Before I started this blog, I was turning out weekly reviews for a super website called DVDVerdict. As a “judge” on the site, it was my job to review new DVD’s keeping to the site’s courtroom style.
Today, I’d like to revisit my 2007 review of Alias Smith and Jones: Season One.
Alias Smith & Jones is one of my all-time favorite television series. I fell in love with it as a kid and it hasn’t lost one ounce of its charm 35 years later. The primary draw of the series is the relationship between the two leads. Heyes and Curry are the yin and the yang. Heyes is the thinker, the planner, the one who keeps them reaching for the prize when it seems like an unlikely dream. Curry is the fast gun, the one with the temper—but also the one with the soft heart and the easy smile. On screen, Duel and Murphy had the chemistry of a Redford and Newman, though you won’t really see it if you start with the series pilot.
The pilot movie (which is included on this DVD set) was done as a ninety-minute TV movie helmed by Universal staple, Glen A. Larson (Battlestar Galactica, Hardy Boys, Knight Rider). Much more slapstick than the series itself, the movie has a Disney-esque feel to it as we see Heyes and his gang of screw-ups attempt to rob a train and a bank. The pilot is so humorous that it’s hard to imagine these outlaws are much of a threat to anyone. The sense of danger to our boys is almost non-existent.
The show was picked up as a mid-season replacement in January of 1971, and Roy Huggins (Maverick, Baretta) took creative control of the series, personally writing dozens of the episodes under the pseudonym John Thomas James. With Huggins came a change in the feel of the show. The humor went from slapstick to witty, the drama ratcheted up a notch, and the chemistry between stars Duel and Murphy blossomed.
Continue reading the review at DVD Verdict. . .