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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

The Rockford Files
Season One


Starring: James Garner
Distributor: Fabulous Films Ltd / Fremantle Media Enterprises
RRP: £39.99


Certificate: PG
Release Date: 08 October 2018

James Garner stars as Jim Rockford, a private investigator who lives and works out of a house trailer at the beach in Malibu, Los Angeles. Charging $200 per day plus expenses, he’s not the cheapest detective available, but he’s the best. Jim relies on his brain not brawn to solve a case, and frequently his charm. An ex-convict, once imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit, Jim has a penchant for taking cases that are closed by the LAPD – those the police were sure had been resolved...

The Rockford Files ran for six seasons between 1974 and 1980. From the start the show managed to hit the ground running. This is in no small part to the likable quality of the show's main character, Jim Rockford, played by James Garner.

I was four when the show started broadcasting and have to admit that I don't recall having seen an episode before I was sent this to review. Yes, I was aware of it, but I don't actually remember ever sitting down and watching it on TV. It's pretty obvious that later shows like The A-Team and Magnum P.I. drew most of their inspiration from The Rockford Files.

There are some issues with the show, but this is more the style of the times. On the first two-parter episode the recap is just way too long, focusing on things that don't really matter. And the final episode's final scene has an overly long and unintentionally hilarious chase sequence.

Guest stars in this first season include a couple of appearances by Lindsay Wagner (who would go on to play Jaime Sommers in The Bionic Woman (1976–1978)), Ned Beatty, Linda Evans (Krystle Carrington in Dynasty) and Diana Muldaur (who Star Trek: The Next Generation will remember her from her role as Dr. Pulaski in the show's second season).

The picture quality is crisp and clear and I was surprised that the '70s fashions didn't detracted too much from what is still an enjoyable series. Yes it's incredibly formulaic (there's usually an issue with Jim getting paid, there's normally a damsel in distress, there's always a car chase and a bit of fisticuffs and Jim occasionally gets knocked out...) but the quality of the scripts never disappoints.

If you fondly remember this from its original broadcast, you might be surprised at how well it's aged.


Darren Rea

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