Written by Hombre Divertido
In 1968 Jack Webb was in the midst of his second run as police sergeant Joe Friday on the incredibly popular police drama Dragnet. Webb had originally created the program for radio and brought it to television in 1952 where it remained on the air for seven years. Webb brought Dragnet back in 1967, while also planning to launch a similarly themed program based on patrol officers. With Dragnet once again a ratings hit, Webb would launch Adam–12. Like Dragnet, it would be a huge hit and remain on the air for seven years.
Webb not only knew that people had an interest in police stories, he also knew the fundamentals of successful television: keep it simple, focus on endearing characters, and leave the audience wanting more. Adam–12 had all these characteristics, and is a television classic.
Released on September 30th from Shout Factory are all twenty-six original episodes from season two, and it is rare to find any non-serial television show on DVD that will leave you wanting to watch the next episode like this collection will.
Ten years before we were introduced to Jon and Ponch on CHiPs, we met veteran police officer Pete Malloy, played by the former star of the popular series Route 66 Martin Milner, and rookie Jim Reed, played by relative newcomer Kent McCord. Their chemistry was solid, as Malloy was a strong calming force for the enthusiastic and over anxious Reed.
Adam–12 lacked the jocularity, personal life stories, flying cars, athletic adventures, and general cheesiness that peppered episodes of CHiPs. Like Dragnet, Adam–12 was based on real police cases, and played well in that era. Watching it now, it is clearly dated when compared to current law enforcement based entertainment endeavors, but is reminiscent of a simpler time in the world and on television.
Yes, some of the supporting characters were a bit much, and anyone who has taken the Universal Studios Tour will certainly recognize every exterior shot on the show, but by the second season Adam–12 had truly hit its stride. The writing was consistent, and like Dragnet; the thirty-minute format was perfect for the current television landscape.
It is rare that the launch of classic television show on DVD would actually have bonus material that is detrimental to the release as a whole, but the extras here are just incredibly weak and actually have little to do with Adam–12. Photos of historic law enforcement sites and training facilities used by real police officers would seem to have limited appeal, and added legal information to certain episodes in a format that should have been titled “Cop-up Video” is nothing more than a distraction. The worst of the bonus material are the episodes that include commentary by real officers who basically point out how things would be handled differently now, or the errors made in police procedure.
Recommendation: Despite the weak bonus material, this is just good television that will be appreciated by young and old alike. A great addition to all collections.