DVD Review: BLUE BLOODS

New York is lovingly shot in all 22 episodes of Blue Bloods and looks similarly superb on the DVD release of the show.

Once in a while a new television explodes on to television screens to keep viewers entertained week in and week out. Blue Bloods was just that show this past season, keeping viewers hooked and ready for more each week. Over-achieving in every episode, the first season DVD is released today, so check out our review below€ Blue Bloods stars veteran television star Tom Selleck as Frank Reagan, the New York Police Commissioner who heads up both the police force and the Reagan brood. He runs his department as diplomatically as he runs his family, even when dealing with the politics that plagued his unapologetically bold father, Henry (Len Cariou), during his stint as commissioner. A source of pride and concern for Frank is his eldest son Danny (Donnie Wahlberg), a seasoned detective, family man and Iraqi War vet who along with his partner (Jennifer Esposito) will exhaust all efforts and on occasion use dubious tactics to solve cases. The sole Reagan woman in the family, Erin (Bridget Moynahan), is an N.Y. Assistant D.A. and newly single parent, who also serves as the legal compass for her siblings and father. Jamie (Will Estes) is the youngest Reagan, fresh out of Harvard Law and a newly minted cop. Can the activities of a host of New York€™s nastiest criminals and a mystery surrounding the death of a family member pull this respectable family apart? Blue Bloods is an entertaining police drama that combines the best elements of shows such as Numbers, CSI and Law & Order with the family crises and dramas found in shows like Brothers & Sisters. Each episode is an entertaining mix of mystery, action, drama and family values, making it one of the more unique shows to hit both US and UK television screens over the past few years. The episodes are engaging and exciting, keeping viewers engrossed in the individual or standalone mysteries and situations found in each, as well as building tension around an overarching secrecy surrounding a deceased member of the family. Written by the Emmy-winning team behind The Sopranos, the show is a gritty and realistic look at life in uniform in one of the world€™s toughest cities. Patience is tested, laws are bent, relationships are strained and reputations are gambled with, but no matter how fraught things become for the Reagan family they are able to pull through and sit down for a meal around the family table! As much as the show is about the various crimes that the family are somehow all involved in solving, a real emphasis is put upon the make up of their relationships and the chemistry that is shared between them. As the series progresses and the reality behind the death of a main character is revealed, it is the tension built around the loving and tight family that fuels the drama of the show, with relief found in the standalone elements of the episodes. Coming to a crackling finale that will have you gagging for the next season, Blue Bloods is an engaging and enjoyable drama. Stand out episodes include: Episode 1: Pilot €“ Successfully sets the scene and introduces the family without being dull, as well as submerging viewers directly into the action with a suspenseful kidnapping case that pushes Danny and Erin€™s relationship to the test€ Episode 4: Officer Down €“ Frank sets about mobilising the entire NYPD force in an effort to track down the killer of an off-duty police officer, who was killed during a diamond heist. Family and police politics converge here to make a truly exciting episode. Episode 11: Little Fish €“ Danny and Jackie are tasked with investigating the murder of a high-end escort who has been found floating in the river, whilst Frank makes a vow to bring a heartless killer to justice when a missing boy's remains are found from a case that he was emotionally invested in 25 years ago. The nature of police work and its effect upon individuals and the family as a whole are investigated here, in an episode that€™s truly memorable. Episode 18: To Tell The Truth €“ When Danny witnesses a murder he quickly identifies the man and learns that he is the leader of a deadly gang. When the killer is arrested he warns Danny of the risks of testifying against him, who ignores him. When Linda €“ who's supposed to have been taken into protective custody €“ is kidnapped by a gang, Danny tries to find her before he has to testify. This thrilling episode demonstrates the power of the individual crimes and the family crises found in each episode.

QUALITY

New York is lovingly shot in all 22 episodes of Blue Bloods and looks similarly superb on the DVD release of the show. The visual quality is solid, with very little grain, blemishing or disruption affecting the images. The series is shot in as realistic a way as possible, which is reflected well on the release: colour schemes are expressive, lighting hues are similarly communicative and locations are grittily real. The audio quality is equally adept, with dialogue clean and audible throughout, with little to no interference. Sound effects and musical soundtracks are similarly solid, with ambient noises (such as gunfire and fist fighting, for example) setting the scene particularly well.

EXTRAS

The series is released on 6 discs, which also house a number of special features. Whilst the supplementary material is presented as a series of brief featurettes, when viewed together they help build a firm, in-depth picture of the series production. Great attention to detail has been paid to the release, with the following bonus materials available on the discs: € Deleted Scenes on 14 of the 22 episodes (Pilot, Samaritan, Privilege, Officer Down, Chinatown, Re-Do, Little Fish, Family Ties, Hall of Mirrors, Silver Star, Model Behaviour, All That Glitters, Cellar Boy, The Blue Templar) €“ These scenes help paint a further picture of the family, as well as reveal some additional but often times unnecessary plot points. All in all, the episodes are tighter without the scenes, but the flow of the episodes would not have been hampered had the scheduling allowed them to be included. € Network Launch Promos €“ This collection of promotional snippets remind viewers just why Blue Bloods became one of the most popular new shows to launch on US television last year! € Creating the Characters €“ Various cast and crewmembers discuss the development of the characters in this comprehensive documentary that leaves nothing uncovered. € Code Blue €“ Focusing on the Blue Templar storyline, this brief featurette looks at the overarching, mysterious elements of the show. € Keeping it Real €“ Cast, crewmembers and the technical advisor talk about the series dedication to keeping the episodes realistic and the challenges of creating episodes that exploited this realism. € Analysing the Scene €“ The dinner table scenes are looked at here and cast and crew discuss their importance in the development of the series. € Empire State of Mind €“ The challenges and complications faced by shooting on location in New York City are discussed here by the cast and crew. € Keeping it in the Family €“ In this extra, the cast and crew look at the complicated family dynamics and their critical role within the series. € Gag Reel €“ Have a laugh here at the multiple mistakes made by anyone and everyone on the set! Blue Bloods is available now on DVD.
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