Click here to return to the main site.

Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

The Complete First Season


Starring: Peter Falk
Distributor: Fabulous Films Ltd / Fremantle Media Enterprises
RRP: £29.99


Certificate: PG
Release Date: 22 October 2018

Columbo, television’s greatest bumbling detective comes to Blu-ray for the first time, fully restored and in hi-definition. Starring Peter Falk in his 4-time Emmy-winning role as the cigar-chomping, trench coat-wearing police lieutenant. This 3-disc collection includes every episode from the series’ first season, as well as the two original Columbo TV Pilot movies: 'Prescription: Murder' and 'Ransom For A Dead Man'...

The first season of Columbo was originally broadcast in 1971/2 and features notable guest stars including Leslie Nielsen, Robert Culp, Ray Milland, Eddie Albert, Suzanne Pleshette, Don Ameche and Roddy McDowall.

The collection doesn't start with the two 'Pilot' episodes, as you'd expect. These are on the last disc. It opens with the first proper episode, 'Murder by the Book' which was directed by a young, 25-year-old, Steven Spielberg (I wonder whatever happened to him). To be fair this works better, as the first of the 'Pilot' episodes is quite a bit different in style. For starters Falk looks quite a bit younger and the character of Columbo is a little different to how most will remember him. With 'Murder by the Book' Columbo is exactly as you'll remember him, even if you've only ever watched a handful of episodes from across the series's entire run.

Each episode pretty much follows the same formula. A murder is committed, where we the audience see who the killer is. It always appears to be the perfect crime, but then along comes Inspector Columbo, who finds some unimportant fact in the murder to be problematic. This eats away at him and sends him down various lines of investigation until he finally trips up the killer - who is usually too cocky and self-assured for their own good.

There are no extras of any description, which is a shame, but no doubt helps to keep the price down. In addition the episodes are spread over three discs - which would be acceptable for a DVD, but this is Blu-ray where the discs can hold a lot more.

That nitpicking aside, if you don't already own this on DVD, and fondly remember it from your youth, you might be surprised to discover how well it's aged. Yes some of the fashions don't look quite so hot, but Columbo himself could have walked out of a recent TV series, and the drama is just as engaging now as it was back in the '70s. It's certainly aged a lot better than the majority of the shows from that time. The remastering of the original prints also helps greatly.


Darren Rea

Buy this item online

Each of the store links below opens in a new window, allowing you to compare the price of this product from various online stores.