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The Lieutenant: The Complete Series (dvd review)

Warner Archive Part One / Part Two / Released August 12, 2012

A few years prior to launching Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry created and produced the single season series, The Lieutenant, which starred Gary Lockwood as a Kirk-esque prototype.  Serving under Captain Rambridge (Robert Vaughn), Lockwood’s William Tiberius Rice heads the Bravo platoon rifle brigade who are only a phone call away from going to war.

The series essentially works as an anthology, with guest stars fueling the weekly plot.  Among the familiar faces who appeared on the show are Bill Bixby, Norman Fell, Rip Torn, Greg Morris, Richard Anderson, Linda Evans, Pat Priest, Jack Albertson, Barbara Bain, Ed Asner, Katharine Ross, Eddie Albert, Dennis Hopper, Woody Strode, Ted Knight, Chad Evertt, Robert Duvall, Denver Pyle, Lloyd Bochner,  as well as future Star Trek collaborators Nichelle Nichols, Leonard Nimoy, Majel Barrett, Ricardo Montalban, and Walter Koenig.

For fans of Roddenberry and more importantly fans of television, The Lieutenant has plenty to offer with top notch writing and engaging storytelling.  The subject of a soldier during peacetime is an interesting premise and many of the themes explored within found their way into Trek including race relations, equality and military relations.  The lone extra is the feature film To Kill A Man and it’s trailer, an expanded version of the series finale which has the Lockwood being called away to Vietnam.  Picture quality is particularly impressive for it’s time.

Rarely seen since it’s original airing, The Lieutenant is a somewhat forgotten series that deserves a wider audience.  Highly recommended.

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