DVD Review HTF REVIEW: NYPD Season 01

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Ronald Epstein, Mar 5, 2003.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    NYPD BLUE: Season 01

    Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
    Year: 1993-1994
    Rated: NR
    Film Length: 1,078 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: Full Frame (1.33:1)
    Subtitles: English and Spanish


    When NYPD Blue first burst on the scene in
    1993, it immediately became a show that was was
    about to set new standards for the police drama
    genre. From Emmy award-winning producer Steven Bochco
    and his frequent writing partner David Milch, the
    show focused on the personal and professional lives
    of the members of the detective's squad in the New
    York Police Department's 15th Precinct.


    Before the show even aired its first episode that
    year, the series got a lot of publicity because of
    its daring use of nudity and profanity. This was
    the very first time that Americans were seeing men's
    buttocks, women's breasts, and hearing the word
    "asshole" on prime time television. Despite the
    uproar from many stations who immediately pulled the
    plug on the series, it was the people who actually
    bothered to watch the show that discovered that there
    was more here than what met the eye. The public saw
    NYPD BLUE for what it was -- a dark, moving
    series about trying to hold onto your morals and
    ideals in a corrupt and evil world.


    The show was voted "favorite new television dramatic
    series" and "favorite television dramatic series"
    during the 20th Annual People's Choices Awards the
    first year it was eligible. Over the years the
    series has been nominated for an Emmy 80 times and
    has won 21 of those times. Not bad for a show that
    garnered so much controversy.

    Aggressively releasing what seems to be more
    television product than any other studio, Fox Home
    Video is about to bring the entire Season 01
    to the format in a rather elaborate supplemental-
    filled DVD package.


    NYPD BLUE: SEASON 01 arrives in an oversized
    sturdy cardboard box with a raised shield logo pasted
    to the front cover. The innards slide out and open to
    an impressive gatefold span that houses the 6 discs
    that contain all 22 episodes from the first season.
    There are also bonus features on disc #6 that I will
    talk about in a moment.


    Inside the corner pocket of the end flap sits an
    8-page collector's booklet that provides a short
    summary of the series, and detailed descriptions of
    each contained episode including writing/directing
    credits and the show's original air date.


    Each disc holds an average of 4 episodes. The
    menu structure allows access to individual chapters
    of a particular episode as well as a recap of last
    week's episode. My only complaint of the menu
    structure is that if you are in a hurry to get
    to a particular episode, you'll have to wait as
    you have to go through an entire animation process
    to get from the top episode to the bottom.

    Now let me stop here and say that up until this
    point, I have never watched a single episode of the
    show. Those of you that have read my past reviews
    of TV product know that I have been out of touch with
    broadcast television for over 15 years. Many of the
    shows I have come to love are those I have first seen
    on the DVD format. It was Fox that made me a huge fan
    of X-Files, and after watching just the first
    three episodes of NYPD BLUE, I have found
    yet another show that I will probably continue to

    Let me give you a run-down of the first three episodes
    I watched for this review.....


    Episode 1: "Pilot"
    Detective John Kelly (David Caruso) investigates a
    mob-related murder attempt on his partner, Detective
    Andy Sipowicz (Dennis Franz). Sipowicz, on the skids
    after a painful divorce, is determined to get mobster
    Alfonse Giardella at almost any cost. When he fills
    himself with booze for a planned fling with a
    prostitute, Giardella guns Sipowicz down in a seedy
    hotel room, and the detective's life hangs in the
    balance. Of course, Kelly knows who shot his partner,
    but now he must prove it.


    Episode 2: "4B or Not 4B"
    Detective Sipowicz miraculously regains consciousness
    after the mob-related attempt on his life, but has no
    memory of what happened; Angelo Marino puts pressure
    on patrolwoman Janice Licalsi to assassinate Detective
    Kelly; Kelly and Laura sign their marital separation
    papers; and Josh Goldstein is wounded by a mugger in
    the laundry room of his apartment building.


    Episode 3: "Brown Appetit"
    Kelly and Sipowicz, who has been reinstated,
    investigate the robbery and brutal murder of a woman
    in her home; Kelly moonlights as a security guard for
    a wealthy socialite, Mrs. Thomas Wagner, who wishes
    her abusive husband were dead; Janice Licalsi's father,
    Dominic Gennaro, admits to Janice he used to be on the
    take from the mob; and later, Janice trys to make Kelly
    understand her acts of revenge.

    How is the transfer?

    NYPD BLUE is presented in its original full-
    frame broadcast ratio of 1.33:1. The quality of the
    prints are in pristine condition. The only complaint
    that I have is that images look a bit on the soft side
    and lacking a bit of detail. I would say that the
    transfer here probably best represents the original
    quality of the broadcast.

    Most impressive is the Dolby Surround track which
    does a fantastic job directing sound. Dialogue stays
    firmly in the center channel with all the action
    going to the fronts with excellent stereo separation.
    The rears seem to be constantly providing location
    ambiance -- from the sounds of the street to crowds
    inside local pubs and clubs. All of this come across
    with surprisingly excellent dynamics -- especially the
    show's instrumental score that plays loudly and

    Special Features

    Scattered across this entire 6-disc set are a total
    of 6 individual commentary tracks that
    accompany selected episodes. Commentary tracks
    are provided by writer David Milch, directors
    Bradley Silberling and Michael M. Robin as well as
    Bill Clark and Sharon Lawrence.

    I listened to some of the commentary that accompanied
    True Confessions, featuring creator/writer
    David Milch. David explains that this was the first
    episode that he and Bochco allowed Detective John
    Kelly (David Caruso) to access storylines outside
    of the station house. To listen to David talk, you
    get the idea that there were some problems amongst
    the actors where they stopped talking to each other.
    I'd be kind of interested to hear more about that,
    but David doesn't expand on it. David certainly
    knows a lot about police etiquette, and gives us
    quite a bit of background information.


    Let's take a look at Disc Six that contains
    the wealth of supplemental material....


    The Making of Season One is an all-new 58
    minute documentary that takes a look at the show
    that revitalized network television. It begins
    with creators Steven Bochco and David Milch
    talking about wanting to create a show that pushed
    the envelope as far as what could be said and shown
    on network television. In fact, in 1992 the networks
    flatly turned the show down -- which was fine -- for
    the next year David Milch spent a year in NYC
    alongside real cops in order to prepare for the show.
    You'll hear how the creators and networks created
    a glossary of what would and would not be acceptable
    for network broadcast. The show brought a new look
    and sound to television that had never been seen, and
    this featurette explores those many ground breaking
    styles. There are also loads of interviews with
    cast members and crew who tell stories about their
    auditions as well as things that happened on the set.
    Most interesting here is the frank discussion against
    actor David Caruso who by the second season thought
    he was going to be such a huge star that he no longer
    needed the show. His agitative presence on the set
    created such a stir that Bochco was planning to let
    him go before he decided to quit. Seems there is
    certainly no love lost here. Finally, we take a look
    at how swearing and sex were dealt with by both the
    editors and censors. This is a pretty damn good
    featurette which really explores every aspect of the
    show's first season.

    Love on NYPD Blue is a 12-minute featurette
    that examines relationships between various characters
    in the show. There are plenty of cast interviews
    included here.

    A cast blotter introduces us to casting
    director Junie-Lowry Johnson who talks about some
    of the "unknowns" who were cast in this series that
    went on to become big stars. They include, David
    Schwimmer, Amy Brenneman
    and Sherry Stringfield.
    (length: approx. 11 minutes)

    Pilot to script comparison gives us four
    major segments from the show's pilot episode.
    Using your remote, you page through the script
    to see how that particular scene was originally
    written. At the bottom of the page is a PLAY
    button that enables you to watch the scripted

    Finally, included are cast and crew bios that
    go beyond simplicity, giving us some really in-depth
    text background about the actors and filmmakers. This
    is something that goes beyond what most other type
    of DVD bios offer. Nice job!

    Final Thoughts

    Since its network debut on September 21, 1993, NYPD
    Blue continues to set new standards for the police
    drama genre. Each week audiences of thousands tune
    in to watch the gritty, reality of life in a New York
    Police unit.

    Fox has done its usual first-rate job of putting
    together a thoughtfully created boxed set with plenty
    of supplementals not only to keep present fans occupied,
    but attracting new fans like myself to the show.

    I'm hooked!

    Release Date: March 18, 2003

    All screen captures have been further compressed.
    They are for illustrative purposes only and do not
    represent actual picture quality
  2. James L White

    James L White Supporting Actor

    Jun 29, 2002
    Likes Received:
    GREAT REVIEW RON!!!!!!!!! A damn good show, Glad to hear the DVDs were given proper care.[​IMG]
  3. David Coleman

    David Coleman Supporting Actor

    Jan 5, 2000
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    Yeah this one is a must have for me! Now that I see it's loaded this is a definte!!! Great show!!
  4. Kenneth Cummings

    Kenneth Cummings Supporting Actor

    Aug 7, 2001
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    Never seen the show, but if the price is right I will probably pick this one up. Thanks Ron once again.
  5. LennyP

    LennyP Supporting Actor

    Jun 20, 2002
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    I'll be getting that as any TV show/series with same characters are more likable to me than standalone films. This and CSI's first seasons are a must get.
  6. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

    Apr 15, 2002
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    absolutely impressed by the review Ron

    anda great show as well

  7. Ric Easton

    Ric Easton Cinematographer

    Feb 6, 2001
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    Nice review, Ron.

    Though I have not watched the show in the last couple of seasons...(It started last year when it was on against 24) your review made me nostalgic for the good ole days of NYPD Blues early years. I may have to pick this one up.

    Now I have a litttle question for you... How come you've been out of touch with broadcast TV over the last 15 years? It seems a shame to miss out on these gems when they first come out. Is it that your too busy giving us these great reviews? If so, don't stop now. With the recent influx of reality programming there's less and less good stuff on. (and you already discovered 24!)

  8. Paul Arnette

    Paul Arnette Cinematographer

    Jul 16, 2002
    Likes Received:
    La la la la la! I can't hear you. I don't want to buy anymore DVDs! [​IMG] Make it stop! [​IMG]
  9. Paul W

    Paul W Second Unit

    Dec 17, 1999
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    Does anybody know what season they started broadcasting 1.78:1 on HDTV?
  10. Michael St. Clair

    May 3, 1999
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    Season 1 is the best season ever, IMO. A must-buy.

    I'll take a good TV show over a bad movie any day. Life is too short to watch bad anything.
  11. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
    Likes Received:
    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein
  12. Michael St. Clair

    May 3, 1999
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  13. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

    Jun 15, 2001
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  14. Greg S

    Greg S Supporting Actor

    Mar 13, 2000
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    I was going to hold off on this set but now seeing that its presented very well and has plenty of extras I may not have much choice.

    Ugghh my wallet is hurting now for sure.

    Thanks for the review Ron.

  15. RAF

    RAF Lead Actor

    Jul 3, 1997
    Likes Received:
    NYPD Blue is still my favorite network show. It's the one show I make a point of not missing (thanks to PVRs).
  16. VicRuiz

    VicRuiz Second Unit

    May 21, 2000
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  17. VicRuiz

    VicRuiz Second Unit

    May 21, 2000
    Likes Received:
  18. Craig S

    Craig S Producer

    Mar 4, 2000
    Likes Received:
    League City, Texas
    Real Name:
    Craig Seanor
  19. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

    Apr 4, 2002
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    "on a little street in Singapore"
    Real Name:
    Yee Ming Lim
    ... must resist... must resist... credit card in meltdown... out of rack-space ... spouse not happy at my couch potato habits... too many unwatched DVDs already...

  20. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

    Apr 8, 1999
    Likes Received:
    Real Name:
    David Scarpa
    Well Ron that your hooked is good and bad. It's good because you'll discover what a great show NYPD Blue is, and it's bad because you've just watched a season the show would not ever equal again. Don't get me wrong the future seasons with Smits,Schroader, and Mark Paul Gossellar are pretty damn good, and while most of the cast change they've replaced them with even better cast members, it was never to hit all the highs that season one hit with Franz and Caruso. He may be the biggest Pain in the ass ever, but David Caruso fit Nypd blue like a Glove. Which makes it even more sadder that he walked away. What could have been. Now do yourself a favor and go buy The Shield the gound breaking show for the 21st Century!

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