What happens in Vegas… stays in Vegas… At least that is what the tourism adds for LAS VEGAS like to tell us. Anyway, the LAS VEGAS television series should not be confused with the advertisements, as the series is a whole lot more fun than any commercial. With its mixture of action, humor, glamour, vice, visual panache and eye candy, LAS VEGAS the television series is exactly what every tourist hopes Sin City is really like. Personally, I find the show to be terrific escapist fun and really like tuning into the show on a weekly basis. Taking place at the fictional Montecito Resort & Casino LAS VEGAS follows key members of the casino’s staff as they deal with high rollers, shady characters and the soap opera of their personal lives.
The cast of LAS VEGAS features James Caan as Big Ed Deline, the Montecito’s President of Operations and head of the surveillance, who just happens to have a CIA background, Josh Duhamel is Danny McCoy, Ed’s right hand man, who does most of the "hands on" surveillance work, Nikki Cox is Mary Connell, Danny’s lifelong best friend and special events coordinator for the Montecito, James Lesure is Mike Cannon, a valet with an engineering degree, who eventually makes the transition to the surveillance team, Vanessa Marcil is Samantha "Sam" Marquez, the casino hostess, who has a way with the high rollers, Molly Sims is Delinda Deline, Ed’s heartbreaker daughter who goes to work for one of the resort’s high end restaurants, and Marsha Thomason is Nessa Holt, the Montecito’s beautiful, but cool pit boss, who has earned the nickname "The Ice Queen."
LAS VEGAS: SEASON ONE UNCUT & UNCENSORED ($60) comes to DVD in a three-disc set that features all twenty-three episodes that were aired in the first year. The twenty-three featured episodes are as follows: Pilot, What Happens In Vegas, Stays In Vegas, Donny, We Hardly Knew Ye, Jokers And Fools, Groundhog Summer, Semper Spy, Pros And Cons, Luck Be A Lady, Year Of The Tiger, Decks And Violence, Blood And Sand, Hellraisers And Heartbreakers, The Night The Lights Went Out In Vegas, Things That Go Jump In The Night, Die Fast, Die Furious, New Orleans, You Can't Take It With You, Nevada State, Sons And Lovers, The Strange Life Of Bob, Family Jewels, The Big Bang, and Always Faithful.
Universal Studios Home Video has made all twenty-three episodes of comprise LAS VEGAS: SEASON ONE UNCUT & UNCENSORED available on DVD in a 1.78:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. The episodes look better on DVD than they did in standard NTSC broadcast, although I am sure high definition will add even more polish to the presentations than DVD. Image quality is quite impressive for a TV production, every thing looks slick, with a rather sharp and nicely defined image. Some shots appear a bit crisper than others, but nothing ever seems soft. Colors pop nicely, with the well-saturated hues being rendered without noise or smearing. Contrast is good for a television level production, with a pretty nice impression of depth and more than respectable shadow detail. The elements from which the episodes are transferred appear clean and there is little grain. Digital compression artifacts are usually held very well in check.
For this release all twenty-three episodes of LAS VEGAS: SEASON ONE UNCUT & UNCENSORED have had their soundtracks reworked into the Dolby Digital 5.1 channel format. The sound is great for a television series, while the forward soundstage tends to dominate, the surrounds prove to be engaging and when the material calls for their implementation. Fidelity is good, sound effects are convincing and the music sounds quite nice. Speaking of the music, the show’s theme A Little Less Conversation has been replaced on all of the episodes, but the pilot, which gets a big thumb’s down in my book. Voices are cleanly reproduced and the dialogue maintains complete intelligibility. The bass channel is solid and gets the job done. No other language tracks are provided, but English, French and Spanish subtitles have been included.
Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard episode/scene selection and set up features, as well as some nice extras. Running audio commentaries by members of the cast & crew are provided for the following four episodes: Pilot, Hellraisers And Heartbreakers, The Night The Lights Went Out In Vegas and Always Faithful. Inside The Montecito is an eight-minute look at the show’s sets. Las Vegas: The Big Gamble spends twenty minutes focusing on the lure and allure of the city that is the show’s title and setting. Rumble In The Montecito is a mildly amusing two-minute promo piece for the AFL featuring Jon Bon Jovi and John Elway. AFL On NBC Schedule is another promo for the televised games of the Arena Football League, while AFL Match Up: See Who's Playing provides further detail. Las Vegas The TV Show is a thirty-second promo spot for the show; City Of Las Vegas Promotional Spot is a minute and a half of… you guessed it.
LAS VEGAS: SEASON ONE UNCUT & UNCENSORED is a whole lot of fun, plenty of flash and just a little bit of titillation to make this an enjoyable TV series (and no, uncut & uncensored doesn’t mean any material qualifying for an "R" rating has been added back into the episodes). The DVDs look and sound good, although I really don’t like the tampered with credit sequences- that Elvis theme music really gives the show its positive vibe. Anyway, LAS VEGAS: SEASON ONE UNCUT & UNCENSORED on DVD is still more fun than having to suffer through commercials every few minutes.
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