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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Columbo - The Complete Sixth and Seventh Seasons
Columbo - The Complete Sixth and Seventh Seasons
Universal // Unrated // November 14, 2006
List Price: $39.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jeffrey Robinson | posted December 3, 2006 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
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Highly Recommended
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The Sixth & Seven Season

The television series Columbo started out as a TV movie in 1968 and later in 1971 the second TV movie aired. In that same year, Columbo aired as a television series. The series is a mystery drama that revolves around Lieutenant Columbo (Peter Falk). Columbo is a well respected LAPD homicide detective, who has a unique way of solving crimes. Unlike many others, he has the ability to see things in a crime scene that others miss. The series is one of my favorite mysteries. It is riveting, gripping, and entertaining. For more details about this show please refer to DVD Talk's reviews of season one, season two, season three, season four, and season five

This collection of Columbo is made up of eight episodes, which include both season six and seven. The season six episodes include "Fade In To Murder", "Old-Fashioned Murder", "The Bye-Bye Sky-High I.Q. Murder Case", and "Try And Catch Me", where the season seven episodes include "How To Dial A Murder", "Murder Under Glass", "The Conspirators", and "Make Me A Perfect Murder". Each of the episodes continue the Columbo tradition by providing one episode after another that are entertaining, engaging, compelling, and amongst television's best.

There are a couple things that make Columbo the topnotch show it is. First of all, Peter Falk carries his role with near perfection. I have said this in previous reviews and I will say it again. Falk is amazing. He gives Columbo a great personality, as a slightly goofy, yet very smart detective. Another aspect of the show that sets it a part from others is how smart it is. The storylines do not rely on flash or sex appeal, but very intelligent and thought-provoking stories with criminals who can be likeable and bad at the same time.

For the season six episodes, all four offer intelligent and engaging storylines. The best is "Fade In To Murder", which guest stars a very common face to television, Star Trek 's William Shatner. Shatner plays Ward Fowler, who ironically plays America's most popular television detective Lucerne. Fowler commits murder and becomes Columbo's number one suspect. What makes this episode strong is how well Shatner plays the bad guy. He jumps between roles, providing a perspective of the crime from both Ward Fowler the actor and Lucerne the television detective. It is fun to see Columbo and Fowler/Lucerne work side-by-side.

Like season six, the four season seven episodes are also all topnotch. The first episode "How To Dial A Murder" is worth noting. In it, Columbo finds himself in the midst of a difficult case. Dr. Eric Mason, a renowned psychiatrist, kills his best friend for having an affair with his deceased wife. Dr. Mason setup the near-perfect murder with the near-perfect alibi. While at the doctor's office, Dr. Mason managed to kill someone all the way across town. How Columbo unravels the case from various small clues make it an intriguing one to follow.

Overall, the sixth and seventh seasons of Columbo continue to offer entertaining episodes that really make you think. The show lacks the flash of current crime dramas like CSI and focuses on developing the crimes and showing how Columbo is able to piece together what appears to be irrelevant information and stop the bad guys in their tracks.

Episode Guide

1. Fade In To Murder: Truth is stranger than fiction when a dashing TV actor who plays a detective onscreen decides to go head-to-head with Columbo in solving a desperate murder.
2. Old-Fashioned Murder: Bad blood poisons every element of a murder case when Columbo discovers that a long-buried family secret could have convinced some members to do the unthinkable.
3. The Bye-Bye Sky-High I.Q. Murder Case: Columbo finds himself involved in a mental game of cat-and-mouse with a genius accountant who believes he has carried off the perfect crime.
4. Try And Catch Me: Columbo is on quite a page-turner when a murder-mystery writer dares him to solve her best plotted mystery ever.
5. How To Dial A Murder: It's definitely a case of mind over matter when Columbo must figure out how and why a noted psychologist killed his best friend and assistant.
6. Murder Under Glass: It's time to take a bite out of crime when Columbo discovers that a world-famous restaurant critic will do anything to get away with blackmail.
7. The Conspirators: In this thrilling two-hour episode, Columbo must read between the lines in order to find the motive for a peaceful poet to take down a dangerous arms dealer.
8. Make Me A Perfect Murder: An ambitious network executive finds her ratings slipping, along with her patience, as Columbo questions her about murder and a needy star's demands get ridiculously out of control.

The DVD

Video:
The video is given in its original television aspect ratio of 1.33:1 full frame color. The picture quality is good considering its age. The image is a bit soft at times. For the most part, it looks good with a slight grain and no noticeable issues attributed with video compression.

Audio:
The audio in this release is in English 2.0 Dolby digital mono. The quality is quite good. The audio is fairly flat, which is due the show being dialogue driven and the mono track offers very little in terms of dynamics. This release also supports closed captioning and has subtitles in English.

Extras:
The past few releases (season three, four, and five) have included a bonus episode from the spin-off series Mrs. Columbo. This release did not. I was disappointed to not find the Kathryn Mulgrew starring series present. In short, there are no extras with this season set.

Final Thoughts:
The sixth and seventh seasons of Columbo feature eight well-written stories with one of the best television detectives facing some of the most sophisticated criminals. These criminals execute very well-planned murders and only leave tiny clues that most detectives would miss. The fun and excitement comes from seeing Columbo piece together all of the clues and take down bad guys. Like past season sets, this comes highly recommended.

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