‘Magnum, P.I.’: The Complete Original Series Blu-Ray Review – Tom Selleck Plays An Affable Crime-Solving Icon In Classic Series

Buckle up and take a ride with Magnum, P.I. (Primetime Emmy Award winner Tom Selleck) as all eight seasons of the iconic series are collected together for the first time in this incredible 162-episode, 30-disc Blu-ray box set. Explore beautiful and exotic Hawaii with television’s most beloved and charismatic private investigator as he tackles baffling mysteries and tracks down the bad guys with the help of T.C. (Roger E. Mosley), Rick (Larry Manetti) and Higgins (John Hillerman) and his four-legged pals, Apollo and Zeus. Packed with non-stop adventure and featuring iconic guest stars, Magnum P.I. is the unforgettable thrill-ride that was nominated for an impressive 30 awards during its run. Own the legacy today!

For thoughts on Magnum, P.I.: The Complete Series, please check out our discussion on The Video Attic here

Video Quality

Magnum, P.I. makes a strong debut on Blu-Ray with a digital AVC encoded 1080p transfer in its original 4×3 aspect ratio. Mill Creek releases can often suffer from compression issues, and this release is no exception with 162 episodes on 30 discs. That being said, this is one of the more overall satisfying releases of an older series that they have released to date. Overall clarity and detail is incredibly strong, and skin tones are natural and consistent with subtle facial features easily noticeable in closeup. Physical features such as hair remain well defined without devolving into a splotchy mess. Elements of the production design are textured in a way that shines through in this transfer. 

This series remains remarkably consistent throughout its eight season run with earlier seasons looking just as gorgeous as the later episodes. This transfer maintains the natural film grain that helps with showcasing subtle details in the production design. Every episode shows off a stunning location with fun elements to analyze in the background. Unfortunately, this is where some of the blocky compression issues also pop up which can be a bit unsightly. Colors are well saturated in a pleasing way, and instances of print damage have been cleaned up immensely in this high definition master. Minor specks pop up very rarely, but they are still worth noting. Black levels could stand to be a bit deeper with some crush popping up as an issue. This new presentation from Mill Creek Entertainment is not perfect, but should prove to be really enjoyable for fans with the right expectations. 

Audio Quality

The Blu-Ray disc comes with a strong DTS-HD 2.0 Master Audio track that preserves the artistic intention of the series really well. The iconic theme song bursts to life each episode to start the case off on the right foot. There is never a moment where the music in the series threatens to overwhelm competing sounds, and it maintains a good balance so that dialogue comes through clearly. Atmospheric sounds such as the island weather and wildlife are rendered well alongside everything else. This track does not go creating new effects to bolster activity; this presentation is just solid and straightforward as originally conceived. The base support adds some nice texture to moments that need it. There does not seem to be any majorly noticeable instances of age-related wear and tear. Mill Creek has given this series the perfectly preserved audio presentation it deserves.

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Special Features

  • The Rockford Files Featuring Tom Selleck: These full-length episodes are presented in HD. Mill Creek Entertainment has also released The Rockford Files: The Complete Series on Blu-Ray. 
    • White On White And Nearly Perfect (Season 5, Episode 4)
    • Nice Guys Finish Dead  (Season 6, Episode 6)
  • Interview With Writer/Producer/Director Reuben Leder: A new 12-minute audio interview with Leder over various clips in which he discusses his early career, getting involved with Magnum, P.I., the writer’s strike during the show’s beginning, his collaborations, the evolving nature of the character as the creative team grew to know Selleck, the intense production schedule, favorite moments from the series and more. 
  • Interview With Writer/Producer Chris Abbott: A new 13-minute audio interview with Abbott over various clips in which she discusses getting into television, the decision to go to Hawaii to write on Magnum, P.I., the specific sense of humor and character traits she brought to the show, the role of voiceover in the series, some of her favorite moments, the unexpected compliments she got for her writing and more. 
  • Interview With Actress/Writer Deborah Pratt: A new 10-minute audio interview with Pratt over various clips in which she discusses the lack of work for people of color at this time, getting involved with Airwolf and Magnum, P.I., working with the team in Hawaii, memories from the set, her relationship with Don Bellisario and more. 
  • The Great 80’s TV Flashback: A 29-minute vintage featurette which explores some of the key shows from the 1980s including Magnum, P.I. along with various titles such as Miami Vice; The A-Team; Knight Rider; Simon & Simon; Murder, She Wrote; Quantum Leap; Gimmie a Break!; Charles in Charge; and Kate & Allie.
  • Inside The Ultimate Crime Crossover: A six-minute piece which takes a look at the crossover between Magnum, P.I. and Murder, She Wrote… which unfortunately is not included in this set. 
  • America’s Top Sleuths: A 30-minute detective countdown intended to promote the Sleuth network. 
  • Interview with Composer Mike Post: A new 13-minute audio interview with Post over various clips in which he discusses getting into the television business, getting his big break with The Rockford Files, creating the iconic Magnum, P.I. theme, his friendship with Tom Selleck, his composing process and more. 
  • Virgil Vogel Featurette: A new seven-minute piece which takes a look at the acclaimed career of director Virgil Vogel including starting out on W.C. Fields pictures like My Little Chickadee plus his work on Magnum, P.I.
  • Audio Commentaries
    • Pleasure Principle: Writer Jay Huguely
    • Legend Of The Lost Art: Writer Jay Huguely
    • Resolutions Pt. 2: Co-Executive Producer Charles Floyd Johnson
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Final Thoughts

Magnum, P.I. is the perfect blend of sturdy procedural and gripping storytelling with characters to whom you grow quite attached. The show evolved a bit throughout the eight season run as the writers got more comfortable with the titular character, but you could always rely on the show to hit the spot with its thrilling adventures. If you want a charming and compelling action-drama with characters you long to hang out with in the real world then you are sure to get sucked into the ride. Mill Creek Entertainment delivered a Blu-Ray collection that is very appealing. Not only do we get the entire series on 30 discs at a price that is pretty reasonable, but the A/V quality is stronger than average for this label. That is not even mentioning a good amount of special features that sweeten the deal. It is a wonder that this show made it to Blu-Ray, and fans of the show will be happy to own this one in the best quality yet. Recommended 

Magnum, P.I.: The Complete Series is currently available to purchase on Blu-Ray.

Note: Images presented in this review are not reflective of the image quality of the Blu-Ray.

Disclaimer: Mill Creek Entertainment has supplied a copy of this disc free of charge for review purposes. All opinions in this review are the honest reactions of the author.


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