I was a huge fan of the Robert B. Parker Spenser novels before they were adapted for TV. The show itself had a lot of good qualities. Robert Urich did not really pull off Spenser, but then I don't know who could have. Spenser, a former prizefighter turned poem-quoting, gourmet-cooking, iron-pumping super private eye, was and is the kind of character who can never be captured fully. Urich brought his own charisma and familiar TV presence to the role, and made it his own, in company with the brilliant portrayal of Hawk by Avery Brooks, before his Star Trek: Deep Space Nine days. Filmed on location in Boston, the series captured a lot of the good qualities of the books. The four TV movies presented here were an attempt to recapture the series after its cancellation. The results are a mix: the first two are fine, the second two are pretty dismal. Ceremony and Pale Kings and Princes had the guiding hand of Parker in the adaptation, and Urich and Brooks are in fine form, perfectly recapturing their chemistry from the TV show. A lot of people didn't like the recasting of Susan Silverman with Barbara Williams, but I think she's great, tough and sexy and well-involved in the stories. For unknown reasons, the two movies that followed, Judas Goat and A Savage Place, are pretty bad. Parker was not involved, Susan was recast yet again, to detrimental impact this time, and the films are really cheap-looking. Everyone but Urich seems to be just going through the motions. What would really work is to have the first season of the TV show put out on DVD! A note on location: Toronto (where the movies were filmed) can't really look like Boston, but in the latter two films, they even give up trying. Weirdly, Judas Goat is set in Ottawa ("home of the Parliament Buildings," as one character lectures) but is still filmed in Toronto! Anyway, it's good to have both Urich and Spenser back on film, a welcome relief from the only recent Spenser films, those dreadful Joe Mantegna shows made for A&E. Remember, it's with an S, like the poet!