Release Date: May 27, 2008
Starring: Brooke Shields, Kim Raver, Lindsay Price
Based on the Novel By: Candace Bushnell
Lipstick Jungle: Season One is a 2-disc DVD collection of the current NBC series featuring career women and their relationships and lifestyles in New York City. Stylistically, the series is based on the earlier Sex and the City, with the source material being a novel by Candace Bushnell, who also wrote the newspaper column that led to the earlier series. (In this case, Bushnell has been a bit more involved in the series – she is co-credited with the script for the pilot episode and is listed as a co-exec producer.) Fans of Sex and the City may enjoy this series, but it’s not quite the same thing. The casting is different, the show doesn’t quite achieve the same rhythm, and the simple fact is that this series is designed for an NBC audience, not the pay-cable audience that watched the earlier series on HBO.
Given the brief season afforded by the recent WGA strike, the collection here consists of only seven episodes, including the pilot, around 12 minutes of deleted scenes from various episodes, and a few non-anamorphic trailers for other Universal series.
As with my earlier series reviews, I will take the discs in order, detailing what episodes and features can be found on each. THERE ARE SPOILERS HERE, in the interest of letting fans of the series know where they can see key developments.
This disc contains the first four episodes of the season:
“Pilot” – The initial episode establishes the look and feel of the show. We meet Wendy (Brooke Shields), a movie exec and mother, Nico (Kim Raver), a magazine editor jumping into an affair away from her husband, and Victory (Lindsay Price), a fashion designer being wooed by an extremely rich suitor, played by Andrew McCarthy.
“Nothing Sacred” – All three women deal with further developments in their relationships.
“Pink Poison” – Victory introduces her new man to her friends, and Wendy takes her daughter to a luncheon.
“Bombay Highway” – Wendy and Victory have major opportunities, and Nico discusses her affair.
-When this disc is initially put in the player, you can see non-anamorphic trailers for Friday Night Lights: The Complete Second Season, Crossing Jordan: Season One, Definitely, Maybe and a series promo for 30 Rock.
There is also a “Previews” menu, which brings up non-anamorphic trailers for the season sets for Battlestar Galactica, Coach, Eureka, House, Law & Order, Monk, and The Rockford Files, along with a combined trailer for The A Team, Knight Rider and Miami Vice.
“Dressed to Kill” – Victory finds some of her work has been stolen and Nico sets ground rules about her affair.
“Take the High Road” – Wendy and Nico travel to Scotland, and Victory’s company gets bought by her man.
“Carpe Threesome” – Wendy deals with a screenwriter who hasn’t delivered the goods (played by Marsha Mason), Nico’s husband suffers a heart attack, and Victory winds up literally in the middle of another couple.
Special Feature –
Deleted Scenes - (12:40, Non-Anamorphic) – Deleted scenes from various episodes are presented here, in non-anamorphic format. There’s not a lot here, just the usual additional character moments that wind up being edited for time. (I recognize there may be some fans of the show who can point out how some of these scenes wound up going into later episodes in different forms, but I didn’t pick up on it.)
VIDEO QUALITY: 3/5
Lipstick Jungle: Season One is presented in a solid anamorphic 1.78:1 transfer that shows off the various colors and textures of all the wardrobes and looks sported by the characters on this show. While an argument can be made that the style here simply isn’t up to the ideas seen on Sex and the City, the fact is that this transfer truthfully presents the series as it was meant to be seen, along with accurate fleshtones.
AUDIO QUALITY: 2 ½/5 ½
Lipstick Jungle: Season One is presented in an English Dolby Digital 5.1 mix that really just lives in the front channels, as befits a standard television series. The surround channels get used a bit for music and the occasional sound effect, but this can really be felt to be a frontal stereo mix with a little extra oomph. The dialogue and the various songs and music are clear and fairly easy to understand. I don’t have an issue with the quality of the sound here, but my slightly lower score reflects my issues with the blanket labelling of 5.1 surround sound on releases such as this one that really don’t make use of it.
The various episodes each have a few chapter stops, but there is no chapter menu. Subtitles are available in English on the episodes but not on the deleted scenes.
IN THE END...
Lipstick Jungle: Season One will likely appeal to fans of Sex and the City, particularly given the pedigree of claiming the author of the original material for that series. It certainly presses all the same buttons, but I’m not convinced that it comes together with the same chemistry as the earlier show. On the other hand, I readily admit that I’m not the target audience. I leave it to readers who are bigger fans than I to point up the various pluses of the show. For myself, this DVD set represents a quick look at a quick season, with very little frills.
May 26, 2008