4 September 2000 | gmr-4
One of the greatest television series ever
I must differ only slightly from the praise of one who precedes me, but yes, it was a cracking good show! When a local station ran the series in syndication at midnight in 1967, I turned into an insomniac.
Part of it was my youth; part was/is the b&w presentation giving it a brooding, "gritty" (pardon the cliche) flavour; part was the musical score. Frankly, I found it much superior to the colour and more mature (?) series recently under the same title. Possibly the early '60s series had the elements of a morality play that move some part of me that the more ambiguous -- and in places historically accurate -- new UNTOUCHABLES can not.
One thing bothers me, however, although I fully understand that in the television productions of forty years ago one had to be discrete. It concerns the depictions of violence. I do not object (within reason) to violence per se, but THE UNTOUCHABLES showed a lot of it without the horror. With a more jaundiced eye of the 1990s, when on very rare occasions I have been able to see an old time episode, I am struck by the trivialisation of violent scenes. Even the point-blank firearms shots are comically muted, and there is never a hint of flying blood.
That said, however, I consider the advent of THE UNTOUCHABLES and BONANZA in the 1959-60 season as the beginning of the REAL "golden age of television" in the United States.
Post scriptum: I am sure there were a couple of spin-off "made for TV" movies in the 1960s from the series. Of that I know nothing more save the title of one of them: THE GUN OF ZANGARA.