrative tone.

Delvecchio ' 'Licensed to Kill'
From legendary producer Steven Bochco (NYPD Blue), Delvecchio aired from 1976 to 1977 and starred Emmy winner Judd Hirsch as Dominick Delvecchio, an honest and courageous LAPD detective who is studying to pass the legal bar exam. Assisted by his tough-as-nails boss and his wisecracking partner, Delvecchio finds himself torn between a life of action and danger and his dreams of a prestigious career in law.

Gideon Oliver ' 'Sleep Well, Professor Oliver'
A brilliant Columbia University professor of anthropology (Louis Gossett, Jr., Stargate SG-1) finds that his unparalleled knowledge of human behavior is applicable in some of the world's most puzzling crimes. Produced in 1989 by Wolf Films, the award-winning development team behind the highly successful Law & Order franchise.

Touching Evil ' 'K'
Touching Evil originally aired in 2004 and followed the exploits of the FBI's Organized and Serial Crime (OSC) Unit, a rapid-response, elite crime squad. The OSC brings back renegade agent David Creengan (Jeffrey Donovan), who pushes the law to the limit to track the criminals no one else can find."

Brilliant But Cancelled: Crime Dramas is not rated.

Mini-Review:
From what I can see on the DVD cover, "Brilliant But Cancelled" is a series on the Bravo channel. I think it's a great idea. When you think about how many great shows were almost cancelled or passed over, you start to realize how many other shows were axed before their time. This series and DVD highlights some of those lost gems. (Assuming they really are gems.)

"Brilliant But Cancelled: Crime Dramas" highlights four episodes from series cancelled in different decades. "Johnny Staccato" kicks things off. It's your typical black and white crime drama with fake sets, wooden acting, and basic plots. But what's interesting is the guest appearance by Elizabeth Montgomery. She plays a temptress in this series well before she became a comedy legend in "Bewitched".

Delvecchio is next up starring Judd Hirsch before he went on to "Taxi". Again, it's a bit slow, melodramatic, and tedious. But it, too, features an interesting cameo by John Hillerman from "Magnum P.I." Oddly, this show is kicked off without any intro or credits like in the other shows on the DVD. It was kind of odd.

Gideon Oliver is next starring Louis Gossett Jr. If you're a "Law & Order" fan you'll want to check this out. The writer and creators did this shortly before the long running series you know and love. And yes, there's an interesting guest appearance by Tom Sizemore in this one.

Rounding things out is a 2004 show I never heard of called "Touching Evil". There are no special guest appearances here. Unfortunately this episode is pulled from the middle of the series and it's a little hard to jump on board and follow it. Kind of like "X-Files," "Alias," or "Lost," you have to be on board from the beginning to really follow it. Unfortunately it, too, is a bit slow for my tastes.

This DVD set is more for TV aficionados than anyone else. They will care most about seeing these rare episodes and rare guest appearances. Fans of crime dramas will enjoy it, too, because it offers a variety of styles from various decades all on one DVD. However, most audiences aren't going to find much here that they can't find in other more established series.

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