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Blue Bloods - The 1st Season Review




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Rating
Video:   9/10
Audio:   8/10
Extras:   5/10

Dearest Blue, I Love You
by Gord Lacey (All reviews)
9/12/2011

    New York City Police Commissioner Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) has a lot to be proud of... but his greatest pride is his family. His oldest son Danny (Donnie Wahlberg) is a streetwise detective who always gets the job done... even if that means bending the rules. As an Assistant D.A., his daughter Erin (Bridget Moynahan) passionately defends the letter of the law while she struggles to raise her daughter as a newly single mother. His youngest, Jamie (Will Estes), just enlisted as a beat cop even though he earned a degree from Harvard Law. The Reagans have a proud tradition of service to the city, but they also have a habit of making waves, as exemplified by Frank's father Henry (Len Cariou) - an outspoken former Commissioner whose carrer ended because of his bold opinions. Police work is more than just a job in this unforgettable first season of Blue Bloods, containing all 22 episodes on 6 discs.
Sure, I saw some promos for Blue Bloods during the season, but I didn't really hear much about the show. I knew Tom Selleck and Donnie Wahlberg were two of the stars in the police ensemble, but that was about it. I don't know anyone in my usual circles that watches the show, so I was going into this set with very little information, yet I was expecting to like it (cop show, Tom Selleck... it had two big positives going for it).

This 6-disc set includes all 22 episodes from the first season:

Disc 1 (2:52:42)
Pilot (42:54)
Samaritan (43:23)
Privilege (43:19)
Officer Down (43:06)

Disc 2 (2:53:49)
What You See (43:01)
Smack Attack (43:36)
Brothers (43:39)
Chinatown (43:33)

Disc 3 (2:51:56)
Re-Do (42:33)
After Hours (43:37)
Little Fish (42:47)
Family Ties (42:59)

Disc 4 (2:50:02)
Hall of Mirrors (41:36)
My Funny Valentine (43:36)
Dedication (41:40)
Age of Innocence (43:10)

Disc 5 (2:51:27)
Silver Star (43:32)
To Tell The Truth (43:23)
Model Behavior (40:55)
All That Glitters (43:37)

Disc 6 (1:27:03)
The Cellar Boy (43:21)
The Blue Templar (43:42)

Video

I was really, really impressed with the quality of the video on this release. The 1.78:1 anamorphic picture looked great on both my TVs, and I could find very little wrong with the picture itself. They shoot the show with "Red One" cameras, and the quality shows. If it weren't for some minor noise in some dark scenes, and a few instances of the black levels being off, this would have gotten top marks from me. They've placed a chapter right after the opening of the episode, however, the discs don't contain a "play all" option (whaaaat? This IS 2011, CBS!).

CBS, for whatever reason, often airs episodes in a different order than they were produced. This can cause problems when certain characters appear in an episode before they're formally introduced, and it's something that can be corrected when the DVDs are released, but often is missed, for whatever reason. There are a few instances of continuity problems in Blue Bloods, but they aren't so huge that it'll wreck your enjoyment of the show, it'll just leave you slightly confused as to why Danny has his old partner back when his new partner (played by Jennifer Esposito) has already been introduced.

Audio

I wish I could say the audio was as good as the video, but I felt a bit let down by the English Dolby Digital 5.1 track. It's certainly not a horrible track, I just didn't feel as though I was pulled into the show by the audio. The dialog was fine, coming from the center channel, but the left and right rear speakers were a bit under-utilized. I was impressed by the bass in some scenes, but it was a fairly standard track for a 5.1 mix. I wanted to feel as though I were standing on a street in New York City, but I didn't. There are also English and French stereo tracks, with English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese subtitles.

Extras - How we rate extras

Deleted Scenes (34:13)
Pilot (1:36)
Samaritan (1:58)
Privilege (1:21)
Officer Down (3:17)
Chinatown (1:08)
Re-Do (4:43)
Little Fish (1:30)
Family Ties (2:07)
Hall of Mirrors (6:27)
Silver Star (0:50)
Model Behavior (3:05)
All That Glitters (3:10)
The Cellar Boy (1:29)
The Blue Templar (1:32)

Network On-Air Launch Promos (3:00)
A bunch of promos used to launch the show.

Creating the Characters (23:57)
What a wonderful featurette. It's a great piece on the creation of the show, and the characters, featuring interviews with the cast and crew.

Code Blue (7:44)
A nice featurette on the "Blue Templar."

Keeping it Real (9:01)
The technical advisor, James Nuciforo, is the focus of this featurette. He helps keep the show "real." This doesn't apply to any scene involving video evidence though, as the show employs typical "video enhancement techniques" that don't exist in real life ("Oh, we just enhanced this video to show a wider camera angle" Whaaaaat?!).

Analyzing the Scene (4:41)
A breakdown of a dinner scene.

Empire State of Mind (5:07)
Though the pilot was shot in Toronto, production moved to the place it belonged for the series; New York City. There's no shortage of wonderful places to shoot in the city, and the crew members talk about the locations they used.

Keeping it in the Family (12:30)
The Reagan family IS the show; a look at the family dynamics.

Gag Reel (6:00)
I feel bad for the poor person that had to edit this together, because there are tons, and tons of cuts in the 6 minutes that this gag reel runs for.

Summary

I often forget that Donnie Wahlberg entered showbusiness as a singer, not as an actor. I like him much better as an actor than part of the "New Kids on the Block" (I once tried to impress a girl by playing one of their records in the background while talking to her on the phone). He was great in Boomtown (as a Los Angeles detective), and he's great in here as well. Of course, the powerhouse is Tom Selleck; he has such a commanding presence as the New York Police Commissioner that you'll almost wish actually had the role in real life.

I've watched numerous police shows, and I'm always impressed by the approaches that the different shows take on the job. Leonard Goldberg, Executive Producer of Blue Bloods, has had numerous approaches all on his own, having produced The Rookies, S.W.A.T., Starsky and Hutch and T.J. Hooker in the 70s and 80s. Rookie Blue is about 60% police show, and 40% family drama, as the Reagan family plays a huge role in the show, and the family Sunday dinners are always entertaining. I'm also thankful to watch a cop show that doesn't feature the main characters trying to sleep with each other (I'm looking at you, Rookie Blue).

While it was fun watching Tom Selleck and Donnie Wahlberg play cops, I got a kick out of many other actors as well. It's nice to see Nicholas Turturro back playing a cop after playing a NYPD detective for seven seasons on NYPD Blue. The show also draws on talent from in, and around, New York City, so you'll see tons of actors that have appeared on The Wire, Oz, Law & Order, and even Gossip Girl.

The bonus material on the set is quite good, but I would have loved to hear a few commentary tracks, especially for some of the key episodes (pilot, season finale). The featurettes were all extremely informative, and well-produced, and I hope they maintain the level for the season 2 DVDs next year.

I thought the first season of Blue Bloods was extremely good. I enjoyed the show a lot, and I look forward to watching the second season when it's released.


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