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Crossing Jordan - Season 1 Review




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

I see Dead Bodies
by Gord Lacey (All reviews)
5/07/2008

    Join a quirky team of misfit coroners willing to put their forensic skills to the test as all 23 Season One episodes of Crossing Jordan, including the memorable pilot, arrive on a 5-disc DVD set for the first time ever! Smart, conflicted and unconventional, Dr. Jordan Cavanaugh (Jill Hennessy) is a forensic pathologist whose obsession for solving homicides goes beyond the autopsy table. But the driving force behind her hard-core, unorthodox investigative style is the one crime she hasn't been able to solve - her mother's murder. Relive some of your favorite Crossing Jordan moments from this first season, including her battles with her boss, Dr. Macy (memorably played by Miguel Ferrer), the first appearance of Detective Woody Hoyt, music by Wendy and Lisa, amazing special effects, and Jordan and her police detective father putting themselves in the roles of victim and killer. From the creator of Heroes comes the fast-paced and funny mystery series that critics rave "is marked by crisp, clever dialogue, and a brassy lead performance" (Steve Johnson, Chicago Tribune).
My only exposure to Crossing Jordan has been a result of the cross-over episodes with Las Vegas, but it piqued my interest in the series. It's also the show Tim Kring created before starting Heroes, and I kept getting requests asking when it was coming out on DVD (especially after all the previously rumored dates had passed).

This set includes all 23 episodes from the first season on 5 discs.

Disc 1 (2:59:26)
Pilot (45:10)
The Dawn of a New Day (44:36)
The Ties That Bind (44:43)
Born to Run (44:57)

Disc 2 (3:40:21)
You Can't Go Home Again (44:10)
Believers (44:51)
Sight Unseen (44:02)
Digger, Part 1 (42:41)
Digger, Part 2 (44:37)

Disc 3 (3:41:48)
Blue Christmas (44:21)
Wrong Place, Wrong Time (44:22)
Blood Relatives (44:22)
Miracles & Wonders (44:22)
Four Fathers (44:21)

Disc 4 (3:39:55)
Acts of Mercy (44:23)
Lost and Found (43:22)
Crime & Punishment (44:21)
With Honor (43:26)
For Harry, With Love and Squalor (44:23)

Disc 5 (2:56:22)
The gift of Life (44:20)
Someone to Count on (43:51)
Secrets & Lies, Part 1 (44:20)
Secrets & Lies, Part 2 (43:51)

Video

I was pleasantly surprised to see Crossing Jordan was presented in Anamorphic Widescreen; I expected it would be Full Frame (and no, I didn't read the box before putting it in the player). I was a bit surprised when the first scene in the pilot appeared on my TV; it looked a bit out of focus. That was followed by another shot, and another, and another - the entire pilot looked a bit fuzzy, and I wasn't impressed. Obviously they switched something for the regular series because the other 22 episodes looked very nice, and didn't suffer from the fuzziness that plagued the pilot. There's a bit of visible grain in a few scenes, but it's not much of a problem. Universal has included a "play all" feature, and a chapter right after the opening of the episode.

The episodes are presented in the airdate order, and there are a couple of minor continuity problems that occur because of it. Nothing major, like in some other shows, but I wanted to mention it in case anyone else picks up on it.

Audio

Crossing Jordan used a lot of identifiable music in the series, and that's one of the reasons it took this long to bring it out on DVD. Tim Kring, Allan Arkush and Miguel Ferrer discuss this in one of the featurettes, and they mention that they were able to license all the music that mattered to them. Universal usually places a note on the back of the box if music has been substituted, and there isn't one there, so it's possible they managed to license all the music in the show (we have no way of knowing when the interview was recorded, especially since this release has been in the works for awhile).

There's a nice English Dolby Surround audio track on the release. Dialog, sound effects and music all sound great, and there's an English subtitle track as well.

Extras - How we rate extras

A Conversation (18:03) Sorry, the actual title of this is "A Conversation with Series Creator Tim Kring, Producer/Director Allan Arkush and Producer Dennis Hammer," but I thought that was a little long for the headline. As you'd guess, all three men sit down to talk about the show. It's a good conversation, and includes some deleted scenes and behind-the-scenes material from the show.

Commentaries
Tim Kring, Allan Arkush and composers Lisa Coleman and Wendy Melvoin provide commentary on: "Pilot," "Miracles & Wonders," "For Harry, With Love and Squalor" and "Secrets & Lies, Part 2."

Jill Hennessay and Allan Arkush Talk About Jordan (18:03)
Jill and Allan sit down and talk about the show, and the character of Jordan Cavanaugh.

Steve Valentine, Ravi Kapoor and Kathryn Hahn talk with Allan Arkush (15:13)
The group sits down to chat about the show. Arkush's mic seemed a bit muffled.

Allan Arkush and Tim Kring talk with Miguel Ferrer (17:04)
Just like the others, they talk about the show and the characters. They also address why the DVD sets took so long to come out.

Deleted Scenes (20:33)
Pilot (3:46)
The Ties That Bind (1:56)
You Can't Go Home Again (3:18)
Digger, Part 1 (3:37)
Digger, Part 2 (4:44)
Acts of Mercy (1:03)
For Harry, With Love and Squalor (2:09)

Summary

It's nice to see a set like this coming from Universal. A few years ago they seemed to care very little about putting bonus material on any of their DVD sets. I remember their entry for "Best Special Feature" at one of the TV-DVD awards shows was the unaired Munsters pilot, while Fox submitted an hour-and-a-half behind-the-scenes look at shooting the 24 season finale. Universal has included interviews with the actors, some insightful commentary tracks and deleted scenes for a catalog title (yes, this is considered catalog), and they've also licensed original music! It's nice to see their approach to TV-on-DVD change so drastically, and while I'm mentioning this in the Crossing Jordan review, many of their other titles have also increased the amount of bonus material included on the set (yes, there are still some sets that are bare-bonus, but you'll find that at any studio). They also create some very nice packaging for their sets.

I really enjoyed this show; it's a bit like CSI (come on, it's hard not to draw comparisons), because both deal with dead people and solving crimes, but I found Crossing Jordan to have much more interesting characters. It's a character-driven series as opposed to a procedural crime drama. It's a bit quirky, and I enjoyed the Jordan character; she's a VERY strong woman!

Hopefully this set sells well enough that Universal can continue putting it out; it's a great show, and I hope to finally see the other part of the Las Vegas cross-over episodes!


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