Created By: Eric Blakeney, Stephen J. Cannell
Starring: Richard Grieco, Lori Petty
The television spin-off is sometimes good (Frasier, Angel) and sometimes it falls seriously short of the original series (Joey, Time of Your Life). Booker falls somewhere in the middle.
In Season 3 of 21 Jump Street the character Dennis Booker (Richard Grieco) was introduced to the series. By the start of Season 4 he was spun off into his own series. Now a private investigator working for a large Japanese corporation, Booker continues to “break all the rules.” Along the way Lori Petty (Tankgirl, Point Break), Marcia Cross (Melrose Place, Desperate Housewives), Thomas Hayden Church (Wings, Sideways) and Don Cheadle (Boogie Nights, Ocean’s Eleven) all made guest appearances. My favorite guest star is Heavy D as a rival private investigator working the same case as Booker. I can never get enough of the “buddy cop” formula.
Booker aired during the 1989-1990 television season and a lot of the fashions and film style greatly reflect the times. The main titles are the biggest example of the times with its MTV, quick cut editing and black & white mixed with color reel. Still it was fun to take a twenty year step back in time to revisit Sunday nights on Fox. However, there are a couple of glaring omissions from this set. Twenty-two episodes were filmed of Booker but only twenty appear in this collection. “Deals and Wheels: Part 1” was a crossover with 21 Jump Street and appears on the season 4 box set of that show and “Someone Stole Lucille” which revolves around the theft of B.B. King’s guitar is also missing. So this is not a complete collection of the show. Also a few of the episodes are presented out of order from the original air date and Billy Idol’s “Hot In The City” has been replaced as the series theme song.
After a few episodes I started to realize that I have seen every episode of this show. Not only that but I vividly remember several characters and plot points. One thing I did not remember was that Lori Petty (as Suzanne Dunne) did not come onto the show until half way through the season. Once she became a cast member the show’s chemistry changed and it really found its legs. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to save the show and bring it back for a second season.
As I mentioned earlier, this is a spin-off of 21 Jump Street and because of that several characters make appearances on Booker. Holly Robinson Peete, Peter DeLuise, and Steven Williams all make cameos and the show has a hard time breaking away into its own entity because of the enormous shadow cast by 21 Jump Street. Still, Richard Grieco did a great job as Dennis Booker and I wish Fox had renewed the show for another season so we could see if Booker and Suzanne ever got together.
There is nothing spectacular about the video on this collection. It is presented in standard 4:3 ratio but the picture itself does not look too bad. The film must have been touched up a little because it does not look grainy and the color looks as good as something this old can look. Mill Creek apparently just wanted to get this collection on the market with as little work as possible.
Just like the video Mill Creek has not done anything spectacular on the audio. It is presented in mono and unless you have high end audio hooked up to your television the sound is just going to be all right.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
There are not any special features on this collection. Only the episodes are included on the discs. On a similar note the packaging is really wanting. Basically it’s a box with four dvds that are packaged individually in paper sleeves and no insert. Mill Creek really took the cheap way out on this one.
All in all I did enjoy watching the show again. I was surprised at how many of the episodes and plotlines that I remembered all these years later. Definitely worth checking out, even if it’s to only look at Richard Grieco’s perfectly coifed hair.
Overall (Not an Average) 6/10
The Season 6/10
The Video 5/10
The Audio 5/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 1/10
Overall (Not an Average) 6/10