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April 16, 2014

Stingray: Complete Series - DVD review

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 7th 2008 2:38PM

StingrayThis is like Christmas for me.

I've been waiting for so many years for this show to come out on DVD. Sure, I have all of the episodes on videotape, but I've watched them so many times I was afraid that the tapes would eventually disintergrate into dust. And Stingray was a show that lasted for less than two seasons over 20 years ago and I didn't think that it would ever come out on DVD. So this is a very exciting month for me.

Packaging: Very simple plastic case that opens like a book and houses five discs. Nothing fancy, but I really did like the fact that on the left hand side of the case, under Disc One, is a series of trivia facts about the show, and on the right hand side, under the other discs, is the episode guide. And each disc has a picture of Nick Mancuso from the show. Not exactly thrilling, but just a couple of years ago I didn't think that Stingray would ever see the light of day on DVD, so it's cool they actually added at least a couple of touches.

Audio/Video: Oh, it's so good to have this show from the mid-80s on DVD, with much clearer sound and picture than on my 22 year-old videotapes. I've watched these episodes a zillion times but when I watch them on DVD I see things in the background and colors I didn't notice before. The show also had a bunch of original songs in many of the episodes (and pop songs from the 80s), and it's cool to hear them with great sound too.

Extras: Absolutely none. Zero. Nada. And that's a shame. I would have really loved to have heard a commentary by Nick Mancuso or Stephen J. Cannell on at least the pilot (even the Equalizer DVD had that), but there aren't any extras at all. Oh well.

Misc: Nick Mancuso plays a mysterious stranger who helps people. Not for money, but for a favor. Some time in the future, he will return to you and ask you for a favor, and whatever that favor was, you must do it. Pretty simple transaction, but you don't know what the favor will be or when he'll show up. He usually used the favor to help another person. One of the great things about the show is that even though it's called Stingray and he drove a black 1965 Corvette Stingray, this wasn't a car chase show. There's little attention paid to the car in general, actually, except for when people tried to run his plates and found out it was assigned to either the Governor's mansion or the White House. We don't know much about this guy, other than a few quick flashbacks. Maybe we would have learned more if the show lasted more than 25 episodes.

Guest stars you'll see include Doug Savant (Desperate Housewives), Ray Wise (Reaper), Robert Vaughn, John Amos, Jeff Conaway, Patricia Wettig, Gregory Sierra, and Susan Blakely.

If you're a fan of this show, this is probably a happy time for you too. If you're not familiar with this show or you're too young to have seen it when it originally aired (I don't think it has been in syndication in years, unless you're in Europe) and you like shows of this type, you should definitely check it out.

Update: Looks like there is some editing that's been done. The pilot is actually the syndicated version of the pilot, and it takes out the entire subplot of Ray helping the waitress find her daughter. And music is changed in a couple of episodes: in "Less Than The Eye Can See," Pete Townshend's "Give Blood" is switched for a generic rock song, and in "That Terrible Swift Sword," a song is replaced. Oh well. Most of the original music is here though.

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Brian J.

Yeah, it is great to have the show on DVD. I confess I have one tiny complaint, however -- the pilot of the show was released on the DVD only in its syndicated form. So the DVD contains the show as it was edited down to make it into 2 episodes. Some scenes were cut in the process. I wrote the nice folks at Stephen J. Cannell's site and they said that they do not have the original pilot as it first aired; they only have the syndicated version. Too bad. I posted a few details about some of the short missing scenes on my Amazon review of the set. Anyone happen to have a recording of the pilot as it originally aired...?

April 09 2008 at 6:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ms. Randi Scott

Wonderful, very accurate dscription of the DVDs.

I, too, have played my VCRs to the point where they are bad. Now I made copies of the DVDs so I ave new VCRs of this show.

Too bad it had such a short run, but most of the episodes filmed are very good. The pilot, "Orange Blossem", Gemini and a couple of others have great storylines and acting.

PS Nick Mancuso is great in the movie "Loving Evangeline."

April 08 2008 at 10:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
wilckmh

Where's it available in the US?

April 07 2008 at 4:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ras Thavas

I loved this show. Looks like I'll be buying another DVD set this weekend :-)

April 07 2008 at 3:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
s thompson

I recall really enjoying this show when I was younger. As I recall, the show was a midseason replacement for two years in a row. The biggest mystery to me was why it never really caught on. (I think CBS even ran repeats of it back when they aired crime shows against Carson and Letterman.)

April 07 2008 at 3:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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