Finally! Friday: Brief Explanation + The Streets of San Francisco, Season 1

Welcome to Finally! Friday, an occasional feature to break up the (loooooong) list of things I need to revisit for Found-Again Fridays. Inspired last year when I watched Flashdance only 30 years after I first meant to, I’ll be writing about stuff you… and sometimes I… can’t believe I never watched/read before—and for this week, it’s 1970s crime drama The Streets of San Francisco.

Why Finally?  It’s a police drama with a young Michael Douglas in it. If you had any idea how much Law & Order I’ve seen, or how many times I’ve watched Romancing the Stone, you too would be flabbergasted.

…by my not having seen Streets, that is.

The Premise: San Francisco homicide detectives Mike Stone (Karl Malden, who to a demographic including me will forever be “the guy from the American Express ads”) and Steve Keller (Michael Douglas) solve a variety of crimes, from armed robberies gone wrong to apparent political assassinations.

It’s the classic buddy-cop formula: Keller is a bit more the charge-ahead man of action, while the older Stone is craftier (and has an uncanny ability to talk crazed killers into giving themselves up). Still, neither is a slouch in any department, and most of the fun lies in watching them work together to find the killer. And like some of the shows that followed it—Simon & Simon and Magnum, P.I. come to mind—the city itself becomes a kind of supporting character in Streets of San Francisco.

As does Douglas's hair. Look at that—it's a force of nature! Or a force against nature. It's definitely a force, at any rate.
As does Douglas’s hair. Look at that—it’s a force of nature! Or a force against nature. It’s definitely a force, at any rate.

The Verdict: If you are the sort of person who watches Dragnet ’67 for the funky clothes and slang, you’ll love this show. If you like cop shows, you’ll like this show. If your hobby is spotting character actors, you’re going to yell “Vic Tayback!!” a lot. (You’ll also see David Soul as a man hiding his ethnic background and David “Ellery Queen’s dad” Wayne as a newspaper seller.) And if you’ve ever seen Police Squad!, you’re about to find out why they did that title-card gag. Tremendous fun, just dated enough to be interesting rather than absurd.

Might go well with:  Seafood, Dragnet, and to the surprise of no one, Romancing the Stone.  You have to admit that hair is incredible.

Next time: Benton Quest vs. Blofeld Zin.




J. A.

It reads. It writes. It watches. It researches. It overdoes many of those things!

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