this show was not that good even by the standards of 1973. i remember seeing it in re runs. it was just another action crime drama. i never liked george peppard even in the a team. which was a crap show too in my opinion. it was sad that he died before his time though.
A debonair millionaire detective (sort of a James Bond/Thomas Crown Affair mix) solves crimes in the early '70's.
It's a little hard to watch since it's very much of it's time.
But if you can ignore the sexism, the plots are still pretty interesting. I've only seen two episodes, but so far the mysteries have been pretty interesting.
The "polish pride" thing going on and the Polish aphorims he quotes (are those real by the way??) are in interesting character quirk. This show aired before I was even born, but I'd be curious to know if Boston was as 'anti-pole' as it's portrayed (I don't recall that being an especially despised ethnicity - yes, I've heard of Pole jokes, but still...).
Aside from its Polish and proverb-spouting sleuth, "Banacek" set itself apart from the rest of the 1970s detective shows by the type of crimes it featured. While other TV gumshoes were tackling murders, "Banacek" looked at thefts, disappearances, and almost always solved what are known as "locked-room mysteries." On "Banacek," it's sometimes just as important to figure out how the crime was committed as it is to identify the guilty culprit. It's more intellectual than the average show ("McMillan & Wife," etc.) and shares more of a pedigree with "Columbo" than it does a lot of other shows.
Case in point - "Let's Hear It for a Living Legend," in which a football player vanishes from under a tackle in the middle of a game. Not only must Banacek find the missing man, but he's got to discover how a man can vanish into thin air before a full stadium and TV cameras.
The caliber of acting among the guest stars is pretty typical for the 1970s, but George Peppard doesn't measure up to fellow sleuths Peter Falk and James Garner, in my opinion. That could be because the writing is not supporting him, but I think it is his characterization. Banacek isn't an easy guy to like; even when Rockford is conning his way through a case, you love the guy. Peppard wore out his welcome for me.
Still, an entertaining mystery series that offers some cases and crimes to crack that are unlike other shows of the era. I'd definitely recommend "Banacek" to mystery fans, but it's not in the same class as "Columbo."
If you ignore the sexist attitude of the main character, the mysteries themselves are great. Every theft could be done in real life, no need to suspend reality as you work your way through the mysterious theft. Loved the theft of the "kings" from the hotel room safe. Never saw the extra hotel towel in the bathroom coming. Wish the show had continued past 1974 as we'd have more interesting mysteries to watch and re-watch and enjoy the imagination that went into them. To CAPNDEL - If you disliked the show so much, you should at the very least give reasons why you disliked it.
Most of the episodes were pretty much the same. Something of great value dissapeared, usually in front of several witnesses, and only Banacek could figure out how and recover the item. There wasn't too much violence. I don't recall Banacek carrying a gun. Of course, Banacek got the girls too.
Banacek was a very under-rated show that NBC should have done more with. Banacek/ George Peppard was a very classy guy who liked fine things and beautiful women. I was in 6th-8th grade when Banacek ran on NBC so I don't remember every episode or the reasons NBC pulled this show. However, NBC should have put Banacek on Sunday nights with McCloud, McMillian & Wife and Columbo. NBC had a Hit!! with the Sunday Mystery Movies and then went and tried the formula for other nights (Friday and Wednesday). Banacek was on Wednesday Nights with Cool Million (5 episodes) and Madigan (6 episodes), not really a lot of help to any series. What NBC should have done is give Columbo its very own time slot and put Banacek in its place. Banacek was set in Boston and he drove fancy cars, had a quick wit (with suspects, women and police etc) and had lots of pretty girlfriends....one every episode and thats where I think its a little ahead of its time. While the 70's shows weren't like 50's shows like Leave it to Beaver....a married couple having sperate beds. For Instance Columbo was married but you never saw his wife, McMillian & Wife...hint "wife" and Susan Saint James and Rock Hudson were seen in bed but nothing more than a kiss on the check or a little peck on the mouth....not to much passion there LOL....and McCloud had a steady girl (Diana Muldaur). While Banacek met up with a beautiful girl every episode. This show ran from 1972-74 and that might have been too early for viewers and/or advertisers. Banacek would have been a huge hit in the late 70's, 80's and also in the 2000's with good stories, good writing and lots of guest stars. After watching season 1 on DVD...Banacek for the present day....another George as in George Clooney as Banacek and you've got a huge hit
Banacek is one of those wonderful who done it series that stands the test of time. While not on the same par as "Murder She Wrote" or "Matlock," Banacek is a delightful series with wit and sexual overtones not provided by the other two series.
Even today, close to 40 years later, Banacek holds the viewer's attention using his humor, sexual innuendo and outright conquests, along with sarcasm, and intelligence without the technology used by so many of today's crime dramas.
The casting of George Peppard was an excellent choice as the leading man for his physical attributes as well as his acting abilities. While some of the supporting characters (namely the insurance people) weren't given enough room to develop, the casting (itself) was great.
The casting and character development of Felix Mulholland (Murray Matheson) was absolutely wonderful. I only wish the character received more screen time. One thought I had was to have him be a victim, with the missing of a rare book he brokered going missing. Even to the point of him not having insurance and Banacek working the case as favor but in the end getting the insurance people to pay him his normal 10% (say on another item stolen by the thieves).
The only character I felt sorry for was Jay Drury (Ralph Manza). Every week I hoped for and wanted the writers to let him learn from his mistakes and gain some intelligence. Yes, he was meant as a break from the sophisticated Banacek, but the difference was too much. I got to the point I would look away, while Jay was on the screen. The writers missed a great character development opportunity.
The intriguing Banacek series receives my highest complement -- "Remake, Please." A remake of Banacek with the same level of attention to mystery and character development over technology would be a wonderful respite from today's many crime dramas. intriguing series.
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