Great Show but Poor DVD's
James Walsh | New York City | 02/18/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"What has happened to quality control at Universal? These DVD's are terrible.
What a shame to put a truly great show like Magnum PI out on crummy DVD's! I have season one and two on DVD, and they are great. Season Three was a terrible shock. Several episodes skip, freeze, loose audio or just lock up.
I have no problems playing any other DVD's, but these new Magnum DVD's are really defective. The color transfer is also weak, and the images are noticeably grainier than season one and two. Why?
The first two seasons came with four hours of bonus episodes; season three came with only one.
Also the subtitles are terrible now. The subtitles no longer include French translations and the English subtitles are so abbreviated that they no longer accurately convey the spoken words. Compare subtitles from season three to the subtitles on season one. Two things are obvious: Season One = Top Quality. Season Three = Total Cheapness!!!
I think that Universal knows there are millions of Magnum fans and it looks like they have cut their manufacturing costs and are shipping defective products knowing that the Magnum fans will buy these DVD's anyway. That is a shame.
If you love Magnum get Season 3 but expect playback problems on a third of the episodes.
A season full of "real" Magnum shows
Craig MACKINNON | Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada | 10/06/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Magnum has aged much better than other Donald P. Bellisario shows and other action dramas of the 1980's (like A-Team, Simon and Simon, Battlestar Galactica, etc.). Perhaps it's the "exotic" locale (and the fact that Hawaii today looks very much like Hawaii of the '80's). Perhaps it's the performances. I think it's really because of the timelessness of the episodes - Magnum is so firmly grounded in its own history that it is a complete universe and each episode further strengthens the series as a whole. With this season, the full regular supporting cast is filled out with the first appearance of Carol, the District Attorney (although she is not played by the regular actress who, confusingly, does appear in another episode as a guest star).
It takes a while to build up a fictitious universe, which is why seasons 1 and 2 of the series are curiously normal - I don't think anyone watching the average episode from those seasons would understand the huge cult following the series has. But, little-by-little, each episode added to the mythos, and it all pays off starting in Season 3. There are many good episodes (and, to be sure, some dreadful stinkers - noteably "Two Birds of a Feather" and "Basket Case"), but all of them are rooted in the histories of the characters, the history of the Hawaiian Islands, or both. Certainly, a big hurdle was overcome by the producers of the show when they refused to succumb to the obvious gimmicks of the show - the Vietnam vet angle, the Ferrari, the locale - instead incorporating the "gimmicks" into the fabric each and every episode. All the good shows of the series (and of this season) could only be told by this show. They include:
Vietnam vet stories: "Heal Thyself" - a nurse Magnum knew in 'Nam is accused of murdering patients, and herself suffers from post-combat stress disorder; and "Did You See the Sun Rise?" - Magnum confronts a sadistic Soviet-Vietcong liaison officer he met while a PoW in North Vietnam.
Hawaiian Island stories: "Forty Years from Sand Island" - a murder at an internment camp for Japanese-Americans in 1942 has modern-day repercussions; and "Almost Home" - a grieving daughter tries to scatter her father's ashes at the Arizona Memorial, only to discover her father was courtmartialled for being AWOL on the day of Pearl Harbor.
Other history of the characters stories: "Black on White" - while Higgins is recovering from his wounds, his unit commits a massacre in a Nigerian uprising in the '50's, and a survivor is trying to exact revenge; and "Faith and Begorrah" featuring the first appearance of Higgins's illegitimate half-brother, Father Paddy, the drunken Irish priest.
The other hallmark of the Magnum series is the combination of heart and comedy - even the most dramatic episodes have moments of comedy, and there are a number of purely comedic episodes that contain a surprising amount of heart. Cases in point: "Flashback," where Magnum literally dreams up the solution to a case he's working on by transporting himself (in his dream) to 1936. Similarly, master ham-meisters Ernest Borgnine and Donnelly Rhodes (best known to Canadians from DaVinci's Inquest, Danger Bay, and Soap) guest star in "Mr. White Death" and "...of Sound Mind" respectively, two shows that can only be described a comedies.
Overall, most of the episodes are good, and those that aren't still have something about them that helps build the overall ambiance of the series. It's certainly the best season so far."
Ivan, did you see the sunrise this morning?
C. J. Husing | California United States | 02/02/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
Never mind the rest of the episodes in this DVD set, it's worth the money just for the season opener, the two part "Did You See the Sunrise?" For my money, it was the best TV episode EVER.
We learn that during the Vietnam War, Magnum, TC, and a guy named Nuzo had escaped from a North Vietnam POW camp where they had suffered under the sadistic KGB Colonel "Ivan."
Nuzo then returns to 1982 Hawaii to tell TC that Ivan is back after them--the only three to ever escape from him. Meanwhile, Colonel Buck Greene of Naval Intelligence knows that the Soviets are up to something--and that it involves Magnum.
The real payoff of this two parter comes at the end. The Soviet plot is thwarted, with Magnum, Rick, Colonel Greene, Lt. Maggie Poole, and Admiral Hawkes all working together in the end. But the State Department decide not to offend the Soviets and let Ivan go.
As Magnum tells us in his voiceover: "That wasn't good enough."
Magnum ambushes Ivan and takes him into the woods at gunpoint. But Ivan tells Magnum that he is a man of fair play and honor and would not shoot an unarmed man. As Ivan moves past Magnum to go back to his limousine, Magnum asks him that question in the title above and then raises his M1911A1 pistol and fires.
I remember watching this episode as a child and being shocked--this was not how TV action heroes behaved in 1982. It was edgy, hardcore stuff for back then. Yet it ultimately fit with Magnum's character of doing what had to be done despite government bureaucracy. It was one act on the small screen something everyone frustrated with kowtowing to evil could enjoy. No wonder that nearly every Magnum fan lists this episode as their favorite.
(Curiously, this incident never came back to haunt Magnum. One can only think Admiral Hawkes and Colonel Greene were happy he acted.)
Every other episode on these three discs are just gravy."