Series Created by Jack Webb
Starring Jack Webb, Harry Morgan, and the city of Los Angeles
- An episode, “The Big Cut,” from the series’ run on radio
Released by: Universal.
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 format.
My Advice: Fans should consider it, the rest shouldn’t bother.
This is the website, Needcoffee.com. The staff here is responsible for reviewing the thousands of DVDs that travel to our headquarters daily. Some of them are comedies, some of them are dramas. Some of them hail from the silver screen; some of them are from the small screen. Some are critically acclaimed masterpieces and some are fetid pieces of diarrheic shit. Thatâ€™s where I come in. My name is ScottC and I carry an opinion.
The weather was wet off the coast of Iowa since weâ€™re underwater. I was working the TV Box Set Division out of Headquarters. The boss is Captain Widgett. He just received the first season of Dragnet 1967 and he wanted me to look into it. The show follows the cases of Sergeant Joe Friday (Webb) and Officer Frank Gannon (Morgan) solving crime in Los Angeles in this police procedural. And it’s heavy on the procedural. The detailed explanations were necessary for audiences of the time since they didn’t have the exposure to law and order we have now. So the series comes off as dull, boring and dated.
Webb’s narration gives travel time, the weather, and other bits of useless trivia. If you ever wanted an example of the worst way to introduce exposition, this is it. The maxim for most writers is “show, don’t tell,” but the writers of Dragnet are using an unsophisticated radio drama formula that needed to be changed for the television medium. Webb himself needed to change as well. Morgan gives a good performance, but that makes Webb’s Friday even stiffer. He obviously got the extra heavy starch in his dry cleaning. This can be said of the show as a whole.
The real shame of the show is that it does talk about real problems. Despite Leary and the hippy movement, LSD is a powerful drug and should have been used with the aid of a psychiatrist, not in a flop house with other addicts. Modern living in Los Angeles with the constant influx of new arrivals led to isolation and the loss of community that could stem juvenile crime. And you should give the car ahead of you a car length of space for every 10 miles per hour you are traveling. But Jack Webb, with his straight laced, clean cut, 50s patriarchal attitude makes you want to scream “Fuck you fuzz motherfucker! I ain’t listening to The Man! You just trying to oppress me and my lifestyle! Fight the power! Up the revolution!” Or something similar.
Cop shows have progressed so much in the years since 1967; you can almost smell the dust from the screen watching this. The only extra, an episode from the series when it was on radio, is somewhat interesting but without any context or information to enlighten the listener on what they’re listening to, it doesn’t edify the audience. The same could be said about the rest of the series. Shows this dated need context, otherwise they will appeal only to the hardcore fan and leave the rest of us scratching our heads. So Dragnet 1967 has been judged in this virtual court and in the next paragraph, the results of that judgment.
Dragnet 1967 was found to be uninteresting viewing and its accomplice, the box set of the first season, had no interesting special features to present to the court. Both were awarded 2 coffee cups as determined by the judge, me.