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Boomtown - Season 1 Review




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Rating
Video:   9/10
Audio:   7/10
Extras:   4/10

Cool Show!
by Gord Lacey (All reviews)
8/01/2004

Boomtown is a unique spin on a police drama. The show tells the story of a crime from the view of everyone involved; the police, the victim, the criminal, media and district attorney. The story is told out of sequence, and you often don't know exactly what happened until the final piece of the puzzle is in place. The show comes from Jon Avnet, producer of Uprising, and Graham Yost, writer of Speed, Band of Brothers (2 episodes), and From The Earth To the Moon (2 episodes). This set includes all 18 episodes from the first season of the series.

Boomtown has quite a few ties to Band of Brothers. Graham Yost, the creator of Boomtown wrote 2 episodes of the mini-series which starred Donnie Walhberg and Neal McDonough. The show also featured guest stars Rick Gomez and Frank John Hughes who played soldiers in BoB. I always find it interesting when certain shows contain many of the same people that worked on something else.

When I first watched this show I didn't like it at all. I found the story too jumbled and confusing. The pilot is usually when I decide to ditch a show, or stick with it until the end, and after watching the first episode I was ready to ditch it. A week later I decided to watch the second episode, and I really got into it. I guess I had adjusted to the unique storytelling of the series because I stuck with the show for the rest of the season. I love the different visuals they used for the opening of the show, and the music that plays along. It's so beautifully done.

Video

I just love the look of Boomtown, and this set look superb. I like the over-exposed, washed out look they gave the show. The cinematography is excellent, often giving us angles that aren't standard views for a TV series. The anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1) picture captures it all beautifully. Grain is kept to a minimum, but pops up in some shots that were done with low light, or it's used to achieve a certain style. Each disc contains a "play all" feature, and there's a chapter set after the opening of the episode, but it's so good why would you want to skip it?

Audio

I'm a bit bummed with the audio on this release. For some reason region 2 received a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, but we only get a stereo surround track. What is up with that? The dialog sounds fine, but the sound effects and music could have been much nicer with the 5.1 track. I'm baffled why they didn't get the 5.1 track from the UK release for this set. Some of the music used in the original episodes has been replaced, but I'm not sure how many songs were affected. There aren't any subtitles, but the episodes are closed captioned.

Extras - How we rate extras

Commentary Tracks
There's some great stuff in these tracks. Many of the stars of the show took part in these tracks, and everyone has something to say. Well worth a listen if you have the time.
EP 1: Pilot - Graham Yost, Jon Avnet and Donnie Wahlberg
EP 6: The Freak - Graham Yost and Jon Avnet
EP 14: Execution - Graham Yost, Jon Avnet and Larry Andries
EP 15: Storm Watch - Jon Avnet, Chris Brancato, Bert Salke and Kevin Dunigan
EP 16: Fearless - Graham Yost, Fred Keller and Mykelti Williamson
EP 17: Blackout - Graham Yost, Fred Golan and Neal McDonough

Building Boomtown (26:04)
This featurette takes a look at the origins of the show, examines the characters in the series, and the memorable opening. Interviewed for this featurette are Graham Yost, Jon Avnet, Donnie Wahlberg, John Newby, Mykelti Williamson, Frederick K. Keller, Neal McDonough, Nina Garbiras, Laurence Andries, Michelle Ashford, Anne McGrail, Chris Brancato, Jason Gedrick, Laurie Arent, Albert J. Salke, Kevin Dunigan, Clyde Phillips and Fred Golan.

The Boomtown Shuffle (17:42)
"The Boomtown Shuffle" refers to the unique story-telling aspect used on the show, jumping from one character to another, and showing the events from each person involved. The cast and crew talk about the challenges involved in shooting a story in this format.

Summary

While this set is quite good, I'm bothered by two things. I mentioned the first in my writeup of the audio; the lack of a 5.1 track when one exists. The second is the number of episodes included in the set. Boomtown lasted a season and a bit, with a total of 24 episodes airing. The 6 episode second season really should have been included in this set. I'm sure fans would have gladly paid around $20 to have the other 6 episodes, but now we have to wait for a 6 disc set. I'm confident that we'll see those other 6 episodes because I know 3 commentary tracks were recorded for them, but I have no idea when. It's too bad because they could have done a very nice set and released the complete series.

15 years I never would have guessed that I'd be watching a show staring one of the "New Kids on the Block," and enjoying it. Give Boomtown a shot, you might like it.


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