Right up front I'll admit that I wasn't a huge fan of "The Fugitive" when it aired on network television for four seasons starting in 1963. Oh, I watched it, along with most other Americans, but I was very young at the time and the show didn't make a strong impression on me. Nor did actor David Janssen, who played the title role.
Fast-forward 10 years to 1973, though, when Janssen returned to network television as crusty private detective Harry Orwell in the short-lived series "Harry O." That one DID make a strong impression on me, and I've been anxiously awaiting its arrival on DVD for--well, for about as long as DVDs have been around. At last my waiting is over. Warner Brothers finally released the first season in a six-DVD set that includes all 22 episodes plus the original pilot, all in color. Hopefully the second and final season will follow soon. All six DVDs come in a case no thicker than the type that normally contains just one DVD--it's very efficient packaging.
If you grew up at a certain time and had any interest in quality television shows, you're probably already familiar with "Harry O," and buying this set will be a no-brainer. If you've never heard of it but are a David Janssen fan, you should treat yourself to this series. He brings a maturity and world-weariness to the role of Harry Orwell that were missing from his portrayal of Richard Kimble in "The Fugitive." Orwell seems to be a character specifically designed for Janssen to play, and the actor's performances in the show are superb--as are those of the supporting cast, especially Anthony Zerbe, and guest stars including Stefanie Powers, Linda Evans, Martin Sheen and Cab Calloway.
Here's the place where I'd normally gripe about the fact that this DVD set is: a) burned-to-order on disks of questionable longevity, and b) quite expensive considering the utter lack of extras. But I guess I'm slowly accepting the reality that high-priced, made-to-order DVDs are better than none at all. And this set IS marginally cheaper than "The Fugitive" and "The FBI," in which each season was split into two DVD sets, each about the same price as the entire first season of "Harry O."
The data side of Disk 6 in my set came with a very deep, inch-long radial scratch. None of the DVDs were loose inside the case when the order arrived, so the damage didn't occur during shipment. I watched that disk immediately, just in case I might have to return it, but it worked fine. So now I've started back at the beginning, watching each and every episode of this superb series that demonstrates just how good television drama could be 40 years ago.