TV on DVD

the wireThe Wire: Season 3
Everyone from Time Magazine and Newsweek to Entertainment Weekly has called this hard-hitting HBO drama about the battle between police and drug dealing gangs the best series on television. Far from being just another cop show, it examines life in the modern American city. It’s often bleak and realistic portrayal of urban existence and how no matter what side you’re on, there’s a blurring of the lines meaning you’re ultimately compromised by your surroundings. ‘We are bored with good and evil. We renounce the theme,’ said writer and former police reporter David Simon. This 12 episode series is also an allegory that draws explicit parallels between the war in Iraq and the national drug prohibition, which in Simon’s view has failed in its aims and become a war against America’s underclass. Depressingly, the ratings didn’t match the deserved critical praise because America decided it would rather watch Desperate Housewives go through the motions of jumping the shark on the other side. That’s often the case with top shows. But if you thought HBO’s The Sopranos was good and want intelligent gritty drama then this will blow you away.

Hustle: Season 3
If you said that a series about a team of five con-artists had been created (and mostly written) by EastEnders’ chief scriptwriter Tony Jordan most would fear the worst. A dark, depressing, kitchen-sink trawl though the misery of sobbing victims would be the obvious expectation, but this is the opposite. Light, breezy and very well scripted it’s one of the better series to have been shown by the BBC over the last few years. Veteran American actor Robert Vaughn is great on the small screen as their mentor while the rest of the cast are likeable enough despite essentially being a bunch of criminals. This set has six, hour-long episodes that are all inventive, creative and with plots that often have pleasant twists, which is increasingly rare these days. It’s not as good as the first couple of series so I’d get those first, and breaking the fourth wall with grins to camera and occasional bullet time is a love-it-or-hate-it technique, but it’s rarely less than a fun hour of light drama.

Baywatch: Series 2
Ho ho ho, how we laughed at Baywatch. With its plots flimsier than the cast’s swimsuits and David Hasselhoff’s genius hiring policy of employing female models to fill most of the key roles around him it was never taken seriously. It was one of the greatest
guilty viewing pleasures of them all and you certainly weren’t alone when you sat down early Saturday evening for 60 minutes of bouncy beach-based fun. According to the Guinness World Records book, Baywatch is the most watched TV show of all time, with over 1.1billion viewers worldwide. But let’s not beat around the bush here, most of those watching were doing so for the eye candy rather than the ‘gripping’ stories so, here’s who this DVD has running down the beach in slow motion: Erika Eleniak as Shauni McClain (in her last season), Pamela Anderson as CJ Parker (in her first season), Nicole Eggert as cheeky young Summer Quinn and slightly dowdy Alexandra Paul as Stephanie Holden – who never ran in slomo as there was little to see bounce. And ladies, here’s what you get: David Charvet as Matt Brody, Billy Warlock as Eddie Kramer and, of course, The Hoff himself. It’s says season 2 on the DVD but it’s actually season 3 and bit’s of season 1 in content. And very sadly the theme song, ‘I’m Always Here’ isn’t on here because Hasselhoff couldn’t get the copyright clearance…so he sings his own song instead. You’ve been warned. But despite the loss of the teen-memory inducing theme tune (and many of the original songs throughout each episode) it’s still Baywatch and you can’t really dislike Baywatch can you?

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