Callan: Set 2 (DVD Set)

Callan was one of the most popular television series on in Britain in the late sixties and early seventies. It deftly linked together the different spy realms of James Bond with the more mundane cop-lead shows like Dragnet, all while keeping a brisk momentum throughout. This ITV show lasted five series, and Callan Set 2 collects the twelve episodes of series four (the previous black & white episodes have not yet made it to DVD as of this point).

David Callan is played by Edward Woodward, whom American viewers may know by eir bit role in 2007’s Hot Fuzz. Callan’s assassin role seems a little too gritty for the time period, but may be grounded in some fact – “The Section” can be seen here to be an analogue for different clandestine departments in then-current Britain. By the time that “Set 2” takes place, Callan has been outed as an operator and forced to take a job as a hunter. Where there seems to be some progression in the story arc in the previous ten episodes of this DVD set, the most hard-hitting episodes come in Callan’s conclusion, “The Richmond Files”. In these episodes, Callan ultimately comes face to face with Richmond and – rather than killing one more – leaves the employ of the Section.

Despite the fact that there is a disclaimer on the box of Callanj Set 2 that says there may be “occasional flaws in the image and audio on this DVD”, the print that is used for these episodes is nothing less than stellar. The inclusion of Woodward’s audio commentary on two of the episodes offers some context for Callan that would not normally be present, while the biography of Woodward eirself shows exactly how varied of a path that ey took over the course of the last forty years. Each of the final 13 episodes are has hard-hitting and compelling as they were when they first aired on ITV; purchase this boxed set if you would like to see the first two seasons (and possibly even the 1981 made-for-TV movie Wet Job).

Rating: 8.5/10

Callan: Set 2 (DVD Set) / 2010 Acorn Media / 663 Minutes / http://www.acornmedia.com

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