If you are looking for something for the classic-TV enthusiast this holiday season, the people at Visual Entertainment have you covered. Their new box-set The Mod Squad: The Complete Collection contains all 124 episodes of the series, which aired on the ABC Network from 1968-1973. To quote from the press release, the Mod Squad were "The Grooviest Gang of Fuzz Who Ever Wore a Badge."
The Mod Squad was a groundbreaking series. The premise is that the police need help in solving crimes in the hippie world, so they got themselves some real hippies to get into "scenes" they could not penetrate. The helpful hippie trio are Julie (Peggy Lipton), Pete (Michael Cole) and a young African-American male named Linc (Clarence Williams III). "One White, One Black, and One Blonde" was the questionable tagline, but the program's goals were admirable. I just have to wonder about Linc‘s name though. I mean honestly, an African-American named Linc? As in "missing link?" I don’t know, maybe it’s just me. But jeez, how about Roger or Bill or Fred? Anything would have been better than Linc.
Besides having a hip young cast, The Mod Squad tackled controversial topics. Some of these include drugs, racial strife, anti-war protestors, student unrest, abortion, child neglect, illiteracy, life in the ghetto, and more. The show also boasted a pretty impressive roster of guest stars, a few of which include Vincent Price, Sammy Davis Jr., Richard Pryor, Robert Duvall, Sugar Ray Robinson, and Danny Thomas.
I would love to be able to report that I have watched all 100 hours of The Mod Squad in this set and be able to break down all of the ins and outs of it, but I can’t. For some strange reason, the folks at VEI just sent a single sampler disc for review, not the full box. From what I gather though, Julie, Pete, and Linc were recruited as an alternative to going to jail themselves. So they have street cred. I just do not know exactly what their crimes were.
Not that it really matters I guess, because these are the coolest cops to ever grace the small screen, and those hippie fashions never get old. There are more bell-bottom jeans worn per capita on The Mod Squad than any show in television history. There is also plenty of "rock" music, which is something that is sorely lacking these days. For a while, every cool show had their own version of a rock band. This music sounded nothing like real rock of course, it was some television guy’s bizarre idea of what rock was. I sure do miss it.
The set also includes an hour of bonus features, which sound pretty darn groovy too. Take my word for it, The Mod Squad was as hip as cop shows get. I would like to see it come back. Hell, they brought Hawaii Five-O back, with Scott Caan of all people! Surely they could find three hipsters to do The New Mod Squad. Until that happens though, we have the original, and from the three episodes I watched on the preview disc, it is awesome television.