Parents' Guide to

The Streets of San Francisco

By Will Wade, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Classic cop series offers look at important time, place.

TV Syndicated Drama 1972
The Streets of San Francisco Poster Image

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The show is clearly a product of its time -- just look at the cops' polyester suits and the far-out love beads on that hippie eyewitness. The structure, too, can be a bit formulaic, with its standard-issue conflict between Stone's street smarts and Keller's book smarts. And, of course, the crimes are always wrapped up in the final act, often following chase scenes or fight scenes that seem tame by today's standards.

But the series also offers an intriguing, entertaining view of an important era. The counterculture movement was winding down, the sexual revolution was in full swing, and the disco era was heating up. San Francisco was at the center of all of this, and The Streets of San Francisco captured it all. Stone was the establishment -- paternal, gruff but lovable, and a bit befuddled by the young folks. Ladies' man Keller, with his constant stream of girlfriends, embodied the freewheeling '70s. And the various characters they encountered while seeking out clues ran the gamut from spaced-out druggies to glam disco queens to conservative businessmen. The show wasn't ahead of its time -- it was its time, and that's why it's worth revisiting.

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