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This monstrous box set is rife with celebrity cameos - Dennis Hopper, Martin Sheen, Christopher Walken, and even William Shatner stop by....
Image / 6063 Minutes / 1958-1963 / Unrated / Street Date: November 5, 2013
Based on Jules Dassin’s iconic film noir, Naked City was an attempt to both stretch and minimize the melodramatic trappings of crime drama on television. We have a revolving door of celebrity cameos here, so it’s not exactly fair to call the show a veritably realistic piece of TV, but Naked City tried its best to escape the confines of a soundstage whenever it could, allowing the asphalt jungle of its urban backdrop to take on a personality of its own.
And for the most part, it totally works. Naked City: The Complete Series is a fascinating throwback box set, one that allows an encyclopedic look back at one of the more imperative dramatic shows of its age. These tales of woe and justice in Gotham’s 65th Precinct are sometimes predictable to a fault, but it’s hard to hold too much of a grudge: even when the show reverts to blank, flimsy storytelling techniques in order to get its mysteries across, dialogue is snappy and acerbic, and by the time our boys in blue get their man, one feels quite dramatically satisfied.
You can almost pick and choose an episode from this Naked City compilation based on what famous performer you’d like to see as a young up-and-comer. Robert Redford was nominated for an Emmy for his guest turn here, and folks like James Caan, Jon Voight, Robert Duvall, and our beloved Shatner all make appearances as NYC denizens of questionable moral fiber. Compared to post-CSI TV mysteries, Naked City might appear quaint and implicitly antiquated, but for those who recognize the merits of vintage television, this megaset provides a wonderful opportunity to take a walk down memory lane.