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4.6 out of 5 stars
Father Dowling Mysteries: Season 1
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228 of 235 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2011
Format: DVD
Father Dowling Mysteries was a brilliant, original, intelligently written, and super enjoyable mystery series starring Tom Bosley (most notably for some as Mr. Cunningham on Happy Days), Tracy Nelson (daughter of famed 60's rock singer Ricky Nelson, also the sister of Gunnar and Matthew Nelson of late 80's early 90's hair band Nelson), and Mary Wickes (notably from the feature films "Sister Act" and "Sister Act 2: Back In The Habit" as Sister Mary Lazarus).

Bosley plays Father Frank Dowling, the priest of a Chicago parish who runs around the windy city with his right-hand streetwise nun, Sister Stephanie "Steve" Oskowski (played by Nelson), solving murders, much in the tradition of "Murder, She Wrote" and "Diagnosis Murder". Father Dowling and Sister Steve are supported by housekeeper Marie (portrayed by Mary Wickes). Father Dowling and Sister Steve investigate murders, and in the tradition of the aforemention "Murder, She Wrote", outsmarting the police and criminals themselves while uncovering deeper hidden clues that the police overlook.

This series started in January 1989 with a total of 8 episodes in its first season. The series was launched by a tv-movie called "Fatal Confession: A Father Dowling Mystery" which aired in 1987. The show was not given its proper due as it ended in 1991 at the end of its third season. I hope that the tv-movie that started it all will be included in this release. The phrase "they don't make shows like this anymore" is absolutely true about high caliber shows like this one.

If you miss the days when shows weren't hyper-sexualized, when mysteries were solved without grotesque gore, vulgar language, and toilet humor, if you miss the days when tv used to have substance, then you will LOVE "Father Dowling Mysteries". If you are a fan of "Murder, She Wrote" and "Diagnosis Murder", then you will LOVE "Father Dowling Mysteries". Father Dowling and Sister Steve solve crimes with some pluck, determination, intelligence, and heavenly guidance. This show will give you something to believe in.
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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I have been waiting for this video for ever!!! The series is well written, produced, and portrayed! I am so glad they have finally gotten around to putting it out there on DVD.
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61 of 67 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2011
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I have really enjoyed this series. It ranks up there with Murder She Wrote and Diagnosis Murder. My VCR tapes are about worn out. This is a real good series and I hope they release them all. They are that good.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2012
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I've been waiting a long time for the Father Dowling Mysteries to come to DVD. It was one of my favorite series during its original run from 1989 - 1991. Along with "Murder, She Wrote" I considered it a sort of comfort-TV. (Like comfort food in a way, only without the calories!) I could count on both shows for an hour of decent entertainment with likable characters, (mostly) solid writing and pleasant casts.

The Father Dowling Mysteries didn't enjoy the long run of Murder, She Wrote and the wait for it to come to DVD has been considerably longer. Unfortunately, now that it's finally been released, the quality of the DVDs isn't what I had hoped it would be. I knew I wasn't going to get Blu-ray quality, but I expected the episodes to look a little better than they did on my VHS tapes when they were newly recorded and they just - don't. Not really. A couple of the episodes (The Missing Body Mystery, for instance) look overly dark and a bit muddy in places and even have some odd moments where the picture jerks a little. (Forgive my techy-talk.)

Aside from a promo for each episode - "Next on the Father Dowling Mysteries..." (which are of even poorer quality than the episodes) - there are no extras. There are, however, English subtitles.

The case is just as bare-bones as the DVDs. A brief synopsis of each episode is included, but it's printed on the reverse side of the case art. That means that, unless you remove the insert from the case, you're reading the synopsis text through the plastic and some of it is obscured by the doohickies that hold the discs in place.

While I was disappointed in the quality of the DVD and the packaging, I really enjoyed spending time with Father Dowling (Tom Bosley) and Sister Steve (Tracy Nelson) again and was quickly reminded of how much Mary Wickes as the housekeeper, Marie, added to the series.

Included in this 2-disc set is "Fatal Confession", the original television pilot which aired in November of 1987, in which Father Dowling and Sister Steve investigate the apparent suicide of a former parishioner.
The set also includes all episodes from the first season:
* The Missing Body Mystery (2-hour episode) - After a man dies in the confessional, his body disappears, only to turn up across town. The investigation leads to a confrontation with the FBI.
* What Do You Call a Call Girl Mystery - Three powerful men are suspects in the murder of a prostitute.
* The Man Who Came to Dinner Mystery - Star Tracy Nelson's real-life grandmother, Harriet (from Ozzie & Harriet fame) and her then-husband William R. Moses guest star in an episode where Moses has witnessed a murder and is now being hunted by the murderers.
* The Mafia Priest Mystery (parts 1 & 2) - When a fellow priest, who has family ties to the mob, is accused of murder, Father Dowling tries to prove his innocence.
* The Face in the Mirror Mystery: When Father Dowling's no-good half-brother (also played by Bosley) turns up, Frank is able to thwart his attempted crime, but their resemblance to one another causes trouble.
* The Pretty Baby Mystery: After a baby is left at the rectory, Father Dowling and Sister Steve try to help the mother, whose life is in danger.

The Father Dowling Mysteries was a good series with an appealing cast. I'm glad it has finally come to DVD. But, IMHO, the poor quality of this release doesn't do the series justice, which is a darn shame. I hope that seasons 2 & 3 are created with a closer eye to quality.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2012
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
If you liked the other family-friendly mystery shows from the 80s/90s (i.e. Murder she Wrote, Diagnosis Murder, Columbo etc.) then you will probably enjoy this one as well. I grew up with this one and have waited a veery long time for it to come out on DVD. They have a great cast that plays well off of one another and it is a fun, family friendly show. I am definitely ordering this! Hopefully the rest of the series will be soon to follow.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2012
Format: DVD
The Father Dowling Mysteries television show is one of my very favorite TV Shows. And I am so glad that Season One will soon be released, and hopefully the rest of the episodes will also be released soon after.

The person who wrote the negative review slamming this TV Show because if its religious nature sounds like they maybe suffering from a severe case of HolyBibleoPhobia and Godophobia.

The Father Dowling Mysteries TV Show is a great TV series to have for the whole family to enjoy and is appropriate for people of all ages.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2012
Format: DVD
Finally this is on dvd. Prior to this the only way to get it on dvd was a very bad bootlegged copy. I haven't seen this yet, but since its the official release, hopefully the picture is much clearer. I grew up watching this series. True, the series was nothing like the book, but it had to have done some good since the author continued to write the books well into the late 2000's. A decade after the show went off air. Its a shame the series was only on for three years. This was very much in the same vain as Murder She Wrote, Columbo, or Diagnosis Murder. Hopefully This is only the beginning. If this sells well, then the other seasons should be released on dvd. If you haven't seen this and are a fan of the type of mystery shows listed above, I'd recommend giving it a try out.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2012
Format: DVD
I love Tom Bosley and Mary Wickes and have many of her movies that I purchased from Amazon. I have waited a long time for this to be released and to think that this and the second season of Hazel are both being released in February is almost more than I can believe. I have pre-ordered both series and will devour them when they arrive.

Hazel: The Complete Second Season
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2012
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
As one of the writers of the first season of Father Dowling, it was truly gratifying to read the Customer Review Section and discover how much the series was, and continues to be, appreciated by its fans.
I wrote The Man Who Came To Dinner Mystery episode. The guest star who played Sister Steve's lost love in that episode was William R. Moses and he and Tracy Nelson were married at the time. As it happened, I'd written for him before since he also starred in Falcon Crest and I wrote many episodes of that series as well.
With Father Dowling, in addition to having the privilege of writing for the wonderful Tom Bosley and the incomparable Mary Wickes, mine was the episode which also featured Harriet Nelson, of the iconic The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet series. It turned out to be her last theatrical appearance and she was able to share it with her granddaughter, Tracy.
I'm very happy that fans of Father Dowling are able to enjoy it again. I only wish the quality of the transfer and the DVD packaging reflected the fact that those of us who worked on the show always tried to give the audience the best experience possible.
Sincerely,
Diana Kopald Marcus
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 2012
Format: DVD
Like many others I have been waiting for this program to be released on DVD. I have almost worn out the few episodes I recorded on VHS back 20+ years ago. The program is interesting, well written and is something I can share with my family. This program also features four of some of my most favorite movie and television actors: Tom Bosley, Tracy Nelson, Mary Wickes, and James Stephens. I look forward to all the episodes being released on DVD, for I will surely buy them.
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