Starring: Burt Reynolds, Ossie Davis
Guest Starring: Abe Vigoda, Maureen Stapleton, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Doug McClure, Dom DeLuise, Paul Gleason, Cicely Tyson, Charles Nelson Reilly
Before the 1990s and incarnations of serious crime drama and real life police shows such as: CSI: every major city and suburb and Law and Order: every adjective that describes law enforcement, the 1980s gave the viewing public fun over the top detective shows that were equal parts outlandish and fun self awareness. Those were the days that birthed B.L. Stryker.
B. L. Stryker stars Burt Reynolds as a former New Orleans detective who moves back to Florida to become private investigator. Following the 80s trend of Magnum P.I. and countless others, he has an older sidekick Oz (played by Ossie Davis) and a pet dog. It’s as though they were trying to cash in on the PI trend in television as well as the buddy cop movie that was running rampant at the time.
To be fair, this show works because it is so over the top and a bit cheesy. If you are a fan of this type of show, then you will really enjoy this release. Sadly, I barely remember this show from my childhood and was probably too busy watching other more kid friendly fare. I do have to admit that Burt Reynolds and Ossie Davis play their parts well. Even though this show is really cookie cutter, it works on some level. If you want serious crime drama, look elsewhere. May I suggest the previously mentioned CSI and Law and Order clones. If you want a fun action packed show that knows its nature and delivers on the laughs and fight scenes, check out B.L. Stryker.
My favorite part of this show is the opening on the DVD where a voiceover says, “Tonight Burt Reynolds is B.L. Stryker.” That really took me back to the days of Rip Tide and Knight Rider. Overall this a fun set for anyone that liked their crimes solvable and their action over the top. Besides, who wants more serious crime “drama.”? Hope you are listening NBC and CBS.
The video is produced in the original 4:3 aspect ratio which really works for this series. What I really like is that the video is clear and vibrant while still fitting the 1980s look. This is the mustached Burt Reynolds of yesteryear back to solve crime and he looks the part on this DVD. The menus are nice and easy to navigate. Again, this adds to the whole 1980s video quality. The video really is a strong point on this release.
The Dolby Digital audio is not overpowering. Thankfully, the theme song plays beautifully, but not in the HD over pretty way. I’m pleased they remastered the sound but kept the original feel. I know I harp on authenticity a lot, but it adds to the feel of the show.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
I love the packaging on this release. Big name studios can learn a lot from the TV Guide Presents packaging style. There are three discs in one Amaray case and four, that’s right four, discs in the second. Two amaray cases hold the entire series. When you place this on your shelf you also get a cool slipcover featuring the bandit himself, Burt Reynolds. How cool is that? Now, the drawback to this release is the lack of special features. We only get scripts to select episodes. There are no feature commentaries, deleted scenes, interviews, or making of documentaries. I would have loved to see an interview with Burt Reynolds or something. This really takes away from the overall package.
Overall (Not an Average) 6.5/10
The Show 7/10
The Video 8/10
The Audio 8/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 5/10
Overall (Not an Average) 6.5/10