'The Fugitive - Season Two, Vol. 1'
(David Janssen, et al / 4-Disc DVD / NR / (1963) 2008 / Paramount)
Overview: Dr. Richard Kimble is accused to be the murder of his wife. The night before his execution he escapes. The only chance to prove his innocence is to find the man who killed hi wife. Kimble persecuted by the Lt. Gerard risks his life several times when he shows his identity to help other people out of trouble.
DVD Verdict: At long last, the groundbreaking second season of the hit TV series "The Fugitive" comes to DVD. This show, which lasted from 1963-1967, was suspenseful, moving, engaging, and original. This was the first successful television show that took the dramatic formula of putting the hero with new characters and in new situations every week to another level. In previous shows such as Cheyenne, Maverick, and many others, the hero was a wanderer going from town to town to earn a living. In this show, the hero had no choice. He had to run to stay out of jail.
Charged with murdering his wife, a crime he did not commit, Dr. Richard Kimble, played by David Janssen, escapes from the law when the train taking him to his execution wrecks. Tracked doggedly by police inspector Gerard, Kimble wanders across the country running from the law while trying to track down the one-armed man he saw leaving his house the night his wife was murdered. As he wanders the country, he helps many people with their problems, all the while trying to find the one armed man and trying to avoid Gerard.
But, and believe it or not, these 15 episodes from "The Fugitive"s second season are without music! Yes, all of Pete Rugolo's gorgeous, Emmy-winning score -- REMOVED! All the underscoring from the original series has been replaced. Imagine buying a DVD of "Gone With the Wind" and finding that the glorious musical score had been replaced and you will have some idea of the impact this kind of change makes. Gone are the wondeful musical cues that open and close the "acts" in each episode, as well as Rugolo's haunting melody that characterized Dr. Kimble's predicament, replaced by bland, generic sounding mush.
The folks at CBS/Paramount have made a colossal blunder here, destroying the very product they seek to sell. This is not even an approximation of the series as it originally aired, something anyone buying these discs has a right to expect. In addition, at least one of the episodes, "Ballad For a Ghost" is presented in cut form, and the end credits have been tampered with to give the creators of the new score a mention.
Anyway, that aside, this classic show had all the goods - great acting by Janssen, Morse, and the many guest stars, fantastic narration by William Conrad, clever, well-written scripts, and taut direction. This show had it all, and made Dr. Richard Kimble one of the most famous and sympathetic characters television history. We can be glad that it has finally made it to DVD, but rather like other Paramount DVD releases, this is simply the first volume of episodes from season two (15, to be precise).
Splitting one season into two volumes is quite ridiculous (personally speaking) and with no extras it just takes it to a whole new monetary level for Paramount over the fans/consumers. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs but does not come with any Special Features.