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Diagnosis Murder: The Complete First Season"
Quinn Blackburn
Studio: Paramount Home Video
Genre: TV-Series
September 12 2006
Special Features: Bonus episode: "It Never Entered My Mind" from Jake and the Fatman Rating: G

This entertaining medical mystery series began as a spin off from "Jake and the Fatman" in 1993. The central character, Dr. Mark Sloan, was played by much beloved actor Dick Van Dyke. His charisma and talent were definitely an integral part of the appeal of this show, but the wonderful supporting cast and solid writing shouldn't be overlooked either. Dr. Sloan worked at Community General Hospital (a fictional hospital set in Los Angeles), but he also worked as a police consultant. His son, Detective Steve Sloan, provided a personal connection to Dr. Sloan's sideline as a consultant and, interestingly enough, was played by Mr. Van Dyke's real son, Barry Van Dyke. I feel that their real-life relationship went a long way towards making their on-screen performances comfortable and realistic. ****

"Diagnosis Murder" was a tidy blend of mystery, medical knowledge, and likable characters with the added bonus of decent plots and humor. Similar in nature to the slightly more popular "Murder She Wrote", or perhaps more reminiscent of "Quincy Adams M.D", the particular blend of crime/mystery with a medical twist always seems to appeal to audiences. Personally, I tend to lean toward television shows that have a common thread but are different each week, which had a lot to do with my interest in this particular show. In all honesty though, "Diagnosis Murder" managed to hold my interest for only the first season. Perhaps this is because the show seemed to hit a plateau of popularity that kept it running for eight years, but it never really seemed to expand much beyond it's original premise. Without a doubt, there is a loyal fan base for this show and I'm sure they will be very well pleased to have this five disc set of season one available to them. If you have never seen this show and enjoy the blend of medicine and mystery, I would certainly recommend that you check this one out, but perhaps as a rental before deciding to purchase. ****

Image and Sound:

1.33:1 ratio Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, Available Audio Tracks: English

Special Features:

Bonus episode: "It Never Entered My Mind" from Jake and the Fatman is where the character of Dr. Sloan began. I'm sure fans appreciate the inclusion of this episode, but they would probably prefer to see a few more extras as well. True fans, however, will be grateful just to have the whole season available to them.

Final Words:

There isn't much to entice new viewers to this older show, but it does have a definite appeal for family audiences. It certainly paved the way for more urbane shows like "CSI" or "Law and Order". If you prefer to avoid more graphic shows like these while still retaining the medical mystery blend, than this just might be perfect for you. Apparently, there is no 'play all' possibility here and you'll have to select each episode. When purchasing DVDs of TV shows, I always prefer to have the option to either select and play individual episodes or just 'play all', so I consider that to be a minor drawback. Otherwise, an entertaining, mid-level show whose loyal fans will be eagerly anticipating season two.


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