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Naked City - The Complete Series Review




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Rating
Video:   6/10
Audio:   6/10
Extras:   1/10

Cop Show - No Nudity
by Gord Lacey (All reviews)
11/27/2013

    Now available for the first time ever, experience the complete series hailed as "Not just another cop show" by Time Magazine. One of the most innovative police shows in television history, Naked City puts a human face on crime, going beyond a simplistic portrayal of good vs. evil to delve into the complex personal dramas of the people involved.

    This collection contains all 4 seasons (138 episodes) on 29 DVDs from the acclaimed Emmy® Award-winning classic TV series.
My introduction to Naked City was when I was younger, maybe 10 years old, and it's something I still remember. Scanning the TV guide was full of let-downs back then... shows like The Avengers (not a cartoon about superheroes) and Monty Python's Flying Circus (it's not a circus, and no one flies around), but the worst was Naked City, which definitely isn't about a city full of naked people! It was only when I started this website that I discovered what the show really was; a 60s cop show set in NYC, but I still hadn't seen an episode until this set was released.

Image Entertainment has put together this massive set which includes all 138 episodes on 29 DVDs. The first season of the show was 1/2 hour, before going to a full hour for seasons 2-4 (which explains the disc count). Here's a list of every episode in the set, along with the running time:

Season 1, Disc 1 (3:27:23)
Meridian (25:54)
Nickel Ride (25:55)
Line of Duty (25:54)
Sidewalk Fisherman (25:55)
The Violent Circle (25:56)
Stakeout (25:56)
No More Rumbles (25:56)
Belvedere Tower (25:57)

Season 1, Disc 2 (3:27:21)
The Bird Guard (25:54)
The Other Face of Goodness (25:55)
Lady Bug, Lady Bug (25:58)
Susquehanna 4-7598 (25:56)
And a Merry Christmas to the Force on Patrol (25:56)
The Explosive Heart (25:55)
The Manhole (25:52)
Even Crows Sing Good (25:55)

Season 1, Disc 3 (3:27:12)
Burst of Passion (25:53)
Goodbye, My Lady Love (25:48)
The Shield (25:56)
One to Get Lost (25:56)
Hey, Teach! (25:54)
Ticker Tape (25:56)
Fire Island (25:55)
Ten Cent Dreams (25:54)

Season 1, Disc 4 (3:27:27)
The Bumper (25:57)
A Running of Bulls (25:56)
Fallen Star (25:56)
Beyond Truth (25:56)
Baker's Dozen (25:54)
The Rebirth (25:56)
Four Sweet Corners (25:56)
The Sandman (25:56)

Season 1, Disc 5 (3:01:30)
Turn of Events (25:57)
A Little Piece of the Action (25:56)
The Bloodhounds (25:57)
The Scorpion Sting (25:55)
Saw My Baby There (25:55)
The Canvas Bullet (25:56)
A Wood of Thorns (25:54) Season 2, Disc 1 (3:25:56)
A Death of Princess (51:36)
The Pedigree Sheet (51:25)
A Succession of Heartbeats (51:27)
Down the Long Night (51:28)

Season 2, Disc 2 (3:25:30)
To Walk in Silence (51:29)
Killer with a Kiss (51:27)
Debt of Honor (51:30)
The Human Trap (51:04)

Season 2, Disc 3 (3:24:11)
The Man Who bit a Diamond in Half (50:59)
Bullets Cost too Much (51:04)
Murder is a Face I Know (51:07)
Landscape with Dead Figures (51:01)

Season 2, Disc 4 (3:24:03)
A Hole in the City (51:03)
The Well-Dressed Termite (50:57)
The Day is Rained Mink (50:59)
Button in the Haystack (51:04)

Season 2, Disc 5 (3:24:17)
Shoes for Vinnie Winford (51:05)
The Deadly Guinea Pig (51:00)
Vegeance is a Wheel (51:04)
The Fault in our Stars (51:08)

Season 2, Disc 6 (3:23:44)
Tombstone for a Derelict (51:04)
A Memory of Crying (51:08)
New York to L.A. (51:09)
A Very Cautious Boy (50:23)

Season 2, Disc 7 (3:23:50)
Economy of Death (50:58)
C3H5(NO3)3 (50:51)
Make-Believe Man (51:04)
To Dream Without Sleep (50:57)

Season 2, Disc 8 (3:24:03)
A Kettle of Precious Fish (50:55)
Sweet Prince of Delancy Street (51:01)
The Day the Island Almost Sank (50:59)
Take and Put (51:08)

Season 3, Disc 1 (3:22:55)
Take off Your Hat when a Funeral Passes (50:46)
Dead on the Field of Honor (50:37)
The Corpse Ran Down Mulberry Street (50:41)
The Fingers of Henri Tourelle (50:51)

Season 3, Disc 2 (3:23:05)
A Wednesday Night Story (50:45)
The Tragic Success of Alfred Tiloff (50:40)
Which is Joseph Creeley? (50:52)
Show me the Way to go Home (50:48)

Season 3, Disc 3 (3:23:22)
The Hot Minerva (50:50)
Requiem for a Sunday Afternoon (50:56)
Ooftus Goofus (50:53)
Bridge Party (50:43)

Season 3, Disc 4 (3:23:40)
The Face of the Enemy (50:53)
Portrait of a Painter (50:55)
The Night the Saints Lost Their Heads (50:56)
The Contract (50:56)

Season 3, Disc 5 (3:22:56)
One of the Most Important Men in the Whole World (50:33)
A Case Study of Two Savages (50:43)
Let Me Die Before I Wake (50:49)
To Walk Like a Lion (50:51)

Season 3, Disc 6 (3:23:12)
Today the Man Who Kills Ants is Coming (50:53)
A Run for the Money (50:41)
The One Marked Hot Gives Cold (50:52)
Without Stick of Sword (50:46)

Season 3, Disc 7 (3:22:54)
Lament for a Dead Indian (50:41)
The Sweetly Smiling Face of Truth (50:36)
...And if any are Frozen Warm Them!... (50:53)
Strike a Statue (50:44)

Season 3, Disc 8 (4:13:41)
The Multiplicity of Herbert Konish (50:53)
The King of Venus will Take Care of You (50:40)
The Rydecker Case (50:43)
Memory of a Red Trolley Car (50:34)
Goodby Mam, Hello Auntie Maud (50:51)

Season 4, Disc 1 (3:23:25)
Hold for Gloria Christmas (50:53)
Idylls of a Running Back (50:54)
Daughter am I in my Father's House (50:53)
And by the Sweat of Thy Brow (50:45)

Season 4, Disc 2 (3:23:41)
Kill me While I'm Young so I can Die Happy (50:57)
Five Cranks for Winter... Ten Cranks for Spring (50:58)
Go Fight City Hall (50:47)
Tormet Him Much and Hold Him Long (50:59)

Season 4, Disc 3 (3:22:49)
Make it Fifty Dollars and Add Love to Nona (50:51)
A Horse has a big Head let him Worry! (50:34)
Dust Devil on a Quiet Street (50:56)
The Virtues of Madame Douvay (50:28)

Season 4, Disc 4 (3:23:15)
King Stanislaus and the Knights of the Round Stable (50:28)
Spectre of the Rose Street Gang (50:56)
Don't Knock it till You've Tried it (50:53)
Her Life in MOving Pictures (50:58)

Season 4, Disc 5 (3:22:54)
Robin Hood and Clarence Darrow, they went out with the Bow and Arrow (50:55)
The Apple Falls not far from the Tree (50:54)
Beyond this Place There be Dragons (50:52)
Man Without a Skin (50:13)

Season 4, Disc 6 (3:22:27)
Prime of Life (50:21)
Bringing Far Places Together (50:48)
The Highest of Prizes (50:54)
Alive and Still a Second Lieutenant (50:24)

Season 4, Disc 7 (4:14:06)
Stop the Parade! A Baby is Crying (51:00)
On the Battle Front: Every Minute is Important (51:00)
Howard Running Bear is a Turtle (50:48)
No Naked Ladies in Front of Giovanni's House! (50:24)
Carrier (50:54)

Season 4, Disc 8 (4:13:29)
Color Schemes Like Never Before (50:52)
The S.S. American Dream (50:56)
One, Two, Three, Rita Rakahowski (50:56)
Golden Lads and Girls (50:22)
Barefoot on a Bed of Coals (50:23)

Video

I went back and forth and back and forth on the video score for this set. The first season, the half hour episodes, looks pretty bad. Quite a bit of dust and debris in the picture, the picture jumps around a bit, but it's really, really dark. Dark enough that there's quite a bit of detail lost in the some of the episodes. Things get better with the second season on, with the black-level becoming much, much better, though still a problem in a few episodes. I think the worst episodes in the set are "The Sandman," and "Economy of Death." I didn't have time to watch every single episode in the set, but I made sure to at least skip through them all looking at the quality. I think it's safe to say that these episodes weren't digitally remastered like Image has done with some other shows (like the Twilight Zone).

Audio

The audio, an English mono track, sounds fairly good. Of course there are some issues here are there, the odd pop, and some hiss, but I found the dialog easy to understand. There aren't any subtitles or captions, so the hearing impaired fans won't have a reason to buy this.

Extras - How we rate extras

Commercials (12:06)
I love watching some of these old commercials. They're certainly don't make them like this now. There are 12 commercials on the first disc of season 4.

Summary

I found this show really interesting to watch. Most of the cop shows I view are newer, within the last 15 years, and they have a certain pace and style to then. This was completely different, it was a lot slower, but the stories were also told a different way. The cops were secondary characters in the episodes, with the focus being on the criminals, or the guest stars. I heard the show referred to as an anthology series, and while that's not entirely true because it had recurring characters, I see why it could be called that. It was definitely different than what I'm used to. Also, this show has some of the craziest episode titles I've ever come across.

One of the most impressive things with this show is the list of guest stars. Just look at these names! Gene Hackman, Robert Duvall, Dustin Hoffman, William Shatner, Christopher Walken, Carroll O'Connor, Jean Stapleton, Jon Voight, Jack Klugman, Dennis Hopper, Martin Sheen, Peter Fonda, Robert Loggia, Robert Redford, Suzanne Pleshette, Tom Bosley, Alan Alda, Leslie Nielsen, James Coburn, Burgess Meredith, Peter Falk, George C. Scott, Rod Steiger, Diahann Carroll, James Cann, Ed Asner, Tip Torn, Dianne Ladd, Nancy Marchand, Telly Savalas, Martin Balsam, Doris Roberts, Walter Matthau, Al Lewis, Mickey Rooney, Vic Morrow and George Segal. Wow!

I also had the opportunity to test out the customer service side of Image Entertainment with this set. The set I received had been partially crushed, wrecking the 5-disc case, and two of the 8-disc cases. They can still hold the discs, but the top of them are pretty much gone. I decided to email the Image Entertainment customer service email and ask them where I could get replacement cases, since I've been unable to locate them online. It's been over 2 weeks, and I still haven't received a reply. I've done similar tests with other studios, and they usually respond within a couple of days; emails are always sent using my "home" email address, not my @tvshowsondvd.com email, since this is how consumers would contact the studio as well.

I'm sure fans are excited to own the entire series of Naked City in one set, I just wish the episodes had been remastered. More bonus material would have been nice as well, but I know it can be extremely difficult to include on older shows. Some readers got lucky and picked this up from Amazon.com for $25 during the preorder period. That's an absolutely steal on this set; it currently sells for $75, which is more reasonable for a set of this size (and that's discounted from $180 SRP).


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