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Remington Steele - Season 3

Fox // Unrated // April 18, 2006
List Price: $39.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Scott Weinberg | posted July 6, 2006 | E-mail the Author
The Series

Is there anything new that remains to be said about Remington Steele? I never watched the show when it was originally on TV, but since I'm a pretty big fan of Pierce Brosnan's work, I thought a quick time-trip back to the early 80s would make for a fun couple of hours.

And while Remington Steele is a perfectly cute and fluffy little adventure/romance series -- I'm guessing the first two seasons felt a whole lot fresher. Remington Steele ran from 1982 to 1987, and when its third season opened, we were treated to the second half of a cliffhanger that led to ... nowhere fast.

See, the gimmick of RS is this: Laura Holt is a private investigator who hires a charming scoundrel to act as "Remington Steele," thereby giving potential clientele a chisled and adventure-y face to look at. But the new Steele is more of a thief and a troublemaker than a well-intentioned do-gooder. But, of course, he's very charming.

So charming, in fact, that Laura falls crazy in love with him. As he does for her. But since it's a lot more interesting for the viewers when the lovebirds don't get together, the RS producers were always trying ways to keep Laura and Steele apart. It's an obvious gimmick, sure, but Brosnan (as Remington Steele) and Stephanie Zimbalist (as Laura Holt) definitely do manage to strike up an enjoyable chemistry. The weekly missions weren't always that dazzling, but the interplay between the leads (and sidekick Doris Roberts) makes up for the slower spots.

Also worthy of note is that Remington Steele was not only an adventure series and a romantic comedy, but it was one of the first weekly series to treat "professional" women as more than a novelty item. It's meant to be ironic that a very capable woman would have to hire a fake (male) detective just to pay the bills, and it's a theme that's not lost on the script-writers. Plus, when a show runs five full seasons, you get plenty of opportunities to explore your social commentary.

The DVD

Video: The full-frame transfers are just a little shadowy and grainy, but the episodes surely look better than they would with commercials.

Audio: Typical mono audio. Crank up the volume a little bit and it's good enough.

Extras: Scattered throughout the discs are a few nifty little goodies:

You'll find three audio commentaries, with oral contributions from series co-creator Michael Gleason, actresses Stephanie Zimbalist & Doris Roberts, and writers Jeff Melvoin, John Wirth, and Brad Kern. The chat tracks are suitably nostalgic and affectionate. Fans should give 'em a listen ... but it would have been cool to get Pierce on a track or two.

Three featurettes are also included: Steele Trio (9:50), which covers the third seasons three leads, Steele Michael (6:22), which centers on producer Michael Gleason and his scribe squad, and The Baking of Steele in the Chips (7:41), which throws a spotlight on one of the season's highlight episodes. Interviewed in the featurettes are Brosnan, Zimbalist, Roberts, Gleason, Melvoin, Wirth, Kern, and a few extra writers.

Final Thoughts

As someone who watched a bunch of Season Three, without ever having seen the show before ... I kinda liked it. The story structures get a little redundant, and the non-stop exposition speeches from Doris Roberts get a little silly, but the leads are fun, the adventures a bit flashy, and the sexual tension amped up to 11. (Well, 11 on the circa-1984 TV scale, anyway.)

Kudos to Fox for dishing out some supplemental treats for the fans, too.

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