Paramount // 1981 // 542 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge P.S. Colbert // August 14th, 2012
After Wayne Newton, what do you do for an encore?
Join Dan Tanna (Robert Urich, Soap) as he revs up his red 1957 Thunderbird for Vega$: The Third Season, Volume 2, the primo private eye's last eleven laps around Sin City.
* "Heist" -- In order to test the Tropicana's security system, owner Philip Roth (Tony Curtis, Some Like It Hot) assigns Dan to assemble a crack team and rob the casino, if they can. James MacArthur (Hawaii Five-O) guest stars.
* "No Way To Treat A Victim" -- Michael Cole (The Mod Squad) makes an extremely creepy impression as a rapist with a fool-proof scheme for luring victims -- until one of them turns out to have close ties to Dan's secretary, Bea (Phyllis Davis, Terminal Island).
* "Time Bomb" -- Dan's goofy gofer, Bobby Binzer (Bart Braverman, Alligator), gets an unwelcome visit from a pair of past acquaintances (Dick Butkus, Denny Miller), fresh from prison. They're looking to collect $50,000 from Binz, and they've taken Dan as collateral.
* "Out Of Sight" -- A botched mob-style execution leaves Dan temporarily blinded. But you know mob-style executioners, if at first they don't succeed...
* "Set Up" -- Metro Police Lt. Dave Nelson (Greg Morris, Mission: Impossible) is close to cracking a porno film operation when he's framed for a series of murders. The circumstantial evidence is so compelling that his own police force has stopped trusting him, but Dan remains his ever faithful ally.
* "The Killing" -- Two masked gunmen rob a local eatery, killing four patrons. Dan suspects the robbery and three of those victims were part of a ruse to cover up an assassination.
* "Seek And Destroy" -- Dan takes on the Russkies, going under cover in the U.S. Air Force. This episode features a guest appearance by Urich's lovely wife Heather Menzies (The Sound Of Music), and the acting debut of then seven year old Victoria (Tori) Spelling.
* "Dead Ringer" -- More than Bugsy Siegel and more than Sammy, Dean, or Frank; one man signifies old-school, pre-Disney Sin City, and that man is Wayne Newton. "Mr. Las Vegas" plays himself and he needs the help of his ol' buddy Dan, when someone starts calling him an "imposter" and threatening him with death unless he leaves town immediately.
* "The French Twist" -- French screen icon Louis Jourdan (Gigi) oozes Gallic charm as Nicholas Rambeau, a Parisian private detective investigating a male prostitution ring.
* "Nightmare Come True" -- Cristina Ferrare (J.W. Coop) plays a psychic with a finely honed talent for seeing. Unfortunately, she keeps seeing Dan's incipient murder.
* "Judgement Pronounced" -- Urich's brother Tom guest stars in a tawdry tale of someone who looks and dresses like Dan, drives around town in a red 1957 Thunderbird (with a license plate that reads "TANNA"), and metes out vigilante-style justice in very public places.
Paramount sends this guilty pleasure jewel out in style, with a near-immaculate set of standard definition 1.33:1 full-frame transfers. Though the Dolby 2.0 Mono track is a bit shakier, this set is a darned sight better than you'd expect for a thirty year old TV series. Subtitles have been provided (always a plus), and the episodic promo lead-ins -- while not exactly the "special features" advertised on the back cover -- certainly don't detract from the proceedings.
Ironically, after a sluggish and gimmicky start, followed by several overhauls, Vega$ really seemed to be hitting its stride in the third and final year. Then again, this was never intended to be Shakespeare (though a witty throw away line about Heidelberg scars was impressive!). Perhaps the formula wouldn't have withstood another twenty two episodes.
Say what you will about empty-headed macho fantasies, recycled plots, and the exploitation of high-kicking chorus girls, Vega$ knew how to hold 'em, and when to fold 'em!
Guilty as Sin City. Case dismissed!
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 542 Minutes
Release Year: 1981
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Episodic Promos