THE UNKNOWN STUNTMAN - 'THE FALL GUY' SEASON 1 DVD REVIEW
by Gord Lacey
Lee Majors as Colt SeaversWhen he's not crashing cars, setting himself on fire or jumping out of airplanes, Colt Seavers has a really dangerous job - he's a rough-and-tumble bounty hunter who always gets his man! Lee Majors stars as The Fall Guy, a fearless Hollywood stuntman for whom no stunt is too dangerous and no assignment too treacherous as he tracks notorious criminals, clashes with the mob and outfoxed wily bail-jumpers, never failing to bring them to injustice. Buckle your seat belt and get ready to relive all the death-defying excitement and explosive action of Season One of this TV classic... Go for it!
Fans have been excited for this release ever since the news hit back in March. I know I used to watch this show as a kid, but I couldn't recall what it was until I read the synopsis. It's a great idea for a show - a stuntman that turns to bounty hunting so he can pay his bills between movies. It's a premise that promises lots of action, and death-defying stunts, and the show delivers on both accounts.
Fox has a unique release strategy for this show - they're releasing it as a complete season (6 discs), and a Season 1, Volume 1, and Season 1, Volume 2 (each 3 discs). The content is exactly the same, you just have two ways to buy it.
Fox has done a nice job keeping The Fall Guy elements safe; the video on this set looks very good. Sure, there are some scenes that contain some dust and debris, but 95% of the shots are very clean. The problem scenes are mostly stock footage, or special effects shots; the regular scenes are nearly perfect. The colors are slightly muted, but the black levels are good. There's a chapter after the opening of the episode, but not one after Majors' monolog about being the unknown stuntman, so you may want to fast-forward a bit.
I noticed something odd in the pilot movie during the bar fight scene; the band performing in the background looked as though it was blurred out, and there's some strange editing around that scene. It appears as though Fox was trying to hide the band playing on stage - music replacement? Most likely.
I found the English mono audio track rather quiet, forcing me to turn my receiver up about 20% louder than my usual listening level. I noticed some minor audio distortion in a few of the episodes, though it wasn't very distracting. There are English and Spanish subtitles on the set.
There's no mention of music replacement on the back of the box, but Chris Cook dug up some information from NOMA Music and posted it to the Home Theater Forum. NOMA posted this on their website: "20th Century Fox home video release of "The Fall Guy" starring Lee Majors features eight new songs by Robert Allen, Octane Saints, Don Fisher and Matt King." This, coupled with the odd scene from the pilot, leads me to believe there were some music replacements on the set. Fox really needs to mention something like that on the box, not try to hide it (that's soooo 2003).
Remembering "The Fall Guy": An American Classic (14:04)
Glen A. Larson (series creator/executive producer), David Somerville (original lead singer of "The Diamonds"), Lee Majors ("Colt Seavers"/co-producer) and Heather Thomas ("Jody Banks") talk about the genesis of the series, and the fun they had working on it.
"The Unknown Stuntman": The Theme Song (4:26)
Want to hear the ORIGINAL theme song for the show? Take a look at this featurette.
It's no surprise that a show featuring a behind-the-scenes look at stuntmen would have a number of notable guest stars, just look at these names; James Coburn, Farrah Fawcett, Paul Williams, Robert Wagner, Milton Berle, Richard Kiel, Linda Evans, Richard Moll, Peter Breck, Jamie Farr, Don Ho, Cathy Lee Crosby, John Finn, Lou Ferrigno, Erin Gray, Tom Selleck, Buddy Hackett, Heather Locklear, Jan Murray and Hervé Villechaize.
When I was a kid I had a Fall Guy truck that I loved playing with. It was a brown plastic truck with a silver plastic piece for the lights, and I loved to send it speeding off jumps I had constructed. One day I sent it hurtling down a flight of stairs, and the plastic light piece broke off. I took it to my mom and asked her to buy me a new one because this one was broken. She explained that boys who break things don't get new things bought for them, and I would have to take better care of my things. That's my only memory of something associated with The Fall Guy, and since I broke the truck I've taken care of my things.
I enjoyed watching the first season set, and I think fans will be happy with the video quality, as well as the single-sided discs. The featurettes, while fairly short, were interesting to watch. I'm going to try to dig into the issue of the music replacement, that strange scene from the pilot, and why nothing is mentioned on the back of the box about either.
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