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    Hardware Reviews

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    MAGIC CITY The Complete Second Season Blu-ray


    Dec 28 2013 04:36 PM | Timothy E in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
    Miami 1959. Gangster's Paradise. So reads the tagline on the second and final season release of Magic City on Blu-ray. Miami Beach in 1959 had the world at the apex of the Cold War with Castro's Marxist revolution happening a short hop across the water in Cuba. Magic City delivers on the promise of its tagline so every viewer knows up front whether this genre is to their tastes. The second season of Magic City even shakes things up with James Caan (The Godfather) joining the cast as Sy Berman, a mob boss from Chicago.

    Title Info:

    • Studio: Anchor Bay
    • Distributed By: N/A
    • Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
    • Audio: English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, Spanish 1.0 DD (Mono)
    • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
    • Rating: Not Rated
    • Run Time: 6 Hrs. 61 Min.
    • Package Includes: Blu-ray
    • Case Type: Fold-out Digipack
    • Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
    • Region: A
    • Release Date: 11/05/2013
    • MSRP: $54.99

    The Production Rating: 3.5/5

    In season 2, Ike Evans(Jeffrey Dean Morgan) continues to run and operate the glamorous Miramar Playa Hotel in Miami Beach circa 1959. Ike’s empire still is built precariously on moral compromise, as the financing for the hotel came from his silent partner Ben “the Butcher” Diamond(Danny Huston. Ike’s son Stevie(Steven Strait) is continuing his ill-advised affair with Ben’s trophy wife Lily(Jessica Marais). Ike’s wife Vera(Olga Kurylenko) continues to drift away from him in her pursuit of stardom even while Ike is trying to get rid of his silent partner Ben the Butcher before the Butcher gets rid of him.

    All 8 episodes from the second and final season are included on this 3 disc set. This second season aired on Starz in 2013. Although it is not rated, Magic City takes advantage of its premium channel location to include some nudity and bad language, as it chases the same demographic that has made successes of other gangster genre series like The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire.

    Video Rating: 4.5/5 3D Rating: NA

    Magic City Season 2 appears on Blu-Ray in 1080p in its 1.78:1 aspect ratio as originally filmed and broadcast on Starz. The vibrant colors of Miami Beach have been toned down for dramatic effect by the producers, which is most apparent with skin tones especially appearing with what is best described as a blue push on the cooler end of the color spectrum. Blacks are solid as they should be, with excellent shadow detail and contrast. These Blu-ray discs provide an excellent video presentation of the series that certainly surpasses its appearance on cable television, even in high definition.

    Audio Rating: 4/5

    The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 tracks provide nice dynamic range. Ambient sounds, music, and sound effects create an immersive atmosphere for Magic City. The sound mix has dialogue always appropriately audible over music and special effects with generous use of the center channel.

    Special Features: 2/5

    The special features, located on disc 3, include all of the following in high definition:

    The Gamble for Havana(3:05): This featurette has writer/creator Mitch Glazer talking about the behind the scenes battle happening in season 2 at the Miramar Playa Hotel.
    The Criminal Element(4:47): This featurette has Mitch Glazer talking about the shady characters inhabiting the series.
    Tales from the Underbelly(4:59): This featurette focuses more on the welcome addition of James Caan to season 2.
    Magic City Style(1:51): Costume designer Carol Ramsey talks briefly about the wardrobe styles used in the series.
    The Music That Makes Magic(5:52): This featurette demonstrates the music selections that enhance the period atmosphere of the series.

    Overall Rating: 3.5/5

    Magic City The Complete Second Season on Blu-ray is a nice package. Even if Magic City did not draw in the same audience numbers as similar series like The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire, it has still been a worthwhile entry in this genre, with an excellent cast and appearances from actors who are alumni of the Godfather films. Perhaps the lugubrious pace of the Miami setting, which seemed appropriate to the sweltering climate of Miami Beach, was not fast-paced enough to draw in sufficient viewers to convince Starz to renew it for a third season.

    The video and audio presentation are excellent, and the special features are an interesting trifle, so minimal that they leave you wanting more. In my review of the first season, I recommended viewers to sit back and relax with a mojito or a pina colada while watching, and the second season brings the same recommendation.

    Reviewed by: Timothy E
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    Keith Cobby
    Jun 01 2014 05:34 AM

    I am half way through Season 2. What a great show this is, and the blu-ray is spectacular. Well defined characters, well acted, very high production values. This is everything the re-tread of Dallas isn't.

    Keith Cobby
    Jun 07 2014 11:00 AM

    I have now finished the second (and final) season. A brilliant and under-appreciated show.

    Charles Smith
    Jun 07 2014 11:10 AM

    Agree.  I loved the show, and I remember how I was just about to watch what was to be the last episode, when they announced the cancellation.  I was furious, as were friends who also watched it.  Have it all on Blu-ray, at least, but man, I still regret that they refused to give it a chance.  Hell, I think everyone I know who saw it really liked it and wanted it to continue.  These TV channels are run by complete ... ahem ... IDIOTS.