"This is indeed one of the great TV shows from the Mystery Movie Series. Universal Television will not be producing these DVDs. I just checked the production companys (Hart Sharp Video) website and found that only 8 episodes will be offered in the first season. It appears that the Pilot will not be included with the set. The Hart Sharp website indicated that 8 programs of 72 minutes in length would be offered in this set of DVDs. Nothing was mentioned of the image quality of the transfer. Hope this is helpful."
NBC Universal should be ashamed of themselves
tv maven | 03/28/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Universal was the leading supplier of tv in the late '60s well into the '70s. Their catalog is vast with classics: Kojak, Ironside, Marcus Welby MD, The Name of the Game (the most expensive series at the time, 1968), Columbo, McMillan & Wife, McCloud, and of course Banacek. I'm a huge fan of this show. Apparently, Universal did not deem this one "important enough" to give it the same treatment some of the others have gotten, so they licensed the DVD rights to Hart Sharp Video (?). Well, what they've done here is taken the old masters and simply transferred them to DVD. No remaster, no sound re-mix to 5.1, nothing. Even the DVD menu looks like something a kid could do on his computer. The transfer displays a somewhat pink image (more apparent in exteriors), seemingly faded from age. At some points even the sound is distorted (reference "Let's Hear it for the Living Legend"). And during the episode "Project Phoenix" (about 18 minutes into chapter 3), as a guy is running down a hill to catch up with Banacek's limo, the picture does a quick fade to black (and in the midst of a music cue, which also fades), then fades back into the next shot! What the %@#$&! Additionally, the DVD extras are limited to a cheesy photo gallery and "TV Guide" crosswords! And, where's the original pilot ("Detour to Nowhere")?? This set should have been treated by Universal as the classic it is, with a box set of all episodes, remastered picture & sound, with extras and liner notes. Fox gets this, and treats their classic shows with the respect they deserve. Just look at what they're doing with the release of "Land of the Giants". It too, was on for only 2 seasons, but Fox is boxing it as one set with a staggering amount of extras. Then there's also the great sets of "Lost in Space" and "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea". And by the way Universal, no I don't work at Fox, but I am a classic tv on DVD fan!"
Missing scenes - come on guys!!!
D. E. Thompson | West Palm Beach, Florida | 05/26/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"First, let me say that I will probably buy the second season when it comes out because the DVD is still better than the tapes I have of the old A&E showings. But, if you are going to charge money for a TV favorite why cut scenes? I watched Banacek when it orignally aired in the 70's so I knew that A&E cut some great scenes to put in additional ads. I was looking forward to the DVD to see the cut scenes once again. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that while the DVD did restore some of the missing scenes they cut scenes that had appeared in the both the original and the A&E versions! Two examples that long-time Banacek fans should notice:
(1). In Project Phoenix the DVD cut part of the scene where Banacek is in his limo talking to the hobo Paddle. In the original aired version (and even in the A&E version) Paddle says: "Used to be in one of the largest banks in Florida - trust officer. By 10:00 in the morning I'd be sweating, literally. Like I'd been running a couple of miles. That's no way to live, not if you ever hope to see 60." However in the DVD version this entire conversation is cut to "Used to be in one of the largest banks in Florida."
(2). In The Greatest Collection of Them All almost the entire scene beween Banacek and the receptionsit played by Penny Marshall is cut from the DVD version so one is left wondering how Banacek found out that the security guard was at the bar.
Banacek aficionados beware, these are not the compete Banaceks as originally aired!! "
Banacek -Back from the Golden Age of Television Detectives
Michael Ziegler | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania United States | 05/20/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Well, finally we have Banacek available on DVD. The only other missing link is perhaps "The Name of the Game" of 1960's through 1980's Television sleuths that represent the Golden Age of Television Detectives. Banacek is different. A private investigator of recovery in insurance scam attempts and thefts. The classic of course is our famous weekly series that featured Columbo, MacMillan & Wife, McCloud and the ever changing 4th slot in the monthly rotation. This series was different and interestingly plotted. The location scenery, the '41 Packard, and especially that Used Antiquarian Bookshop of his friend,Mulholland bring some fresh air to the standard formula of murder in other series. Here we deal with aristocrats but unlike Columbo, there is no need for Homicide. Our rich are involved in insurance fraud for Gold coins, Ancient books, Paintings and therefore we can believe the characters here as a little closer to reality. Banacek can be counted on to succeed where other minds fail, get the girl, and live extravagantly at the same time. All within 90 minutes a case! Now, as to the DVD, well, I know it is not top notch but I am just glad to have a copy of these episodes. Perhaps the company felt it was not as important as some other longer running shows. I no doubt will buy the second half when it is released, but it should include the pilot and some sort of commentary would be appreciated."
Banacek The First Season
D. Sihota | Walnut Creek, CA USA | 05/17/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Finally, the TV I was waiting for years to come to DVD and what did we get, well, a sub-par transfer from the master reels to DVD. I enjoyed the show very much when A&E aired it in the mid 1990's. The picture quality is not what I come to expect from a DVD. The sound is not 5.1 and the cover art/photo are very grainy. Hart Sharp Studios did a very poor job on this one. For Banacek fans, it is a must, but be warned this DVD is not the same quality that other shows released to DVD received. I would have given 5 stars, but picture and sound quality is just not good. I hope that when second season is released that Hart Sharp Studios improves the quality."