Magnum P.I. – Season 7

Brrrrring Brrrring.

Hello? This is Robert. Oh, hi 1986, thanks for calling! What? Magnum PI Season 7, the best season of the entire series, is now available on DVD? Awesome thanks for calling.

Ok in case you didn’t get it, 1986 called and Magnum PI is in the house. This 5-disc set hit store shelves on October 30th, 2007 and if you haven’t picked it up yet, you’re failing at life. Ok, ok. I didn’t even realize Magnum PI was out on DVD already either, and I rue the mistake.

For anyone under the age of 24, let me explain. Magnum PI follows the adventures of Thomas Magnum, a Hawaiian private investigator who also happens to have the coolest name ever. He’s got a supporting cast of characters that surround him and help out on investigations, and sometimes take off on side stories of their own, a sweet ride, a winning sense of humor, and a mustache that goes on for days. More to the point, he lives in the sweet mansion of a mysterious writer and his man-servant, Higgins, and a couple of mean Dobermans that always treat Magnum like there’s a pound of beef in his pants.

Magnum PI is a strange creature really. It was very popular at its time and helped propel lead actor Tom Selleck to what is arguably the high point of his career. The show itself feels very in line with noir detective stories which contrast brilliantly with the vibrant colors of Hawaii and Magnum’s shirts. It’s both a hardboiled detective story featuring gun fights and car chases with an insightful and dry voice-over and a winning comedy full of buddy camaraderie. Season 7 perfectly exemplifies all aspects of the show. The opener is a 90 minute (approximately) adventure that sees Magnum in Los Angeles (the episode is simply titled ‘L.A.’) getting involved with shady Hollywood types, being chased by dogs, shot at by uzis, and involved in a car chase. And let’s not forget a hot love interest, boy howdy! There are tender loving moments, rip roaring action moments, comedy bits, and my favorite, Magnum smugly talking to someone he’s got the drop on.

Magnum PI is a multi-layered masterpiece with a strong following. The show was groundbreaking in a way, with Magnum and several of his buddies being veterans of the Vietnam war and certain episodes didn’t back away from showing Vietnam flashbacks or other harsher situations. Even kids aren’t safe from bullets and even Magnum has moments of darkness and acts questionably. But then again, all is soon right with more laughs and smiles and ladies in bikinis. Many shows try to juggle themes and fail, but this classic from the 80s hits on all cylinders, all the time.

Other episode highlights include Murder by Night, where the entire cast play out the plot of an old movie, really highlighting the film noir qualities, the episode Paper War which plays up the comedy in an ever escalating prank war between Magnum and friend Higgins. Advertised on the cover and the back of the box is the episode Novel Connection in which Magnum meets none other than Angela Lansbury in a Murder She Wrote crossover episode. Personally I really enjoy Murder by Night for the risks it takes in stepping outside of the universe and taking some stylistic cues straight out of the 1940s. Brilliant, I say!

Fans will also be interested in the memorable episode Limbo which originally would have been the series finally and is highly regarded as excellent television. After the success of Season 7, Magnum PI was renewed for a final 8th season.

The DVD cover art is genuine badass, though it looks a little more Miami Vice, but it hit all the right notes for me. Picture quality and presentation are both good. The colors come through nicely, the transfers are clean, and the show was well shot to begin with. The sound rings true, highlighting the deep rumble of Selleck and allowing gunshots to pop out of the speakers. The disc is somewhat lacking on extras, really just providing insight into the episode Novel Connection, but all 21 episodes included are a fantastic ride that are worth taking. The other extra is a feature called America’s Top Sleuths, which takes a look at some notable sleuths through fictional TV history, including our boy Magnum. And in a spoiler – Thomas Magnum wins the number one spot over the likes of Angela Lansbury, Columbo, and the combined might of Law & Order and CSI.

I recommend this DVD set to both fans and non-fans. Odds are you’ll love it as much as I do.

Grade: A

Release Date: October 30, 2007
Rated: Not Rated
Number of Discs: 5
Cast: Tom Selleck
Director: Various
Studio: Universal Studios
Buy: Amazon.com